Key-Free Door Lock Systems Worth a Look

Most afternoons when I stepped off the school bus during my junior high years Mom was home, but every so often she was away for some reason and that was always a good thing. It meant another chance to secretly sneak a chunk or two of Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate out of the white paper wrapper and into my mouth. It got to be a kind of Pavlovian thing.

Trials & Tribulations of Old Fashioned Door Locks

Then one day the doorknob didn’t turn. All I had to do was reach for the hidden key and then enjoy a forbidden feast. Much to my surprise, the key wasn’t where it was supposed to be in the garage.

I guess I could have waited patiently in the backyard, but that option never occurred to me. There was chocolate at stake, a fact that I still maintain clouded my judgment beyond culpability. That’s why I tried wiggling in through the tiny hatch next to the back door that was built for milk deliveries. No luck there (too many chocolate raids in the past, I suppose).

Raised as I was on prime-time police adventure shows (arguably the only worthwhile cultural development to come out of the 1970s), breaking down the door seemed like the next best option. And it only took two attempts to bust the lock through the door frame, reducing a neat, 6-inch section of trim to smithereens. All I have to say about the event is that Dad was really pretty good about it all. So was the chocolate.

Key-Free Door Lock Key-Free Lock Systems

As the father of a high school youth myself now, I applaud technical developments that render chocolate-induced household damage a thing of the past. Key-free lock systems are popping up in reliable, reasonably priced versions for residential use and that’s a good thing for several reasons. All the people in your household need to remember are four, single-digit numbers punched into the keypad and the door opens. Keys work, too.

Key-Free Pioneer

  • Weiser is one of the pioneers of key-free technology and their Powerbolt System is distributed and serviced here in Canada from their Burnaby B.C. plant.
  • They got started in the lock game 100 years ago with hardware used on Hollywood movie sets.
  • Exactly 50 years later the company set up their Canadian headquarters.

Reliable Design

  • While I must admit that my natural tendency is to shun electronic gizmo’s that have push buttons, looking under the hood on a key-free system proved more impressive than I expected.
  • All electronic components sit on the inside face of the door, underneath a molded cover that includes the battery holder.
  • The design proved reliable and easy to install for anyone who can use a screwdriver.

Practical Security

  • Key-free systems make more practical home security sense than ever in a world where members of most households come and go to the rhythm of their own drummer.
  • I’m sure key-free hardware will be standard equipment on homes within 10 years.
  • The system I’ve been looking at uses four AA-batteries that operate a small electric motor that activates the deadbolt mechanism.
  • Keys work, too, just in case someone can’t remember their numbers or they fail to heed the low-battery warning signal. In normal use a set of alkalines lasts about a year.
  • Although the keypad hardware measures 9 inches long, it’s designed to replace standard deadbolts that fit into the usual 2 1/8-inch diameter door hole.
  • If you ever find yourself needing to change locks because of a problem with lost or stolen keys, then a key-free system makes the most sense. If the access numbers ever get into the wrong hands in the future, reprogram the hardware for new ones. Just make sure that the chocolate lovers in your house are the first to learn the new numbers.

If you are looking for a specialty lock system, see this handy guide to choosing Eurocylinders.