The COVID-19 pandemic inflicted a crippling blow to our economy but also stimulated new interest in security products that reduce the demand for human contact with doors and door hardware.

Products that use touchless technologies to open a door enable system designers to make being in buildings more hygienic as well as more secure — a new normal that’s more convenient and effective than the old normal.

The most common way to achieve a touchless opening is by combining an automatic door opener with a touchless sensor. Many companies provide such options.

You should keep a couple things in mind:

  • Touchless sensors typically use capacitive or microwave technology to detect motion that would trigger a door opening. The main difference is one of closeness to the sensor. Capacitive sensors have a range of up to 4 inches, while microwave sensors have a range of 2–26 inches.
  • Two Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) codes come into play with regard to automatic door openers and touchless sensors: A156.19 (low-energy door operators) and A156.10 (full-power door operators). Also, remember that when Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines are in place, a wave-to-open sensor complies with the “knowing act” standard, because the person must make a specific motion to activate the door. An automatic sensor doesn’t.

A roundup of possible products:

RCI touchless switches

dormakaba brand RCI has several touchless sensors that use either capacitive technology or microwaves to actuate automatic doors.

The 910TC touchless switch is a low-profile touchless actuator plate that uses capacitive technology. It’s easy to install and functions with many automatic door openers. The 910TC features an adjustable detection zone to reduce unwanted activations, and when the device is activated, the indicator light (waving hand) changes color.

The capacitive 946T and 950T short-range actuators are available in square (946T) and round (950T) options. Both are accented by an LED mounting ring that illuminates the plate for visibility and operator convenience.

The 913 microwave motion switch provides excellent control for automatic doors and openings. This touchless motion switch uses doppler radar technology and is suited to sterile environments. It blends into any aesthetic by having the switch mounted behind a nonreflective surface in a room or hallway. The 913 is available in black, cream or white and contains a water-resistant gasket for increased durability when exposed to water or a cleaning product.

More info:

Norton 700 Wave-to-Open Switch

The 700 Wave-to-Open Switch can be used with any of Norton’s automatic door openers. It’s an easy upgrade for doors.

The 700 is a capacitive opener, with a range up to 4 inches, and includes an LED ring on the stainless steel faceplate that lights when activated. It has a variable hold time of 1–35 seconds and is available in single- and double-gang doors.

We contacted Jay Vaitkus, director of business development at ASSA ABLOY division Norton, for his views on no-touch door openings.

Locksmith Ledger: What wireless products do you offer for door lock systems and door operators?

Jay Vaitkus: All of our Norton operators can be controlled by a handheld remote control or a touchless wave-to-open switch. The wave-to-open switch can send a wireless activation signal to the power operator, but the switch itself must be connected to a 24-VDC power source to operate the near field, the audible and the visual red/green disk in the center of the device.

LL:  What about wireless programming?

JV: The 6300 Series auto operator from Norton contains an intelligent relay logic controller, which can be programmed using any smart device, such as a phone, pad or laptop.

LL: What does that mean for installation?

JV: The door operator may be installed by somebody who is AAADM (American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers) certified or knowledgeable about code.

LL: How does this solution fit into an end user’s budget?

JV: Our world is a retrofit world. People gravitate to that lower cost. It’s no more costly to do wave to open versus a traditional button.

More info:

LCN 8310 Series

Allegion’s LCN no-touch actuators can be installed easily in place of a push-button keypad, and they comply with ANSI 156.19 low-energy standards, which makes them ideal for high-traffic, high-touch openings.

They come in four styles: heavy duty, standard, close proximity and harsh conditions. The heavy-duty, standard and harsh-conditions switches can connect with applicable door operators wirelessly with the installation of a 900-megahertz (MHz) transmitter.

Heavy-duty actuators are made of stainless steel and are IP65 rated to protect from water and cleaning liquids. They have a flush-mounted design and visual and audible signaling.

Standard actuators are flush-mounted and come in a variety of colors and form factors. They have silent activation, which makes them ideal for applications that seek to limit noise.

Close-proximity actuators reduce unwanted activation through their short-range detection zone. They’re flush-mounted and include illuminated edges and audible signaling.

Harsh-conditions models are IP65 rated for rugged performance and are designed for harsh environments, including outdoor applications. They can be flush- or surface-mounted.

More info:

Locknetics Touchless Wave Switch Series

Allegion brand Locknetics Touchless Wave Switch Series actuators have adjustable time delay and a dual LED (red/green), which indicates inactive/active status.

They’re available in flush- or surface-mount configurations. The latter includes a metal box. The sensor detection range is up to about 4 inches.

More info:


The MAGIC SWITCH family of touchless actuator solutions has newly designed faceplates that have rounded corners, durable materials and adjustable LEDs for visible alerts.

The actuators use microwave doppler radar to provide dependable detection in interior and exterior applications. These are aimed at health-care facilities, clean rooms, food-service facilities and retail outlets. They have an adjustable detection zone of 4–24 inches and silent activation

The MS31 is designed for common public areas, such as entrances, hallways, vestibules and restrooms. Its faceplate material increases protection against outdoor weathering and daily cleaning. It’s available in black, gray and white, and options include jamb-style, single-gang, double-gang and 6-inch round faceplates.

The MS41 is designed for sterile areas, such as surgical rooms, wash-down, clean rooms and pharmaceutical environments. It has a durable, stainless steel design and is IP55 rated for harsh environments. Options include  6-inch round, single-gang and double-gang faceplates.

More info:


The LZR-FLATSCAN SW is a laser-based time-of-flight presence sensor for full-energy automatic swing doors. This solution also can be used as a reactivation sensor on the approach side of low-energy doors.

The product’s technology generates 170 detection points across a single curtain, which allows the LZR-FLATSCAN SW to cover the face of a single door leaf. Its Finger Detection Technology uses 100 detection points within the hinge area of the door to protect hands and fingers while the door is in motion. A leading-edge safety feature extends the detection area beyond the leading edge of the door for enhanced safety.

The LZR-FLATSCAN SW exceeds the ANSI 156.10 section standard for detection area and meets section 8.1.4 for monitoring.

Its laser technology ensures independence of all types of flooring (carpet, reflective flooring, wet surfaces, etc.) and the surrounding environment of the door (guiderails, walls, weather).

The LZR-FLATSCAN SW has a hubless system and fewer components for easier setup and installation, and its Hand Gesture Setup technology reduces configuration time.

Note: This sensor is powered by DC voltage only. If only VAC power is available, a 12-volt transformer paired with a rectifier must be used. A 24-volt transformer and rectifier will damage the product.

More info:

Camden SureWave touchless switches

Camden’s SureWave family of touchless switches includes several models that allow for wireless transmission between the switch and a compatible automatic door opener. The CM-330 is a battery-powered wireless touchless switch that provides 2 years of life, at 100 activations per day. It includes a 915-MHz Lazerpoint RF wireless transmitter for quick installation. The CM-331, CM-332 and CM-333 have the transmitter as an option. The CM-325 is designed for use where highly reflective surfaces, such as chrome, can cause the switch to have a false activation.

SureWave touchless switches now have round faceplates available as an option. In addition, the faceplates have an optional green/red/blue light ring and five different graphics, including French language graphics. Round faceplates are designed to be mounted on single-gang in-wall electrical box or a CM-79A semi-flush escutcheon. 

More info:

SDC 474U Touchless Series Exit Switch

The 474U can be used to control electric locks or strikes, magnetic locks or automatic door operators. Suggested applications include bathrooms, clean rooms, hospitals, labs, schools or offices.

It has a sensing range up to 4 inches and is mounted on a stainless steel plate. It has a dual-LED illuminated sensor, (red/green) and a Quick Connect screwless terminal block for easy installation.

More info:

Dortronics 5278 Series

The venerable 5278 series provides an economical solution for touchless entrance or exit. The imbedded sensor picks up motion within 4 inches of the faceplate.

An illuminated LED ring designates switch status and allows for visibility under low-light conditions. The ring is red during standby mode and green when activated.

Switches are supplied standard with 6-inch leads for easy installation. Longer custom leads are available on special order. The multiconductor cable connects to the double-pole double-throw outputs and the 12 VDC power input.

More info:

STI Universal Touch Free Button

STI’s Universal Touch Free Button can be installed easily within minutes. The faceplate is made of cast aluminum. 

Additional features include an integrated adjustable timer, dual-color status LED, built-in microcontroller and a self-testing function. It has one set of Form “C” contacts at 1 amp, 24 VDC. 

More info: 

Tim O’Leary is an experienced security consultant and a regular contributor to Locksmith Ledger.