Yale Locks are a very popular lock manufacturer in the United States. They are well known in the commercial and locksport communities.
The company has a long history stretching back as far as the 1860s. It can be said that Yale locks were the first cylinder locks brought to market.
Nowadays, Yale Locks provide a variety of lock-based security products. They have come a long way from the Egyptian technology their initial locks were developed from. Their modern-day locking options even include keyless technology in the form of touchpads and mobile device capabilities.
History of Yale Lock Company
The long history of Yale Locks begins with one of its founders and namesakes, Linus Yale Jr.
Linus Yale Jr was originally introduced to locks by his father, who ran his own lock company. He eventually opened his own lock company with a focus on bank locks.
These locks were combination locks and key-operated locks. As he improved his inventions which he frequently patented, he soon developed the pin tumbler lock. Interestingly enough, this lock design was evident in Egypt as far back as 4,000 years ago.
Wonder if that means a lock picker was the first to access King Tut’s tomb.
With his new patents, Yale Jr. and his partner, Henry Towne, founded the Yale and Towne Manufacturing Company on December 9th, 1868. Sadly, just days later, on a business trip to New York City in which he was negotiating to have his locks used in a skyscraper, Linus Yale Jr. died of a sudden heart attack.
Imagine what other locking mechanisms he may have developed had he been given the opportunity. We are thankful he brought pin tumbler locks from the tomb and into the market.
Here is our article on how lock picks work, in particular on Yale’s famous pin tumbler locks.
The Yale company produced some very interesting locks, including this “push key” lock from the 1905s as shown by the legend himself, the LockingPickingLawyer.
Thankfully the company maintained its great build quality and continued Yale’s work. The company was focused on large buildings and bank security features.
The Yale Company was able to create and provide the locks within a number of iconic and historic buildings of New York City. Their list of clients includes the Chrysler Building, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, and the New York Life Building.
It’s great to see that Yale Jr.’s legacy continued on with great success.
The company has continued operating and has thrived to the present day. Their range of products has changed with the developments throughout the past decades.
They have maintained their focus on commercial doors and access points. However, they have also developed products for home security applications.
In the year 2000, the Yale Company was acquired by ASSA ABLOY.
The Yale Company has a long history of lock making. In recent years, they have moved their focus from their roots and padlocks and shifted to modern-day door locks with integrated smart technology.
Unfortunately, this is evident in their lack of innovation and security improvements on their padlocks. For strong and reliable padlocks, we would recommend looking at Squire.
Yale Smart Locks and Keypads
These convenience locks are still in their early days and we are expecting more improvements to the technology with new iterations from Yale soon.
The technology features of these locks are neat but still lacking. Our request, along with many others, would be to have time-limited PIN codes allowing temporary time-restricted access.
We are surprised by the lack of security in the cores themselves by Yale. They obviously focused on the Bluetooth features more than the simple security of the lock itself.
There are reports that some of these locks are vulnerable to hacks on the applications themselves.
Yale Assure Lock
The Yale Assure Lock is a smart door lock with Bluetooth technology alongside traditional key capabilities. The two technologies merge to form the AutoLock feature.
The core has 6 pin chambers but only has pins in 5 of them. The driver pins are all tapered on both ends. For an inexperienced lock picker, these will prove difficult alongside the security spool pins.
The Yale Access Upgrade Kit is required for Wifi access to the Assure Lock. Once the Kit is plugged into a nearby outlet, you will have remote access to the lock from anywhere.
Yale Assure Lock SL
The Yale Assure Lock SL is a sleek take on the Assure Lock. The lock is 100% a smart lock without a keyway for key access.
The battery-powered lock is backlit and the locking mechanism works through Bluetooth using the Yale Secure App.
For an added cost, you can purchase network modules for 3rd party connections. These network modules will connect your lock to Google Assistant and Nest. Other modules can connect the lock to the Apple Homekit and Amazon’s Alexa.
Yale Door Locks
We believe Yale’s best products are their traditional door locks. They have been the company’s running products and it is very evident.
They offer locks with tricky keyways providing lock-picking resistance and some cylinders with as many as 7 pins.
Yale 5400CK Door Knob lock
The 5400CK key and door knob is a high-quality and industrial-grade product. Despite its rough look, it is a high-security product.
The lock is a 6-pin core full of security spool pins.
It was graded by ANSI/BHMA Series 4000 Grade 1 for its durability under different attacks. The high-quality deadbolt that comes standard is a great addition.
Yale KeyMark Lock Cylinder
The Yale KeyMark is a high-security cylinder with flexible use cases. It can be master keyed and used in small and large format interchangeable cores.
The core can be pinned with up to 7 pin chambers. Its tricky keyway and overload of security pin options make it very challenging to pick.
It can be fitted to older key systems and allow for major security upgrades.
Yale has produced padlocks for nearly their entire history and they have the products to prove that.
Yale Y300/63 Open Shackle Padlock
This average-sized padlock is full of anti-picking features.
A lock picker will first have to encounter the paracentric keyway which makes it difficult to comfortably access the pins with their tools.
If they are successful in accessing the pins, then they will have to deal with the security pins. Yale uses tapered key pins and spooled key pins to make it highly pick resistant in the 6 pin chambers.
The 11mm Molybdenum shackle makes it resistant to cutting attacks
Despite this lock looking boring, it scores a CEN 4 rating making it a High-Security applications product.
Yale Y210C Closed Shackle Padlock
Yale created a very reliable padlock for your average security applications.
The protective shackle guard helps deter cut attacks. The core is protected with steel pinning that combats drill attacks.
Despite the 6-pin core only utilizing 5 of the pin chambers, it is still a tougher lock to pick. The pins used are tapered drivers and deep spool pins.
The paracentric keyway also helps make reaching the pins with a pick more difficult.
In the end, it has a CEN 3 rating and comes with a Medium/High-Security applications rating.
Here is a video of the LockPickingLawyer picking and gutting this lock.
This one also gets a Green Belt Rating from r/LockPicking on Reddit, giving it a low-medium pick rating of 4 out of 9.
Yale Y121/50 Closed Shackle Padlock
The Yale Y121/50 lock is a budget-friendly padlock that comes with Yale’s high-quality production.
This lock also comes with a paracentric keyway and is full of different sizes of spool pins. An expert lock picker may not have trouble but it will definitely prevent low-level attacks.
The boron shackle is a nice feature but unfortunately, Yale saved money by using a hard plastic lock and shackle guard.
The budget savings are evident in its CEN 2 rating or standard security.
Smart Storage & Delivery devices
With the rise of porch pirates, Yale decided to address that need with the creation of smart storage boxes for deliveries.
It is a shame, that the locking mechanism is not great and the whole product line feels rushed to meet the market’s needs.
Yale Smart Delivery Box
This security box meets a rising need for many clients.
We like the clean and intrusive design. The plastic build materials make it weather resistant and are great for shielding your deliveries from the sun and rain.
The Smart Delivery Box comes in multiple colors so you can match it to your taste and decor.
Its keyless locking mechanism saves room on your family’s keychains. It requires WiFi and Bluetooth, which are standard for a lot of smart devices. Its WiFi and Bluetooth capability come standard with the product.
We wish the box came with a bolt-down option, so we could secure it to the front porch. However, its bulky size makes it an awkward item to try to steal from someone’s porch.
The Bottom Line for Yale Locks
The Yale company and their locks have been around for a long time obviously, but it just feels like they are dropping the ball. They have not produced any innovative locks or technology in recent years.
Their padlocks are balanced and provide good value for their customers. They are reliable locks and will definitely keep most lock pickers out.
The company’s smart door technology products are still in their infancy and we will be following up for improvements in that line of products.
For your padlock needs, we would recommend Squire or MUL-T-LOCK for their paddocks. For high-security door locks, we recommend checking out Schlage which has smart locks and high-quality standard door locks.