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Insert locks vs Bolt-on locks – A Comparison

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Insert locks vs Bolt-on locks – A Comparison


Insert locks V Bolt-on locks. Which is best, which is most suitable, which is stronger, looks better, easier to install? All valid questions, with an argument that can be made for each side.

This article takes a look at bolt on locks and insert locks, why people would choose them, why they wouldn’t and ultimately i’ll give my own personal opinion of which i think is best and why.

The bolt-on lock, or surface mounted lock, a popular choice, what almost seems like a programmed choice because it’s what’s been flooded into the market over the last few years.

Speaking to manufacturers, these types of lock have been popular due to the ease of installation, relatively low cost and how easy they are to replace, should something go wrong.

You’ll struggle to find one of these locks that requires more than 4 holes drilled to install, meaning it’s a popular choice for the DIY market, for gate manufacturers and the installers. If something goes wrong then simply remove the lock and you can put on a direct replacement.

With different brands offering unique styles, aesthetically these locks are a huge upgrade on what’s come before. Locks can now be manufactured in a variety of RAL colours, with different handles to fit in with the gate and surrounding environment. Most of the recognised industry brands are reliable, with spare components available for minor repairs. All in all, you can’t really go wrong with a bolt on lock…

Or can you….

The emergence of aluminium and composite full boarded gates have presented a problem for lovers of the bolt on lock. These locks that simply bolt through a steel box section now have nowhere to go. Infills are right up to the frames meaning without cutting into the infill panels you can’t easily install one of these locks.

This hasn’t stopped some, with cutouts for locks proving to be the best option for some manufacturers. The finished article looks great, but what if there’s a problem with the lock and it needs to be removed? This brings us on to the insert lock.

What if there was an easy to install, reliable lock that could be fitted directly into the frame to combat the problem that these composite and aluminium gates have caused?

You don’t have to look far. Proving to be a popular choice at manufacturing level the insert lock seems to be making a comeback. Our sales department have noticed a swing from the bolt on locks back towards the insert locks for fabricators and manufacturers. Is it just the design of gate that dictates the lock, or is something else driving the push towards the insert lock.

We asked one of our clients who is a gate manufacturer why he now uses the insert locks over the bolt-on locks and his response was that he has all his frames laser cut ready for his locks and it’s a simple case of clicking them in to place.

Now they aren’t ideal for someone who is looking to put a lock on their existing gate, but if you are manufacturing from scratch then there’s a decision to be made.

Bolt-on or surface mounted locks have improved, they do look better, but a more discreet lock can reduce the risk of damage to the lock, tampering, and even taking away from the look of a gate

So what’s my verdict?

It would be easy to sit on the fence and say it depends on the situation, but when it comes to a straight choice between the two, if it’s possible to use it on a particular job, my choice would be the insert lock.

One of my jobs when I first started working with gate hardware was to improve the profile of the Locinox insert locks. The manufacturer was keen to increase the number of fabricators who used these locks, so I had countless conversations with businesses, looking to convert them from bolt on to insert. I spoke about them that much, did so much homework on them that the benefits of them seemed glaringly obvious to me. A cleaner smarter finish, a more secure stainless throw, easy to install, strong, cost effective.

I don’t want to put anyone off using a surface mounted lock, they have a place, and for many situations they are the better option, but if you are given a straight choice between the two, both are viable options, my preference would be the insert lock.