Differences between Electronic and Mechanical Locks

A question that many people concerned with safety would ask is what type of lock to go for. Especially if you are a gun owner, you will need a secure gun safe that is both high quality and durable. When searching for gun safes, you will learn that there are two most common types of locks: electrical and mechanical.

In this guide, we have discussed the pros, cons, and differences of both the types so you can know which one to opt for.

Electrical/Digital Locks

The best thing about electrical or digital locks is that they are simple to use. Moreover, they have sleek, modern designs that meld more aesthetically with office or home décor. If you are a tech geek, you should go for an electrical lock that comes with additional features, such as key override, NFID Card or NFC enabled smartphone proximity entry.

However, electric locks are not suitable for exterior use as they are exposed to the elements that might damage their functionality. Furthermore, they require batteries to be changed periodically.


  • Easy to use.
  • Fast access.
  • Lifetime parts warranty on the lock and keypad.
  • Easily changeable, user-generated passcode.
  • Blocks unauthorized users after failed attempts.
  • User serviceable lock.


  • Batteries need to be changed every 6 to 12 months.
  • If batteries die, then you may experience a temporary lockout.
  • Electronic parts may malfunction due to various reasons.
Where to Buy
RPNB Gun Safe,California DOJ Certified Gun Safe, Smart Pistol Safe Handgun Security Safe with LED & RFID Quick Access,11" x 7" x 1.8"
20.25" Commercial Depository Safe Lock Type: Combination Dial Lock, Size: 27.25" H
SnapSafe Treklite Gun Safe Lock Box with TSA Combination Lock
Steel Patriot Smart Gun Safe - Advanced iOS and Android Features, Secure Bluetooth Control, Rapid Hands-Free Access, Impenetrable Construction, Made in USA,...
SentrySafe QAP1BE Gun Safe with Biometric Lock, 1 Capacity


Our Top Pick

RPNB Gun Safe

Top features:

  • Provides three methods of entry; RFID tags, 3-digit electronic keypad, and a conventional key lock.
  • Offers anti-theft protection and is tamper-proof.
  • Heavy-duty, 16-gauge carbon steel construction, which prevents corrosion and ensures long-lasting protection.
  • Backed by a 1-year warranty.

Mechanical Locks

If you are looking for a lock for outdoor applications that are exposed to the weather, then there is no more secure alternative for mechanical locks. Being fully manual, you don’t need to worry about batteries dying or any electronic part malfunctioning.


  • No need to use batteries because it doesn’t have any electronic parts.
  • Long lifespan.
  • Weather-resistant.
  • Have been standard since the 1800s.


  • Slow to operate.
  • Not easily accessible in emergency situations.
  • The lock’s tumblers can be misaligned or damaged over time. Hence, it requires maintenance from a locksmith.
  • Its mechanism hasn’t been changed much even with the advancements in the technology.
  • You need to hire a locksmith to change the lock code.
  • A professional thief could easily crack the combination within 15 minutes or even less because it is a Group Two Lock.

Our Top Picks

Combination Dial Lock by Mesa Safe Co.

Top features:

  • Chrome-plated steel bolts prevent entry.
  • Full-length dead bar.
  • It is equipped with a spring-loaded internal re-locking system.
  • It is an old-school combination lock that provides high-value security and durability for both residential and commercial use.

Snap Safe Treklite Gun Safe Lock Box with TSA Combination Lock

Top features:

  • Easily fits in a suitcase.
  • It is made of advanced, impact-resistant polycarbonate for enhanced toughness.
  • Comes with a 1500lb-rated security cable for added protection.
  • Protects against scratches.
  • Meets TSA airline firearm guidelines.
  • Convenient 4-Digit TSA lock offers advanced security.

Now, you know the benefits and drawbacks of both types. Although there are quite a lot of differences between a digital/electronic lock and a mechanical one, both have been proven helpful in securing and keeping out unwanted intruders. However, it is your preference that matters when it comes to selecting a lock.

If you are still confused, here are some other options that you can check out:

Bluetooth Locks

Bluetooth locks are a step up from electronic locks. In short, these locks come with extra functionality, which is easy app access. This means that you can control your lock system using the application installed on your phone. Smart lock systems also give you the facility to provide digital key access to other users.

Our Top Pick

Steel Patriot Smart Gun Safe

Top features:

  • A Bluetooth-enabled smart gun safe for both iOS and Android smartphones.
  • Offers Quick 128-bit AES secure pairing, biometric authentication, and facial recognition.
  • Few advanced features that it comes with are Proximity Mode (hands-free), TamperSense, Rapid Access Mode (hands-free, iOS only), and Lock Activity Log.
  • 16-gauge steel welded corner construction for enhanced protection and durability.
  • Offers a premium locking mechanism that actively locks and unlocks.
  • Backed by a lifetime warranty

Biometric Locks

The next big step in the industry of security and locks are the biometric locks. They allow access to users using face recognition or fingerprint. These systems offer a premium level of security that is perfect for applications, such as workplaces, hospitals, gyms, schools, and others. For maximum flexibility, you can add up to 100 fingerprints, several pin codes, and RFID cards.

Moreover, some biometric locks are highly waterproof as well, making them an excellent choice for outdoor applications.

Our Top Pick

Sentry Safe QAP1BE Gun Safe with Biometric Lock

Top features:

  • Allows you to access your gun with the swipe of a finger.
  • Provides secure storage for one standard handgun.
  • Equipped with a gas strut to instantly and quietly open the safe door.
  • Constructed with solid steel and a pry-resistant door for enhanced security and strength.
  • Also features a manual keypad and override key for backup entry.

Final Verdict

Regardless of your preference, both mechanical and electric/digital locks work great and provide excellent protection against intruders. Whether you want to secure your handgun, cash, or other valuables, these safes are a perfect choice. In short, if you’re going to buy a fancy gun safe that provides both looks and advanced protection, then you should go for an electronic/digital lock without thinking much.

Bluetooth-enabled locks and biometric locks both fall under the category of electronic locks. Therefore, you can go for the one that is in your budget and fulfills your requirements.