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Are "Best" locks the highest quality locks/deadbolts?

Information about locks themselves. Questions, tips and lock diagram information should be posted here.

Moderators: zeke79, keysman

Are "Best" locks the highest quality locks/deadbolts?

Postby midget » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:21 am

Just a quick question -- I see a lot of "best" brand deadbolts on university buildings, gov't buildings, official stuff, etc. Are these the most highly regarded locks or are they just marketed towards public buildings more? I guess I'm just wondering, why don't more public works use kwikset, schlage, etc etc? Is there a difference between between the marketing structure behind kwikset/schlage and best, as in, kwikset/schlage only markets to residential while "best" markets to commercial uses?
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Re: Are "Best" locks the highest quality locks/deadbolts?

Postby midget » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:26 am

answered some of my own question.

"Best Access products are sold primarily and directly to corporate and institutional end users without locksmith and wholesaler access to competitive distribution. Its products are typically marketed toward and installed into moderately sized or larger master key systems."

So "Best" markets only to big-name companies and cuts out locksmiths/wholesalers (likely to cut out middlemen costs on sales to high volume buyers). I guess this is also because "best" locks allow for master key systems for janitors/servicemen who need access to a multitude of rooms in one building.


My next question is, are "best" locks the best?
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Re: Are "Best" locks the highest quality locks/deadbolts?

Postby Squelchtone » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:56 am

midget wrote:answered some of my own question.

"Best Access products are sold primarily and directly to corporate and institutional end users without locksmith and wholesaler access to competitive distribution. Its products are typically marketed toward and installed into moderately sized or larger master key systems."

So "Best" markets only to big-name companies and cuts out locksmiths/wholesalers (likely to cut out middlemen costs on sales to high volume buyers). I guess this is also because "best" locks allow for master key systems for janitors/servicemen who need access to a multitude of rooms in one building.


My next question is, are "best" locks the best?


They're very well made but the name BEST is from the inventor's name Frank Ellison Best. Often written FE BEST.

See a nice old 1965 patent for IC cores here: (Their history goes back to the early 1920's)
http://www.google.com/patents?id=ulBpAAAAEBAJ&pg=PA1&dq=frank+ellison+best&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=2#v=onepage&q=frank%20ellison%20best&f=false

As an aside, Schlage is named after Walter Schlage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Schlage

Here's some homework reading for you:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_Lock_Corporation

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Re: Are "Best" locks the highest quality locks/deadbolts?

Postby midget » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:24 am

great information, thanks!
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Re: Are "Best" locks the highest quality locks/deadbolts?

Postby theTastyCat » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:42 pm

Hey Midget and welcome. A member here, screenname "Evan" can tell you pretty much everything you want to know about SFICs, which the Bests you're talking about are. I don't know if you're interested in learning them at all; a friend gave me about 30 SFIC cores, and they are 100% a PAIN. Many of them are 6-pin, and they have two shear lines, one for a "control" key that allows you to remove the key and another that just opens the lock. I knocked out pin stacks in several of them, and can barely open the 3-pin one, even with specialty Peterson SFIC tools. That said, I'm not terribly advanced myself, but if you're relatively new, I would definitely start somewhere else. When I do get them open, I have to use a considerable amount of tension just to turn the plug once it's picked, which makes you use a good amount of tension when picking, which is hard to do well.

Evan did e-mail me some really great service manuals on SFICs if you have any interest. Judging by your post you're just curious about the locks though.
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Re: Are "Best" locks the highest quality locks/deadbolts?

Postby midget » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:58 pm

yea, thanks for the reply TastyCat!

I was actually just curious about why "best" locks seemed to be the trend in commercial/government buildings. I'm not really too motivated to be able to pick them, although admittedly, all the best stuff seems to be behind those doors. :D

that said, i'm pretty novice and am just an enthusiast. if they are as difficult as you say they are, i'll pass on the challenge until a much much later date.


thanks again to everyone for all the neat learning info.
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Re: Are "Best" locks the highest quality locks/deadbolts?

Postby theTastyCat » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:10 pm

Yeah, you pretty much nailed it. While we would all like to boast offhand "Oh, I could pick that lock," these have been an exercise in humility for me so far. My GF's dad is frequently called on at work to open BEST cores, and he doesn't even try to pick them - out comes the drill.
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Re: Are "Best" locks the highest quality locks/deadbolts?

Postby Violaetor » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:37 am

Some of the difficulty in picking IC's is not using a toothed wrench to rotate the plug in those types.
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Re: Are "Best" locks the highest quality locks/deadbolts?

Postby unjust » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:47 am

in regard to being the "best" lock, they may be. it depends on the best for what. depending on what you want to lock up, or how you want to manage that securing different solutions may be the "best" lock for different people on the same project. in the case of best brand, they make a quality changeable core lock that is designed for easy changes and can easily be used for huge mastered systems. i'd argue that they're popular because in many situations they're the "best" solution given price, reliability, security and maintenance.

it's probably not the most apt door lock for a single family home, but if you have a bunch of foster kids going through on a regular basis and expect keys to be lost or the kids to change, it'd make for quick key changes as needed. depending on what the users needs are it *could* be the "best" sfic lock, or not.

like so many things, picking the right tool for the job matters a lot. as absurd as it sounds, a friend's boarding school used combination padlocks for individual dorm rooms for the simple reason that it was cheaper to cut one off than to have to drill a lock stuffed with glue, and the kids couldn't loose their keys. it was the best solution for their maintenance staff.
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Re: Are "Best" locks the highest quality locks/deadbolts?

Postby djhobbes » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:40 am

It might also be worth mentioning that Best locks are manufactured with rather tight tolerances which adds another degree of difficulty.
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Re: Are "Best" locks the highest quality locks/deadbolts?

Postby mcsteve » Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:00 pm

I haven't seen it mentioned in this thread yet, but one of the main reasons BEST locks are so popular in government and other institutional settings is that they are one of the most common interchangeable core locks. Large facilities love IC locks because unskilled workers can easily rekey locks by simply changing out the core. A control key is inserted and turned, and the entire lock core comes out and can be replaced with another.
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Re: Are "Best" locks the highest quality locks/deadbolts?

Postby Evan » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:37 am

mcsteve wrote:I haven't seen it mentioned in this thread yet, but one of the main reasons BEST locks are so popular in government and other institutional settings is that they are one of the most common interchangeable core locks. Large facilities love IC locks because unskilled workers can easily rekey locks by simply changing out the core. A control key is inserted and turned, and the entire lock core comes out and can be replaced with another.


+1...

This is the biggest reason why:

Emergency re-locks when keys are lost can be done by unskilled maintenance or security personnel with no training or specialized tools/equipment...

~~ Evan
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Re: Are "Best" locks the highest quality locks/deadbolts?

Postby Evan » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:48 am

unjust wrote:in regard to being the "best" lock, they may be. it depends on the best for what. depending on what you want to lock up, or how you want to manage that securing different solutions may be the "best" lock for different people on the same project. in the case of best brand, they make a quality changeable core lock that is designed for easy changes and can easily be used for huge mastered systems. i'd argue that they're popular because in many situations they're the "best" solution given price, reliability, security and maintenance.

it's probably not the most apt door lock for a single family home, but if you have a bunch of foster kids going through on a regular basis and expect keys to be lost or the kids to change, it'd make for quick key changes as needed. depending on what the users needs are it *could* be the "best" sfic lock, or not.

like so many things, picking the right tool for the job matters a lot. as absurd as it sounds, a friend's boarding school used combination padlocks for individual dorm rooms for the simple reason that it was cheaper to cut one off than to have to drill a lock stuffed with glue, and the kids couldn't loose their keys. it was the best solution for their maintenance staff.


A "huge" system of 16,384 theoretical change keys in a 7-pin Best A2 two-level (simple) master key system per keyway... ( 4 ^ 7 = 16,384 ) That would be big but not huge... Large master key systems with a single high level TMK aren't utilized as much as they used to be in favor of several smaller systems instead...

Colleges and Universities with large campuses often have several great grand master key systems on campus so that in order to access every area in every building you would require a keyring with a dozen or more keys on it...

I am somewhat worried about your friend's boarding school... Using padlocks and hasps on doors would violate the building code for sleeping quarters, especially in an educational occupancy... Any argument that it is easier to cut off a padlock than drill out a door lock is moot compared to the risk of an occupant entrapment inside one of the bedrooms during an emergency... Simple privacy type locks would be a much better solution and would prevent occupant entrapment while preventing vandalism as the "emergency key/tool" hole on commercial grade privacy lock sets is quite large...

~~ Evan
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Re: Are "Best" locks the highest quality locks/deadbolts?

Postby Evan » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:21 am

midget wrote:yea, thanks for the reply TastyCat!

I was actually just curious about why "best" locks seemed to be the trend in commercial/government buildings. I'm not really too motivated to be able to pick them, although admittedly, all the best stuff seems to be behind those doors. :D

that said, i'm pretty novice and am just an enthusiast. if they are as difficult as you say they are, i'll pass on the challenge until a much much later date.


thanks again to everyone for all the neat learning info.


@midget:

Imagine you are a facilities manager at a large government building (or complex of buildings)... One of your custodial supervisors keys go missing and are not found after a search of the building... This is a serious breach of security given that in your building/complex there are many sensitive government offices that the missing keys can access...

If you had traditional mortise cylinder (or key in knob/lever) lock sets you are talking many man-hours to go to each door, open the door using a key, remove the cover plate on the edge of the door to expose the cylinder retention screw, loosen the cylinder retention screw, unscrew the mortise cylinder from the lock body, disassemble/gut the lock cylinder to dump all the master pins, re-pin the lock to a new change key and appropriate master keys for the new keying system, reassemble the cylinder, thread it back into the lock body, test with key to ensure it operates properly, tighten cylinder retention screw, replace cover plate and tighten cover plate screws, close door... (Repeat procedure at each door cylinder)

That is a massive dedication of manpower for say a 30 story office building (never mind a campus of several of them) to re-secure the building after a high level key (or keyring) goes missing... The average cost of re-keying an entire extensively large institutional keying system (this is called a corporate re-lock) can run into the millions of dollars...

Large facilities and institutions use Best locking systems because Best will come out and do a premises survey to design the system and determine what types of hardware are required... Best keeps this information on file in case they are called upon to do a corporate re-lock... A customer can call up Best and order an entirely new master keying system to replace the one in use if important keys go missing... Best usually will send such clients cores using a new keyway with an entirely new master key system which fits the needs of the building(s) effected all neatly boxed, bagged and tagged ready to be deployed using ZERO tools with no need to take apart the locks... Best can produce the emergency replacement system and have it shipped RAPIDLY anywhere much faster than even a team of locksmiths working flat out could deal with the problem...

How many locksmiths do you know that carry on hand enough mortise cylinders to replace every single cylinder in a 30 or 40 story office building with a thousand or two keyed doors ? Lead time on a job like that is usually longer than Best calling in employees to work after hours on a large sale...

This is why interchangeable core lock sets are widely found in such facilities... SFIC is used because the government or institution is not stuck having to purchase future locks from Best (there are many companies which make SFIC type locks and cores) like they would be if they used LFIC (Corbin-Russwin, Sargent, Schlage, Yale, Assa, Medeco, et al) as that type of interchangeable core is only compatible with locks and cores of its same species or manufacturer...

So let's sum the reasons up:

- Labor Savings on installation and maintenance of the keying system...
- Work required for normal maintenance can be done by unskilled laborers...
- A "corporate re-lock" can be done in emergency situations very rapidly...

Even properly maintained keying systems usually only have a life expectancy of 10-15 years depending on where and how they are used... Given that keyway patents expire and locks would require upgrading in the future to ensure the continued protection of the facility at the same level as when it was re-keyed at the original install, SFIC is just the most fiscally prudent choice...

~~ Evan
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Re: Are "Best" locks the highest quality locks/deadbolts?

Postby midget » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:51 am

great information. very informative. i hope other people gained something from this inquiry as well.

thanks everyone.
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