What Type of Lock is Right for Your Property?

A properlocks for property managersty manager’s top concern is security. Entry into a building or an individual room or apartment within the building must be controlled in a way that is practical and that gives the right access to the right people. With resident turnover, access to an apartment building becomes complicated. Fortunately, there are multiple options when it comes to locks. You can go as basic as a traditional key lock, and you can get increasingly complex in order to have very tight control over who can enter.

Below are examples of the most common types of locks: key, combination, pushbutton and fingerprint. Read to learn about specific features, pros and cons.

Traditional Key

Traditional keys have stood the test of time, and the reason is simple: they are reliable. A metal key most likely won’t malfunction (although it might break), and with proper maintenance, a traditional key and lock will last forever. However, they have their limits. A key can be lost or replicated. A resident moving out of his or her apartment might even hang onto a copy. That can become expensive, as it often requires locks to be replaced. In general, traditional keys are considered a good option for a small property but not a larger building or complex with heavier traffic. Traditional commercial locks can be used alone or combined with one of the options mentioned below for maximum security at your property.


Combination locks are popular options when it comes to portable locks — think file cabinets — although they can also be used to secure a door. The benefit is that you don’t run the risk of losing a key, and a combination is easily changed when needed. However, combination locks are not impenetrable. They can be tampered with and opened with some patience. They can also be broken more easily than an embedded lock. Another disadvantage is that a combination lock can only be accessed from one side of a door. For those reasons, combination locks are not recommended for residential property settings other than when used for portable locks.

Pushbutton or Keypad

Pushbutton technology is becoming more common. A code prevents unwanted access, and it can be changed as needed. A key benefit that pushbutton has over combination is that it can be used as a permanent fixture in a door, and the door can be opened from either side with the lock securely in place (assuming a person has the code). They also are difficult to break. However, like a combination lock, pushbuttons codes can be cracked. In general, pushbutton locks are a smart option for security on residential properties.


Fingerprint locks are among the most cutting-edge and are considered to be the most secure locks possible. As the name suggests, fingerprint locks can only be accessed by specific people. The obvious strength of fingerprint locks lies in access. There are no keys to find and replicate, no combinations to crack. The only way to access a door with fingerprint lock technology is to be the person allowed in. Especially in a property manager’s office with valuable or confidential information, that is huge. The primary con of fingerprint locks is cost. Another lesser concern is technology failure. Given the pros and cons, if a property manager can afford a fingerprint lock, it is the best option, but not necessarily for the entire property.

About the author:

Wes Wernette oversees marketing at FireKing Security Group (http://www.fireking.com/) in New Albany, IN. The company has a focus on broad-based security and asset protection to safeguard your company.