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How Does a Magnetic Lock Work? – The Science Behind

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how does a magnetic lock work

The magnetic lock system is yet another method used to improve home security. But how does a magnetic lock work and how to know if it’s compatible with your door?

Briefly, the magnetic lock mechanism relies on two main components: the electromagnet installed onto the doorframe and the metal armature plate on the door. When turned on, the magnetic field will attach two parts together with a strong hold force.

To lock the door, the electromagnetic current that flows between the two parts can be triggered using either a keypad, key fob, or other devices.

Magnetic Lock – How Does It Work?

1. The science behind magnetic lock


Wanna peek at the science that makes the electromagnetic door lock work? To put it simply, this type of lock is considered an electric-powered or automatic lock.

On the wiring diagram, an electric current is required in these electromagnetic locking systems to create the magnetic forces between the metal armature plate and the electromagnet. It is this magnetic force that “locks” the electromagnet and the metal plate, enabling them to withstand heavy pressures.

The electric power will securely lock the door unless the power current is interrupted, making it a fail-safe lock. In other words, the maglock door unlocks when the electric current from the electromagnet is de-energized.

This makes them ideal for the main entry and exit points (office doors and lobby access doors), panic rooms, and emergency exits because people can easily go out of the area when the power is out.

2. Magnetic lock holding force


It is a rule of thumb that the more expensive the maglock is, the more voltage it has and the higher its holding force. A typical holding force for maglock ranges from 550 pounds to an impressive 2200 pounds.

Moreover, your lock’s holding force could be increased by adding current depending on your liking. However, this depends on the model you purchased.

3. Magnetic lock usage

Are you wondering what an electromagnetic door lock looks like or where it is used most of the time? Well, if you’ve ever been to a hotel, highly secured area, or residential block, chances are that you’ve seen it.

Magnetic locks are standard in these environments as they provide a higher level of security and a much larger locking area than the traditional latching lock.

It is deemed more secure than the traditional lock. It offers seamless door or compartment concealment, making it almost impossible to open magnetic lock without key or control access.

4. Magnetic lock installation


Magnetic locks are designed to be placed and installed at the door top and the door frame for a better magnetic bond.

The location is advised to be the best side to wire the building’s circuit and the magnet as it is closer to the concrete wall and would make the mag lock installation easier.

Moreover, magnetic locks can be installed on different types of doors. It would work for wooden door or any type of material, such as glass. Maglock can also be put in double-swinging, in-swing, out-swing doors, and even on gates!

What is a Magnetic Lock?


Unlike traditional locks, maglocks typically do not require latches or bolts extending to the doorframe to secure and lock the door. The two most important instruments for this lock is the electromagnet and the armature plate.

  • Electromagnet emits an electric current that attracts, seals, and secures the locking through the strong magnetic field.

The electric current that flows and increases the magnetic bond can be triggered and turned off by the control access device.

  • Armature plate allows the electromagnet to clamp onto it, securing the magnetic bond between the two.

Since maglocks don’t have the usual knob and keyway, it requires two ways to operate the lock: by pushing the switch to disable the power on the magnet and by using an access control device, such as a magnetic door opener.

Access control devices encompass, but are not limited to, keypads, biometric or card scanners, wireless sensors, or other systems that verify the authorization of the entry.


  • Durable as the typical maglock can withstand up to 2200 pounds of force.
  • Easy to install, as the parts are as straightforward as they can get.
  • Electric current can be increased depending on your situation.


  • Generally expensive.
  • Requires constant power to secure the area continuously.

List of Best Magnetic Locks

Lock Application Holding Force Monitor type Price
AGPtek® 60kg 130LBs HS0028 Doors (wooden, glass & metal doors) 130 lbs Monitored $24.99
Visionis FPC-5192 600lbs ‎FPC-5192 Indoor 600 lbs Monitored $64.20
FUGEST 600lbs Holding Force ‎1 Doors, gates, commercial buildings 600 lbs Unmonitored $32.50
Visionis 1200lbs FPC-1200POUND LOCK Doors 1,200 lbs Monitored $93.67
COUNS Single Door 12V 600lbs Door, commercial buildings 600 lbs Unmonitored $35.99
Seco-Larm 1200lbs E-941SA-1200 Preferably indoor application 1200 lbs Unmonitored $113
Supreform 12VDC 24VDC 600lbs ‎De-door-16h-360 Outdoor application 600 lbs Monitored $64.99
Erokku Maglock 600lbs EM600L Doors (fireproof, wood, glass, & metal) 600 lbs Unmonitored $39.90
AUTENS Maglock 130lbs SVE20 Small doors 130 lbs Unmonitored $20.99
FUGEST Maglock 130lbs 302 Doors 130 lbs Unmonitored $18.50
FUZADEL 600LB Access Control System Single Door W01 Doors, commercial buildings 600 lbs Unmonitored $35.99
MENGQI-CONTROL 600lbs Single Door Electric Magnetic Lock Commercial and public buildings 600 lbs Monitored $125.99

Frequently Asked Questions


Do magnetic locks work without power?

As explained above, a maglock needs electrical power to generate a magnetic field, which will keep the door shut. This means that it’ll unlock once the power is interrupted since they are inherently fail-safe locks.

How do you unlock a magnetic lock?

You can unlock magnetic door locks by pressing the switch, which will disable the power current in the magnetic field, or by using an access control device like a keypad, wireless sensor, biometric or card scanner, or other.

Are magnetic locks safe?

Defeating electromagnetic locks is hard for even expert lock pickers since this type of lock does not rely on handles, bolts, and other components of traditional locks.

However, there are still a few magnetic door lock hack to bypass the system. For instance, cutting off the lock’s power supply can unlock the door, unless it also comes with a battery backup.

Can a maglock be fail-secure?

No, being able to open the lock when the magnetic door lock no power is what sets it apart from other electric security measures. Hence, it is impossible to find a fail secure magnetic lock.


Understanding the function and the purpose of electromagnetic locks might be confusing for some, but it is simple and pretty straightforward. So if you’re still in doubt about installing one, you’re missing a lot!

Hopefully, this guide answers your question, “How does a magnetic lock work?” as it opens you to the added convenience and security you will ever experience.

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