A Guide To Selecting the Right Maglock

Posted on: 13.01.2023
Categories: DCD News
Close up of RGL maglock electric door lock

Access control systems are made up of various elements; products that lock the door, operate the door, or provide power to the door hardware. For the locking hardware, there are many types of electromagnetic locks including solenoid bolts, electric strikes, and motor locks. Here we focus on the various options of maglocks and how you can select the one that's right for your facility.

Magnetic Lock or Maglock?

This isn’t a case of ‘which or witch’, ‘there or their’; the different terminology for electric locking magnets all refer to the same type of product, an enclosed magnet that is energized, engaging it with the armature plate. So here we will talk about electromagnetic locks, maglocks, and mag locks but it is all just one door locking device.

How do Maglocks Work?

Electric locking devices require power to function. With a magnetic lock, the coils of wire within the body of the lock are magnetized, drawing the lock body and armature plate together, providing a strong, reliable way of securing a door.

There are no moving parts, so the positive holding force of a magnetic lock offers a low maintenance locking option for access control doors. The lock can be released by entering a code into a keypad, using a proximity card, or a press to exit button to disrupt the power to the lock. When the electrical current resumes, the lock and armature plate re-engage, holding the door in the locked position.

Electric locks in general can be either fail safe or fail secure but a maglock will always be fail safe in that when the power to it is cut, the lock housing and armature plate will disengage, leaving the door unlocked. 

Maglocks should only be fitted to panic or emergency exit doors if they have been tested within a complete system to EN 13637. This is the standard for electrically controlled escape door systems for doors along escape routes. Although maglocks can provide single action egress fitted independently, and can be linked to a fire alarm, they are not compliant with either EN 179 or EN 1125, the standards for hardware on panic and emergency escape doors.

Installation options

Electromagnetic locks can be installed on timber or metal swing doors. The body of the lock is fitted to the door frame and the armature plate is fitted to the door itself. 

There are several aspects to look at when installing an electrified locking device. Here are the main areas to consider:

Surface mounted or mortice

Inward or outward opening

Single or double door maglock

Internal or external magnetic locks

Fire rated maglock or non-fire rated

The door maglock and armature plate need to be in full alignment to maximise the holding force of the magnet. Our 2023 product catalogue details how to use an ‘L’ bracket on an outward opening door and ‘Z & L’ brackets when installing these locking devices on inward opening doors. 


Our recent YouTube video below also explains how the different brackets should be installed so click through to see a 3D model of the fitting positions:

1. Standard installation on an outward opening door.

2. The maglock body on an ‘L’ bracket on an outward opening door.

3. The armature/contact plate on a ‘Z’ bracket and maglock body on an ‘L’ bracket for an inward opening door.

Holding Force

A main difference between models of mag lock is the holding force, so the strength of the magnetic field that they produce. The smaller units start with a product like the Securefast AEM200 cupboard/cabinet maglock which has a 36kg holding force. 

The holding force is the equivalent pull force required to move the magnet body away from the armature plate. Maglocks are used to hold doors in the closed position but also to secure them. For doors needing to be held shut only, a lower holding force of c.300kg would be sufficient. For security doors that don’t have a secondary locking mechanism, consider a greater holding force. This would also apply to maglocks fitted to external doors. 

Alongside the holding force, you also need to consider the power consumption of the door lock. This dual voltage wiring 12V/24V maglock has a 140mA current draw at 12V DC, so a low 70mA current draw at 24V DC.

Moving up the scale, the RGL mini magnetic lock has a 180kg holding force, a 12V DC operating voltage, and a slim profile design. If you require a 500kg maglock then the ML1200 provides a 545kg / 1200lbs holding force, or the ML1200DM for double doors.

At the top end of the holding force for our stock range of maglocks is the Alpro Vortex AL2400. It is a monitored, surface mounted magnetic lock with LED indication and a  substantial 1500kg holding force.

Holding force alone doesn’t dictate the quality or suitability of a electromagnetic lock. The RGL EXML600 is a 280kg / 600 lb maglock but it is suitable for installation on external gates as it is IP67 rated with built-in surge protection and stainless steel housing. 

What is a Maglock System?

A maglock system is a term that describes a collection of access control items, including the electromagnetic locking device, that are needed to operate and secure a door. This would cover power suppliesaccess keypads or proximity readers, and exit buttons.

We have combined the most common items into access control kits, including different types of electric locks. The access control maglock kits can be supplied as fire rated; they include the armature housing which eliminates the need to drill through the door. There are also different functions available, including whether the locks are monitored or unmonitored.

New to our range is a 280kg holding force door handle electromagnetic lock which has built-in surge protection. It is supplied as a kit with a maglock, door handle, armature, and fixing kit. The DHM600 also has a built-in exit button and delay timer, is monitored, and is suitable for installation to 90° aluminium or timber doors.

Once you’ve selected the right electric lock and door hardware for your facility, it needs to be correctly maintained. Whilst different maglocks have varying lengths of guarantee from the manufacturer, in order to function correctly, they need to be regularly cleaned and maintained. The armature plate and contact face of the magnet need to be free of debris so they effectively magnetise and hold to each other. 

Regulations & Compliance - Fire Rated Maglocks

In need of a fire door lock but want to use access control? Can you still fit a maglock?

Yes! But ensure you install a model that is tested and certified as suitable for use.

Whilst there are no British or European standards for maglocks, they can still be tested to BS EN 1634-1: 2014, and BS 476: Part 22: 1987. Models like the ML600 when installed with the correct armature housing, can be installed to timber fire doors from FD30 up to FD120. 

The Door Hardware Federation (DHF) has also produced a technical specification, TS 010: 2016 + A1: 2019, Electromagnetic Locking Devices Performance Requirements. Whilst this isn’t a mandatory British or European standard, it does provide DFH approval.

This performance specification covers internal maglocks and shearlocks, external door magnets, and their brackets. Products are tested to an 8-point classification system and are graded according to the results. Any product tested will display the classification on either the packaging or the product itself. 

If you would like to read more about electric locking then head over to our blog ‘A Guide to Different Types of Electric Locking’. We cover shear lock vs maglock and explain the difference between fail safe and fail secure functions.

Author: Louise Frost Posted by: Louise Frost

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