As Wikipedia puts it, “A digital door lock is an electronic lock for residential applications such as front doors on apartments and single-family houses.”
This basically means that digital door locks are locks that don’t require the standard key to open them that most other locks in the world do. Instead, you must use other means of opening them (either virtual keys or memory assisted keys). These can be anything from entering the right combination onto a digital door locks keypad (also known as digital combination locks) to having an RFID card that is scanned by the lock to tell them that you are a person with the correct authority to be able to enter wherever it is you are trying to enter. A third kind of lock known as ‘fingerprint locks) have recently come on to the market, but they are not something I will be discussing on this page (in short, they work by scanning your fingerprint and by then using that as your ‘key’ to see if you are who you say you are when trying to gain entry).
Most digital door locks use the standard mortise style mechanism inside them, making them extremely robust and difficult to break into whilst retaining their relatively cheap price. In general, digital door locks are more expensive then ‘normal’ style door locks simply because there is more to them and because more effort and materials goes into making them, but they are not THAT much more expensive, and are certainly worth looking at if you’re looking for a different kind of security option.
Some digital door locks only use the keypad as a backup function (in case you forget your key or your RFID tag). Nearly every digital door lock that you’ll find in an office will be opened via an RFID tag. This is because people can simply clip these onto their belts, enabling fast access all day long. However, you do need a backup option, so that’s what the keypad is for (just in case of emergencies or in case you for forget your RFID tag). This, however, is not preferred by most people since it takes longer than normal to enter in a code.
The primary manufacturer and designer of digital door locks today is a Korean company called iRevo. They are generally considered the first real company to take digital door locks seriously and to promote and create them for the mass-market. It seems that while iRevo where the first, several other big companies have followed in their footsteps and it is only a matter of time before these kind of locks will be used by almost everyone for almost every kind of purpose. For more information on digital door locks take a look at some of the other pages on my site (especially for tips on how to buy and what to look for when buying).