Card Reader Door Locks: The Top 5 Brands of 2021

Card reader door locks are undoubtedly one of the most important advancements in access control systems. Eliminating the need for traditional keys, a card reader door lock uses an electronic locking system to allow access to individuals that hold the proper credentials. It is designed to control access to buildings using easy to program credential authentication.

card reader door lock

What is a card reader door lock?

A card reader door lock is a an all-in-one lock and access control device that integrates the credential reading device, the handle and a lock cylinder outside the door. Some card reader door locks have built-in control panels that identifies the authorized access card or pin code. Listed below are the top 5 brands you can check for reliable and cost-efficient card reader door locks. 

1. SALTO

SALTO locks operate using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology. Some SALTO locks have a cloud-based management system and use mobile applications that make them flexible. The brand introduced its Virtual Network SVN data-on-card technology and a battery-operated wireless electronic smart lock range. Thus, they produce efficient card reader door locks that enable users to control their access without any hassle. These locks are free from complex methods and expensive wiring. 

card reader door lock

Features

  • Up to date and electronic access control 
  • Work with ANSI, Euro, Din, and Scandinavian door industry standards
  • BLUEnet wireless and mobile credentials technology 
  • Available with mechanical cylinder cut outs for key override or access lock outs 

Pros

  • SALTO locks are available in a wide range of models
  • Since the readers/ locks are wireless, they can be deployed in environments where cabling is not an option.

Cons 

  • Software User Interface is behind other cloud based applications
  • Since the data is carried “on card”, it only updates and pushes information to the control panel when it goes through a “choke point” which is designed to grab the credentials data. This creates a lag in data updates which leads to non-optimal reporting compared to traditional access control systems that offer real time reporting.

XS4 One – Deadlatch

One of the revolutionary electronic locks from SALTO is the convenient XS4 One. With the same performance as a traditional access control system, the XS4 One is easy to install and requires no wiring. It is compatible with almost all types of doors. The body and escutcheon are made of steel. It has an electronic privacy option and can be opened from the inside. It incorporates SALTO space and SALTO KS technology, adding the features of cloud service, BLUEnet wireless and much more. The model incorporates wireless technologies such as Bluetooth LE, RFID and NFC. Just like all other SALTO products, this electronic door lock comes with a detailed installation guide. You can choose to DIY or call in a professional for installation.

2. Schlage

Schlage offers card reader door locks that are commonly used in residential installations with z-wave alarm systems. Schlage has a wide range of compatible card reader door locks and touchscreen locks. Schlage has a higher ANSI grade of security certification and lets you rekey your locks. This brand offers electronic locks, access control devices, deadbolts, mortise door locks and cylindrical door locks. Its built-in wifi technology lets you connect directly to the wifi network. 

Features

  • Three-year warranty 
  • Built-in alarms
  • Alexa and google-resistant integration
  • 30 custom codes 
  • Locks have robust build with bigger bolt and drill resistant plate 

Pros

  • Easy to install 
  • Trustworthy and reliable

Cons

  • Limited lifetime warranty 
  • Higher costs
card reader door lock

Schlage multi-technology readers 

Schlage Multi-Technology card reader door locks are a great choice for simplified access control. The Multi-Technology Readers comprise an open architecture that allows integration with common access control systems. Seven models of Multi-Technician readers complement any facility and hardware. These card reader door locks identify proximity, magnetic stripe and Schlage smart cards. They are compatible with NFC-open smartphones using Schlage credentials. Additionally, the Schlage Multi-Technology card reader lock reads 125 kHz proximity and 13.56 MHz smart credentials. 

3. Kwikset 

Kwikset is an American lockset manufacturer. It has accompanying smartphone applications for user control. Kwikset manufactures locks that can be programmed with several different access codes and allows for DIY installation as well. Kwikset has a prominent place in the residential lock market. This is because Kwikset offers three entry modes which are apps, codes and keys. You can also limit the expiry dates of codes and generate codes any time for permanent members. The Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association has certified Kwikset locks as Grade I security for residential use. They are also advertised as being invulnerable to hacks by anything inserted in the keyway. 

Features

  • 250 custom codes
  • Low battery visual alerts 
  • Alarm for 3 failed code attempts 
  • One-year warranty 
  • One-touch locking 

Pros 

  • You can rekey your lock if required
  • Smartphone apps for user control 

Cons

  • Limited time warranty 
  • Less extra features 
card reader door lock

Kwikset Smart Locks  

These electronic locks have a 60-second lock-out technology that stops the use automatically after 3 consecutive incorrect entries. Kwikset Smart Locks are efficient and affordable. They provide unmatched protection against lockpicking and other attacks as they are fitted with SecureScreen technology. They also let you create your own schedule to manage the entries and exits throughout the day. Kwikset smart locks allow you to control lock functions via the Kwikset app. Most Kwikset card reader door locks have a backup key, so if your key is misplaced, you’ll always have a backup key as an option. Additionally, they are compatible with Siri voice commands and Bluetooth.

4. Trilogy 

Trilogy is well known for its design and manufacture of electronic and mechanical locks. Its privacy button suspends all routine access even when the lock is time-scheduled for free access mode. They are weatherproof and entail fingerprint programming too. Trilogy door locks are used by business facilities, loss prevention specialists and security directors for keyless convenience and protection. 

Features

  • Accommodates 5000 users 
  • Deadbolt function
  • Group scheduling 
  • 4 time-out functions
  • Battery backup 

Pros

  • Multi-level security setup: Master, Manager, Basic Users 

Cons 

  • Proximity cards must be programmed into the software. If you misplace a proximity card, you need to go through the entire process to gain access
card reader door lock

Trilogy PL3000 Proximity Card Reader Lock 

The Trilogy PL3000 Proximity Card Reader Lock is one of the most popular models of the brand. This card reader lock has an HID proximity reader that supports all HID cards and HID fob credential formats. It is designed for providing the fastest entrant processing and vandal-deterrent standalone access. It comprises a life-long battery as well. Trilogy PL3000 Proximity Card Reader Door Lock is available in standard key and has interchangeable core models to use. It has a number of locking modes, individual users, event schedules, and emergency or service access. It also comes with weatherproof circuitry. Additionally, it is pre-wired for hardwiring. 

5. Allegion

If you are looking for a cost-efficient and reliable card reader door lock, you should know about Allegion. Its major focus is on door security and as such, it produces a wide range of card reader door lock solutions for homes and businesses. The brands of Allegion are working to manufacture products compatible with modern technology such as biometrics, special surfaces, and video surveillance to protect your assets. They produce mechanical and electric locks, access devices and door closers using biometrics and video surveillance. Their products include portable locks, keys, electronic access and monitoring systems, exits, openers, closers, hardware, accessories and quiet solutions. Allegion works with more than 25 brands sold across the globe. If you have any difficulty finding the right product, you can contact them at their official website. 

card reader door lock

Can electronic door locks be hacked? 

Yes. Research suggests that electronic door locks are vulnerable to hacking through master keys, screwdrivers and other things that can be inserted in the keyway. Card Cloning is also a common hacking tactic used on proximity readers.

How does a card reader door lock work? 

Card reader door locks work by identifying the card when it is swiped through the door. After a card is swiped, the lock system identifies it by reading the magnetic stripe or PIN and compares the data to the information stored in the software. The cards use RFID technology to signal the access control system. If the data matches, the reader sends a signal to the electronic lock to grant access.

What are the benefits of card reader locks? 

Card reader locks are easy to install and use. They can be programmed according to working hours to limit access to people. Additionally, they can be combined with a PIN for higher security using “dual authentication”. Some benefits of card reader door locks are:

  • 24/7 protection of property and employees
  • People tracking
  • Remote deactivation capability 
  • Configuration and encryption
  • High-tech electronic access control options
  • Removes the hassle of traditional keys

What are the different types of card reader door locks?

Magnetic Locks:

Uses magnetic plate to keep the door locked. Mag locks are typically used on glass doors that don’t have the ability to incorporate transfer wires through hinges or strike plates.

Leverset:

Electronic levers typically are used on wood doors where a transfer wire can be run through the cored door and to a transfer hinge where the cables can connect to a lock power supply

Strike:

Typically used in doors where it’s not possible to core the door and run the wire through a transfer hinge. Electric strike receive a surge of voltage to temporarily release the strike latch that keeps the door locked.

Crash Bar:

A crash bar is typically used on a door that has “egress” out of a facility. It allows for people to easily exit a building in the case of an emergency because you can crash into the door and push the bar without having to find a lever or knob. Typical configuration includes a solenoid installed inside the crash bar that connects to the lock power through a armor loop that runs outside of the crash bar and to the lock power supply.

Code Lock

Used on doors where cables can’t run to a traditional lock power supply, battery powered code locks can be an effective solution to create an access control solution. Most all-in-one code locks are less convenient since programming has to happen “locally” at the door lock.

How to choose the right lock

The first thing you would want to figure out is if you need a full replacement or a conversion kit. In case you are opting for a full replacement which would replace the entire deadbolt, you have a variety of options. Many smart and electronic card reader door locks come in compatible forms that can be used on almost any kind of door. You will need to check for the features that are most important to you. Consider your budget and what your security needs are. If you simply want to go for a conversion, you can buy locks that come with a conversion kit. This will keep the existing deadbolt and exterior of the lock intact, while only replacing the thumb turn portion. It’s important to understand the differences in the types of locks available and what would bring the most benefit in your case.

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