scanning fingerprint on biometric door lock


When upgrading your building’s locking systems, you’re also going to want to modernize them. Biometric door locks feature cutting-edge technology that allows users to scan their fingerprint or other types of biological credentials to unlock the door.

Biometric locks might be a good option for your property. However, every property has unique needs. So, it’s important to learn whether biometric door locks will benefit your building before purchasing them.

This guide goes over what a biometric door lock is and how it works. Next, we’ll explore the different types of biometric door locks. Finally, we’ll cover the best biometric lock alternative for your building.

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What is a biometric door lock?

Biometric door locks are a type of keyless lock that uses a unique part of a user’s body as a credential.

Biometric locks for doors take the form of:

  • Fingerprint scanners
  • Facial scanners
  • Iris scanners
  • Voice recognition software.


How do biometric locks work?

A biometric lock typically works by scanning a user’s finger, face, eye, or voice. The reader processes these credentials before electronically releasing the locking mechanism.

Biometric locks can store more than one user’s credentials, which means they work for both multifamily and commercial properties.

Additionally, most biometric door locks also have a numeric keypad where users can enter a PIN code. This is often in case of user error.


A biometric door lock scans a man's face


Are biometric door locks secure?

Biometric door locks are as secure as most other commercial door locks. It’s very difficult to fake the unique biological characteristics of a user who is registered to a biometric lock. What’s more, many biometric locks come with a camera to further enhance security.


What is a weakness of biometric locks?

A major weakness of biometric locks is that the technology isn’t flawless.

For example, facial readers can have trouble scanning someone’s face if the lighting is bad or the person’s face is obscured. Voice recognition software can also have trouble if there’s too much sound interference. This room for human error can lead to an authorized tenant being denied entry to a room or building.

That said, most biometric deadbolts feature an alternative entry method, such as a PIN code.

Another weakness of biometric locks is that they pose privacy concerns for tenants. Many people find the technology to be invasive and don’t want to share their fingerprints or other biological credentials with building management.


The 4 types of biometric door locks

Currently, there are four types of biometric locks that are widely used. Some biometric door locks will work better for certain properties than others. And all of them have unique pros and cons.

The four types of biometric locks are:

  1. Fingerprint door locks
  2. Facial scanners
  3. Iris scanners
  4. Voice recognition locks


1. Fingerprint door locks

These are by far the most common biometric lock. In addition to facial scanners, many users are already familiar with how fingerprint locks work since fingerprint readers are used in smartphones.

Fingerprint door locks are likely useful for both multifamily and commercial properties because of how easy they are to use and how familiar users already are with them.

The fingerprint door lock price runs between $40 and $2,000, depending on the type of lock you purchase.


Fingerprint scanners are a type of biometric door lock


2. Facial scanners

Facial scanners are extremely similar to fingerprint door locks, though they’re a little less common. They work by analyzing the unique shape of a user’s face.

Low lighting can affect their accuracy, so this is an important factor to consider when installing them in your building.

Facial scanners are a bit pricier than fingerprint door locks and run between $200 and $6,000.


3. Iris scanners

Eye scanners, made popular in spy movies before they were available to the general public, aren’t very common biometric locks.

Like facial scanners, eye scanners offer a form of contactless entry, preventing the spread of germs on a control panel. Low light can also affect their accuracy.

Iris scanners cost between $500 and $5,000.


Iris scanners like this are a type of biometric door lock


4. Voice recognition locks

These locks recognize the unique vocal patterns of users. Loud noises and other people speaking at the same time as the user can lead to errors. A user will usually say a phrase to activate the lock, such as, “Unlock the office door.” Of course, other passwords and phrases can be programmed.

Voice recognition locks cost between $90 and $700. This puts them as the second most affordable biometric lock next to fingerprint door locks.


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What is the best biometric door lock alternative?

The best biometric door lock alternative is the ButterflyMX keypad. It’s excellent for both multifamily and commercial properties.

Key features of the ButterflyMX keypad are:

  • Remote access. Building occupants no longer have to be present to allow guests and other personnel into the building. Users can grant remote entry to anyone they choose from the ButterflyMX mobile app. Temporary PIN codes can also be given to guests as well.
  • Mobile app. This does away with physical access credentials and allows users to unlock a door by tapping a button on their mobile app.
  • Cloud-based technology. This cuts down on maintenance costs and manual programming by allowing automatic software updates.
  • Date- and time-stamped entry. Every time someone enters the building, the keypad access system logs the exact date and time. This is useful data to monitor should any incidents occur.



  • Biometric door locks use a user’s body as a credential.
  • While secure, biometric door locks have a high possibility of user error and may introduce privacy concerns
  • The four major types of biometric locks are fingerprint readers, facial scanners, iris scanners, and voice recognition locks.
  • The best biometric lock alternative is the ButterflyMX keypad because of its advanced security features and how it simplifies guest access.


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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.

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