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Keyless Locks

Updated on December 27, 2008

Definition and History

The term, "keyless lock", is somewhat of a misnomer because most so-called keyless locks do, in fact, have keys. When referring to a lock of this type, one calls it a key override option. When people say keyless lock they really mean stand-alone keypad-operated lock, but keyless lock is so much easier to say.

The keyless lock is not a new idea. The Simplex company was producing mechanical push-button locks decades ago. Since then the company has changed hands several times and is now called Kaba-Ilco, yet still produces models it produced in decades past. One of the earliest pushbutton mechanical locks was the Simplex 900 series, still made by Kaba-Ilco today.


See the Kaba-Ilco 900 series at:

This lock is also available with a key override option.

The mechanical pushbutton keyless lock has evolved over time. Perhaps the latest version is the Kaba 5000 series. See the Kaba 5000 series at:

Mechanical Pushbutton Keyless Locks

Mechanical pushbutton keyless locks are pushbutton combination locks. Push the buttons in a certain order and enter. A lock is capable of retaining one combination, or code, at a time, so everyone who uses the lock uses the same code.

Electronic Keyless Locks

With the revolution in electronics, electronic pushbutton locks came on the scene. One of the leaders in this area continues to be the Alarm Lock division of Napco. They make the Trilogy series of keyless locks.

See the Trilogy series at:

Electronic pushbutton keyless locks offer multiple codes, and depending on the model you select, can offer all the features of a full-featured access control system, including audit trail and time zone capabilities. Different models have been designed to accept most access control credentials in today's market.

For information about building an access control system, please visit

Basically, choosing battery operated stand-alone locks over a hardwired access control system is a trade off. With battery operated stand-alone locks you can often save money on installation since they require no cabling, but in order to make changes to the system you will need to visit each lock with a laptop, Palm or other device. With a hardwired system you may pay more up front for installation, but you will enjoy centralized system control from your PC or LAN.

A good compromise might be a wireless system which incorporates battery operated locks that transmit information to hardwired receivers such as Schlage Electronics wireless access control products. To see these products, please visit:


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