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Digital Locks vs. Combination Dial


Advantages of Digital Locks vs. Combination Dial

  • Digital Locks Are Users Friendly. The digital keypad offers a quick and simple way of just pressing the correct sequence of buttons which then allows the safe door to be unlocked. Compared to a combination dial lock, it may be more confusing when opening the safe without the directions, not to mention the numbers are small and hard to read.
  • In Most Cases The Digital Lock Is More Secure, Especially Group II Locks. A digital lock can utilize the entire 1,000,000 possible combinations where as a combination dial lock has dead zones. Dead zones are numbers in the dial that will not work as part of a combination due to possible complications occurring. An example of this would be when numbers in a combination are set close together like 1,2,3. Another example is when the third number of a combination is set to lower than 10 which in most cases can either cause the dial to open on one number or to lock up completely.
  • Programming vs. Changing Combinations. Digital locks are equipped so that the owner of the safe is able to set/change their combinations as many times as needed at no cost. The ability to program a new combination into the digital lock allows the owner to be the only person with the combination. Combination dial locks require a certified locksmith to change the combination otherwise the manufacture warranty may be voided. Combination changes can typically cost up to $150.00 each occurrence.
Disadvantages of a Digital Lock vs. Combination Dial

  • Digital Locks Use Batteries. In most cases the batteries in a digital lock will need to be replaced every 1-3 years. Batteries are usually located on the outside of the keypad and take only a couple of minutes to replace.
  • Digital Locks Are More Susceptible Water Damage. Even though both digital and combination dials can be damaged to water, the digital lock is more susceptible to water due to the electronic components. Combination dials can be damaged by water if the water is able to reach the wheel pack. Water in the wheel pack can cause corrosion in the wheel pack which can lead a malfunction of the combination dial.
The Final Breakdown

  • If purchasing a safe with a digital lock always check to see if the lock is UL Listed Type 1 and look for the brand name of the lock, for example “S&G” or “LG”. If purchasing a safe with an import digital lock always make sure it offers: a non-volatile memory, all memory and functional electronics are located inside the safe, and if the safe offers a key bypass make sure the key bypass is a high security type key.
  • If purchasing a safe with a combination dial lock always check to see if the lock is a Group II UL Listed and look for the brand name of the lock, for example “S&G” or “LG”. If the dial does not have a brand name or is not a Group II UL Listed lock do your research and trust only the information from the manufacturer or the safe distributor.
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