Door PINs vs. Traditional Locks: Which Offer Better Security?

door pin vs traditional lock

Secure, effective door locks are essential for keeping your home and belongings safe, so it’s no surprise that there are many different types available on the market.

Door PINs and traditional locks have become two of the most popular options among both commercial and residential property owners looking to upgrade their security measures. But which one offers better protection?

In this article, we’ll compare the pros and cons of both door pins and traditional locks to help you decide which is right for your property. We’ll look at factors such as:

Let’s get started.

What are traditional locks?

Traditional locks have been the standard for hundreds of years. Generally, they incorporate an internal cylinder connected to a metal or thumb turn on the outside and use either keys or combination mechanisms to gain access.

A traditional lock’s design consists of several small steel pins placed at different heights inside the lock body. When the matching key is correctly aligned with the system, it will elevate a set of pins and unlock the external mechanism.

Such locks can be deadbolts, spring bolts, and mortise locks – all offering varying levels of security.

What are door PINs? 

Door PINs are a relatively new locking technology derived from traditional pin tumbler designs but with added safety benefits such as superior tamper resistance. These electronic locks may sometimes have keyholes but typically boast an electronic keypad for easier access control.

pin code smart locks electronic locks

The design of these electronic locks involves a spring-loaded latch, normally activated by an integrated battery or power source. When activated, the lock opens (or closes) using either a unique PIN code combination, registered keycard scan,fob, or mobile bluetooth technology. .

Quick overview: Pros and cons

Traditional locks: Tried and true


  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Widely available
  • No learning curve


  • Prone to picking if not deadbolts 
  • Can be tampered with by skilled thieves
  • Incompatibility with other security measures
  • Keys may be lost or stolen

Door PINs: Innovative security solutions  


  • Tamper-resistant
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Not dependent on key/card
  • Compatible with other security measures


  • More expensive, especially to replace
  • Requires a power source or battery replacement   
  • Installation may require a professional
  • May not work with older doors
  • Pin codes can be shared with unauthorized people

Side-by-side comparison

1. Design

The design of the traditional lock is just that – traditional. The common lock will have several pins inside the lock’s body that are arranged at different heights. When a proper key is inserted into the lock, they move up or down, allowing for access.

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The simplicity of the design and it being somewhat common knowledge make these locks more vulnerable to tampering than other lock types.

On the other hand, door PINs are much more sophisticated. Instead of relying on metal pins, these locks use an electronic latch which is usually connected to a battery or power source and can be operated using a unique PIN code combination, registered fingerprint scan, or other types of technology. 

mixed use building security suite

Traditional locks may have been sufficient for deterring burglars back in the day, but they no longer offer adequate protection from today’s advanced methods used by criminals. With that said, those looking for superior levels of security should definitely opt for door PINs over traditional locks if possible.

2. Installation

The installation of traditional locks is notably simple, and the pieces necessary (the lock, handle, and tools) to do so are easy to acquire. All that’s required from the user is that they drill and screw through the door frame and handle, insert the lock, and align it correctly.

installing door lock

Additionally, most hardware and home improvement stores sell pre-made lock systems for those who don’t feel comfortable module-fitting or working with specific makes and models.

Installing door PINs can be more difficult because they often require the expertise of an electrical expert or a specifically trained technician.

Depending on the type of locking system involved, there could be additional wiring or other components that need to be added as part of the setup. If there are other security solutions on the property (such as community security systems), then expect even longer installation times, as they will all need to be connected. 

installing door pin smart lock
installing door pin smart lock

For this reason, those who are looking to have the ease of use associated with electronic security without lengthy setup times may be better served by sticking to traditional locks.

If either you or a member of your staff is trained to work electrical components themselves, however, then seeing the time necessary to install it may very well be worth it in the end.

3. Maintenance and replacement

Regular maintenance keeps door locks in good working condition and helps prevent them from malfunctioning or tampering, but it is not always necessary in every situation. Traditional locks, for the most part, need some type of oiling or greasing every 6 months – a task that requires little expertise and is usually simple to perform.

As we covered previously, however, traditional locks are more vulnerable to tampering or being picked. This may mean that you have to regularly replace your traditional locks depending on the security situation around you. 

Meanwhile, door PINs require minimal maintenance – provided their power supply is set up correctly – such as occasional firmware updates when available (to keep up with technological advances). Since grease or oil isn’t necessary for operation, dirt or other contaminants rarely get inside the lock to cause damage down the line.

They will still require testing every now and then to make sure the electronic latch is secure. Checking the power supply itself for potential disruptions can also help prevent unexpected access due to batteries dying or RFID errors.

If you look at the cost and effort of maintenance and replacement holistically, then door PINs may come out ahead. This is because many security vendors will offer warranties on door PINs that help to cover the cost of repair or replacement, whereas vendors of traditional locks very rarely do this.

Without taking this into consideration, however, traditional locks require far less time and money to both maintain and replace than door PINs.

4. Cost breakdown

Traditional locks are usually cheaper than electronic ones such as door pins because they require fewer components (depending on the type of lock) and simpler installation.

Most hardware stores carry a variety of basic locking types at reasonable prices – starting at around $15 for entry-level models. However, the cost of duplicating keys can add up over time, and you may be required to replace keys if they are lost or stolen. Bear this in mind when considering the total price.

Those with larger budgets who are looking for something more advanced should expect door PINs, as high-end solutions are considerably more expensive than traditional ones.

Depending on the features, size, and complexity of the lock, you could be looking at anywhere between $100 to over $1000 for a single unit. Be sure to shop around for a solution that meets your needs and your budget, or consider security-grade locks that offer impressive features but don’t price out of the market as easily.

Looking strictly at the price of the lock, traditional locks win by a significant margin. The cost of a traditional key lock is often a tenth of an electronic door PIN, even factoring in key replacement. (However, it is worth noting that door PINs often give property owners their money’s worth in terms of long-term security benefits.)

5. System compatibility

Since traditional locks work with physical tools such as keys, they are often not compatible with other security systems you might have.

That isn’t to say that technology such as motion sensors or video cameras can’t be synergized with an existing traditional lock. Unfortunately, both the process of incorporating them and the final product can be clunky, outdated, and over-complicated at times.

Door PINs, on the other hand, can be networked together and deliver uniform access control across the site without having to carry around separate keys or worry about lost ones. RFID and virtual guard security measures are complementary to door PINs, as well as intercom systems, entry/exit sensors, and biorecognition installations. 

This feature alone means it’s much easier for property owners to monitor and increase security at their sites instantly compared to using conventional key-based solutions – something that makes door PINs more appealing from a safety standpoint than traditional locks in many scenarios.

Final thoughts

Overall, door PINs and traditional locks both have their benefits, depending on the situation. Property owners should consider all the pros and cons before making a decision about which type of lock to use for their property.

If budget isn’t an issue, then door PINs offer superior security with additional convenience features such as better access control, but those who want something basic and affordable should opt for a more traditional option. 

When it comes to security measures for your personal property or business site, no single solution is the right fit for everyone. If you’re unsure where to start, consider contacting the Proptia team. Our skilled security experts are prepared to provide you with tailored advice on finding the right products and solutions for your needs.

Contact Proptia today for a demo or consultation, and let our trained professionals help you keep your property safe.


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Nick is a tech-savvy freelancer with a passion for coding and a knack for writing. As a programmer by trade, he knows the ins and outs of the digital world, with a particular interest in PropTech and Security Tech. When he’s not tinkering with the latest software, you can catch him scaling mountains or unleashing his creative side on a canvas.