Electric Strikes and Electrified Locks

Because electric strikes and electric locks operate in the same manner (opening a door from a remote location with unique access control system equipment), they are often confused with each other. Many people even use both terms interchangeably. However, electric strikes are very different from electric locks.

  1. Definition

Electric Strike

Replaces a standard, fixed door lock. It opens a door from a remote location. It is often accessing with special control equipment such as a keypad or card reader.

Electric Lock

Replaces a standard, fixed door lock. It opens a door from a remote location. It is often accessing with special access control system equipment such as a keypad or card reader.

       2. Functionality 

Activating the electric strike releases the strike keeper, opening the door and allowing entry.

Activating the electrified lock allows the user to turn the door handle and retract the latch bolt.

       3. Installation

Electric strikes are installing in the frame. Wires are generally storing inside the structure. Can install certain types in a door for paired openings.

It is installing on the door like a regular lock. It requires a “raceway” (an enclosed pathway for electrical wiring) through the door. A power transfer device such as an electric lock hinge or door loop transfers the electric current from the backside of the frame to the lock.

        4. Applications

Can use it on interior or exterior or security doors, new construction, or remodels.

In-field alterations of fire-rated doors may require prior approval from the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).

Can use it on interior or exterior or security doors, new construction, or remodels.

In-field alterations of fire-rated doors may require prior approval from the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).

        5. Pros

Because mount on the door frame, electric strike installation is typically more accessible and faster than an electrified lock.

Its lower cost of installation is due to ease of installation.

Since it acts as a release, you can also use it on doors that use an automatic door operator.

The lockset can stay locked, but the strike releases to allow the power operator to swing the door open freely.

It offers a cleaner look than an electric strike.

Can argue that electrified locks are more secure since electric strikes are more visible and accessible for tampering.

Can use them on fire-rated security doors that require a “fail-safe” power mode due to building codes.

       6. Cons

Noticeable to the door user and thus does not provide a “clean” look compared to a built-in electrified lock. This visibility can make it more susceptible to tampering.

Cost is a factor since electric locks are more expensive than electric strikes. Installation charges are usually higher because installation is more involved, such as prepping the door for a raceway and accounting for the added power transfer device connecting the frame to the door.

Cannot use it on automatic door-operated openings.

 The latch bolt does not electrically retract, prohibiting the operator from opening the door freely.

        7. Power                            Requirement

It can be either 12V or 24V, usually DC but may be available in AC. Some models allow in-field selection, while others must be ordered with the specifications pre-determined.

It can be 12V or 24V. Usually, DC but may be available in AC. Some models allow in-field selection, while others must be ordered with the specifications pre-determined.

        8. Power Fail                     Modes

Can be “fail-safe” or “fail secure.” Some models allow in-field selection, and others must be ordered with the preference pre-determined.

Can be “fail-safe” or “fail secure.” Must order most models with the preference pre-determined.

      9. Fire Rated                    Doors

Must be used on “fail-secure” fire-rated doors, which means, if the power is cutting, the latch will be securely capturing behind the strike keeper.

A “fail-safe” electric strike is not allowed on a fire-rated door because no latching support provides during a power outage.

It can be used on fire-rated doors in either “fail-safe” or “fail secure” mode, as the lock always maintains positive latching.

 However, additional safety codes may determine which model of lock can be using.

 Check with your local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) for requirements.

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