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Keyless Entry vs. Traditional Locks: Pros and Cons

Considering going keyless? Then this guide is just for you.

Keyless systems have all but taken over the security scene due to their convenience, simplicity, and reliability. These locks have become the gold standard for retail, commercial, as well as residential properties because they allow for hassle-free access to the property.

However, most people find a simple traditional lock just as convenient and effective – so is there any real benefit to keyless systems over traditional locks?

Traditional locks have been used for centuries. Whether it is to protect property or to secure precious possessions in safes. These locks have time and again proven to be effective, simple, and just as reliable as keyless systems.

But there is a catch!

Traditional locks are becoming a relic of the past due to some glaring flaws in their design and operation. The world is moving towards modern security, and with significant reliance on wireless technology, people opt to go the modern route due to its convenience.

Read on to find out all about keyless entry systems vs traditional locks and their pros and cons.


In a nutshell, a keyless entry system, also called an access control system is a lock mechanism that does everything a traditional lock can, except that it uses various authentication methods to unlock instead of a physical key.

The idea of keyless systems has been around for quite some time. These systems caught the eye of the public in the 1980s – but they weren’t initially used for locking doors or securing properties!

The first keyless system was a feature of a car.

In 1982 the French automobile manufacturer Renault introduced the world’s first remote keyless entry system for their Renault Fuego. The feature was a huge hit in the automobile world and just a year later, the system was found in several American cars as well.

The fact is people hate carrying keys. They scratch things in your pocket or bag, and you can easily forget or lose them and get locked out.

However, with keyless entry systems, all you need is a reliable authentication method to access the system.

This can be in the form of biometric authentication (fingerprint scanning), keypad (code) authentication, and even iris scanning which is another form of biometric authentication.

The real difference here is that you don’t need to carry anything! Just step up to a keyless system, authenticate, and voila, you’re in!

Criminals are becoming smarter by the day and are using more than just lockpicking skills to bypass locks. It is no surprise that more people are shifting towards keyless door entry systems for their rental properties as well because they provide several layers of security that are quite difficult to tamper with and bypass by ordinary means.

Here are all the ways you can interact with a keyless entry system:

The most common authentication method is the same method that you use to withdraw money from your ATM card: pin codes!

Pin codes are extremely convenient because all you need to do is remember them. Furthermore, if you want someone else to access them, you can either give them a guest PIN code that can expire after some time, or your primary PIN code for family members.

This way, even if you are away, you can provide access to your property without needing to be there in person.


Here is a step-by-step on how to use a keyless entry system:

Step 1) An authorised person with a valid authentication method interacts with the system,

Step 2) The credentials are verified by the system,

Step 3) The request is processed by the control panel by comparing the credentials against predefined access permissions in the database.

Step 4a) If the credentials do not match, access is denied, and the door remains locked.

Step 4b) If the credentials match, access is granted, and the control panel sends an electric relay signal to the system to unlock the door.

Step 5) The system logs the entry (or denial) into the system.

These steps happen within nanoseconds of you entering the code!


Here are the pros of these systems:

You are the Key!

No need to call a professional locksmith.

Losing your keys can be nerve-wracking and at worst, you can end up being locked out of your property. However, with keyless systems, you are the key! All you need is to remember a code or present your fingerprint to the system and you can quickly gain access.

Share or Restrict Access

Keyless entry systems are great for providing very specific access to users. For example, the system can save multiple profiles. Each profile can be assigned to an individual with their own biometric.

However, these systems work by assigning an administrator or a “super admin” who can add, delete, and even restrict access for a particular individual. This can be very useful for people who want to revoke authorisation for certain people.

Furthermore, these systems also allow for temporary access. So, if you have guests coming over, you don’t have to share your pin since you will have to change everything you share.

Instead, the system can assign a guest pin and set an expiration date for the pin. In this scenario, the pin will expire within 24 hours (or as set by the admin).

Entry/Exit Logs and Integration

Perhaps the best use of keyless entry systems is that they maintain a log of everyone who enters the property through the system. This can be useful for people who want to check in on family members and make sure that they reach home safely.

The system can also log unauthorised attempts. In some cases, the user can also be notified via the internet if an attempt is made.

Modern keyless entry systems can connect to other security hardware in the home too. For example, you can integrate the keyless system with motion detectors, CCTV, and more. This way, if the primary security system detects any threat, it can automatically lock the keypad and send a notification to the property owner.


Here are a few cons of keyless entry systems:


The average cost for an access control security system is around £400 to £1,200 per door. For advanced keyless entry systems that have facial recognition or smart features, the cost can go up to £1,500 to £3,500 per door.

Furthermore, if you wish to integrate a system with security hardware such as burglar alarms and CCTV, you can expect to pay even more.

So, these systems can be quite costly, however, there is more to it than just cost! The benefits greatly outweigh the costs as keyless entry systems provide a lot of security and convenience over traditional lock systems.

Maintenance Required

As is with any other electronic hardware. These systems can require periodic maintenance. Most of this maintenance is to make sure that the system is working properly and that it is logging all the interactions. In some cases, a system software upgrade may also be required.

The good news is that this system can be upgraded conveniently either by the user itself (in the case of a smart system) or by authorised security personnel, like the ones provided by Calder Security.

Learning Curve

These systems can be a hindrance for people who aren’t well-versed with technology. For example, the elderly may initially find it difficult to use the system since it has a learning curve. It can be even worse if the system detects multiple failed attempts and initiates a lockdown for a certain period.

However, modern keyless entry systems are designed to be user-friendly and are quite intuitive. By using the system a couple of times, users can quickly become accustomed to how it works.


Everyone knows how traditional locks work. They are a simple but effective means to secure a property and require just a physical key to unlock.

These locks have a lot of benefits and are significantly cheaper – and they remain the go-to method for quickly securing any premises without any installation.


Here are a few pros of traditional locks:

Super Easy to Install

The biggest benefit of going with traditional locks is that they can be used to quickly secure any premises without the need for a professional.

These locks come with a key that is designed specifically for that lock. So, all you need to do is go to a store, pick up a good lock, and then install it at the premises yourself.

They are also cheaper and are often the go-to method for securing multiple entry and exit points around a premises.


Traditional locks just work.

They don’t require maintenance, they are easy to access, and everyone knows how to use these locks. All you need is a key and the ability to turn the key inside the lock – that’s it.

They hardly ever break down and since they have very minimum mechanical parts, they can virtually last a lifetime! Some locks are even designed to withstand environmental damage, so whether you live in a rainy, hot, humid, or even cold climate, these locks will always be a reliable choice for securing any property.

Difficult to Tamper With

Traditional locks are purposefully heavy-duty! The hard shell around the locking mechanism ensures that it remains tamper-free. Even if someone tries to tamper with the locks, they will require lockpicking skills, and can be quite risky for criminals depending on their skill level.

Some locks also come with a tamper-proof design. These locks can’t be breached without using heavy hardware – and since tampering with these locks is such a hassle, criminals will think twice before attempting to brute-force their way inside the property.


Lose the key, lose access!

This is perhaps the biggest con of using traditional locks. Since these locks require a key to open, if you lose the key, you will likely have to call in a professional locksmith from a reliable security company like Calder Security to access the lock.

Furthermore, if you lose the key, then you will also have to change the old locks. This can be quite a hassle! Even if someone else has a spare key, you can’t risk having the same lock because if someone finds the key and knows your location, they can easily access the property.

Susceptible to Lock Pickers

Ever notice how heist movies have a scene where the intruders pick locks within seconds? Well, it turns out that is not far from reality. In fact, there are expert lockpickers who can easily unlock traditional locks within seconds without making any sound.

This is perhaps the biggest reason why you shouldn’t go for a traditional lock for safes or to secure private areas. These locks have a simple mechanism that can be tampered with with the right skills and tools.

Most lockpickers use lock picks or other similar tools to quietly unlock the locking pins within a lock. Even though modern traditional locks make it harder for lockpickers to enter, these locks just require the right skills and some time to breach.

Can be Broken or Brute-Forced

Did you know that some locks can open if you apply a sudden pressure at the right angle of the lock? For example, in some locks, if you strike a hammer in the middle of the locking mechanism, it can cause the releasing pin to compress and expand which can release the lock head!

While this brute-force method can make a lot of noise, if your property is secluded, then the lock can be breached very easily and without interference. Furthermore, these physical locks can also be broken using a bolt cutter or an angle grinder.


The truth is you need both types of locks to secure your premises. We recommend going for a professional evaluation by an accredited security company like Calder Security.

Security professionals can evaluate your premises and provide a blueprint for how to secure your property effectively using both systems.

In most cases, the best way to secure any premises is to use keyless systems for the main entry/exit point on the property and then secure the rest of the doors with traditional locks. It is also possible to go the traditional lock route – however, this is only advised for low-risk properties or vacant premises.

Since keyless systems have a higher cost per door compared to traditional locks, you can do the math and figure out the right combination of both locks for your property.


Calder Security provides a complete solution for access control systems which includes professional installation, maintenance, and repair services.

We’ve been working in the security industry since 1976 and partner with only the best brands. Our MLA-approved locksmiths can advise on the best type of access control system for your property based on your individual needs and requirements.

We are experienced in creating sophisticated access control systems for residential properties, large-scale commercial enterprises, as well as smaller businesses.

We are SSAIB-approved installers and offer all types of access control systems including intercoms, proximity fobs, access cards, and keypads. We also offer biometric systems that work with fingerprints or retina scans.

We are also specialists in wooden, UPVC, and aluminium doors, and the official suppliers for leading lock brands including Chubb, Yale, Securikey, and Garrison. Our team of experienced professionals can advise on the best types of locks for your residential and commercial needs.

In addition to installation services, our professional locksmiths also offer repairing services for when the locks become damaged or develop faults and may not require changing, and are also fully conversant in business master key systems.

Our qualified locksmiths have an in-depth knowledge of all kinds of locks and can often repair them on-site. We can also access locks that have become jammed, including safes, and can respond to your calls quickly which can be very useful if you’ve locked yourself out.

We also offer expert key-cutting services from our Lock & Safe Shop in Wakefield where you can get your keys cut while you wait.

Contact us right away for a quick consultation and quote for our state-of-the-art locks and keyless entry systems.

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash