Standalones Stand Out As Cost-Effective And Flexible Locking Options

March 4, 2019
When a customer needs a standalone keypad lock, advantages revolve around cost, ease of installation and ease of use

The evolution of the standalone lock has seen several twists and turns since Aaron Fish and Unican Security Systems unveiled its pushbutton standalone device for Bell Canada in the early 1960s. Simple mechanical standalones have morphed into electronic keyless locks using keypads powered by long-life batteries. Wireless solutions retrofit standard locksets and can be installed virtually anywhere. Highly efficient standalone locks combine card reader technology to integrate with existing databases, incorporating smartcard and biometric technology.

The signature feature of all “offline” standalone locking systems is they are not wired to an access control panel, storing all data and audit information in the lock itself. Standalones are ideal for locksmiths who are looking for cost-effective, flexible and architecturally acceptable access control devices for their customers.

Advantages of Standalones

Daniel Gills, Director of Business Development for Yale Locks, sees the advantages of these relatively simple access control locks, citing ease of deployment, management and overall cost of ownership as the prime motivators.

“Standalone lock applications generally require less upfront capital and less red tape for quick installation and deployment. When it comes to anything on the ‘network,’ there are many more departments involved which could require a deeper discovery for product selection, vetting of the products’ impact to the ‘network’ both from an installation and maintenance standpoint, and overall cost of ownership for networked solutions,” says Gills.

Matt James, Product Manager for Hager Companies, says the advantages are really geared towards what fits the specific needs of the customers. “When a customer needs a standalone keypad lock, the advantages revolve around cost, ease of installation and ease of use. However, some customers may need a networked or more robust system to handle multiple openings or a large number of users. In those cases, the system needs to address the user needs.”

Kara Kuntz, Director of Marketing for LockeyUSA, states that simplicity is the key to standalones’ popularity. “High-tech security innovations are great, but they come with their own set of challenges, vulnerabilities, and unknowns. Our mechanical access control locks hold up in the elements, are easy to install, and are cost competitive when compared to ‘high tech’ models. Like the old saying goes, K.I.S.S., keep it secured simply!”

For Michael Johnson, VP Sales for TownSteel Electronics, the fact that his device requires no wiring and the ease of programming make them a hit with both customers and locksmiths who carry his line.

“TownSteel’s new line of electronic smart locks are standalone commercial locks that do not require any hard wiring. They are easy to install and program and offer multiple options to unlock the door. We offer standard hard keypad or touch keypad with RFID/fobs technology,” says Johnson.

Low-Tech is the Best Tech

Yale Lock’s Gills is also an advocate of the lower tech, single-door applications that standalone technology allows for.

“It is absolutely the best option for basic traffic control or higher level of authorized access. Users get tremendous advantages from pushbutton locks as opposed to legacy security systems,” he says. “We frequently see these used in small business, general commercial, institutions and residential/multi-family applications.”

Hager’s James agrees adding that the simple keypad-only standalone lock is ideal for a small business or school that needs to add access control to a few points of entry.

“The ‘low-tech’ standalone lock is a great way for a budget conscience company to move away from mechanical keys and start to gain more control over their facility,” James adds.

And according to Kuntz, the large part of success at LockeyUSA can be attributed to its “low-tech” approach to access control.

“There is absolutely a demand for ‘lower tech’ single-door models or LockeyUSA wouldn’t exist. Our mechanical locks, while lower tech, offer higher reliability than high technology locks. LockeyUSA locks hold up in the elements, are easy to install, and are cost competitive when compared to ‘high-tech’ models. The list of applications for lower tech single-door models could go on forever, but we commonly see our locks installed on narrow stile storefront doors, storerooms, remote locations, perimeter gates, supply closets, tool cribs, and so on,” Kuntz explains.

What’s Hot in the Market

Yale: As the year moves closer to major vendor trade show events like ISC West and ALOA, companies like Yale Locks are preparing to unveil new products. Yale has added a sectional mortise lock to its line up and soon will have an exit trim that is adjustable to be compatible with exit devices from ASSA ABLOY and other top competitors. Gills says this will make Yale extremely competitive in the pus button lock space, as it will feature five categories for push button lock hardware including:

  • deadbolts,
  • interconnected locks,
  • cylindrical locks,
  • mortise locks
  • and exit trim.

“In addition, we do have the ability to add a radio module to our standalone push button locks, allowing the user to tie their lock into a Zigbee, ZWave, August Home or Yale Accentra ‘connected’ system. This allows users the ability to add on to their lock investment and take advantage of smart home/smart building technologies with our lock platforms,” adds Gills.

Yale’s nexTouch commercial keypad door locks are what’s new. The nexTouch keyless electronic door lock combines a modern look with durability that is perfect for multi-family property, small business office space, retail storefront, hotel, airport, restroom, or mixed-use commercial building. With a heavy-duty design and ANSI/BHMA Grade 1 certification, nexTouch keypad locks provide durable and reliable security.

Hager: Hager will also be adding multi-technology readers. He says that having both the HID (125Khz) and Mifare/Desfire (13.56 MHz) credentials on the lock will allow a facility to start with the standard HID proximity card and eventually migrate to the smartcard credential without purchasing a new lock.

Hager’s Bluetooth option is another trend that allows the lock to connect directly to a smartphone or tablet, or it can be the communication protocol in a networked system. Low Energy Bluetooth (BLE) eliminates the need for a proprietary handheld device to do the programming and set up for each lock. At Hager, providing the user the ability to manage the system software via the Cloud is a growing trend that will continue to evolve in the access control market.

TownSteel: TownSteel’s e-Elite 4000 is a cylindrical electronic lock that it will be showcasing. It offers a low-profile design with the highest commercial grading technology for residential and multi-housing communities. The e-Elite 4000 is programmable at the lock offering over one-hundred keycode and RFID/fobs registrations. Mechanical key override is also available. The e-Elite 4000 is powered by 4 AA batteries and does not require any hard wiring.

“TownSteel hears the need for lower technology locks and is eager release our new e-Smart 4000 lock. The e-Smart 4000 is a motorized deadbolt lock with grade 2 technology. Its robust and unique motor design provides stronger, faster, and more reliable gear drive,” says Johnson.

LockeyUSA: The LockeyUSA 2835 Lever Lock and the LockeyUSA 1150 Heavy-Duty Lever lock are two of the company’s best-selling standalone locks, in both single and double combination. It says that the 2835 is a reliable self-latching combination lock that provides users peace of mind knowing that the standalone application is locked when not in use. Its Narrow Stile 2900 Series is gaining traction in the market as a viable standalone keypad solution for storefront doors.

“While many companies focus on electronic innovation, LockeyUSA strives to make basic security hardware better. We’re committed to creating solutions that are easier to use, more effective, and more reliable. This year, LockeyUSA will add two locks to our 3000 Series with the debut of our 3830 Knob and 3835 Lever locks. These new locks combine the features of our best-selling 2835 with the sleek look and larger size of the 3000 series lock body. The 3830 Knob and 3835 Lever are two great options for a standalone, commercial application, as they are auto-locking mechanical keyless locks, equipped with passage function,” says Kuntz.

Security Door Control (SDC): According the SDC, there are several new products on the horizon, but were not ready to be showcased in this story. However, the SDC EntryCheck E76 Series is a feature solution worth talking about.

The EntryCheck E76 Series includes an SDC Mortise lock and is an indoor/outdoor standalone electronic battery powered solution, providing controlled access for basic and multi-level high security requirements. The E76 locksets are keypad or PC software programmable and combine multiple access technology with efficient motorized locksets. Other key features include:

  • Keypad or PC Software Programmability
  • Up to 3,000 Users, 32 Temporary Users
  • 4 to 6 Digit PIN Codes
  • Blue Backlit Cast Metal Keys
  • Motorized SDC Mortise Lockset

The E76+ version with manual privacy deadbolt is locked from the outside only and is unlocked by keypad, proximity card, fob or tag, depending on the model specified. Turning the inside lever always retracts the deadbolt and latch for uninhibited egress. It's a perfect application to limiting public access to a restroom, office or other space.

Alarm Lock: Still rated as among the top standalone options for locksmith and systems integrators, the Alarm Lock Trilogy DL2700 is a workhorse standalone digital cylindrical keyless door lock. One of Alarm Lock’s most popular sellers, it is now even more robust with additional codes and power. The DL 2700 offers:

  • Grade 1 Durability. Dependable lockset with rugged clutch mechanism, plus vandal-proof all metal keypad.
  • Multi-level user codes: Master, 10 managers, 90 users, 3 service codes • Up to 100 different user codes (3-6 digits)
  • 100% keypad programmable with a fingertip
  • Individual, group or total user lockout codes • Easy passage mode by manager and/or master
  • Easy to install in about an hour, retrofits cylindrical knob sets and digital locks using slightly modified ANSI 161 Series Prep
  • Standalone battery operated; 5 AA batteries rated at 200,000 cycles
  • Non-handed for easy installation and versatility • 2-wire remote override • Visual and audible entry indicators
  • WP Models for weatherproof performance, water-sealed for use inside and out, with operational temperature range of +151°F to -31°F (+66°C to -35°C)

It also features a clutch mechanism that permits turning the lever without retracting the latch, which reduces stress on lock bodies and spindle. The outside lever is free turning in a locked position. The entering access code, key bypass, or remote bypass will allow the lever to retract latch, while the inside lever always grants instant egress.

dormakaba: dormakaba offers a full line of mortise, cylindrical, deadbolt, tubular, and mechanical pushbutton lock styles, including a number of Simplex mechanical standalone pushbutton locks. E-Plex electronic locks start as a standalone access solution for a single door. Programming solutions build E-Plex locks into an enterprise solution that can span multiple facilities and thousands of doors. The wireless option for E-Plex Enterprise software allows advanced management, such as access schedule, holiday and vacation blocks, visitor management and audit trail.