Different Types of Safe Locks: Best Safe Lock for Your Valuables

Fatima Buzdar

October 26, 2022

Close-up image of an electronic safe with a keypad and a circular combination dial, likely the work of a skilled locksmith. The keypad features numbers 0-9, and the display screen above it is blank. The safe boasts a sleek black exterior and a silver front panel.

When you are choosing a safe for your house or commercial premises, researching and contemplating the wide range of functionality options might feel a bit boring and tedious, but definitely not something to neglect. It is important that you choose a safe that is the most suitable to protect your valuables. The safe features to consider include the safe size, durability, protection type and more.

However, the one thing that should take the biggest priority for your contemplation has to be the safe door lock system. There are four main options for the means of operating the lock: physical key, mechanical combination, electronic combination or biometric recognition. Seems straightforward to choose? Well, not quite! Each choice comes with its wide range of features, pros and cons which make it a better fit for different settings and needs.

In this article, we will explore the functionalities, advantages and disadvantages offered by different types of safe locks in depth to hopefully help guide your decision process and ensure that your valuables are protected in the best and most secure way. We highly recommend seeking sales services and any subsequent maintenance services from professional safe experts and locksmiths for safes to choose and sustain the best safe for your valuables!

Key Lock

It is a simple and common lock type that is operated by a physical key. There are various types of mechanisms for locks that can be operated by a key, but the most recommended and common one is a lock operated by a double-bitted key that has two lugs to pull the bolt.


A key lock safe has great durability, despite the simplicity. Their simplicity can be an advantage if you are looking for a straightforward security solution for relatively basic needs. An extra upside due to its simplistic build is an affordable cost, which can benefit you if you have a limited budget. Among your options for locking mechanism for safes, key safe locks are unarguably the most budget-friendly choice.


The biggest inconvenience to consider is the hassle of key management. You have to keep your keys secure and accessible, and you also have to consider their proper placement. For example, placing the key in a predictable, easily visible or insecure place is counterintuitive. At the same time, you do not want to place the keys where their placement ends up becoming a head—scratching mystery to yourself and other authorized people.

Additionally, especially in a commercial environment, keeping the control over keys can get complicated. If various people need to conveniently access the safe, then you need to duplicate the keys for all of them. Then you have to be concerned regarding the safety and control of keys. What can further complicate this is the limited means to revoke access. For example, what if an ex-personnel has taken a concerning interest in refusing to give back the duplicate key held by them?

Of course, you can get the lock rekeyed if the situation is particularly serious. However, you would need a locksmith’s services for it. A locksmith for safes can also craft a key, in case a key is broken or needs to be duplicated.

Mechanical Combination Lock

Also known as a dial combination lock and wheel combination lock, a mechanical combination safe lock is the most common and significant type of safe lock. It is operated by turning the wheel back and forth in order to input the set code, which is a numerical sequence.

The amount of code digits and the wheel turns needed for these digits to operate the safe lock depend upon the wheel pack. The two options you would commonly find are 3-wheel locks which allow one million possible combination codes and 4-wheel locks which allow ten million code combinations. That is a lot for sure!

With the wide range of combination choices, you can choose a secure code that would surely protect you with reliability. It also tends to come with a feature that can allow you to change the combination code on your own.


Eliminating the need for managing physical keys, this is a good choice if you find that a physical key system differs with your needs and preferences. Due to its simplicity, it comes with a rather budget-friendly cost.

Additionally, it provides the option of modifying the code, whether it is to prevent a compromise or you simply want a new code. The code change procedure depends upon the safe. The manual provided by the manufacturer should help with the directions.


It can take quite a bit to turn the wheel around to precisely input the right code. If you accidentally input one wrong digit for the code, then you have to do it all over. If you are in quite a hurry to gain access, this can flare up some rage inside you. Additionally, you have to turn the wheel to input the code again to close it.

Another downside is the hassle of changing the combination code. While it is certainly possible to change the combination on your own, the procedure can be quite complex and easy to go awry if you do not properly understand what you are doing. When in doubt, it is best to seek a locksmith to change it for you. If your attempt to take on the code change has gone south, then a locksmith can get you covered in that as well.

Electronic Combination Lock / Biometric Lock

Like a mechanical combination lock, an electronic combination safe lock can be controlled by a code sequence which eliminates the need for physical keys management. However, the distinction lies within the electronic combination lock being electronically powered by a battery source, as its name indicates so.

It can be operated by a keypad to input the PIN code. Generally, the PIN code facilitates up to 6 digits. Alternatively, it may be operated by biometric recognition, allowing you to operate the lock through your fingerprint or retina.

These advanced locks tend to be the most expensive among the different types of safe locks. However, the high price is accompanied by capability for advanced and flexible features. Electronic combination locks for safes can provide a myriad of high-security and control features that can meet your advanced needs, which are especially useful for commercial settings.


Along with a convenient keyless approach, an electronic combination lock also allows you to swiftly input the code. Alternatively, you may also opt for an electronic biometric lock, which would allow you to access the safe even more conveniently without having to remember and manage the codes.

An electronic safe lock comes with a wide range of advanced features that deter internal and external theft, as well as smooth and advanced management and control. These features include, but may not be limited to:

  • Codes management: The procedure to change the code tends to be very user-friendly and swift. It also facilitates having multiple codes, as well as addition of the hierarchy of administrator and multiple normal users. Anyone with an administrator/master code can create, alter or scrap the codes whenever they please with ease. This allows to keep an economical and simple system of access distribution across multiple users.

    Unlike the key lock system, you do not have to issue multiple keys and then keep track of these keys, saving you from costs, hassle, and security concerns. With a master code, you can also delete a code to revoke access anytime, so you do not have to worry about someone being keen to keep you in frenzy by refusing to give their key back.
  • Audit trails: Logs who accessed the safe and when. This greatly helps with tracking down the person who took something out of the safe and the timing of the action, should the unfortunate case of some valuable missing arise. This security measure is also a good deterrence for internal theft and would make anyone think twice before stealing a valuable from a safe.
  • Alarm connection: The lock can be connected to an alarm system so that you can be notified, should anything trigger it. It can be further utilized as a duress alarm system. Under this system, a code variant can be set to be used in case someone is forced to open the safe by a robber. When this code is input into the lock, the connection to alarm system utilizes alerting the proper authorities, all without further compromising the user’s safety.
  • Time delay: This feature allows the safe to open after a certain amount of time has passed upon the code being input. Once the set timeframe is passed, the user has to re-enter the code to finally open the safe. This is another protective measure in case a user is being coerced to open the safe or in case an unauthorized or malicious person is trying to open the safe under a limited timeframe.
  • Anti-manipulation block: After a number of incorrect attempts of code inputs, the safe lock gets temporarily blocked for a certain timeframe and the user can try again only after that timeframe has passed. This security measure helps prevent an unauthorized person trying to guess the code based on any clues they might have access to.
  • Dual code: Requires two different codes to be input to unlock. Generally, these two codes are given to two individuals. This helps deter the internal theft.

Its overall security functionality can be either rather intricate or relatively simple based on your needs. Consult with a safe professional to decide what may suit your needs the best.

The safe also notifies you if the battery is weak so that you can replace it before it gives out. You also have the option to opt for an electronic system that facilitates a physical emergency key in case of battery failure.


Even if robustly reliable, an electronic lock system can be a bit more prone to operating errors compared to other lock systems. Its system is vulnerable to damage from water as well. You will have to seek safe repair services in either unfortunate scenario. Additionally, the battery exhaustion can be an issue. If the battery is weak, then you might be able to input the code, but the lock would not function properly, leading you to think there is another issue with the safe.

Additionally, due to its wide range of functionalities and electronic build, it can drain your budget. If you have very basic needs, then its myriad of features may be just whistle and bells that you never use or benefit from. A safe expert can advice you what may be the best option for you.

Secure Your Valuables With the Best Type of Safe Lock Now

Choosing the most suitable type of safe lock that provides sufficient security features is essential. Certain safe locks cater better to specific needs and the level of security and convenience required. Choosing the best lock to secure your valuables for your needs as a layperson can be a bit of challenge, as well as knowing what to expect and how common locking issues can be handled.

If you are looking for Clarington locksmiths for safes and safe experts to help guide your purchasing choice for safes and seek any subsequent assistance, then you can put your trust in the safe experts at Faster Locksmith. We understand how essential it is to pick the best locking system for your safe, and we are here to help you make the best decision! We can provide sales services to help guide your choice with picking the best safe with features optimal for your usage. We will also assist with the delivery and installation of the safe, making the process even smoother for you.

Additionally, we can help resolve any subsequent issues that arise with your safe locks, like changing a mechanical combination, rekeying the safe lock, fixing the operating problems of an electronic lock and much more. Issues with locking systems of safes are extremely important to be resolved quickly so that your valuables are adequately secure and you can gain access to them without hassle, and we are here to help ensure that!

Safeguard your property with our expert locksmith solutions. Get in touch with our approachable, knowledgeable team.