Fundamentally, when an electronic latch is unlocked, the enclosure door pops open of its own accord. When an electronic lock is actuated the enclosure appears unchanged, but users can open it manually by turning a handle or sliding a bolt. One key consideration when deciding between a lock or latch: Will users benefit from the compartment opening upon actuation, or does the door need to remain closed until manually released?
A few illustrations should help explain the possibilities and ramifications of latching and locking. In a medical dispensing cart with several drawers holding different medications, an electronic latch and pop-open door are convenient and save time. On the other hand, it’s best not to advertise that a server cabinet in a communal data storage facility is unlocked and open. In such cases, electronic locks are more appropriate. Parcel pickup lockers may be easier and more convenient if the door swings open when the latch is activated. In contrast, remotely actuated baggage doors on an RV are best left closed until the RV owner/user is ready to access them.