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Spin Combination lock vs Digital locking

by | Jun 16, 2020 | Advice & Tips, General News, Latest News, Resources

This is becoming quite a popular question, I will however point out I am only speaking about the quality brand safe locks available. NOT the cheap nasty digital safes found in many hardware stores. So unequivocally the answer for me is 100% YES!

Digital locks are easier & more secure.

Way back when safes were first built the only option was a keylock. These were handmade works of art, alas the keys were big & bulky. Over the next 100 years safe doors grew in thickness. This was needed to stop of criminals. Slowly the need for a new locking system arose that was more convenient and the Spin combination Lock was born.

This allowed multiple people to access the safe simply and easily. The precision and relatively high degree of accuracy of these new locks eliminated “surreptitious entry” or “manipulation” as it is known in the Locksmith industry.

The spin combination safe lock market was dominated by “Sargent & Greenleaf ” also known as S & G. This American company took mechanical combination locking to a very high level over many decades. The spin combination lock stayed in pretty much the same format until 1980.

This video clearly demonstrates the difference between digital and combination.

 

Alas in today’s modern society we are time poor and spin combinations require a modicum of skill and patience to use. So it wasn’t long before someone perfected a way to secure a safe and allow easy access using input data from a keypad. The Digital Safe lock has now developed into a robust, reliable and secure format.

This format has become the standard for just about all safe manufacturers. One common misconception is that if the battery goes flat the code of combination will be lost forever. Not so, LaGard have developed their locks to use minimal voltage draw. They also have a “low voltage” warning that tells you to change the battery. If you ignore this warning it will eventually stop working but as soon as you change the battery (battery life is  usually 2 to 3 years) it opens normally.

Yes but is a spin combination lock as secure ?

The other concern I often hear is “are digital safe locks more or less secure than tumbler locks ?” In short, yes digital’s are much more secure than spin combination locks. In theory it is possible for a skillful criminal to manipulate a spin combination and gain access to the contents of the safe. Whist this is possible it is EXTREMELY unlikely.

It takes a thorough knowledge and much practice before even the slightest proficiency develops to a point where a criminal could open a safe in a reasonable amount of time. I am friends with one of the best safe lock manipulators in the industry and it takes him between 1- 4 hours to open a safe lock. There are some locks that even he can’t open and has to resort to drilling it.

That said the Digital safe lock has a penalty for incorrect attempts.

Once triggered this makes opening the lock very hard as it only allows 1 attempt every 5 minutes or 12 attempts an hour. It has even been suggested that some criminals will “clean” the keypad and then return using “fingerprinting powder” to reveal the numbers. This is also folly as even with the correct numbers they still must be put in the correct order or sequence. To negate this issue all you have to do is repeat a number.

LaGard, Sargent & Greenleaf have Digital safe locks that allow for multiple users, time delay, timelock, audit trail and even a duress option. This last option  alerts the police that the safe is being opened under threat. These are options that mechanical locks simply cant offer. Servicing of safe locks has always been a source of income for locksmiths. But these days digital locks don’t require any servicing other than a battery check which anyone can do. Mechanical safe locks should be serviced a minimum of 5 years and annually where they are being used constantly.

We are happy to quote you on changing a spin combination over to a digital safelock. Send us an email, we will be happy to chat to you about it.

Digital keypad Locks versus  Spin Combination lock

 

Digital Safe LocksSpin Combination Safe locks
  • Easy to use and change codes
  • More difficult to use and tricky to change combination
  • Minimal serving required
  • With 15 or so parts, regular cleaning & servicing needed
  • Time penalty for tampering
  • No penalty at all
  • Battery changes needed
  • No batteries
  • Time delay option
  • No time delay option
  • Audit trail showing who & when opened
  • No record keeping
  • Multiple different codes
  •  Only one user option
  • 10 -20 year life expectancy
  • 10 – 20 year life expectancy

 

 

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Tim Krekt
Tim Krekt
19:46 14 Sep 21
Great range of high security products. Professional and prompt installation.Highly recommendread more
Harrison Pozzebon
Harrison Pozzebon
01:44 03 Sep 21
I snapped my car key to my old defender and need a replacement, withing the hour I had a new set. Excellent work, the keys worked perfectly unlike competitors such as Bunnings. If you want quality work go see KGB Locksmith & Security!read more
Sandra W
Sandra W
04:07 23 Aug 21
Great service - very efficient and professional- responded quickly to change locks following a break and enter. Exactly what you need after the harrowing experience of a home robbery.read more
Cyrus Parsa
Cyrus Parsa
22:26 17 Aug 21
Amazing customer service with knowledgeable staff who are willing to help you to find what you need. Many thanks to office staff, warehouse manager and delivery and installation team.Well done, keep up the good work.👍👍👍read more
Roger Thompson
Roger Thompson
01:14 14 Aug 21
KGB were able to resolve my big bunch of keys from 10 to 2 with what a layman might call locksmithing magic ! Top marks for friendly and efficient service. I would recommend this company in a heartbeatread more
Angela Barlow
Angela Barlow
03:47 13 Aug 21
Called in with a padlock issue which was fixed on the spot. Wayne provided great advice on how to avoid the issue occurring in the future. Thanks 🙂read more
Todd Furlong
Todd Furlong
20:53 05 Aug 21
The service from KGB security was above and beyond. They gave me advice on restoring an antique safe for display and even helped me find parts. Highly recommend there service.read more
Steve Groves
Steve Groves
06:46 07 Jul 21
Even several years after I purchased a safe from KGB they provided prompt and personal service to help me out they have a great customer focus. I highly recommend themread more
Hiba Bee
Hiba Bee
05:05 02 Jul 21
I needed my car key repaired, I had no idea if that was possible or if i was even at the right place. I rocked up at KGB Coopers Plains with no mask on and we are in LOCK DOWN :OI was KINDLY reminded that I needed to have a mask. No attitude, No frowning, just absolute POLITENESS. I eventually managed to find a mask in my car.Although they were not able to help me, they took the time to have a look at my problem (key) and even gave me a temporary solution. Thanking you Jamie. I was also directed to the right place/person and offered to call that person for me. Thanking you Wayne.Though this is just the normal way to interact with one another. It seems these days that a lot of people have forgotten that we all need one another and a simple smile or a kind word go a long way.Best customer service 🙂 Once more, Thank you to both Jamie and Wayneread more
Winston Axel Jones
Winston Axel Jones
00:16 19 May 21
Wayne was able to get Paul their master locksmith to open my cash drawer within a matter of seconds, due to the cheap design and locking mechanism it was deemed an unviable repair for which they didn't charge me anything. Very professional operation and I have no hesitation in recommending them for your lock and security needs, now or in the future.read more
Anh Lim
Anh Lim
04:41 17 Apr 21
Cal and his team are exceptional. One of our business safes wouldn’t open over the weekend... I contacted Cal on the Saturday and he organised a specialist locksmith to arrive at the store and sort out the problem. They provided prompt, professional and reliable service. I highly recommend KGB Coopers Plain!read more
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