locks tumb 

The device widely known as a tubular lock is also referred to as a circle pin tumbler, an Ace lock, or a radial lock. Similar to how tissues are ubiquitously/colloquially referred to as Kleenexes, tubular locks are sometimes called Ace locks due to Ace being the company that originally manufactured this type of lock.  They can commonly be found on commercial / industrial tools that are standing unattended for long periods of time – think of vending machines, for example. Tubular locks are generally considered to be of a higher security level than tumbler and wafer locks – mostly because of their scarcity; thieves aren’t as likely to know how to pick or cut them. In this blog entry I’ll go over some of the details about the structure and function of tubular locks.


Tubular Lock Structure


Tubular locks are named so because the keyway is encased in a cylinder. The circular keyhole is joined to a tumbler system common to other kinds of locks, however it differs in that it’s key pins are pushed in along a horizontal axis, rather than vertically like other kinds of locks. The mechanism that holds the key pins in (the plug) is built into the same cylinder as the mechanism that holds the springs and drivers – (the bible.)  The key is circular, with outside facing grooves – and it can only be inserted into lock from a particular configuration.




For the most part, tubular locks are tougher to pick than other locks. This isn’t to say that it isn’t possible to pick it – and like all locks, the security level of the lock varies depending on its particular model, make, and brand. However, tubular locks typically take a much longer amount of time to pick than other locks – a valuable feature, as the longer it takes for thieves to pick a lock, the higher their chances of being caught and apprehended. This makes tubular locks a great preventative deterrent.


Technically, you can define tubular locks as being slightly different pin tumbler locks – they aren’t military grade security locks, but they work well and reliably. I mean to say that these locks – for the most part, the one’s common to consumers – aren’t fit to prove impervious to the advances of a highly seasoned lock-breaker; however, they certainly add a level of security to property that, combined with other measures, provide a solid line of defense against theft. If you’re interested in finding a tumbler lock right for you, I recommend searching online or through your local locksmith’s inventory for one with the features suitable to your specific security needs.

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