Controlling Access with Electric Strikes

The ability to keep a door locked and to let specific people pass through means convenience and security.

When your customer calls you to put a 'buzzer' on a door, he or she usually means an electric strike. The ability to keep a door locked means added security. The ability to let specific people pass through that locked door means convenience. The combination of security and convenience can be achieved when an electric strike is installed on a door.

A lot of security products that will secure a door and control access. Electromagnetic locks, electrified locks and levers, electrified panic bars and stand-alone push-button locks are all available.

The simplicity of an electric strike is part of the reason that it's one of the most cost-effective means to secure an opening. In many cases, an electric strike can be installed with a plug-in power supply to achieve the combination of security and convenience the customer desires at considerable less cost than one of the alternative products mentioned above.

To properly suggest the right electric strike for your customer, a number of points need to be reviewed.


While many of the questions can be answered with a phone call, performing a simple site survey will ensure that your quote and recommendation will be accurate. Assuming and taking things for granted will usually come back to haunt you.

The short amount of time it takes to visit the job site and do a walk-through is worth it. Some security professionals charge for this service; some do not. Those that do charge for a bid survey usually credit that amount if the bid or quote is accepted.

One advantage of doing a walk-through is to get to know the customer and what his security needs actually are. The walk-through may provide an opportunity to assist the customer in obtaining the desired level of security.


Lock types vary considerably. An electric strike is manufactured for almost any type of lock you can encounter. Cylindrical locks, tubular locks, mortise locks, panic bars and even deadbolts have compatible electric strikes. The variation of latch, bolt and dead latch dimensions and positions are compensated for by the design or adjustability of the electric strikes.


Different electric strikes are available for wood and metal frames. By determining the type of frame, you can choose the proper strike. Aluminum frames, hollow metal frames, concrete-filled metal frames, snap-together light metal frames and wood frames all have different attributes that need to be considered.

A hollow metal frame will dissipate heat differently than a mortised wood frame. A concrete-filled frame might be the place you use a surface mounted strike instead of chipping, hammering and drilling out the required amount of concrete to accept the strike body, solenoid, and the wire run.


The amount of usage or traffic the door will encounter is important information. A Grade 1 electric strike is intended for heavy-duty commercial use. Grade 2 is considered standard-duty commercial and/or heavy-duty residential and Grade 3 is light-duty. Using a Grade 2 or 3 electric strike in a Grade 1 application will save money in the short term but will probably result in a dissatisfied customer and a failed electric strike. Recommend the proper grade strike for the job.


Electric strikes have a status denoting the state of the strike when it is at rest or without power applied. 'Fail-Safe' indicates that the lock is in an unlocked condition when no power is present. If the power fails, the door is unlocked.

In many jurisdictions this type of strike cannot be used in a stairwell or on a fire-rated exit. The reason is that when an electric strike is unlocked, the door can be pushed or pulled open without activating the lock or latch mechanism, so there is no positive latching. A fire door or stairwell must be kept latched to prevent fire and smoke from spreading to other parts of a building. In an emergency when power is lost, the doors must be kept latched.

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