When it comes to the safety and security of building occupants and equipment business owners don’t want to take any risks. They rely on commercial hardware to protect personnel and property every day. Building, fire, and life safety codes also regulate which types of locks can and should be installed on different types of doors and facilities.

While looking to purchase new hardware or replace older ones on a building, this is when a lot of questions arise. You might be wondering what the difference is between fail-safe and fail-secure locks. Here’s everything you need to know to protect your business or institution properly. Fail-safe and fail-secure are specific, regulated terms within the industry. They refer to how hardware on the outside, or keyed side, of the door operates and controls entry in the case of an emergency or power outage.

Fail Secure Locks

In case your company suffers a power, outage fail secure locks will automatically lock when you lose power. These locks need electric power to open or unlock the electric strikes and it’s the most common used for many access control systems. If you want to keep your assets protected you can think these as a reliable option for your inventory, equipment, and other sensitive or expensive items remain safe from intruders during power outages.

Fail Safe Locks

Fail safe locks open when you lose power, these locks are mainly used to make a quick exit for emergencies. When the power is on the doors will remain locked and as mentioned before in case employees and guests get into an emergency no one will be in danger if a power outage occurs.

Fail-safe lock devices may be considered a security risk for certain commercial and industrial applications. These hardware products unlock automatically whenever there is a power failure or when the fire alarm sounds. For this reason, they may not be recommended for doors relied on to secure valuable equipment or property even in these situations. It’s important to note that most locks – both fail-safe and fail-secure – should always ensure free egress from inside the building. In other words, all commercial locks allow occupants to exit the building in case of a fire or other emergency, unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer or use of another keyed lock, double cylinder, or deadbolt.

These standard electrified locks work with an access control system, proximity reader, or remote release. Fail-secure locks, ensure the exterior side of the door is secure when electricity is disengaged. When the electricity supply is working, the hardware enables the door to be unlocked and opened. Fail-safe versions work in the opposite manner. Both types of electromechanical hardware typically allow people to exit the building at any time.

Types of hardware available for fail safe and fail secure

Electric Strikes

Electric strikes replace the regular strike and work with both fail safe and fail secure with regular or panic hardware. The spring-loaded keeper on the electric strike control the latchbolt of the lock or panic hardware. When access is allowed, the keeper is free and the latchbolt can be pulled through the keeper in order to open the door.

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Electromechanical Locks

An electromechanical lock is a lockset that is electrified and controlled by a card reader, remote release or other access control devices. A fail-secure electromechanical lockset is locked  on the secure side when there is no power to the lock, and a fail-safe electromechanical locket is locked when power is applied and when  power is removed the lever is turned to retract the latch.

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Electrified panic hardware trim

The electrified panic hardware trim is locked or unlocked through the application of power. Most electrified trim models are available for fail-secure.

Electrified panic hardware trim
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