5 Best Door Access Card Readers for 2023

If you’re looking for an access control system card reader, check out the top five brands of 2023.

These brands provide security and benefits and offer excellent quality, service, and value for businesses through enhanced physical security, remote monitoring, scalability, and encryption.

Here are the best card reader door lock brands you can install to ensure maximum security for your business.

Top 5 Door Access Card Reader Brands

1. HID

HID is a leading manufacturer of access control card reader systems. It deals in proximity cards and interoperable access control systems.

HID access control card reader systems are entry-level options for physical access control, designed for door applications with different wall switch mounting options. These readers are adaptable, ensure security and standardized communication across all units, and have a read range of up to 24 inches.

door reader hardware

Why Choose HID?

The brand has an iCLASS SE platform for a Secure Identity Object data model that gives an extra layer of protection and safety through encryption. The iCLASS SE reader features a variety of reader styles and comprehensive tools for third-party developments, making them more customizable.

This feature allows easy integration with any access control. iCLASS SE readers are sustainable models that intelligently reduce power consumption by nearly 59%. The multiCLASS SE is a contactless series that supports a variety of credential technologies and form factors.

2. Brivo Smart Readers

Brivo was the first to introduce cloud-based access control to the physical security market. Brivo’s latest access control is a mobile and browser-based system that is convenient and cost-effective. It allows users to access and monitor buildings securely using a single integrated platform.

door reader hardware

What Is Brivo Known For?

Brivo allows the owner to grant or revoke access, create schedules, and monitor real-time footage and recordings. Users can gain access and unlock doors with their cell phones by installing the Brivo app or Siri.

Known for its user-friendly interface, Brivo uses Bluetooth-enabled readers and the best cyber security practices to protect your business. The brand’s design framework has no open inbound ports, preventing cyber-attacks.

3. Openpath Reader

Secure encryption and a sleek design make the Openpath access control card reader an attractive choice. Businesses that focus on the aesthetics of their buildings can opt for this brand.

door reader hardware

Why Would Openpath Be a Good Choice?

Using patented Triple Unlock technology, Openpath smart readers support contactless unlock, low and high frequencies, and various key fobs and cards. Openpath system can be mounted on walls, flush mounted in a gang box, or surface mounted where there’s limited space available.

Openpath gives multiple access options, such as Wave to Unlock, in-app access, unlocking via Smartwatch, and remote access. It has a contact tracing feature as well, optimizing security access. Openpath readers require simple wiring, hence leaving out the complex installation.

4. Kisi Reader

Kisi card readers offer a simple interface with maximum security. Kisi Reader’s software allows users to access capacity and intrusion detection tools.

door access reader hardware

Is a Kisi Door Card Reader Secure?

Kisi Reader claims to be the fastest cloud-based reader in the market, authorizing access in 0.3 seconds or less. The reader can be unlocked via a smartphone as well. It comes with baseline technology and features to amp up security within your location.

Some features are intrusion detection, tamper alerts, audio/visual alarms, and in-and-out tracking. Kisi readers can be installed via wiring or PoE systems. The reader is weather-resistant so that you can install it outdoors.

5. Verkada Access Control System

Verkada offers cutting-edge enterprise solutions for cloud-based access control with its range of smart readers. Verkada combines technology and a blend of tools that provide streamlined key card management.

This brand delivers credential management, proactive alerts, native video integration, permissions management, and schedule management to secure space. Users can create customized access levels, receive real-time notifications, and investigate through integrated video security systems.

door card reader hardware

Verkada’s door readers support low and high-frequency door formats and allow easy distribution of credentials. They also support touchless entry with Bluetooth. Advanced configurations allow teams to set time frames for doors to remain locked. 

Verkada’s centralized management platform allows users to add unlimited credentials, doors, and buildings. 

What is a Door Card Reader?

A door card reader is a plastic, or electronic key card swiped in front of a card reader to unlock the door. Installing access card reader systems removes the hassle of managing and safeguarding traditional keys.

It’s also an effective way of securing your premises and tracking who enters your space. You have a few options, including a keycard access, a key fob, or an access control system. 

door card reader

How Does a Door Card Reader Work?

A door card reader works by reading the credentials saved on the card through the card reader. The card reader constantly emits radio frequency signals upon entry.

The data is transmitted back to the reader through the RF energy field. The reader sends this information to access control, where the decision takes place regarding whether or not the cardholder will be given authorized access. Despite the detailed process, all of this occurs within a split second.

You can use advanced technology to access and secure your door badge reader through smartphones.

Also, learn more about our updated The Best Door Card Readers of 2023

How Much Does a Door Card Reader Cost?

Access card reader installation includes the costs for materials and labor. Installing a door card reader to secure your premises would cost between $1,500 and $3,500, depending on the features, technology, scalability, wiring, functionality, and installation charges.

Breakdown of the Charges

  • Basic door license – Roughly $600 per year
  • Reader, controller, and hardware (electronic locks, motion sensors) – Roughly $600 to $1,200
  • Installation with existing (working) locks – Roughly $500 to $1,500
  • Installation without existing locks – Roughly $1,200 to $2,500
  • Monthly software license or maintenance – Roughly $10 to $100

For example, if you install an access control card reader system for your business, you will pay between $1,200 and $1,500 per door. For 150 employees to have access, you will pay an additional $2,500 to $5,000 per location.

What Factors Affect Door Card Reader Costs?

Based on the brand and model you want to install, there could be different associated costs to give you an overall price for the access control system. These include:

  • Quality of service
  • Volume of purchase
  • Shipping times and installation urgency
  • Your knowledge of access control
  • Level of complexity for the installation
  • Scalability and technology

Advantages of a Door Card Reader Access System

  • Traditional security method is less effective or secure than electronic card reader.
  • Card readers ensure that companies can monitor their buildings to maintain control and know who enters and leaves the premises. Some of the advantages of door card readers are:
  • No hassle of using traditional keys, re-keying, or distributing keys to new employees when entry
  • Tracking and controlling who enters the building ensures a higher level of security
  • Helps maintain a log of all valid accesses into the building (entry and exit)
  • Supports the usage of visitor badges and logging functions
  • Heightens security through automated alarms and alerts via text messages or emails
  • Impressive scalability, technology, automation, and help in data collection

Where Are Door Card Readers Used?

Door card readers are mostly installed and used in large business setups such as:   

  • Schools
  • Offices
  • Retail Stores
  • Hospitals
  • Factories
  • Laboratories
  • Warehouses
  • Storage facilities
  • Medical clinics
  • Apartment buildings
door card reader

Types of Door Card Readers

Wired Door Card Readers

Wired Door card readers have the advantage of a continuous power supply. They are directly connected to a central control panel or a door controller. This allows the user to update the security patterns, make changes to the patterns, or lock down the site in real time.

Wireless Door Card Readers

Wireless door card readers are better suited for small business premises. They are usually battery-powered and are used when installing a wired system, which could be more of a threat than an asset.

Keypad & Biometric Fingerprint Readers

Other than the classification of wired or wireless, some famous and commonly used types of door card readers are keypad readers and biometric fingerprint readers.

A keypad card reader works by using a keypad mounted on a support. The access key is punched in by the person who has it, and they are granted access. The drawback is that you will be locked out if you need to remember the pin.

Since fingerprints are distinct, investing in a biometric reader will optimize the security of the building. Choosing a biometric keypad may be expensive, but the scalability and security on entry and exit would be unparalleled.

What Types of Access Card Technologies are Available?

There are various technologies available in the market for access card systems. These cards can be:

  • Magstripe cards
  • Wiegand cards
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) cards
  • RFID Prox cards
  • RFID Smart cards
  • Barcode and QR Code cards


Does it require a power source, and what happens during a power outage?

Most require a power source, often low-voltage wiring. To address power outages, backups like battery backups or alternative access methods, such as a mechanical key, ensure continued access during emergencies.

Are they susceptible to hacking or cloning?

Modern readers employ advanced encryption and authentication protocols, making them highly secure. However, staying updated with firmware and security patches is crucial to mitigate potential vulnerabilities.

Key Takeaways

Installing a door card reader in your building will help ensure your staff and equipment stay safe. The automated control provides physical access to the building. It’s an efficient method for physical security instead of hiring guards, which includes taking on the risk of human error, negligence, and safety concerns.

The information used to access doors can be gathered and used to detect irregularity in employees’ logins. They can also help gather valuable data in the event of any theft or property damage upon entry

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