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How to Install a Magnetic Door Lock Access Control System

November 10, 2023

No time to read? Here’s a summary:

  • Magnetic door lock access control systems use a strong magnetic force to keep doors locked. Only when an authorized credential is presented does the magnetic force release, allowing the door to open.
  • Magnetic locks don't involve mechanical grooves and moving parts like bolts and latches, so they can’t be picked. And their magnetic locking mechanism is incredibly strong, often resisting forces measured in thousands of pounds.
  • Magnetic door lock installation involves selecting locks compatible with existing doors, smart placement of locking devices, and structured cabling for reliable functionality.

Magnetic door locks, also known as “mag locks” and “electromagnetic locks,” have become a staple in access control infrastructure for businesses and organizations. Magnetic locking systems use magnets to lock and unlock doors. Magnetic locks for access control function as part of a security system designed to ensure that only approved individuals are able to pass through controlled barriers.

If you're considering installing magnetic lock access control for your business, you're in the right place. Let's find out how magnetic door access control works, what its benefits are, and how to implement it at sites like yours.

Understanding Magnetic Door Access Control Systems

Before getting into the installation process, it's essential to understand the science and mechanics behind magnetic door access control locks.

The Science of Electromagnetism

At the heart of a magnetic door access control system is the principle of electromagnetism. When an electric current passes through a coil of wire, it generates a magnetic field. The magnetic field can be controlled by adjusting the electric current flowing through the coil.

Magnetic locks “open” when the electric current in their coil is stopped, breaking the magnetic field. The locks then “relock” or activate when the electric current returns.

Primary Components of the Magnetic Lock

Electromagnetic Plate: The electromagnetic plate is typically mounted on a door frame. When powered, it becomes a powerful magnet.

Electromagnetic plate

Armature Plate: Attached to the door itself, the armature plate is made of metal and is attracted to the electromagnetic plate when the electromagnetic plate is powered.

How the Lock Works

When an authorized credential (like a card, key fob, or biometric input) is scanned or recognized at an authorized access point, the system interrupts the power supply to the electromagnetic plate, temporarily deactivating the magnetic field and unlocking the door.

Locking Mechanism: When the electromagnetic plate is powered, it creates a strong magnetic field that attracts the armature plate, effectively locking the door.

The force with which these two plates are attracted can be incredibly strong. In fact, the average magnetic lock can withstand up to 1200 pounds of force, making it nearly impossible to force a magnetic lock access control door open.

Unlocking Mechanism: The electric current to the electromagnetic plate is cut off, either manually or through an automated system, to unlock the door.

Without the current, the magnetic field collapses, releasing the armature plate and allowing the door to open.

Benefits of Magnetic Door Locks

No Moving Parts: Unlike traditional locks, magnetic locks can’t be picked. They don't have bolts, latches, or any other moving parts. This also means there's less wear and tear, leading to a longer lifespan and less maintenance.

Quick Response: No more fumbling for keys! Authorized personnel can easily access the premises using authentic access control credentials, such as cards, fobs, smartphones, and even biological identifiers. The locking and unlocking process can be instantaneous, providing quick access when needed while remaining locked at all other times.

Fail-Safe Design: In the event of a power outage, magnetic locks automatically release, ensuring that people aren't trapped. This fail-safe feature is especially important during emergency situations.

Audit Trail: Magnetic door lock access control systems maintain entry and exit logs. Audit trails are crucial for security, administrative, and sometimes regulatory purposes.

Supercharged Security: Most importantly, magnetic door access control systems offer a higher level of security than traditional lock and key systems.

Installation Steps

Choose the Right Installer

Before making a significant investment in your access control infrastructure, be sure to consult with experienced commercial-grade access control installers.

If you’re in Connecticut, the friendly experts at Mammoth Security help businesses and organizations like yours select and install cost-effective and reliable security devices and systems, including magnetic door lock access control systems, every day.

Choose the Right Lock

Not all magnetic locks are created equal. Depending on your door's size and type, you'll need to select a lock that fits perfectly. Brands like ICT, DMP, and Avigilon offer top-notch access control products. The experts at Mammoth Security are here to help you match the right locks to your existing doors for significant savings.

Positioning the Lock

The lock should be placed on the door's interior side, ensuring it aligns with the door frame. This is crucial for the magnetism to work effectively.


Structured cabling should be installed to connect the magnetic lock to its power supply and other access control system components. Because the strength of the electromagnetic force depends on the power supply, be sure to work with experienced installers who can ensure that cables are well-organized and correctly connected.

Test the System

Before wrapping up, your installer should test the system multiple times to ensure it's working correctly. Testing is accomplished by presenting authorized credentials at access control entry points to make sure the system will unlock smoothly.

Best Practices and Insights

Regular Maintenance: Like all security systems, regular check-ups are crucial. This ensures the system is always in tip-top shape.

Regular Authorization Updates: Regularly update who has access to the premises and what specific areas each individual has access to through their associated credential. For example, if an employee leaves or changes roles, their access privileges should be updated accordingly.

Backup Power: In case of power outages, having a backup power supply is essential. This ensures the lock remains functional even during blackouts.

Integration: Consider integrating your magnetic door lock system with other security systems. For instance, video surveillance systems by Avigilon can be integrated with many access control systems to supercharge situational awareness.

Mammoth Security Installs Magnetic Door Locks

Mammoth Security Logo

Installing a magnetic door lock access control system can be daunting without the right tools and know-how. That’s where the Mammoth Security team comes in.

We’re Connecticut's one-stop shop for advanced commercial-grade security systems. We furnish and install systems for access control, video surveillance, fire detection, and intrusion detection—plus the structured cabling that allows these systems to function reliably and integrate with each other.

For a 100% free site survey and assessment, click to contact us and fill out the form. You’ll meet a friendly and knowledgeable member of our team for a customized security consultation that will set your business or organization on the path to cost-effective, reliable physical security.




In the realm of security, a magnetic door access control system is a mechanism that uses magnets to lock and unlock doors.

Electromagnetism is the driving force behind magnetic door locks. When an electric current flows through a coil of wire, it produces a magnetic field. By adjusting this current, the magnetic field's strength can be controlled, which in turn operates the lock.

The primary components of a magnetic lock are the electromagnetic plate, typically mounted on the door frame, and the armature plate, which is attached to the door itself. When powered, the electromagnetic plate attracts the armature plate, locking the door.

Magnetic locks unlock when an authorized credential, such as a card, key fob, or biometric input, is recognized. This interrupts the power of the electromagnetic plate, deactivating the magnetic field and allowing the door to open.

Magnetic door locks offer several advantages, including no moving parts, quick response times, a fail-safe design that releases during power outages, audit trails for entry and exit, and enhanced security compared to traditional lock and key systems.

Selecting the right installer is crucial when investing in access control infrastructure. Experienced commercial-grade access control installers, like those at Mammoth Security in Connecticut, ensure proper installation, maximizing the system's efficiency and security.

Regular maintenance is essential for all security systems, including magnetic door locks. This ensures the system remains in optimal condition. Additionally, regularly updating authorizations and integrating with other security systems can further enhance security.

Backup power is vital for magnetic locks because, in the event of a power outage, the lock automatically releases. Having a backup ensures the lock remains functional during blackouts, maintaining security.

Yes, magnetic door lock systems can be integrated with other security measures. For example, video surveillance systems by brands like Avigilon can be combined with access control for a comprehensive security solution.



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