What is a Mantrap?

A mantrap is an access control system that consists of a small space and two interlocking doors. One set of the doors must close before the other one can be opened so that an individual is briefly ‘trapped’ in the vestibule before clearing the second door. These access control systems are also known as airlocks, access control vestibules and sally ports.

These vestibules can be manually operated or have automatic systems. In a manual system, a guard would need to lock and unlock the doors of the mantrap every time someone enters the room or building. For automatic mantraps, some form of identification, like a key card or security code, is needed to unlock each door.

They are used as physical safety solutions for places that need a high level of security. You will often find them at banks, research labs, post offices, airports, healthcare facilities, embassies and data centers. They are used to prevent unauthorized people from entering or control sterile environments by averting contamination.

How does a Mantrap work?

Mantraps work by using an interdependent locking/unlocking methodology, which grants access to the second door only when the first door has been properly locked. The person trapped inside must wait for the first door to lock and then provide the necessary credentials, such as passcodes or biometric authentication, to be able to go through the second door.

Today's simplified automatic systems enable clearance with access cards, key fobs or even mobile phones. This eliminates the need for a guard to constantly be monitoring and unlocking the vestibule.

This type of access control system also needs to be up to fire code regulations and must have an exit that can unlock in case of fire or power outages.

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How much does it cost?

The price of a mantrap depends on its level of sophistication and security. These access control systems can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 and that doesn’t even usually cover the cost of installation as these systems can be very complex.

Your facility will also need to be modified to be able to accommodate the vestibule. Additional construction, like knocking down walls and enlarging doorways, may be necessary for mantrap installation, which creates further costs to the company. 

What are the advantages of mantraps?

While this security solution is very expensive, it is also very effective and will make up for its cost over time. There are several advantages to installing a mantrap to secure your facility, which we discuss below.

Prevents Break-Ins

It is incredibly difficult for someone to forcibly break down one of these security doors, let alone two. Having an access control vestibule deters opportunistic break-ins to your facility.

Can Physically Trap an Individual

This type of access control system can physically hold a person between its two locked doors if they are unauthorized or found to be suspicious. A guard can then question the trapped individual and decide what to do next, whether that is to let the person out the way they came or call the authorities.

Provides a High Level of Security

Installing an access control vestibule like this will significantly increase your facility’s level of security. With authentication devices, only certain people may enter and exit as they please. You can give your employees access cards or use biometric identification to allow them access into the building or secure room.

Mantraps can support two-factor authentication for even better security. People will need to provide two types of authentication or credentials (one at each door) to enter.

These vestibules also take a lot of pressure off employees who have to monitor who enters the facility. Since only one person can enter at a time, no one can slip in unnoticed.