Not the sort of question you have been asked that often, but if you are looking for a cylinder for your wooden, Composite or UPVC door and your looking for a bit of advice this is one of the things that you may want to know more about.
First of all, lets not get confused with 5 Pin and 5 Lever, these are totally different types of locking solutions. To digress a little, Pins are used in tumbler locks, In plain English. Yale Type locks, Cylinders for UPVC Doors, Most Padlocks etc.
Five Lever, is a completely different locking mechanism. I wrote a blog about lever locks click here if you want to have a read.
Perhaps you may have come across this term ‘5 lever’ from your insurance companies as this is quoted often as being a minimum security for final exit doors.
Most Night Latches (Yale Type Locks) are 5 pin but more and more common now, is 6 pin cylinders. This one extra pin makes a vast amount of difference to the security of the lock.
Lets break down some numbers to give you an idea.
The way a cylinder is made up is normally of a row of pins either 5 in a row or 6 in a row.
Each pin can have up to 10 different depths, If you look at your key for your front door each depression along the top of the key could have up to 10 different depths to fit 10 different pins.
Differ? You may hear this term quite a lot when you talk about cylinder locks, lever locks etc. The term differ, denotes the amount of different shapes a key can be.
Now if you calculate all the different cuts possible on a key for a 5-pin cylinder, you will come out with a massive figure of 100,000 differs. If you apply the same with a 6 pin the figure jumps even higher to a staggering 1 million differs.
Now some of the differs cant be used, for example a key with 5 pins all being equal height means it wont be that secure, also having a very short pin and a very long pin by the side of each other is also not possible.
So take 10 million differs away from each figure and you still have a healthy amount of variation.
Now ask yourself, what the odds that someone would have the same key as you that you would know in your area, If you had a 5 pin cylinder perhaps 100,000 to 1, if your door has a 6 pin cylinder the odd stack up to over 1,000,000 to 1.
Either odds you may think are pretty darn good, but cylinders are sold by millions all the time. So, even though the figures are huge the turn around is also huge and in a matter of a year or less a cylinder with your differ may well be sitting on a door down the road from you.
There is also more to 5 and 6 pin than just the maths, that extra pin makes it even harder to manipulate, trying to pick a lock with 6 pins increase logarithmically in the difficulty factor.
The answer should always be 6 pin, 5 pin is so yesterday these days and even though they are still sold by there millions still, insist in 6 pin every time, it will mean you will be more secure every time.
Head of the Tech Department
TRUST Security - Trust LocksOnline