For all of the many posts we’ve done covering the topic of exit devices, we have yet to write one that really spells out the different styles and types of exit devices available. Just like most things in this industry, there are a few choices when it comes to choosing an exit device that best suits your needs.
The crossbar is a very basic exit device, typically used in situations where increased security is not needed. It was initially favored for its sleek design and simplicity. Often times, the crossbar is used on storefront doors, however, this type of exit device has its faults. We’ve seen it misused time and time again, most often by facility owners wrapping chains through the bars to add more security. This isn’t allowed as it creates an extreme life safety hazard, but it still seems to happen.
The paddle is probably the least popular of all exit devices. It has more of a rugged look and basically just meets the minimum requirements needed when the AHJ calls for an exit device. They’re inexpensive and typically, these types of exit devices are used in low traffic areas. The paddle offers very limited functions and usually, the only extra feature you can add to this type of exit device is an alarm.
When you think of an exit device, the touchpad is probably what you picture. The touchpad is the bar that runs across the midsection of the door. In order to meet Life Safety Code, the bar must span at least halfway across the door, which is why we have full-length touchpads and partial-length touchpads. These exit devices allow the option for many more features as opposed to the aforementioned exit devices. With the design of the touchpad, electronic alarms can be placed inside allowing the ability to hide wires. Touchpads also have the option of being electronically dogged. These two options alone open up quite a few new possibilities for facility owners, which is why the touchpad is the most common choice when it comes to exit devices.
As always, your choice in hardware depends on what your needs are, but there are options out there that will fit all of your requirements. Is there a particular exit device you’re partial to? If so, tell us in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!