Schlage Locks: Setting the Industry Standard

Residential and Commercial Security

What is a Wafer Lock?

Wafer locks are not nearly as well-known as their pin-and-tumbler cousins.  However, an estimated one-fourth of the world’s locks are wafer locks (also known as wafer tumbler locks) so they are common enough to warrant a look and evaluation.

As already mentioned, wafer tumbler locks are related to pin-and-tumbler cylindrical locks.  The two operate on very similar principles.  Two main differences exist between the two types.  First, as their name suggests, the inner workings of a wafer lock consist of flat “wafers” rather than circular “pins.”   Secondly, a wafer tumbler lock is all one piece while the pin and tumbler lock is not.

Though there are some significant differences, the two lock styles operate in a simlar manner.  The wafer tumblers are housed inside a cylinder.  The proper key for a particular wafer lock has square cuts (unlike the pin and tumbler key which has pointed cuts.)  Their keys are usually shorter, but the same width as pin and tumbler lock keys.

Wafer locks may have tumblers on one or both sides much like pin and tumblers.  Therefore, wafer keys may have cuts on one or both sides (Single bitted/wafer or Double bitted/wafer.)

Wafer tumbler locks consist of four main parts.  The plug housing holds the wafers and their springs.  The shell, the cam and the retainer make up the rest of the mechanism. 

The plug housing has a series of chambers in which the tumblers rest.  In a single-bitted model, the chambers are on top.  In double bitted styles the chambers are on both the top and bottom.  The most common number of tumblers is four to five.

Wafer tumbler locks are relatively inexpensive, especially compared to pin and tumbler locks.  However, they are less secure (and easier to pick.)  For this reason they are not used for high-security applications (residential or commercial door locks.)  Instead they are more frequently found on desks, cabinets, filing cabinets, padlocks, trailer doors, trunks, suitcases, etc.


March 11, 2009 - Posted by | FYI | , , , ,

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