Door Card Reader: The Top Five Brands of 2021

If you’re looking for an access control system card reader, check out the top five brands of 2021. We have done all the searching for you to list some of the best door card reader brands that you can install to ensure maximum security for your business.

What is a door card reader?

A door card reader is a plastic card or electronic key card that is swiped in front of a card reader to unlock the door. Installing an access card reader system takes away the hassle of managing and safeguarding traditional keys. It’s also an effective way of securing your premises and keeping track of who enters the building. You have a few options to choose from, including a keycard access system, key fob system 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. When a card comes in proximity to the RF energy field, the field powers a copper wire inside the card. The copper wire then powers the smart chip on the card, which contains unique user data such as a card number.

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

The cards can be thin enough to be able to fit in a wallet or thick enough to be worn around the cardholder’s neck. You can access your door badge reader through smartphones as well.

Door card readers: the best brands of 2021

We’ve listed the top brands of the year, considering they all provide a similar level of security and benefits. Apart from a few distinct features, these brands are known to offer great quality, service and value for businesses in the form of enhanced physical security, remote monitoring, scalability and encryption.

1. HID

HID is a leading manufacturer of card reader systems. It deals in proximity cards and interoperable access control systems. HID card reader access systems are entry-level options for physical access control, designed for door applications that have different wall switch mounting options. These card readers are adaptable and ensure security and standardized communication across all units. They have a read range of up to 24 inches.

door card reader

The brand has an iCLASS SE platform for a Secure Identity Object data model that gives an extra layer of protection 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 system. 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 system is a mobile and browser-based system that is convenient and cost-effective. It allows users to securely access and monitor buildings using a single integrated platform.

door card reader

What is Brivo known for?

Brivo allows the owner to grant or revoke access, create schedules and monitor real-time footage as well as 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 ensure that your business is protected. The brand’s design framework does not have any open inbound ports, preventing any kind of cyber-attacks.

3. Openpath reader

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

door card reader

Why would Openpath be a good choice?

Using patented Triple Unlock technology, Openpath smart readers support contactless unlock, low and high frequencies and a variety of key fobs and cards. They 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 complex installation.

4. Kisi reader

Kisi card readers offer a simple interface with maximum security. Kisi readers’ software allows the user to access tools such as capacity management and intrusion detection.

door card reader

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 smartphone as well. It comes with a set of baseline features to amp up business security. Some of the features are intrusion detection, tamper alerts, audio/visual alarm and in-and-out tracking. Kisi readers can be installed via wiring or PoE systems. The reader comes in a weather-resistant design, making it suitable for outdoor installation.

5. Verkada access control

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

This brand delivers credential management, proactive alerts, native video integration and permission and schedules management. Users can create customized levels of access, receive real-time notifications and simply investigations through integrated video security systems.

door card reader

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. 

With Verkada’s centralized management platform, users can add an unlimited number of credentials, doors and buildings. 

How much does a door card reader cost?

Door card reader installation includes the costs for materials and labor. On average, installing a door card reader would cost between $1,500 to $3,500 depending on the features, functionality and installation charges. To understand these costs better, let’s look at a breakdown of the charges for a one-door installation and setup.

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

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

What factors affect door card reader costs?

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

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

Advantages of a door card reader access system

Traditional security methods are not as effective or safe as an electronic card reader. Card readers ensure that companies can monitor their buildings to maintain control and know who is entering and leaving 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
  • Tracking and controlling who enters the building ensures a higher level of security
  • Helps  maintain a log of all valid accesses into the building
  • Allows buildings to be accessed on time
  • Supports the usage of visitor badges and logging functions
  • Heightens security through automated alarms and alerts via text messages or emails
  • Difficult to tamper with
  • Scalable, automated 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

What are the types of door card readers?

The type of door card reader required depends on the type of building and the number of staff employed as well. You can hire technicians and experts to inspect your building. This will help design a security system that best fits your needs. You can opt for a one-door system or a system that requires multiple levels of authorization.

It is better to know your options and identify your business framework when selecting a door card reader. Ask yourself these questions: Will there be growth or downsizing? Will the business expand? These decisions will help you navigate your choice of installing a new door card reader system. 

Wired door card readers

Wired Door card readers have the advantage of continuous power supply. They are connected to a central control panel directly or to 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 could be more of a threat than an asset.

Keypad and biometric fingerprint readers

Other than the classification of wired or wireless, some popular and commonly used types of door card readers are keypad readers and biometric fingerprint readers. A keypad door 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 in the event you forget the pin, you will be locked out.  

Since fingerprints are distinct, investing in a biometric reader will optimize the security of the building. Choosing a biometric keypad may be a bit expensive but the security 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

Installing a door card reader in your building will help ensure that your staff and equipment stay safe. The automated control provides physical access to the building. It’s an efficient method for physical security as opposed to 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 utilized to detect any sort of irregularities in the logins of employees. They can also help in gathering valuable data in the event of any theft or property damage.

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