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Compare the Top Rated Access Control Brands - Best & Most Popular Access Control Companies

Industries across the spectrum are investing in access control systems as an efficient, cost-effective way to protect employees, clients, and company data and assets. These products are exactly what the name implies; they control access to a building or area so that only authorized personnel may enter. Access control systems range from an electronic keypad at a single entry point to networked systems that encompass multiple locations and integrate with other platforms, such as employee attendance systems. Authentication options vary and include physical credentials, keypad entry via identification or PIN, biometrics, and cell phone apps that mimic physical credentials.

In this post, we compare top access control brands, including Allegion, Honeywell, and Johnson Controls, as well as the various system options and authentication methods.

Top Access Control Brands

The following represent the 10 best access control brands available now


Allegion specializes in door security, manufacturing mechanical and electrical locks, exit devices, steel doors, door closers, and frames. The company's technological advances include biometrics, cloud technology, special surfaces, video surveillance, wireless solutions, and more.

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Brivo's cloud-based solutions include a cutting-edge IP system so you can manage your access control system from any location. The mobile platform eliminates nearly all hardware components, simplifying both set-up and management.


Honeywell is one of the most recognized names in security. This global tech company manufactures a variety of door readers and offers multiple credential options, including barcode sliders, biometric fingerprint authentication, and keypad entry systems.


IDenticard allows you to use one of their straight-from-the-box systems, such as PermiSys, or customize it to fit your unique needs. They also offer customizable credentials and ID badges, letting you to create the perfect access control system for your organization.

Johnsons Controls

With a Johnson Controls system, you get security management in real time, with technologies that seamlessly integrate the manufacturer's P2000 security management system with its access control technologies. Your organization gets top-notch building security while maximizing efficiency and savings.


Kisi's access control systems rely on your employees' mobile phones for authentication instead of badges and key fobs. Simply grant the employee access to an entrance point and have your employees download the Kisi app. There's no need to collect credentials upon termination; just revoke access.


Already a household name for its locks and keys, Stanley also offers a line of access control products that integrate with its own security systems or those from other manufacturers. Authentication options include biometric authentication via iris recognition.


Although Tyco Integrated Security recently merged with Johnson Controls, the company still has an impressive offering of access control products and other security solutions, customizable for your particular industry and your organization's size. In addition, Tyco products integrate well with other brands.


Since acquiring Siemens' security division, Vanderbilt Industries has grown its access control products and services into an impressive offering. The company offers amazing smart technologies, including encrypted smart cards for its door readers, as well as video surveillance that integrates seamlessly with its access control systems.


Zwipe specializes in biometric controls with contactless fingerprint-activated cards. Authorized personnel simply touch the card's sensor, sending the authentication to the system's reader to allow access. The card stores the employee's encrypted fingerprint data and you can revoke access at any time.

Types of Access Control Systems and Authentications

You have two main considerations when choosing an access control product: how the system connects to your points of entry and authentication method.

Connection Options

Today's systems offer two main connection options. The first is the traditional system, which uses a physical connection between the control panel or panels and the property's power and data sources. The most common interface is a PC. Door readers, locks, and cameras all connect to this hard-wired control panel.

The second option is IP-based, which connects system components via a wireless or Ethernet network. These networked solutions are much easier to install and far more streamlined.

Unlike traditional systems, IP systems allow you to connect an infinite number of doors to a single control panel, reducing the required hardware. However, some critics believe IP systems are more vulnerable to hacking, making them less secure. An additional item on the "con" side is their susceptibility to network outages. In other words, IP systems demand reliable Wi-Fi connectivity. There is no single right answer regarding which option is better; it depends on the needs of your organization.

Authentication Options

You have three main options for authentication: passwords or PINs, physical credentials such as a badge or key fob, and biometric identifiers such as a fingerprint. A fourth option is quickly gaining in popularity and that's mobile credentials via a phone app, such as used by Kisi.

Many security experts recommend employing more than one authentication method. Some organizations use one method for main entry, such as a badge swipe, and a second method once authorized personnel enter the building, such as passcodes for stairwells and elevators, limiting access to certain floors or areas. Whatever authentication method you choose, it should be easy to revoke. Also, look for access control systems that detect suspicious activity and allow you to suspend credentials.

Choosing the Right Service Provider

Choosing the right vendor requires knowing which questions to ask.

What Does Installation Include?

Every install is different; however, your representative should ask to see a facility layout, which helps them understand both internal and external access points. Reviewing your layout also reveals subcategories that require access control such as servers, records, hazardous materials and other regulated substances, equipment, and security offices.

Your provider bases the system design on your layout, with configurations for doors, control devices, computers, and your chosen authentication methods. Before passing control of the system to your team, the install crew integrates the system with your server (whether hard-wired or IP); establishes access levels, administrator rights, and passwords; and troubleshoots the system. Recommendations for large facilities often include incremental rollouts, which reduces disruptions.

Does the System Integrate with Other Platforms?

It's common to integrate access control systems with platforms such as alarm systems and attendance software. Integration typically leads to significant savings as regards both labor and maintenance.

Your best bet is an access control system that features plug-in integration, which reduces the costs and inefficiencies common with multiple independent platforms.

Are There Training Options?

Most access control systems are user-friendly and intuitive; they don't require extensive training. However, some vendors and manufacturers offer training sessions, either on-site or at a trade show, that let you take the system for a test drive, so to speak. These sessions can help you decide between two providers or manufacturers.

What Support Does the Contract Include?

As with most commercial equipment, regular maintenance is a key component system reliability, particularly for the components that get a lot of use, such as badge readers, keypads, and door locks.

Look for a dealer that offers both preventive and reactive maintenance and who guarantees a speedy turnaround time for service calls. Preventive maintenance reduces the need for those calls, so make sure your purchase includes that level of support. You also want regular software updates, including for any platforms integrated with your access control system.

In addition to on-call support, look for a vendor that offers web-based support in the form of live chats and online resources.

Can You Customize the System?

Most access control systems allow plug-in customization options including remote access, expandability, visitor traffic analytics, and access limitations. Of course, the more features and add-ons you choose, the more you pay. Determine which features you actually need and are likely to use and, if the out-of-the-box system includes unnecessary items, ask the vendor whether they offer a version without all the bells and whistles.

Does the System Meet Local Regulatory Requirements?

There are numerous regulations and safety requirements to consider. For example, the National Fire Protection Association's safety code requires emergency exit doors be outfitted with a crash bar (panic hardware). Make sure the system you choose meets all local and federal building codes.

Author: Angela Escobar

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