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June 11 2021

What Is A Barrel Lock?

The barrel lock is a type of locking system used by utility companies to secure meters, cabinets, and other hardware. The operating mechanism of this lock and the design is exceptional. Over time, barrel locks have proven to be highly effective and that is why they are preferred for securing electronics enclosures, industrial equipment, vending POS, and HVAC systems.

No wonder some individuals are eager to discover what makes these locks unique. If you want to know everything about the barrel lock, the professional locksmith from Locks Pros have got your back. 

We provide all the info that will help you understand the uniqueness of this lock, the mechanism, and possible upgrades 

How the Barrel Lock Works
It is designed to work differently than most standard pin tumbler locks and there are two types of keys for the lock – the plunger-type and screw-type keys. When inserted through the keyway, it grasps the barrel and also releases the catch on the ball bearings. The spring mechanism moves the catch when you turn the keys and the barrel is removed for the lock to open.

The locking/opening mechanism of the lock is somehow complex making it difficult to pick. But just like the normal locks, the keys can get lost, stolen, or broken.

Usage
Though the barrel lock can seem very tricky at first glance, it is a popular lock used to secure utility field devices such as meters, current transformers, and enclosures. With barrel locks, it becomes a challenge for thieves to gain illegal access to the metering hardware of utility companies or for unauthorized persons to manipulate these devices. 

Also, meter guards and bars can be used in addition to the barrel lock to secure electricity, gas, or water meters for single apartments or multi-business buildings.

Picking the Barrel Lock
With its unique design and locking mechanism, barrel locks can still be picked. With that said, the picking process is usually difficult for some locksmiths and it cannot be accomplished using a beginner’s lock pick set.

Picking the barrel locks is not the problem, rather, the major challenge of utility companies in securing their infrastructure is how to control the distribution of the keys. A large number of individuals may have access to these keys including supervisors, meter readers, and independent contractors. Therefore, there is a high tendency that the keys may get to the wrong hands.

Possible Upgrades
The manufacturers are shifting from the plunger-style barrel locks to an improved type called the ‘disk-style’ barrel locks. These improved locking systems use internal rotating disks to generate unique combinations that can be used to open the locks.

Conclusion
As the barrel locks have evolved to a different new level, we advise most utility companies to tow the same line. Let the companies endeavor to upgrade their security systems using barrel locks which offer a variety of different lock mechanisms. Do not hesitate to contact Locks Pros if you need further information about the barrel lock or you want to upgrade the security of your home, office, or commercial facility.