Pin Tumbler Locks vs. Wafer Locks: Which Lock Is The Best?

If you walk out of your house as many people do, you’re probably carrying five to ten keys – one for home, one for the car, and others for work or a friend’s place. Your keyring perfectly illustrates how important locks are in our everyday lives. We use them all the time!

The motivation behind using locks everywhere is that they provide a sense of security. That’s why there are so many kinds of locks on the market.

The pin-tumbler lock is the most popular and common type of lock. You’ll purchase it when you shop for locks at your local hardware store. You may have heard of a wafer lock, too, as it is similar in principle to the pin-tumbler style. Both locks seem identical because they are built on the same design.

Which lock should you buy if you’re thinking about a new one? Let’s compare and contrast both to understand the pros and cons.

What is a Pin Tumbler Lock, and How does a Pin Tumbler Lock Work?

Ever since 1848, pin tumbler locks have been the most common locks in the world. These are likely what you’ve got on your door, too.

A pin tumbler lock is a type of lock that uses pins of different lengths to prevent safety from being opened without the correct key. The pins are arranged in a series of “tumblers,” with each tumbler having two or more pins of different lengths. When the right key enters the lock, the pins line up perfectly and allow the lock to open. If even one pin lines up correctly, the lock will open.

The design of the Pin Tumbler Lock, also known as the Keyed Tumbler Lock, is based on a much older and more inefficient design called the Flemish Tubular Locks. In that design, the pins were shaped like giant nails and placed in holes instead of grooves. Points on the key push these pins up until there is enough space between them and the key to allow the lock to open.

Pin tumbler locks are some of the most common ones used today and are very effective at keeping unwanted people out. However, they are not perfect, and there are ways to pick them.

What is a Wafer Lock, and How Does A Wafer Lock Work?

Wafer locks were invented in 1868 by Philo Felter. These locks are less common nowadays, although many cars still use them.

The wafer lock’s design is inspired by the pin tumbler lock, which most people know as the conventional lock or deadbolt. However, they’re similar in design with some key differences.

A wafer lock is a type of pin tumbler lock that uses flat wafers instead of pins to secure the lock. The wafers are arranged in a cross pattern and fit into grooves cut into the plug or keyway. When the plug turns, the wafers align and allow the plug to rotate.

Wafer locks are usually either single wafers or double wafers. Single wafers only have a key bitting on one side. Double wafer locks have keys with both side bittings. These keys resemble pin-tumbler keys the most.

Double-wafer locks have the same features as single-wafer locks- the difference is that they have a key on both sides. This is what your car keys look like.

Wafer locks are less secure than pin tumbler locks because they can be picked with a simple tension wrench and paperclip. However, they are less expensive to manufacture. Applications where security is not a significant concern, such as filing cabinets and vending machines, use them.

Read More: What Are Some Common Types of Commercial Locks? 

Conclusion: Which Lock is Best?

There are a few different security lock options on the market, but the two most common ones are pin tumblers and wafer locks. So, which safety is best?

The answer to that question depends on a few factors. Pin tumbler locks are more common, so they are usually less expensive. They are also reasonably easy to pick, so if security is your main concern, you may choose a wafer lock.

Wafer locks are more challenging to pick than pin tumbler locks, but with the right tools, you can defeat them. They are also more expensive than pin-tumbler locks.

So, which lock is best for you? It depends on your budget and your level of security concerns. If price is your main concern, go with a pin-tumbler lock. If security is your main concern, go with a wafer lock.

Look no further if you want these two locks for your security needs. Contact Fast Response Locksmith at 470-361-9192. We are the most responsive and readily available for your service 24/7. Call us now!