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What are wafer locks used for

Probably, all of us are familiar with common locks, like deadbolts, keypad locks, padlocks, etc. However, there are so many lock types that are not as widely used and many people have no idea they even exist.

A lock type that is not as common is a wafer lock. It was invented in the 19th century and patented at the beginning of the 20th century. In some way, it is similar to a pin-tumbler lock. However, unlike tumbler locks that consist of many elements, a wafer lock is a one-piece. Wafer locks are mostly used for file cabinets and drawers. Also, you can find this type of lock on a car. Now, let's discuss the working principles and security features of wafer locks.

What is a wafer lock

So, we already mentioned that a wafer lock is somehow similar to a pin-tumbler. Now let's talk about its construction and different types of wafer locks.
This type of lock consists of a cylinder, springs, and a cam that locks and unlocks the bolt. Also, it has a plug that rotates when the correct key is being used and wafers. A wafer is a small thin metal element that is the main component of this lock. This lock requires a special key that'll match the configuration of the wafers.
There are two types of wafer locks – single-bitted locks and double-bitted ones. The first type has wafers in the top part, so it'll unlock when the key gets aligned with them. As you can probably guess, the second type has wafers on both sides – top and bottom. It actually makes it harder to pick, as you'll need to line up with two rows of wafers.
keys in wafer lock
keys in wafer lock

How does it work

So, when it comes to a wafer lock, there is a cylinder with a plug and wafers that hold it all together. Wafers block the movement of the plug. However, when you insert the correct key, it fits into the hole and aligns with the wafers. So, basically, the key pushes these wafers up and it allows to rotate the plug. You can turn the key, activate the mechanism and unlock your lock.
However, if you use the wrong key, the wafers won't move as the springs will hold them in place. Sometimes the usage of the wrong key may lead to lock damage. In that case, you might need emergency locksmith services to resolve the issue and replace the lock.
Wafer Type Sliding Diecast Door Cylinder Lock
Wafer Type Sliding Diecast Door Cylinder Lock

How secure are wafer locks

So, we already figured out what wafer locks are and how they function. Now, you probably want to know how secure these locks are, as the main purpose of any lock is to protect you and your valuables.
Well, wafer locks have a much simpler mechanism than a pin-tumbler lock for example. They have only one set of wafers which are built in a way that creates a wide gap in the lock. That configuration makes it much easier to pick this lock. So, they are not the best option for your doors. That's why these locks are mainly used for drawers, cabinets and other things like that. Most criminals wouldn't even bother dealing with these locks, they would just take things that are out in the open.
As we mentioned above, these locks are used for cars as well. Combined with other security features, they provide your car with decent protection.

Summing up

Choosing a perfect lock is not the easiest decision. It's important to consider various factors before purchasing one. If you're looking for the best lock to protect some of the items you keep inside the drawers or file cabinets, you may get a wafer lock. It is not hard to install and pretty easy to replace in case it gets damaged. If you have any questions regarding wafer locks or you need any locksmith services, Sure Lock & Key will gladly help you.

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