Locking Cylinder: Review & Recommendations

Welcome to our big lock cylinder test 2020, where we present you all the lock cylinders we have tested in detail. We have put together detailed background information for you and also added a summary of the customer reviews on the net.

In this way we would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you to find the best locking cylinder for you.

You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer you interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy a locking cylinder.

The most important facts in brief

  • To be able to lock a door really securely, the locking cylinder is of great importance. Modern door cylinders have versatile quality features with various functions. These functions can be adapted to the respective application.
  • A locking cylinder consists of various components. These play together precisely and can thus guarantee a smooth functioning of the cylinder.
  • The most widely used locking cylinders work mechanically with the help of a key. However, as progress is made, this is increasingly being replaced by electronic locking cylinders. These no longer require the use of a key, which is probably the most serious advantage of an electronic locking cylinder.

Lock cylinder test: the ranking

1st place: ABUS profile cylinder Buffo 30/30 12127

2nd place: VisorTech door lock

3rd place: ABUS profile cylinder C73N 30/40

Advisor: Questions you should deal with before buying a locking cylinder

What do I need a locking cylinder for?

Locking cylinders are used in the most diverse doors. A good locking cylinder is the heart of the front door and offers the first most effective protection against burglary.

A good lock cylinder is protected against breaking, drilling, pulling out or similar manipulations. These security functions make it more difficult for unauthorised persons to enter through the respective door.

Locking cylinders are not only used in doors. You can also use locking cylinders on cupboards, cases or boxes to protect the contents from unauthorised access. The locking cylinder is adapted to the respective application.

Which locking cylinder models are available?

On the one hand, you differentiate between the function of the locking cylinder, i.e. whether it closes in the same way or differently. On the other hand, you can differentiate the cylinders according to their design.
A keyed alike cylinder means that several locks can be opened and closed with only one key. A keyed alike cylinder is mostly used in apartments or cars. As an example, the garage, front door and apartment door can be opened and closed with one key using the front door key.
The advantage of a keyed alike lock is that only one key is needed. This eliminates the tiresome search for the right key and significantly reduces the number of keys required on the key ring. However, if you lose a key, it is advisable to replace all of the locks so that you can avoid unwanted access.

In contrast to this are the differently closing locking cylinders. With this type, only the key made for this cylinder fits into the respective lock. Locks of this type are usually used for individual items, such as a suitcase. As an example: The key of the suitcase fits only for the respective suitcase and not on any other.

This type of lock is best used for single locks or locks that are not used very often. Since you need a separate key for each lock, multiple locks of this type will increase the number of keys and make it more difficult to find the right key. If the key is lost, the lock can be replaced quickly and easily without having to replace other locks.

What types of locking cylinder are available?

Furthermore you differentiate the design of the locking cylinders. There are many different designs, which you can choose according to your personal needs. The following table can help you to get a short overview of the different designs.
What is a profile cylinder?
A profile cylinder is the most common form of locking cylinder in this country. It is mainly used for security door locks. The shape is round at the top and oval at the bottom. The key’s bit points downwards after installation.
What is a round cylinder?
The round cylinder was used very often before the profile cylinder. In the meantime it is mostly found in cupboards. The shape of the locking cylinder is round and the key bit points upwards after installation
What is an oval cylinder?
Oval locking cylinders are oval in shape and are similar to profile cylinders. The field of application is mainly office furniture and showcases.

How does a locking cylinder work?

A locking cylinder works by means of a coding. The coding can be mechanical or electronic. The key contains the coding in its profile due to its incisions and notches. In the locking cylinder, these codes are scanned by the housing pins.

The housing pins adapt to the incisions in the key bit and when the profiles of the key and the lock cylinder match, the core of the lock is released. The key can be inserted and the lock locked.

What functions must the locking cylinder fulfil?

A locking cylinder is primarily intended to lock a door or cabinet. In addition, the locked lock protects against unauthorized access. A locking cylinder can be opened either very easily, or only with little or no opening, due to its versatile materials and techniques.
A high-quality lock cylinder only allows professional lock pickers to open it. And this with a corresponding amount of tools and time. This makes it uninteresting for many burglars or thieves, because the risk of being caught becomes too great.

What should you look for when buying a locking cylinder?

There are different security classes for the locking cylinders. These are often specified by the manufacturer. Depending on the area of application, you choose the cylinder security class that suits you best.
Security classes provide information about the effort required to open a lock without authorisation or by force. The higher the security class, the more complex it is to break open the lock and the longer it takes to break it open.

How do you find the right size lock cylinder?

There are different cylinder sizes. To prevent bad purchases, it is best to measure the already installed cylinder beforehand. The external and internal dimensions are decisive for the size of a locking cylinder. These dimensions are measured from the centre or from the fixing screw. It is important that you include the door fitting in the measurement.
From the middle of the cylinder towards the outside of the door is the outer dimension, the other side represents the inner dimension. Now you can get the right cylinder with these measurements, these measurements are given with the locking cylinders.

How is the locking cylinder replaced?

A locking cylinder can normally be replaced relatively quickly and easily. The screws required for installation are usually included in the delivery.

For mounting you usually need a normal screwdriver to fix the locking screw. The locking cylinders include assembly instructions, with the help of which you can easily change the cylinder.

If you prefer to leave the work to a locksmith, you will also have to expect higher costs.

Most locksmiths also offer you their own, usually somewhat more expensive, locking cylinder. Therefore it is more advisable to do this work yourself.

But to give you an overview of the prices, I have compiled a small list with the usual costs.

What happens if the key is lost?

In Germany profile cylinders are used for door security locks. The profile cylinders are standardised in size according to DIN 1825 / EN 1303. For you, this means that you can replace the locking cylinder regardless of the manufacturer.
In most cases, keys can be imitated by a locksmith or by various dealers.
Depending on the quality and manufacturer of the lock, some of them have a so-called security card when they are purchased. This card is needed in case the key is copied. With this card you can prove that you are the owner of the lock. This prevents unwanted copying of the key.
Depending on the type of key, the cost of copying a key is usually between 10 and 20 Euros. The locksmith needs an original key or the copy card to make a duplicate.
With the help of a key copying set you can also copy an emergency key yourself. However, the lifetime of these keys is comparatively short.
With special security locks or locking system keys, copying can be problematic. It is often necessary to replace the entire locking cylinder of the locking system. In order to be protected against higher costs in this case, many private liability insurances offer coverage in case of key loss.

What care does a locking cylinder require?

You can increase the service life of a locking cylinder with the right care. Thus you can guarantee a long and trouble-free function of the lock. Good care products for locking cylinders are special oils that prevent the mechanics from corroding and freezing. In addition, a good care spray lubricates and cleans the mechanism.

Decision: What types of locking cylinders are available and which one is the right one for you

Basically one can distinguish between four different types of locking cylinders:

  • Lock cylinder with security card
  • Key cylinder keyed alike
  • Lock cylinder with emergency and danger function

What are locking cylinders with security card and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

These locking cylinders come with a security card. If you value high security, this type of cylinder is suitable for you. The security card prevents unauthorised copying and imitation of the key, as it identifies the rightful owner when the key is imitated.

Advantages

Replacement keys can only be copied with a security card
Locking cylinders are of high quality and workmanship and therefore usually classified in a high security class
Locking cylinders of this type provide very good protection against unauthorised opening

Disadvantages

If the security card is lost, the key cannot be copied
Difficult opening of the locking cylinder if the key is lost
In terms of purchase, these locking cylinders are often in a higher price category

What are identical locking cylinders and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

One locking cylinder with identical locking can lock several locking cylinders of the individual locking system with only one key.

Advantages

Only one key required for several doors
No more tiresome search for the right key
Pleasant handling

Disadvantages

Several locks affected by key loss
Replacement of the locking cylinder can be more costly
If one cylinder is defective, all cylinders may have to be replaced

What are locking cylinders with emergency and danger function and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

In emergency and dangerous situations it may be necessary to lock a door from the outside although the key is inside. It is precisely for these cases that locking cylinders with emergency and danger function are the first choice.

Advantages

Designed for emergency and hazardous situations
Lock can be locked from the outside when the key is inserted inside
Area of application especially useful for households with children or pensioners

Disadvantages

Access can also be unwanted when the key is inserted
In case of loss, unauthorized persons can gain access at any time
Slightly higher categorised in terms of price than simple locking cylinders

Purchase criteria: With these factors you can compare and evaluate locking cylinders

In the following we show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate locking cylinders. This will make it easier for you to get an overview and to decide on a suitable and effective device.

In summary, these criteria are as follows:

  • Size
  • Security level
  • Material
  • Supplied number of keys
  • Necessary maintenance intervals

In the following you can read what the respective criteria are and find out why it makes sense for you to purchase a device according to the criteria or not.

Size

First of all you need the right size of the cylinder so that it fits into the door. For this reason you measure the length before buying. Many locking cylinders are available in different lengths. In some cases not all lengths are available.

There are also length-adjustable locking cylinders available from specialist retailers, which you can adapt to your required length.

Security level

The security classes provide information about the manipulation and picking security of a locking cylinder. Picking is the term for opening a lock without the key provided for this purpose.

In principle, the higher the security level, the better the locking cylinder is protected against unwanted opening. The levels are numerically ascending. The higher the level, the more secure the lock is. Furthermore the locks are divided into security classes A, B, B+, etc. From class C onwards, there are usually only electrically controlled locking cylinders.

Material

The demands on the material of a locking cylinder can be very high. It must not only resist various environmental influences, but also be able to prevent unwanted manipulation. Furthermore, a durable material guarantees a long and smooth function of the individual components.

This means that the lock can still be locked and unlocked smoothly even after many years of use. A very popular material for lock cylinders is brass, for example.

Supplied number of keys

Furthermore it is important for you to know how many keys you need for your locking cylinder. Especially if several people live in your household, you will need several keys. In order to avoid unnecessary costs by copying the key, you should ideally make sure that the required number of keys is already included in the scope of delivery when you buy.

Necessary maintenance intervals

If you make sure that the locking cylinder has a correspondingly long service life when you buy it, you can save yourself the costs and work of changing it. Easy and simple maintenance of the lock ensures a long service life. This applies to both the locking cylinder and the keys.

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Trivia: Worth knowing facts about locking cylinders

A good lock cylinder is essential for the security of the lock. High-quality locking cylinders offer comprehensive protection against unwanted opening. The security levels provide more detailed information for the respective lock.

Robust, high-quality materials ensure a long service life of the locking cylinder. A prior measurement of the place where the cylinder is to be installed ensures that the appropriate locking cylinder can be found.

The installation can usually be carried out quickly and easily by yourself with the help of the installation instructions, especially if it is a standard locking cylinder. Regular maintenance and care of the cylinder and the keys will ensure that the locking cylinder functions smoothly for a long time. This means that you can enjoy the desired function and security of your new locking cylinder for a long time.