Is a Digital or Combination Safe Lock Better?

Myths Vs Reality: Which is Better? A Digital or Combination Safe Lock?

Can you change the lock on your safe from a dial locks to an electronic lock? Yes you can. But are you ready to? Do you feel comfortable making the change?

Do You Even Need to Decide Between a Mechanical & Digital Lock

The debate between with safe lock is better, a combination lock or a digital lock, is strong. One is entirely mechanical; the other much easier to use. But there are myths associated with both.

With today’s technology, ACME Locksmith recommends upgrading to a digital safe lock from a combination lock for the ease-of-use provided by the digital safe lock. If you are ordering a new safe, get the digital safe lock.

The digital safe lock is better than the combination lock because:

  • You get in fast. If you need to access the safe quickly, there’s no better way than a user code.
  • If a dial fails, you’re drilling the safe and replacing the dial. If an electronic lock fails, many times you can simply replace the key pad to get in. No drilling. A much less expensive option.

I find I am a great test for which lock a customer will prefer. Computers arrived at my high school when I was in 12th grade. People older than me, like the mechanical dial. They don’t particularly trust the electronic lock. People younger than me though, that grew up with electronic technology, generally prefer the ease of use of the electronic lock.

If you are considering a replacement safe lock and thinking about an upgrade to a digital lock, we’ve got all the information here you need to make an informative decision based on your needs and what you are comfortable with.

If you are already ready for an electronic safe lock upgrade, check out our article on Electronic Safe Lock Features available on on our blog page. Or Shop our Electronic Locks if you’re ready to buy.

Safe Lock w/ Audit Trail

Myth: Mechanical locks don’t fail.
Reality: They do. Without regular maintenance the combinations of those locks tend to drift with time and at some point, the owner can no longer get in. For example, if one of your numbers is “45” and you notice you have to dial “45 1/2” instead of “45” it’s time to get your safe dial serviced before it’s too late.

Myth: If my batteries die, I’m locked out of an electronic safe.
Reality: Most new safes have the batteries placed in the face plate on the outside of the safe. Those that don’t either have temporary ways to get power to the keypad or a key override.

Myth: Electronic locks fail too often, and I’ll be in for costly repairs later.
Reality: We see both types of safe locks fail. The main advantage for an electronic lock is that if the electronics on the keypad do fail, most can simply be swapped out by the owner of the safe. You don’t even need a locksmith in this case. If a dial fails, you are definitely hiring a locksmith to drill and repair the safe.

EMP Rated Safe Lock

Myth: An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) will wipe out me electronic lock.
Reality: You can now get EMP-rated electronic locks that can withstand EMPs.

Myth: Biometric lock technology is poor.
Reality: Biometric safe lock technology has been improving for years, but it’s true, we still don’t like them, and we don’t recommend them in most cases.

We see them often result in false negatives (a registered user not being able to get into the safe) or false positives (a non-register user getting into the safe). You see biometric locks a lot in the cheaper brands of safes. If you’re paying $300 for the entire safe how good do you think the finger-scan technology can be?

The only exception we have seen to this are locks from a German company Burg Wachter that use biometric safe locks in their high-end jewelry rated safes. These locks require two successful biometric scans to pass before opening the safe in order to reduce false positive results. It also requires that the finger have a pulse, to reduce…well…you know. These are the only safes we sell that come with a biometric safe lock pre-installed.

We do have biometric locks that can be installed as an add-on, after purchase. In this case, our locks have a pin code backup so you can get in even in the event of negative biometric scans.

Mechanical & Electronic Duel Lock

Myth:You need to choose between a dial and an electronic lock.
Reality: You don’t! There are safe locks that contain both keyed entry and a dial combination. If one fails, no matter which one, you can use the other method to get into the safe.

Changing a safe lock is something you will want to hire a profession to do. You don’t want your lock installation failing because you’ll need to hire someone to drill the safe to get you back in. If you do try this on your own, never close the safe door without thoroughly testing your install and proper operation of the safe lock several times.

Ready for an electronic lock? Check out the features available on digital safe locks on our blog page Types of Safe Locks.

Or Shop our Electronic Locks if you’re ready to buy.

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