Garage Door Locks: Manual vs. Automatic

Choosing the type of gate lock that will accompany your garage can either be a very quick and easy decision, or a slightly more difficult one depending on what you’re looking for. For most people, going for an automatic garage door lock might be a no-brainer, but you shouldn’t be that quick to disregard the possibility of using a manual garage door lock. Each type of lock has its own advantages and disadvantages.

If summed up in the shortest way possible, we’d have to put it like this. If you want a garage door lock that is the most convenient, but also comes with a very slight possibility of failure, an automatic door lock is what you want. Instead, if what you’re looking for is a very reliable lock that requires more user input but always feels familiar and friendly in your hands, then a manual garage door lock is more your style. Of course, this is a broad simplification, so let’s actually discuss in more detail the comparison between manual and automatic garage door locks.

Manual Garage Door Locks

Let’s first start with manual garage door locks. Though most likely not everyone’s first choice when it comes to door locks, manual locks have their own strong features that will sway many people. For example:


If there is one thing a manual lock really represents when compared to automatic locks, it is familiarity and reliability. This is simple because manual locking mechanisms are something you have been exposed to in many different forms since you were a child. If you have the key to a manual lock in your hands, then you know how to operate that lock.

And this sense of familiarity also comes with the bonus of reliability. If the manual lock you’ve purchased isn’t the cheapest one on the planet, then it is going to work flawlessly long after you’ve relinquished need of it. No number of power failures or component failures or lack of maintenance is going to stop a good old-fashioned manual lock from doing its job remarkably well. Does it require more effort to lock and unlock a manual lock? Yes. Is it worth the hassle? For a lot of people, also yes.


This one is quite obvious but, manual door locks are without a doubt going to be much easier investments on the pocket. Of course, this isn’t without its disadvantages; namely that automatic locks almost always make up for the initial installation expenditure in the long run. But if you just want a hassle-free lock for your garage’s door at a cost-effective price point, you can’t go wrong with a manual lock. Especially considering the fact that this lock will most likely last you a lifetime.

Simple Maintenance

First of all, manual locks require much less maintenance than their automatic counterparts. And whatever maintenance they do require is paltry in comparison with automatic locks. This is due mostly in part to their simpler construction and their lesser degree of reliance on multiple components and parts working together. This way, you barely ever have to touch up your manual lock, and whenever you do, it is quite simple and a short task.

Automatic Garage Door Locks

Automatic garage door locks can come in a few different shapes and forms, but ultimately all of them have the same purpose all automatic versions of existing objects do; provide you with more convenience than their manual predecessors. Automatic garage door locks are generally more favored, and for most people are the clear winners of this comparison. We’ll list the facts, and you can decide from there if they’re worth it or not.


The biggest selling point of automatic garage doors, and most definitely why they dominate most of the garage door lock market. Having an automatic garage door is without a doubt very comfortable. You can roll up to your house and have the door lock open automatically which of course, paired with conventional automatic garage doors, means that you don’t have to get out of your car. That alone of itself is enough to have most people sold on automatic garage door locks.


Automatic garage door locks are also actually more secure than manual door locks. This is because while most manual locks can be broken into using some specific tools and the right know-how if given enough time and patience, automatic locks are much harder to break in to. This is because they don’t usually have a weak point – like the insertion point of a key on a manual lock – that can be breached by intruders to fiddle with the mechanism inside.

Automatic garage door locks require a signal of some sort to open or close themselves. Furthermore, some models of automatic garage door locks have other countermeasures built in as well. These can include either multiple forms of authentication – though this slows down the lock’s operation considerably – or even an alarm system (or a connection to your existing alarm system) that alerts you to any attempts to break into your garage.


As a disadvantage to automatic garage door locks, we need to mention their rate of maintenance requirements. Automatic door locks, understandably, have to be maintained more regularly than manual door locks. This is because there is a much larger room for error when it comes to automatic door locks; owing to the multiple parts and components inside that can fail at any time.

Initial Expenditure

As mentioned above, manual door locks are much cheaper to implement initially. Automatic door lock installation into garage doors is a much more delicate matter – maybe even requiring professional hired help – which means that it is that much more expensive as well. To be fair, the convenience and security that automatic door locks provide more than makes up for the initial installation investment, but the fact still remains that having an automatic door lock installed will be more expensive. At first at least.


So, where does that leave this comparison now? That depends entirely on what you decided were the most important factors of garage door locks for you specifically. As a last tidbit of advice, consider this; if you use your garage door an awful lot, you are probably better off with an automatic garage door lock. This is because the convenience alone would be so worth it, not to mention that you probably have the time for more periodic maintenance if you spend so much time in the garage.

However, if you barely ever visit your garage, and definitely don’t park your car inside it, then a manual garage door lock might be better for you. Just because you won’t have to deal with any of the more advanced maintenance hassle, and the occasional manual interaction probably isn’t that difficult. While you decide which garage door lock suits your needs best, be sure to check out some of our other articles on the topic of garage doors. For example, our post on belt versus chain garage door openers, or our article on the different types of garage doors.