Access control in Chicago is a vital tool.


An effective access control system is one of the most important features your Chicago-based building can have. It gives residents and staff the power to seamlessly access the building. Upgrading your access control system in Chicago also provides more advanced security for your property.

In this post, we’ll show you how to find a local access control installer and also help you navigate access control demands that are specific to the Chicago area. Then, we’ll tell you when it’s time to replace your building’s old system. Lastly, we’ll recommend the best access control system Chicago has to offer.

This guide covers:


Types of access control in Chicago

Every property has different access control needs. In Chicago, the best access control system will accommodate your unique building or property type according to its usage and access requirements.

Discover access control systems recommended for:


Multifamily access control in Chicago

For multifamily buildings, one of the best forms of access control is a video access control system. The video aspect improves security and allows residents to visually confirm who’s requesting property access.

If you own or manage a large high-rise apartment, it’s also best to choose a system that allows for remote access management. An access control system with remote access features is particularly effective in large buildings because it allows residents to unlock the door and grant access to visitors without wasting their time traveling all the way down to the ground floor.

Finally, another common system in Chicago multifamily apartments is a door card reader or key fob entry system. These systems are a step up from typical lock-and-key systems and are easier for staff to manage. However, keep in mind that fob systems don’t provide an easy solution for visitor access.




Chicago commercial access control

Many commercial buildings in Chicago are mixed-use, meaning they have a combination of office and retail tenants.

If your commercial building is mixed-use, you need a way to ensure that only authorized people can access certain areas of the building. So, look for a Chicago access control system that allows you to easily (and remotely) assign and adjust access permissions on a tenant-by-tenant basis.

Another consideration in many commercial buildings is elevator access. Quite often, an access control system helps get visitors through the front door but fails to grant them access to key-fobbed elevators. So, look for an access control system that offers or integrates with elevator controls.


Parking garage access in Chicago

Chicago is a walking city for a reason — parking can be difficult! As such, residents and visitors with cars likely use parking garages.

Parking garages create many access concerns, mainly around security and ease of entry to prevent a long line of waiting cars. A parking access control system is best in this case.

Parking access systems include:

  • License plate readers
  • Keypads
  • Key cards and key fobs
  • RFID smart parking systems
  • Windshield tags
  • Vehicle readers


How to choose an access control system in Chicago

There are a ton of factors to consider when it comes to choosing an intercom or access control system in Chicago. You’ll want to consider everything from the unique attributes of the city to the type of property you own or manage.

When choosing an access control system in Chicago, you should consider the city’s following features:


Delivery needs

With everything from famous deep-dish pizza to the local favorite BBQ, Chicago offers some of the best food in the country. Your residents already know this and probably order plenty of takeout.

As a result, you’ll need an access control system that can remotely manage frequent deliveries. So, look for a system that allows delivery carriers to easily enter the building or request access.

Choose a Chicago access control system that has features like delivery PINs and video calling to make it easier for delivery drivers to get your resident’s food to them before it gets cold.



Speaking of temperature, to say Chicago gets cold is an understatement. With icy winds blowing in from Lake Michigan, you’ll need access control technology that can withstand extreme temperatures — otherwise, you’ll be facing a lot of breakdowns and repairs.

So, look for a system that’s IP65-rated. An IP65 rating indicates that the device is protected against dust, water, and cleaning products. Durable IP65-rated systems will remain safely working no matter the weather.

Additionally, you’ll want a system that’s quick and intuitive to use so that residents and visitors won’t have to stand out in the cold long before entering your building. And having an access control system with multiple entry methods — like smartphone-based entry and PIN codes — means that residents won’t get locked out even if they forget their keys.


access control systems in Chicago during the winter are especially important



Renters consistently rank security measures as one of the most important features when looking for a place to live. So, make sure your building has an access control system to keep the property safe at all access points.

Residents will appreciate an access control system that features improved security without hindering convenient property access.


Residents’ demographics

Chicago is the third-largest city in the country, and the average renter in Chicago is 25-34 years of age. Therefore, you probably have quite a few millennials living in your building.

Millennials seek out smart technology and are most comfortable in tech-powered environments. So, consider opting for smart access control systems with mobile apps. Upgrading to a mobile access control system in Chicago is a must if you want to cater to younger renters.


Watch how ButterflyMX works:


3 best Chicago access control installers

  1. STS Security
  2. Alarm Detection Systems
  3. Doorwayz Unlimited


1. STS Security

Google rating: 3.0 / 5

STS Security is a security solutions company that has been around for over 25 years. They serve not only multifamily properties but a variety of different commercial buildings, industrial properties, and special events as well.

In addition to access control installation, they cover:

  • Security assessments
  • Security consultations
  • Crisis management
  • Investigations
  • Security officer training

Reviews praise their professionalism.


Access control systems in Chicago's downtown have multiple uses and features


2. Alarm Detection Systems

Google rating: 4.3 / 5

Established in 1968, Alarm Detection Systems primarily focuses on alarm systems in addition to access control.

Services and products they offer include:

  • Fire alarm and sprinkler inspections
  • Elevator audio and video monitoring
  • Security cameras
  • Commercial security alarm systems
  • Card access

Alarm Detection Systems is praised for offering 24/7 live support, same-day/next-day service, and in-house staff that makes for timely responses to any needs or concerns that you may have.


3. Doorwayz Unlimited

Google rating: 4.6 / 5

Founded in 2003, Doorwayz Unlimited is located close to downtown Chicago.

The main products that they offer are different types of doors and frames as well as hardware that includes locks, door closers, and trim/auxiliary.

Reviews highlight their professionalism, responsiveness, and the quality of the products that they offer.


How to find & hire an access control installer in Chicago

While finding an access control installer might seem like a daunting task, in the digital age it’s never been easier. Seek out a high-quality professional installation with a proven track record.

You can find a great access control installer in Chicago by:

  • Checking reviews. There’s no better way to find the best company for installing access control than by seeing what people are saying about them on Yelp and Google.
  • Searching social media. LinkedIn and Facebook are your best bets. On LinkedIn, you can search by the brand name of the access control system you’ve chosen to find installers familiar with the product. Installers on social media will often have a list of people and companies they’ve worked with.
  • Turning to industry resources. Online resources such as CRER (Chicago Real Estate Resources) and the Chicago Association of Realtors will allow you to connect with other industry professionals and see who they’ve used for installing access control in the past.

Installing an access control system can cost between $500 and $10,000 or more depending on the size of your property. But when it comes to choosing a quality installer, cost shouldn’t be the only factor. Hiring a low-cost Chicago access control installer might result in an improper installation, which will only cost you more.

Pro tip: Hire a Chicago installation company that can also fix your door buzzer or access control system if it malfunctions.


find a certified access control installer in Chicago


When to replace your Chicago building’s old access control system

An outdated or ineffective access control system will negatively impact your resident experience. Luckily, it’s pretty obvious when your existing system needs an upgrade.

If your access control system is missing one or more of the features below, it’s time for a replacement:

  • Video systems
  • Keyless entry
  • Wireless installation
  • Remote access
  • Mobile device compatibility
  • Digital access codes for guests and delivery drivers
  • An audit trail that tracks everyone who enters the building

For your building to be the best it can be, your access control system in Chicago should be upgraded with more advanced technology.

Other signs that you need a new access control system include:

  • Wear and tear. Visible damage can include frayed wires, cracked screens, and door openers that don’t close or open all the way.
  • Poor connectivity. Your current access control system may suffer from poor video or audio quality that can include static noise, dropped sounds, frozen pixels, and lag.
  • Poor performance in inclement weather. If your device does not have a rating of IP65 or higher, it may experience damage and poor performance during bad weather (especially in the rain or freezing cold).
  • Physical keys. You can run into all sorts of issues with card readers and key fobs, including poor connectivity over time. If your residents are constantly losing key fobs or mechanical keys to your system, then that is also a problem that needs addressing.


A hard at work access control system installer in Chicago


The best access control system in Chicago

The best access control system in Chicago is ButterflyMX.

ButterflyMX introduced its cloud-based access control system in 2014. Today, ButterflyMX simplifies property access into and throughout your building.

Here’s why you should choose ButterflyMX as your Chicago access control system:

  • Mobile access control. Instead of carrying keys, a resident can access their building with a single tap on their phone. Mobile control also allows the building to be accessed remotely by guests even when a resident is not home. This makes things like pet sitting easier than ever before.
  • Video calling. Residents can have a face-to-face video call with whoever is requesting access. This makes it easier to communicate and know exactly who’s seeking building access.
  • Vehicle access. The ButterflyMX vehicle reader automatically scans residents’ windshield tags and grants access when they pull up to a parking garage or gated community. This requires no extra work on their behalf when gaining access.
  • Simple visitor access. ButterflyMX makes it easy to grant access to visitors with virtual keys, delivery PINs, and delivery passes. Tenants and staff can send virtual keys to planned visitors to guarantee access. Mail carriers and delivery drivers can easily enter the property using a delivery PIN. And tenants can even create and send single-use delivery passes to ensure access for one-off deliveries, like Postmates drivers.
  • Enhanced security. Each time someone enters your property, the ButterflyMX video intercom takes date- and time-stamped pictures. This audit trail can be reviewed at any time in the ButterflyMX OS.


ButterflyMX has been installed in hundreds of buildings across Chicago and has over 20,000 five-star reviews!


if you want the best access control system in Chicago, choose ButterflyMX

Profile image for Nick Manzolillo


Nick Manzolillo

I'm a Rhode Island-based writer fascinated with real estate development, the inner workings of the real estate industry, and how real estate and technology blend together.

Follow Nick on LinkedIn