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Euro Cylinder Locks Explained

A Euro Cylinder lock or pin tumbler lock, which was its original description when 1st patented in 1805, is used primarily as a locking medium to operate a lock case with a euro shaped hole. The Euro Cylinder is located through the lock case and secured by a fixing screw through the face of the lock case. The key rotates a cam which in turn drives the deadbolt in the lock case into a prepared keep in the frame of the door thus securing the door in place.

Euro Profile cylinder locks are by far the most popular means of locking todays modern homes and very many commercial sites including schools academies and hospitals to name a few. Euro Cylinders are very versatile hence there popularity amongst Locksmiths and Architectural Ironmongers.


The standard differ Euro Cylinder is the most common cylinder lock available widely from DIY stores including the majors plus high street shops specialist retailers and locksmiths. Master Key Systems MKS stock a wide range of Euro Profile and Oval Profile Cylinder Locks or Door Lock Barrels as they are sometimes referred to.

All Differ means is that every cylinder has a different key thus one cylinder will not operate another. The Oval profile or British Oval works on exactly the same principle as the Euro Cylinder Lock but differs in Profile shape i.e Oval profile rather than Euro Profile but also size (length variation).

Typically the Euro Profile Cylinder or Euro Lock Barrel as it is sometimes referred come in a variety of lengths typically 40mm to 50mm for single or half Euro Cylinder locks and 60mm up to 120mm as standard length Euro Cylinders in equal lengths either side of the central cam, for example a 70mm length standard Euro Profile Cylinder lock will measure 35mm either side of the operating cam. And an 80mm 40mm either side of the cam and so on.

With the advent of PVCu doors unequal or offset Euro Cylinder Locks have become the norm, again sizes vary from 70mm up to 120mm, for example a 85mm lock will measure one side of the cam 40mm and the other side 45mm and so on up to 120mm. This is again expanded to accommodate Euro Cylinder locks with Thumb Turns or Knobs so that a key is not required to operate the euro cylinder by way of a key from the inside of the property, this is particularly popular with some Fire Authorities as they deem it safer to use Euro Cylinder Locks with thumb Turns in particular for final exits.

A large variety of Euro Cylinder Thumb Turns have been developed over the years to allow Euro Cylinders to be used in a diverse range of commercial and domestic building where the user(s) have limited mobility or such conditions as Arthritis. Master Key Systems are no exception and their range of cylinders have a DDA standard disabled Thumb Turn that fits both Euro Profile Cylinders and Oval Profile Cylinders.

Euro Locks Master Key Systems


There are many and numerous key types designed for use with Euro Profile Cylinder Locks, many by Manufacturers attempting to make there Euro Cylinder Unique ensuring continuity in demand, those that were not protected by design or patent were ultimately copied and an industry was created supplying key bars and locksmiths with Euro Cylinder Lock key blanks so that the availability became easier as the demand for Euro Cylinders grew.

With the advent of Master Keying Euro Cylinder Locks in particular for commercial or security sensitive applications manufacturers of Master Keyed and suited Euro cylinder Locks such as Master Key Systems recognised the need for restricted key types that could not be made available to distributors and key cutting establishments achieving this by ownership of the design and tooling. Some like MKS have taken this further by patent protecting the key and cylinder combining the patent features between the key and the Euro Cylinder.

Beyond the key type as the original pin tumbler cylinder has developed the requirement for variations in levels of Euro Cylinder security has grown and developed, one of the first developments was for an anti- drill Euro Profile Cylinder Lock that prevented drilling both through the core or plug of the Euro Cylinder but also to sop the drilling below the plug into the body of the Euro Cylinder attacking the springs drivers and operating pins.

This was to become one of many changes as manufactures sought to make their product unique. The features that soon became the norm for consumers wanting more Euro Cylinder security as well as key security were anti pick this was in a way bought about by the skills of locksmiths employed to open the Euro Cylinder securing their customers doors because they had lost their keys, the criminal fraternity soon spied an opportunity to break into properties with Euro Cylinders fitted rather than the traditional 3 or 5 lever lock.

So we have Anti Drill Euro Cylinders and anti drill and anti pick Euro Cylinders. Keen to be one step ahead of those seeking to burgle us the industry introduced British Standards to encourage manufacturers of Euro Cylinder Locks to improve not only there reliability but also its actual security level. In common with responsible manufacturers Master Key Systems secured BSEN 1303 2005 on its range of Euro Profile Cylinders.

This standard ensures minimum levels of reliability and degrees of security depending on the standard achieved during testing. This was to be the start of a new era for Euro Profile Cylinder Locks. A new standard was created to offer the many users of Euro cylinders a wider choice depending on the application i.e low level risk to high level risk of break in.

The latest level of cylinder security is the British Standard Kite Mark TS* cylinders rated 1-3. 1 being the basic level and 3 at the time of writing being the highest level. A 3 star cylinder now offers, Anti Drill; Anti Pick; Anti Bump and Anti Snap. This does not however guarantee key security as some of the manufacturers have made their Kite Marked Euro Profile cylinders on a standard keyway where key blanks are available a key bars and locksmiths.

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