Wondering whether a combination or digital lock is a better option for your safe? Here’s what you need to know.
Whether you’re purchasing a safe for the first time or replacing an existing unit, you have the option to choose between a combination and a digital lock.
Combination locks have been around for decades, so naturally, they must be effective. However, thanks to technological advancements, we now also have the option of digital locks.
Is one more superior than the other? Should you rely on technology instead of something more traditional? Here’s what you should know.
Choosing Between Digital and Combination Locks:
When safes were first introduced, they were big and bulky, and keylocks were the only way to secure them. As the demand for more secure units increased, safe designs evolved, and the combination lock surfaced.
Many years later, digital locks were introduced as an option, and combination locks developed a reputation for being outdated and time-consuming. This did not detract from their effectiveness though.
Today, the digital lock is the standard for nearly all safe manufacturers, purely because it’s more reliable and robust.
In fact, the technology has been improved to the point that even if the battery goes flat, the combination won’t be lost forever. Digital safes also have a low battery warning, so it’s very rare that this will ever be a problem.
In terms of overall security, it’s much more difficult for a criminal to crack a digital lock. However, this doesn’t mean combination locks are easy to crack either. Someone would need years of practice and skill to do this. In fact, it would take a skilled criminal a few hours to crack a combination lock.
What About Maintenance?
It’s possible for both digital and combination locks to fail, but regular maintenance helps prevent this.
Maintaining a digital safe starts with checking the battery every few months. If for any reason the electronic components or dial fails, you will require the assistance of a locksmith.
A combination lock generally needs to be serviced every 5 years, which a locksmith will do for you. If at any point you need dial slightly past a number to unlock a safe (45.5 instead of 45), it’s time for a service.
Overall, maintaining either a combination or digital lock is not an expensive exercise.
The Downside of Digital Safe Locks:
Digital locks have very few downsides, a penalty for incorrect attempts is one of them.
Once an incorrect code is inserted too many times, you can only try again every 5 minutes – that’s 12 attempts an hour.
While this is an excellent deterrent for criminals, it can be slightly frustrating for the user. Fortunately, many of today’s safes allow you to set up codes for multiple users, making it easier for you to gain access should you forget your own code.
One of the plus points of modern digital safes is that some of them have a duress mode, which signals the authorities should someone attempt to open a safe too many times.
Digital Lock Myths:
There are a few myths around how easy it is for criminals to crack a digital safe. One of the most common is that you can use fingerprint powder to see which numbers were pushed. This might be true, but this doesn’t mean they know the correct sequence of those numbers.
The second is that an electromagnetic pulse can wipe out an electronic lock. This is also not true – modern digital locks are designed to withstand EMPs.
Combination locks are still an effective way to secure your valuable. However, if you want even more security, fast access, and easy maintenance, digital locks are a better choice.