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Electric Strikes vs Maglocks: What’s the Difference?

Let's take a closer look at how electric strikes and magnetic locks differ from each other and what is better to choose for your business.

Electric Strikes vs Maglocks: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to installing an intercom system for your apartment complex, there are many options to choose from, but it will come down to whether you want an intercom system with electric strike locks or magnetic locks.

Every building is unique, and every apartment building has different needs. It’s important to examine the differences before making a decision on which type of lock will best suit you and your tenants’ needs.

What Are Electric Locks?

Electric locks, also known as electric strikes, are electromechanical door locking device that uses mechanical locks and electronic devices to lock and unlock doors. Electric strikes are used with locking devices such as locksets or panic bars; they are replacing the lock strike plate on the inside of doors.

Electricity supplies the power which allows the electric strike to function by latching or locking in place until the lock is released. Typically, electric locks only secure the outside of the door, allowing people to open it freely from the inside.

Door With Electric Lock

How Does It Work?

An electric strike device will replace the metal plate attached to a door to lock it. The electric strike’s surface moves away from the direction of the latch to unlock a door. Provided it has received the proper signal, this enables the door to be unlocked from the outside without needing to use a doorknob. The door can then be opened for a guest from the inside.

The door can also be unlocked from the outside using: keypads, electronic keycards, fob readers, and other wireless sensors. The lock or panic hardware is a stand-alone device that connects to the electric strike independently of the electric lock; in the event of any electrical failure, the door can still be opened from the inside by turning the door handle or pushing a touchpad button on the panic hardware.

This is a feature of the fail-safe function for these types of locks. Most electric strikes can be set to either fail-safe or fail-secure, depending on the application of the electric lock.


Electric locks are a perfect choice for any commercial building, banks, warehouses, apartment buildings, hotels, long-term care facilities; any building which needs to monitor its access will benefit from this type of lock.

  • Security: Because access must be granted, it provides a high level of protection.
  • Easy to install: The electric locks are mounted onto the door which makes installation easy and fast.
  • Affordable to install: Because it’s easy and takes less time to install, this reduces the installation expenses.
  • Convenient: Once the electric lock is connected to a wireless system, anyone can open the door remotely.


Before installing an electric strike, certain things must be considered:

  • Professional installation: Due to the complexity of the installation, a professional is required.
  • Compatibility: You must check that your lock and door will be compatible with the strike.
  • Visibility: It is easily visible therefore, it can be tampered with if not secured.
  • Don’t lose keycards: They are expensive to replace.

What Are Electromagnetic Locks?

Electromagnetic locks are also known as maglocks. They use a coil assembly that becomes magnetized when electricity passes through it. The magnetic field with the electronic controls locks and unlocks the door. Maglocks are fail-safe by design which means the doors are unlocked, and electrical power is required to lock them.

Electromagnetic Locks

How Does It Work?

The two main components of an electromagnetic lock are the armature plate and the magnet. The armature plate is essentially a piece of steel attached to the frame or the door itself, depending on where the maglock itself will be installed.

The plate will be perfectly fitted to the magnet to ensure that there are no gaps. There will be a smaller magnet called a thrusting magnet that will be installed into the armature plate which, when electrical pressure is applied, will de-energize the other magnet and unlock the door.


There are many benefits to electromagnetic locks, and they are especially useful in places such as office buildings and hotels. Let’s look at some of the benefits:

  • Easy to install: most contractors can install this.
  • Convenient: no keycards or other attachments are required which also saves you money in the long run.
  • Access control: They can be locked and unlocked at certain times.
  • Durability: Maglocks are almost unaffected by wear and tear.
  • Safety: In case of emergencies, the doors unlock, paramount in the case of a fire.


To consider when installing maglocks:

  • Expensive: Commercial-grade maglocks can be costly because they are sophisticated and powerful.
  • Reliant on electricity: Without power, the doors remain unlocked, not secured.
  • Backup battery required: In the event of a power outage or electrical failure.

Key Differences Between Electric Door Strike vs Magnetic Lock

Now let’s take a deeper dive into electric strike vs maglock and examine the differences:

  • Functionality: Both are powered by electricity, but the electric strike lock needs electricity to lock and unlock the doors whilst a maglock only needs an electrical current to lock the door.
  • Power fail-modes: In the event of a fire, maglocks are a safer option for they will remain unlocked whilst electric locks will need to be manually opened, which can pose a risk to life. On the other hand, if the maglock door must remain locked during a power failure, it will require a backup battery.
  • Installation: A maglock can be installed by any contractor, and this brings down the cost of installation whilst the electric lock will require a specialized contractor because the installation may require passcodes, keycards, or other methods which can bring up the cost of the installation.
Electric Unlock


Electric strike vs maglock is determined by the needs of your business, what locks to install depends entirely on what the door will be used for. You can contact us at Forbel and we will guide you in finding the best-suited locks to protect what matters to you.

Dzmitry Beliayeu
Dzmitry Beliayeu

Dzmitry Beliayeu is a commercial building security expert, technology consultant, and licensed alarm contractor

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