The knowledge of Cam Locks

A Cam Lock is composed of a fixed cylinder and a cam that rotates 90 degrees at the back end. The security of cam locks can range from simple flat keys to patented anti-theft keys with high security like Pagoda keyways.

Terminology relating to cam locks:

A Cam is an arm on the back. When the lock is unlocked, the arm will rotate. Most cams can be installed at any position such as 12, 3, 6, or 9 o’clock.


A cylinder is the body of the cam lock, usually with a thread on it, and the cylinder nut is tightened from the back of the application. There are two flat sides and two curved sides for thread standard cam locks.

Offset Cams

Cam with a 1/4″ offset can increase or decrease the total extension distance of cam locks. If the cam lock is 1-1/8″ but the material thickness is 7/8″ and this is a flush mount, a 1/4″ offset cam may be required.

Stop Cams

As the industry standard, the stop cam allows keys and cams to be rotated at 90 degrees. The stop cam can be reversed to let the cam rotates left to right or right to left for most cam locks.

Pronged Washers

Pronged washers are used for wood. One side of the pronged washer has prongs that dig into the wood. There are screw holes that can secure with screws for most pronged washers.

Key Retaining or Non-Key Retaining

Key Retaining means that the key can only be removed when the lock is in the locked position. Non-Key Retaining implies that the key can be removed even if the lock is in the unlocked position.

Different kinds of cam locks

Tubular Style Cam Locks

The tubular-style cam lock is also known as an ace lock or round key. The round key is inserted into the internally matched pin to allow rotation. This lock provides better security than a flat disc cam lock at an affordable price.

Flat Key Disc Tumbler Cam Lock

It is basically the cheapest cam lock, providing medium safety. The insertion key is aligned with the disc to allow rotation.

European Style Cam Locks

Round keys with angled cuts make the lock difficult to be picked. Keys can not be duplicated in the USA.

Combination Cam Lock

There is no need to use a key. Set the code you want. You can use a basic combination lock, or you can use a key override for code discovery and reset. Currently, the combination cam is the most popular combination cam lock.

Keyless Cam Locks

Keys are not required. Cam lock can be rotated through a coin slot, thumb rotation, etc. It is often used for a latching device rather than security.

High-Security Pagoda Cam Lock

The patented system can provide the highest security. Keys can only be duplicated in the factory.

Electronic Cam Locks

Electronic or battery-operated lock allowing access through an RFID card or digital password. Electronic locks provide more programmable options.

Cam lock with an interface in front and can be secured by any padlock.

Contact Junying for your lock projects as we have more than 20 years of experience in the lock field.