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The Ultimate Guide to Euro Cylinder locks

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When you arrive home after a long day and begin the standard fiddle of getting your key out, you may not put too much thought into what euro cylinder is in your front door.

However, when they break or fail, the large range of pricing, brands and features can leave you with more questions than answers.

This article was designed to answer those questions….

What is a Euro Cylinder Lock

Let's kick off with some history, in ye old times the euro cylinder was known as a 'pin tumbler lock’ and was patented in 1805, so they’ve been around for a little while and are the most widely used door lock type in the UK.

To us as day-to-day users of doors and keys though, the cylinder lock is the metal part of the door that you push your key into. It projects through the door (like a cylinder) and ends on the other side with another key face.

The cylinder itself operated the locking hooks and rollers that you see on the opening side of your door but is not part of that system, meaning if it does break you may not need to replace all the parts that make your door lock.

They work by a key being pushed into the lock, which then runs over pins internally within the lock, once in, the key will be free to rotate allowing the central cam to revolve releasing the lock.

Security Features of Euro Cylinders

Since their inception, the bad guys have developed skills to allow them to break into euro cylinders with relative ease, as a result, lots of developments within the industry have resulted in modern cylinders being worlds apart from the ones being manufactured 10 years ago.

With burglars developing ways to break in, the industry also developed ways to stop them, these features and how they work are listed below…

Anti–Snap Euro Cylinders
Many years ago, burglars discovered that sheer force would do the trick, and so snapping was created. To do this, a person uses a heady duty set of pliers to simply snap the barrel while its in the door. This resulted in the internals failing and the lock simply opening.

Thankfully, the industry responded and now we have Anti-Snap which allows the euro cylinder to break off at the point where the lock remains intact and fully secure. Put simply, snapping one of these barrels is not a successful way to gain entry.

Anti-Drill Euro Cylinders
Another favourite of the burglar community was drilling. With older locks often being manufactured with low-quality materials, drilling through the lock was often a successful way to gain entry. However, with higher quality materials and scrutinous testing, Anti-Drill cylinders are now available. Products which meet this standard are awarded a kitemark.

Anti-Bump Euro Cylinders
Bumping is an illegal access method used by people that utilises a specially designed key to gather the pin tumbler combination. As with the other methods the burglar community used, the industry responded with Bump-Resistant features that stop this method in its tracks!

Anti-Pick Euro Cylinders

Picking is what we all think of when we see a film with a burglar and a key-picking set. The most complicated and most skilled way to gain access, lock picking is the method of manipulating the pins inside the lock to allow it to open. Through clever design and improved manufacturing processes, Anti-Pick locks are designed to prevent this method.

Standards and Accreditations

BS EN 1303
Single, double, and thumb-turn cylinders all fall under the BS EN 1303 Standard. The classification includes the locks being put through eight individual tests which test things such as corrosion resistance, torque resistance and usage. Once passed, the lock is then given an 8-digit number which corresponds with the 8 test completed.

TS007:2012 is the updated BSI Kitemark – this is a security rating given to locks that have been tested on their endurance under attacks, such as the methods used at the start of this article (lock picking or lock bumping). A TS007 lock will be assigned a star rating (either 1 or 3), to demonstrate the levels of security against unwarranted methods of access. BSI Kitemark products can be identified by a heart-shaped logo, with a correlating number of stars usually found on the front face of the cylinder.

Sold Secure

Sold Secure is a leading UK certification scheme which assesses the resistance of security products, such as locks, against tools used to manipulate or break the products. The locks are then rated by a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Diamond rating, these are explained below..

- Bronze offers resistance against basic tools
- Silver offers resistance against enhanced tools
- Gold offers resistance against dedicated tools
- Diamond is the highest level of resistance, offering resistance against specialist tools

TOP TIP: Here at The Window Doctor, we only supply Diamond rated euro cylinders.

Understanding the Star Ratings on Your Lock Cylinder

A high-security euro lock will often have an assigned BSI Kitemark star rating, below we have broken down how to know if a lock is BSI star rated or has the security features you need?

1 Star Euro Cylinder Lock

A 1-star euro cylinder passes the lock-breaking method tests as determined by BS EN 1303:2005 – a standard that does not include lock snapping. 1 Star euro cylinders are vulnerable to some of the methods we've discussed in this article and should be used in conjunction with additional security features.

3-Star Euro Cylinder Lock

TS007 3-star locks pass 5 methods of attack, including lock snapping, drilling, picking, bumping, and plug extraction. 3-star locks are recognised as leading high-security cylinder locks.

To summarise…

To wrap this up – I think we can all agree there is a lot of security and features crammed into a euro cylinder. If nothing else, next time you arrive home and push your key into the lock, you may just take a moment to think about all the things going on inside the cylinder… or, if you're in a hurry you might not…

Either way, hopefully, this article has shown you that not all euro cylinders are equal, and you certainly get what you pay for when it comes to choosing.

If you still have questions or need some advice on what euro cylinder would be best for you, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at 01455 850282 or shoot us an email!

We look forward to helping you soon and remember - Why Replace... We Repair...