How do Fingerprint Locks Work? All you Need to Know

It's a step up from normal padlocks and key based entry locks, so we thought we'd go ahead and write up some FAQs about fingerprint locks.

fingerprint on center of screen

Fingerprint seems to be finding its direction into modern life in many ways. A technology that seemed so futuristic only a couple of decades ago now finds itself as security. One of the ways that we can use this technology is as part of a digital locking mechanism.

How Fingerprint Locks Work

Fingerprints, ‘biometric’ locks are here to stay, and as time goes on, it is likely to be an even greater capacity. Biometric refers to human traits, fingerprints, in a lock to access a system. Every person has unique lines on their finger, and the system can decide if that person can deactivate the lock.

individual accessing an entry door using their finger

Benefits of Fingerprint Locks

Maximum Security

A conventional style lock is a pin-tumbler which is vulnerable to forced entry, unlike fingerprint locks where we have a wholly keyless system. It means fingerprint locks have an extra level of security.

Fingerprint locks are almost impossible to deceive and can detect when a door closes and lock after five seconds. For these reasons, many people believe these types of locks to be a secure option.

Biometric info relies on a system that can detect if a print is a match without having to send information to a source. This works through sensors that will reject and deny access to anything that does not resemble a human finger's characteristics. It means that no third party has to check the information through the system each time.

Increased Control

It's perfect for the situation where lots of people might be sharing access to a building, but only certain people are permitted to gain access via one side of a door. Fingerprint technology can help securely maintain this structure.

Biometric locks can recognise around a thousand users who have authorisation to use the door. This way, only people with the required approval can enter. This helps prevent any intruders and any staff members who are not permitted to enter a specific area.

woman scanning her fingerprint on the screen

Fingerprints Can’t Be Lost. Stolen or Duplicated.

A set of keys can get lost, stolen or copied and someone can discover a PIN by keeping a watchful eye when they shouldn’t be. A fingerprint requires a person's actual fingerprint for unlocking. Something that they can not lose, or have anyone steal, and it would be difficult for someone to duplicate.

More Convenient & Faster

If fingerprint was your chosen security, all those wishing access would no longer have to remember a PIN. Once a fingerprint is against the sensor, you're looking at a second before the door unlocks.

Disadvantages of Fingerprint Locks

No system is perfect and there are some instances where fingerprint locks may not be the best option. Here are a few of the main disadvantages of fingerprint locking systems:

Errors With the Scanners

How well a fingerprint locking system operates comes down quite a lot to how good the scanner in use is. It's possible that a person could be presenting a fingerprint that should access through a door, but isn't recognising the person. As good as this technology is, it is not perfect.

Some scanners are not able to detect the difference from a picture and an actual finger. This may mean that someone could trick the scanner. By using a mould of a person’s finger. Of course for someone to use this they would need access to someone's fingerprint, but this brings a criminal one step closer.

Everyone Would Need to Be Added to the System

Every person’s fingerprint information will need to be in the system in order for the procedure to work. Due to some businesses limitations on resources, this may not be a desirable process. Also to take into account are the logistics of such a process.

In the sign-up, everyone would need to be present to have their fingerprints in the database. For some operations that may be tricky to make a reality.

Good old-fashioned keys, do not need everyone to be present to have the security system up and running. Keys can be duplicated and collected or sent out where required.

So this has taught you about how fingerprint locks work and the pros and cons that come with using this method. Whether it is the right choice for you is down to several factors, but, some solid benefits exist. It is also fair that this is a technology that is only likely to get better, soon fingerprint may be a better option.

As the technology is in its earlier stages it remains expensive, but in a few years, prices are likely to fall.

To read more articles like this one, please visit our Securing The Home page.

About The Author

Reece Thompson: Reece has been involved in property in one way or another for the past 10 years. He's gained a lot of experience when it comes to the home, kitchen and garden. He shares his knowledge with enthusiasm and honesty.