There are many questions to be asked when preparing to purchase a safe. For most what type of lock should I choose may not be at the top dial safe lockof your list, but it should be. Read on to see why!

  1. Key Safe Lock
    1. Pro – No need to remember a combination. Simple to use and less expensive.
    2. Con – Someone trying to access your safe could find your key and gain full access, making key management a major con for a key lock.
  2. Electronic/Digital Safe Lock
    1. Pro – They have become the standard for most safes. Quick entry via code makes them desirable. Electronic safe locks allow users to have individual codes and also allows for easy combination changes. Even if the battery dies completely your codes will still be stored in the lock’s memory.
    2. Con – require a bit more upkeep than a combination dial safe lock. At a minimum, you have to remember to change the batteries to ensure proper performance.
  3. Combination Safe Lock
    1. Pro – Rated best for their overall reliability.
    2. Con – Not typically first choice in commercial settings for their lack of security features. The process to gain entry via combination is longer than with an electronic lock. Needs a professional to change the combination.
  4. Bio-Metric/Fingerprint Safe Lock
    1. Pro – Access is granted based on human characteristics unique to you. There is also no need to remember a combination although most bio-metric locks also include an electronic keypad.
    2. Con – injury to your finger would prevent entry using this method.

So, which lock is better and why?
I have been working with safes for 30 years, even as early as 5 years ago I would have said that a combination lock was the better choice. However, now with the newer digital/electronic locks and the advances in the technology, your best option is going to be a digital safe lock. Not only do they require less maintenance, but safe owners can also change the combination without hiring a locksmith. You also have the advantage of having multiple user codes and even audit trails (see our blog on the 8 benefits of digital safe locks here).

Not to worry if your safe has a combination dial lock, 90% of safes today can be retrofit with a digital/electronic keypad lock.