A cylinder lock is a keyed lock that comprises of an internal cylinder which holds one of several different types of lock mechanisms. Two of the designs, the pin tumbler and wafer tumbler lock, rely on the right key being inserted in order for the main chamber of the lock to rotate. The disc tumbler lock has the same principle as the other 2 locks in its mechanism but it does not use a spring to open which means that it cannot be forced open as easily, which ultimately makes it a safer lock.
Versatile & Secure Locking System
The cylinder lock is frequently used because of its versatility. It can be used as a single keyed entrance, a standard night latch or Yale lock. They can be used for buildings with a common entrance, where the same key will open a common front door but only one allotted room or apartment. They can be Master keyed where one single key can open all the locks in the building, making them ideal for the workplace.
The versatility of the cylinder lock is emphasised by the variety of practical applications it has in the modern world. With numerous locking mechanisms using this simple keyed entry system, each of which havs its own unique set-up, it is one of the most commonly found domestic and commercial locks on the market. As it can only be opened by one key, which itself has many thousands of different combinations in terms of its shaping, the cylinder lock is an extremely safe and straightforward security device.
Pin Tumbler Cylinder Locks
Pin tumblers are one of the more popular systems employed within the cylinder lock. Based around a spring loaded mechanism, the pin tumbler detects the undulations in the key and will only allow the lock (or plug) to be turned when the internal markers align. As complex as this may sound it is principally very simple and has been used in Yale locks throughout the world for over 150 years. Wafer and disc tumbler locks use similar principles, essentially relying on the key conforming to a certain shape before allowing it to be opened.
Accessible yet Safe System
Another advantage, although some may also argue that it is a disadvantage too, is that many cylinder locks can easily be accessed in case of an emergency. They are difficult to force ordinarily, however a locksmith can often create a copy of the key in order to force it open without damage. Likewise, you can easily make and keep carbon copies of the main key and store them elsewhere to ensure that if one is misplaced the other is somewhere accessible. The primary weakness of the cylinder lock is that it is susceptible to being drilled out by an intruder, some do have special protective guards to counteract this, but it is something that needs to be considered.