Maglocks – the Hardware of Last Resort

What happens to a maglock when you lose power? It unlocks! How does that sound to you when trying to create a secure environment?

Access Control systems rely on electronic door hardware to unlock a door based on the presentation of a valid card or credential. All electronic door hardware relies on power to function. Most equipment runs off a 12V or 24V low voltage power supply that requires a 110V power source. In the event of a power failure, the hardware can be designed to either fail secure (locked) or fail safe (unlocked), or as I prefer to call it “fail UNsecure.” In most cases, you would want your doors to LOCK when power fails, thus supporting the security of your facility.

In the following list of electronic door hardware options, only one UNLOCKS when it loses power – the maglock. That’s one of the reasons it should be the last resort.


Electric strike – ideal for single doors when paired with a storeroom function lockset or exit device.

Fail secure!


Electromechanical lockset – appropriate for single doors when incorporated into the construction design and procurement process; as this solution also requires a raceway in the door frame, a wired hinge or cable transfer method, and a raceway through the door from the hinge to the lockset.

Fail secure!


Electric Latch Retraction exit device – appropriate for single or double doors, but most conveniently and cost effectively incorporated into a project when new doors and frames are being procured. It’s not impossible to retrofit an existing set of doors, but it is more costly.

Fail secure!


Electromagnetic locks, also known as maglocks – the least appropriate solution for locking a door, because maglocks unlock when they lose power.

Fail UNsecure!


It would be prudent to consider the former options, rather than the latter, when evaluating your electronic door hardware options. After all, the whole point of investing in an Access Control system is to improve the security of your facility – not increase its vulnerability.


There are other reasons to avoid maglocks, which I’ll provide insight into in my next blog…


Gloria Lubben, CPP
Executive Vice President

Gloria joined with Pat Van Haren in 1993 to found SecurAlarm and help forge its vision. Gloria is passionate about working where what we do to enhance security on behalf of our clients matters. As a graduate of Calvin College, she takes her alma mater’s slogan of service personally: “My heart I offer to you Lord, promptly and sincerely.” Gloria has been active in the industry since 1983 as a consultant and trusted advisor to clients, as a teacher and mentor of teammates, as a respected competitor of industry related peers, and since 1993 as a Certified Protection Professional. Today, Gloria focuses on New Business Development opportunities by leveraging her years of experience and bringing the unique SecurAlarm message and methods to bear on the business challenges of some of the region’s largest companies. Gloria and her family enjoy the great outdoors: fishing, hunting, camping, and exploring different parts of the country!

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