High-security locks are becoming increasingly important for homeowners and businesses alike as the threat of break-ins and forced entries continues to rise. However, even more pressing is the ease with which locks can be picked or bumped, even by amateurs. In fact, it is estimated that 35% of door entries show no signs of forced entry, which can be problematic when it comes to insurance claims. Furthermore, the threat of unauthorized key duplication is often overlooked, as tenants, friends, or acquaintances can easily have multiple key duplicates made without your knowledge.
While riots and looting may make the news, basic property theft is also on the rise, and with these crimes becoming more common, businesses and homeowners may choose to invest in high-security locks meeting the UL437 standard. These locks provide the best resistance to tampering and must undergo proper scrutiny to be given the appropriate security rating, ranging from Grade 1 (highest rating) to Grade 3 (lowest rating).
Two of the most popular brands in the high-security lock industry are Medeco and Mul-T-lock. Medeco locks are widely used in at least 60-75% of the US High Security market, with the company promoting them as “locks that cannot be picked”. On the other hand, Mul-T-lock has been in the high-security lock business for almost 5 decades, with a presence in 80 countries and 20,000 service centers. Both companies are owned by the Swedish conglomerate, ASSA Abloy.
Both Medeco and Mul-T-lock use the pin-tumbler design with springs, which is similar to most locks that homeowners are familiar with. As a result, it is generally easier for local locksmiths to install either of these brands on door locks. However, there are certain strengths and weaknesses that give one brand an advantage over the other.
If you are looking for prevention from brute force break-ins, then consider the Medeco Maxum. When it comes to brute deadbolt strength, Medeco Maxum is currently the highest-rated residential lock deadbolt. It has been given an ANSI Grade 1 Rating and is considered one of the strongest deadbolt locks available. In comparison, Mul-T-Lock MT5+ Hercular deadbolt follows closely at number 2, making Medeco the winner in this category.
For those looking for strict key duplication controls, Mul-T-Lock is the clear winner. They require a magnetic strip order card to be presented at an authorized dealer for key duplication, making it virtually impossible to get a copy without permission. In comparison, Medeco utilizes angled cuts on their keys and slider combinations to produce millions of key combinations, and have patented a key control system that gives homeowners control over duplication.
Lock picking/bumping is the most crucial test for any high-security lock, as the inability to be picked or bumped is what sets high-security locks apart. Unfortunately, Medeco has had its security compromised, with older versions of their locks being vulnerable to lock picking. However, both Medeco and Mul-T-lock are not 100% impenetrable, and it's important to note that newer versions of Medeco locks have improved their security.
Another factor to consider is pricing. Medeco locks tend to be more expensive than Mul-T-lock locks, making them better suited for commercial settings. However, for homeowners who want the highest level of security, the added cost may be worth it. Lastly, we have found that Medeco keys are somewhat fragile when compared to the thicker steel and more favorable cutting methods found in Mul-T-lock keys, with Medeco keys being more prone to bending or snapping. Having compared these locks, it is our opinion that for for overall security as applicable to the whole brand, Mul-T-Lock is your best choice. While Medeco Maxum deadbolt gives a strong showing, as brute force break-ins are more common than non-forced entry, it is only one product within the whole brand. WINNER: MUL-T-LOCK
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