The Maglock’s Role In Electronic Door Control

Dec. 1, 2014
Although maglocks are failsafe, they do not have an integral means of unlocking, as does a humble mechanical lever or knob. Life safety control devices must be included with the maglock installation in order to meet certain building codes.

An electromagnetic lock, also known as a magnetic lock or maglock, is a failsafe device consisting of an electromagnet and an armature plate. Typically the electromagnet portion of the lock is attached to the door frame and a mating armature plate is attached to the door. The two components are in contact when the door is closed. When the electromagnet is energized, it creates a magnetic flux that causes the armature plate to attract to the electromagnet, creating a bond.

A locking device which is locked when power is applied and unlocked when power is absent is referred to as a failsafe locking device. Electromagnetic locks are well suited for use on all types of openings: interior or exterior, inswinging, outswinging or sliding. On emergency exit doors with fire safety applications, maglocks are suited because they are failsafe, have no moving parts and are therefore deemed less likely to fail than other types of electric locks, such as electric strikes which have moving parts and may be more susceptible to malfunction.

The pricing of electromagnetic locks and their relatively easy installation is attractive. However, a direct cost comparison may not possible.

One factor is the existing hardware that is on the subject opening. For example, if there is a functioning mechanical lock on the door, it may be more cost-effective or add a door strike or electrify the lockset or install an electric strike than to install a maglock and scrap the old lock.

Another factor is safety. Although maglocks are failsafe, they do not have an integral means of unlocking them, as does a humble mechanical lever or knob. Several life safety control devices must be included with the maglock installation in order to meet certain building codes. Most jurisdictions require the maglock system be interfaced with the premises fire or sprinkler system, and also have additional release devices as part of the installation.

The first modern direct-pull electromagnetic lock was designed by Irving Saphirstein in 1969 and the use of maglocks increased dramatically. His company, Locknetics, was a pioneer in electromagnetic locks.

The maglock is an important element in electronic door control. There are many situations where nothing else will work to control or secure an opening. Maglocks have also evolved to include additional features and other products such as shear locks, and integral delayed egress locks.

Electromagnetic locks are primarily offered in 600 lbs. and 1200 lbs. dynamic holding force capacities.

Many manufacturers offer electromagnetic locks. Here is a sampling of some of the products on the market today.

Alarm Controls

Located on Long Island, Alarm Controls is one of the pioneers in security products. They recently joined the ASSA ABLOY family of products. Their wide range of products includes electromagnetic locks. Priced right and sold with a lifetime warranty, you may want to check them out for your next project. Check out their website and you’ll be amazed at the variety of items offered. Products include:

Model 1200D: 1200-pound double magnetic lock with bond sensor, door status sensor and LED

Model 1200L: 1200-pound single magnetic lock with status LED

Model 1200LB: 1200-pound single magnetic lock with bond sensor, door status sensor and LED

Model 1200S: 1200-pound single magnetic lock

Model 1200WP: 1200-pound weatherproof magnetic gate lock

MODEL 300S: 300-pound single magnetic lock

Model 600D: 600-pound double magnetic lock

Model 600DLB: 600 pound double magnetic lock with bond sensor, door status sensor and LED

Model 600L: 600-pound single magnetic lock with status LED

Model 600LB: 600-pound single magnetic lock with bond sensor, door status sensor and LED

Model 600S: 600-pound single magnetic lock

Model 600WP: 600-pound weather-proof magnetic gate lock

For more information, visit


AlarmLock is another Long Island company that helped pioneer the security industry. Among their products are the legendary Trilogy Locks and a line of unique electromagnetic locks and accessories. AlarmLock’s electromagnetic lock products include:

PowerMag™ 12/24V

Holding force of 600 and 1200 lb. models

Perfect for both single and double doors and even sliding doors

5-year limited warranty

Low voltage (12 or 24VDC); including field-selectable models

Double door models with 1200 lb. locking per side (PM1200SLB1 and 40)

PowerExit™ Request-to-Exit Push Buttons

Five models, with or without illuminated buttons

Solid aluminum anodized finish US28

Sizes: 3’ x 4 3/4” x 1/4” and 1 5/8” x 4 3/4” x 1/4”

Back Depth: 1 1/4” and 1 7/8”

Switch Rating: 250V AC 5A

Momentary Action

Also from Alarm Lock is the Remote Release Mag-Kit KIT RR-PM1200PAK. This complete turnkey system includes: Advanced 1200 lb. Mag, one remote control, and plug-in AC transformer.

The plug-in 12VAC transformer eliminates the requirement for pulling wires or the services of an electrician (optional use). It supports up to 100 individual remote controls (AL-REMOTE) keyfobs and releases the mag from either side of door.

For more information, visit


The lineage of the M400 Series line of electromagnetic locks from Schlage can be traced back to the beginnings of electromagnetic locks in the U.S.A. These locks are designed with the customer in mind, to be robust, easy-to-install, and secure.

The new bayonet mounting feature makes installs easier, allowing the installer to have their hands free during the mounting process. There is no need to consider door handing, as all the M400 Series electromagnetic locks are both non-handed and symmetrical, allowing optimum placement of the magnet, no matter the application.

All M400 Series locks have automatic voltage sensing for 12 and 24 volts along with polarity protection to make wiring less complex. The M450 is tested and certified to meet or exceed UL1034 and BHMA 1000 lb hold force requirements.

The M450 electromagnetic lock comes in two configurations to meet your specific security needs. The M450 provides basic security, while the M450P provides intelligent sensing and reporting features needed to integrate with access control systems. Additional options are available for the M450P. Kits are available for top jam, double door, and glass door applications.

Bayonet mount makes installation simpler by not requiring magnet to be held overhead while mounting screws are installed. The new design allows for RH/LH configuration in the field. Armature mount allows armature to pivot, compensating for slight opening imperfections

Features include:

  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • UL1034 burglary-resistant electronic locking mechanisms, UL10C positive pressure fire tests of door
  • 1000 lb hold force
  • For Models M450/M452, Automatic Voltage Selection (AVS) senses the voltage applied to the lock and responds accordingly
  • For Models M450P/M452P, Magnetic Bond Sensor (MBS) monitors the strength of the bond between the lock and armature so you know the door is secure
  • Door Position Switch (DPS) monitors whether the door is open or closed
  • Relock Time Delay (RTD) provides a relock delay that is adjustable from 0.5 to 30 seconds
  • Optional Features: (P models only)
  • Anti-Tamper Switch (ATS) provides an indication that the cover of the magnet is securely fastened to the lock and that the on board circuitry is secure
  • MBS Indicator (LED) provides visual indication of magnetic bond at the lock Options (for all)
  • Herculite door bracket
  • Top jamb (inswinging doors)

For more information, visit


BEA is a worldwide leader in automatic door operator accessory and safety systems. They have also entered into the electromagnetic lock market offering attractively priced UL listed maglocks.

Deliverable within 24 hours and backed by domestic customer service and support, BEA Maglocks provide affordable commercial security and access control. BEA offers lifetime warranties in the industry on its line of Maglock solutions and offers a full line of complimentary accessories to outfit a multitude of applications.

Creating an extremely powerful magnetic bond, the Maglock solution line ensures security without emitting any residual magnetism that could adversely affect other components of the door. 

Each BEA Maglock is enclosed in a rugged steel frame and can be used for security doors in both single and pairs, gates and other applications where additional security is desired. These solutions include a remote status LED on all 600 lb and 1200 lb models, a 0 – 90 second hold open timer (for relocking) and a bond status relay that offers either Normally Open or Normally Closed options.

Features include:

  • UL Listed
  • No special tools required for installation
  • Installation hardware included for typical applications
  • Zero to 90 second hold open timer typically used for relocking 
  • Bonding status relay output offers either Normally Open or Normally Closed output
  • Efficient screw terminal interface for access to relay output
  • Status LED included on 600lb and 1200lb models
  • Zinc plated steel plate is corrosion resistant

For more information, visit


Dortronics Systems has introduced two new electromagnetic locks for use with a variety of door and frame types. The 1107xD maglock and the 1107xEDR delayed egress actuating maglock offer smart features in a slim configuration and at a competitive price. Both units deliver fail-safe operation, releasing instantly upon command or loss of power.

The 1107xD is designed to fit narrow style header applications. Its 1¼ inch depth reduces the need for angle mounting brackets and filler plates, lowering installation time and costs. The onboard concealed Door Position switch can be utilized to report door status to an access panel or door prop alarm.

The 1107xEDR operates with the 7101-P Delayed Egress Panel and is designed with a field-adjustable actuator that senses door movement. A concealed door position switch reports door status for re-lock and forced door conditions to the egress panel.

Both the 1107xD & 1107xEDR can be easily field-converted for inswing applications with the addition of the 1195-07 Inswing Conversion Kit.

The 1107 Series are NFPA 101 / BOCA compliant and UL 294 access control certified. They are encased in brushed clear anodized aluminum housings and the electromagnetic face and armature are zinc-plated for resistance to rust and corrosion. Both units feature a holding force of 600 pounds.

For more information, visit