In recent years, in the United States but also elsewhere throughout the world, smart locks have become some of the most popular home technology products…along with other home automation and home security system products and technologies. This could be due to a number of factors, but probably has no coincidental correlation to the number of hours that people spend away from home, as opposed to at home.
In the U.S., a burglary occurs every 18 seconds, and about a third of burglars enter through the front door. It’s no wonder that smart home technology, specifically that dealing with home security enhancement, is on the rise. Smart door locks have become a solution for many who want not only the peace of mind of auto-lock features (offered by many smart locks), but also the convenience of monitoring and controlling the door’s lockability from wherever they happen to be.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what smart door locks offer in general, the pros and cons of smart door locks, and a look at various specific smart door locks on the market today.
What Does A Smart Door Lock Offer
A smart door lock, in a nutshell, provides the safety and security of a traditional door lock but with more smart technology potential and without physical keys. Although they’re all a bit different in what they offer, some features of smart locks might include the following:
- Remote monitor and control – Using your mobile device or browser on a laptop or PC, you can easily monitor what’s happening with your smart door lock and also control it from anywhere in the world. Gone are the days of having to track down a key from a neighbor to let your family member into your home to stay the night while you’re vacationing.
- Keyless entry capacity – Without passing physical keys around the neighborhood for people to lose or misplace, you can still share entrance into your home to trusted friends and family via keyless entry through your smart door lock keypad. Even housekeepers can gain access to your home while you’re away, should you want to share your code with them.
- Peace of mind – If you’ve ever left home and wondered whether or not your kids closed and/or locked the door when they left, you will appreciate the peace of mind offered by a smart lock. Auto-lock technologies will let you know that your door is both closed and locked while you’re gone; some technology will be able to sense your arrival as well and unlock for you. What service!
- Awareness of access – Smart door locks can connect to your app and provide activity feeds. This allows you to know, 24/7, when people (and which people, depending on the access codes used) have come and gone through your door. It’s nice to know who is, or is not, home.
- Video monitoring compatibility – Some smart door locks provide the option to install a doorbell camera and dual audio. This helps you to know not just that someone is at your front door, but also who it is, and it allows you two-way communication (a la intercom).
Pros & Cons Of Smart Door Locks
Maybe you’re still on the fence about smart locks. I mean, just how practical are they? And are they really better than your trusty deadbolt that’s held your home safe for a decade or two? Regardless of their rise in popularity as a whole, smart door locks may or may not be the most practical or safest home security choice for you. Here’s a brief look at some of the advantages of smart locks, as well as some of the potential disadvantages. You can study the list and see what resonates with you and would best match your lifestyle and home.
Advantages of a Smart Door Lock
- Smart locks provide simple, keyless entry. With their use of passcodes, fingerprints, or even voice activation, you don’t have to worry so much about being locked out of the house without a key.
- Smart locks work with smart phones. Once the app has been downloaded onto your phone, you can lock and unlock the door…even if you’re halfway across the country. Some apps even let you see the status of the lock, so you can have peace of mind knowing that, even if you forget to lock up after yourself, you can still lock up later on via your smart phone.
- Smart locks allow for customizable access codes. You can program various access codes to allow people entrance into your home – your kids, your kids’ babysitter, your neighbors who are watering your plants and feeding your fish while you’re away, your housekeeper, your mother-in-law who loves to drop in unannounced. Smart door locks allow you to provide unique access to each person, rather than pass out a bunch of actual keys (and still risk their being lost or misplaced).
- Smart locks have convenient technology. Depending on the model of smart door lock that you’re looking at, you could have any number of super convenient technologies at your fingertips – automatic unlocking at the sensing of your approach, fingerprint unlock, touch-lock unlocking, automatic locking behind you, and more. It’s hard to say no to a technology that can make life so much easier.
- Smart locks can integrate seamlessly with other home security systems or home automation systems, enhancing functionality and convenience. If, say, your home security camera at the front door shows you who is at the door, and you’re unable to get up to unlock it, a smart door lock would be convenient because you can let the person in without having to get up yourself.
Disadvantages of a Smart Door Lock
- Smart lock technology can fail. Of course, there’s nothing like not being able to get into your house because your smart door lock has all of a sudden stopped working. Or if your smart lock only works with deadbolts, or if it only works if a door is closed a certain way.
- Smart door locks can have vulnerable code. Older keypad smart locks will be able to open for anybody who has access to the code; hackers might be able to guess obvious codes such as 1234 or the house number or another notable number and easily gain access to your interior.
- Smart door locks would have to be installed on each door separately in order for your home to be as secure as the smart lock boasts. For example, if your back door has a standard doorknob lock, it can still be picked and broken into, regardless of whatever technology your front door smart lock has.
- Smart locks can be bulky and unsightly. This might change in the coming years, as designs can be slimmed down with the advancement of technology. But it’s not there yet.
- Some smart door locks require a hub, because they operate wirelessly via Bluetooth, in order to maximize remote controlled functionality.
- Smart door locks can still be hacked. They offer peace of mind, to be sure, but just as with any technology, smart locks are not immune from being overridden by a knowledgeable hacker.
- Smart door locks cost much more than traditional locks.
The Best Smart Door Locks on The Market
August Smart Lock looks well, with its contemporary, simple, and streamlined aesthetic. Not only does it have the form aspect nailed, but it’s got functionality as well. There is a strong capacity for seamless user management (translation: it’s easy to use!) as well as convenient automated features. August Smart Lock is a retrofit design, meaning that it can most likely work with your existing deadbolt and keyset; the only physical component that you’ll need to replace with Smart Lock is the thumbturn on the inside face of your door.
The smart lock is easy to install and, once installed, control in your iOS app. There is an intuitive design with the app’s functionality, allowing flexibility in customization as well as an overarching ability to keep it safe and simple. The metal ring around the lock functions as a manual/mechanical turn for the deadbolt, which means you can still lock your door physically should you lose power or access for some reason. This is an important feature in our electronic smart lock world.
With all that August Smart Lock offers, you should be aware of some potential drawbacks. Android users don’t get the auto-unlock feature, the Bluetooth usage can cause a slow/delayed connection, and Smart Lock requires a hub for wireless connectivity. Thus, in order to control the smart lock when you’re out of wi-fi range, you’re going to need a compatible third-party hub or a separate August Connect accessory, which adds to the cost of an already somewhat expensive smart lock.
August Smart Lock 2nd Generation allows you to control your door with your smart phone. Because it is designed to be a retrofitted smart lock, 2nd Gen allows you to keep your existing deadbolt. You’ll simply install August Smart Lock 2nd Gen on the inside of your door, where the thumb lever goes; installation is fast and easy. There are no wires needed (just four AA batteries required). Technologically, 2nd Gen allows you to grant or restrict access to visitors at any time. You can customize unique keys for each user, and because an activity log is kept 24/7, you’ll be able to monitor from your phone who has come and gone…and who is still around.
An auto-lock and auto-unlock function means that you’ll never have to wonder whether or not you locked the front door – it will automatically lock as you leave, and sense your coming and unlock to welcome you home. Voice control compatibility with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit (Siri), or Google Assistant makes August Smart Lock 2nd Generation even more convenient to use; however, you should be aware that this feature requires the August Connect hub.
August Smart Lock Pro allows you to monitor and control your door from anywhere via your mobile device. Remotely from the app on your phone, you will be able to lock and unlock your door, control keyless access, and monitor who enters and exits your home. This operation and checking capability of August Smart Lock Pro is made possible via an August Connect wi-fi bridge, included. A 24/7 activity log tracks who is coming and going, and you can access this information on your smart phone.
August Smart Lock Pro can be retrofitted to over 100 existing single-cylinder deadbolts and keysets, so you can easily install it by attaching it to the hardware you’ve already got. Installation is fast and easy, with just a screwdriver. August’s DoorSenseSensor technology helps you to rest assured that your door is always closed and locked, as it automatically locks the door when you exit. What’s more, DoorSense will automatically unlock when you get home. August Smart Lock Pro is compatible with Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant, allowing voice control for convenience as well. Four AA batteries are required.
Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt is a type of smart door lock in which your smart phone (iOS or android) acts as your key. Control access and entry into your house either with the deadbolt’s stylish touchscreen or with the convenient Schlage Sense app. The smart deadbolt’s design is centered on the object of making your life easier and more convenient while not sacrificing safety and peace of mind. With the simple entry of an access code on the touchscreen, you no longer need to carry around, keep track of, or find keys to get into your house. Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt is battery-operated, making installation quick and easy, especially with the Schlage guarantee that the Smart Deadbolt will fit on any standard pre-drilled door.
Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt connects the lock with your smart phone via Bluetooth. You can easily share access with any trusted friends and family. If you want greater remote access to your smart door lock, you can simply add the Schlage Sense Wi-Fi Adapter to your home’s wi-fi network. The secure connection between your deadbold and your home’s wi-fi network will allow you to lock and unlock your Schlage Deadbolt from anywhere in the world.
This pairing takes the advantages offered by Schlage’s smart lock deadbolt and adds them to the accompanying handleset. Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt works seamlessly with the Schlage Sense app, available for android and Apple devices. You won’t have to worry about customizing your existing door setup, as the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt is uniquely designed to fit on standard pre-drilled doors, guaranteed.
The smart lock is wireless (battery-powered), making it additionally easy to install; a low-battery indicator will help you keep your lock up and running effectively, alerting you to low battery weeks before it’s actually drained. Batteries typically last about a year with average use. You can enter an access code on the exterior touchscreen, rather than hunt for keys. Schlage Smart Sense comes with a backup key as well.
The Schlage Sense Smart Handleset features an exterior lower grip and interior door lock. Adjustable through-bolts come standard with Schlage handlesets; these bolts slide up and down 1-1/2”, allowing a proper fit and functionality on a variety of pre-existing door holes. In fact, Schlage’s handleset design adjusts to fit all standard door preps. You can easily pair the handleset with the touchscreen deadbolt on front and exterior doors. The handleset’s metal construction adds strength and durability as well as security. You will want to add the Schlage Sense Wi-Fi Adapter to your home wi-fi network to be able to control your lock from anywhere.
As the best smart lock mantra will always be, Kwikset Kevo Touch-to-Open Bluetooth Smart Lock’s design is to make your smart phone (select iOS and android devices) your new house key. Not only that, but the Kwikset Kevo 1st Generation smart lock offers a convenient touch-to-open feature as well. That means that, with your smart phone (or the free key fob, included) in your pocket, you can simply touch the lock itself and it will unlock for you. That is ultimate convenience.
You can deal in free eKeys (e.g., access codes), allowing you to send and manage eKey access via your smart phone. You can change or delete eKeys anytime and anywhere, and you can program eKeys to have anytime, scheduled, or guest access so that you are always in complete control of who is entering your home. Kwikset Kevo 1st Gen is Bluetooth Smart ready (with a Bluetooth 4.0 enabled device) and, as long as you’re at home within Bluetooth range of your Kevo smart lock, you have complete control of locking/unlocking the door.
Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock 1st Generation features a history log and notifications to allow you to see who (which access codes) has locked or unlocked your door. This smart lock integrates well with other smart home components such as Amazon Alexa, Ring Doorbell, Skybell, Nest Learning Thermostat, select Honeywell Thermostats, Android Wear, and IFTTT.
Kwikset Kevo’s Bluetooth Smart Lock 2nd Generation is such a unique smart door lock – while most smart locks allow you to use your cell phone as your key or have a touchscreen to punch in your access code, Kwikset Kevo allows you to unlock your door with a single touch. The Bluetooth-enabled pairs with your phone and unlocks with just the tap of your finger to the lock when it detects that you are standing outside.
This 2nd Generation model is different than (improved from) the original because it has a smaller and less obtrusive interior housing, installation is even easier, and it is designed to be more durable and resistant against brute-force attacks. All eKeys are free and unlimited, including designated time-restricted ones, adding to the smart lock’s overall convenience and functionality.
One difference between the 2nd Generation Kevo and the 1st Gen model, though, is that the 2nd Generation no longer includes the free key fob accessory, which came standard with 1st Gen. This was a helpful addition to people who didn’t have a smart phone or who didn’t carry it with them everywhere. You can, however, purchase a key fob for an additional $25.
The Kwikset Kevo Convert Smart Lock Conversion Kit upgrades your existing deadbolt into a smart lock. This means that you’ll be able to control the lock using your smart phone, other compatible device, or Amazon Alexa voice commands. (Note: The latter, as well as the option to remotely lock/unlock your door, requires the Kevo Plus hub, sold separately.) The Kevo Conversion Kit has you replace your current lock’s interior hardware, a tauted fast and easy swap, while you keep your existing lock’s exterior hardware the same. Again, check compatibility to make sure your existing hardware qualifies.
Once you’ve converted the hardware, you can download the Kevo app to your compatible iOS or android device. From this app, you can lock or unlock your door (within Bluetooth range), send or manage digital eKeys, and track the access into and out of your home. The Conversion Kit also features an optional auto lock function, which will lock your door 30 seconds after it’s been unlocked. The Kwikset Kevo Conversion Kit boasts compatibility with a variety of smart home components to further streamline your smart home technology.
The Kwikset Z-Wave Touchscreen Deadbolt expands your security system solution, along with Home Connect technology, as the lock can communicate wirelessly to security and home automation systems. The Deadbolt is designed with aesthetic style and superior security. Bright white LED lights on the touchscreen are visible clearly even during the bright day, and they stay lit for 30 seconds after inactivity. SmartKey technology allows you to rekey your lock in a matter of seconds, should you need and want to do that.
You can activate the touchscreen a couple of different ways. You can place three or more fingers, the palm or back of your hand, or a single touch to the bottom left corner of the screen. Hold this touch until the touchscreen illuminates.
As a battery-operated smart lock, requiring four AA batteries, the Kwikset Z-Wave Deadbolt is easily installed in minutes with just a screwdriver into standard doors (1-3/8” to 2”), requiring no new screw holes. Peace of mind is part of the smart deadbolt’s integrated design, as you can customize automatic door locking after 30 seconds. The Deadbolt is compatible with Amazon Alexa for convenient voice control (although the hub is required, sold separately).
The SoHoMiLL YL 99 Keyless Electronic Keypad Lock is pretty straightforward, as far as smart door locks are concerned. Setup is easy. There are different codes you can customize: a master code, a passage code, and up to eight unique user codes. All codes are controlled by the master code. The SoHoMiLL keypad lock is of a heavy duty stainless steel design, made to withstand any and all types of weather. The smart lock fits both left- and right-hinged doors.
The keypad lock is also designed as a DIY installation, and it easily replaces most existing indoor or outdoor door locks. There is an adjustable latch backset 2-3/8” to 2-3/4”.SoHoMiLL’s keypad lock has an auto-lock feature, where it locks automatically from the outside after three seconds to ensure maximum security and peace of mind. Powered by four AAA batteries, the keypad lock also includes a low-battery warning as well as a backup battery box jumper.
The Samsung SHS-P718 digital door lock features the ability to program up to ten unique digital access codes, from 4-12 digit numbers per combination. What’s unique about Samsung Digital Door Lock is the fingerprint recognition capacity, recognizing up to 100 pre-scanned fingerprints. This convenient authentication method aims to reduce worry over the loss of keys or the hacking of pass codes. The smart door lock can be installed onto doors that range in thickness from 38mm to 80mm. It is battery-operated with eight AA batteries.
A pioneer in smart door lock convenience, Samsung Digital Door Lock allows you, once the lock has recognized your fingerprint, to push to enter the house from the outside, or to pull to open the door from the inside. This is called one-step Push/Pull innovation, because it requires just one step to open and one step to close the door – no turning or twisting needed. The key pad panel is automatically covered after pressing the door’s center open lock button to further enhance the fingerprint identification panel’s security.
To further enhance security measures, there is also the option to set up the Double Authentication Mode setting, which requires two authentication verifications – fingerprint and passcode both. (Just don’t forget the passcode!)
First things first: The Yale Assure Lock with Bluetooth – Key Free Touchscreen was voted the #1 Smart Door Lock brand for 2017 by CEPro. And, with its design for simple DIY installation on standard sized doors, this smart door lock is certainly worth a look.
Once again, your phone is your key with the Yale Assure Lock with Bluetooth Touchscreen. With this smart door lock, you can share access to the lock/unlock function, create customized pin codes, and personalize lock settings, all from the Yale Assure app. The touchscreen keypad is backlit, with capacitive touch to eliminate the risk of numbers wearing off. Yale Assure Touchscreen is completely key-free and has a 9V battery backup. Meaning you don’t ever have to deal with lost keys, locksmiths, or lock-picked break-ins.
To unlock your door, you can simply rotate your smart phone as you approach the door, then tap the keypad. Presto. Door unlocked. (You can also just type in your 4- to 8-digit pass code.) Lock up as you leave with a simple touch of the keypad. Yale Assure Touchscreen is upgradeable to work with other smart home components with the Yale network module (a hub sold separately from the Touchscreen).
Gone are the days where a simple doorknob lock and deadbolt are enough. For convenience’s sake, a smart door lock is the future of locking your home to keep everyone safe. With a smart lock, you can ensure your home is accessible to your children after school, to yourself with a large load of groceries, to a babysitter or housekeeper, or friends and family and neighbors whom you trust…but you can do all this in a controlled, monitored way. You don’t have to worry anymore about who has keys to your house, or where those keys are.
Regardless of what smart door lock you choose to meet your needs, we hope you find one that provides features to improve the quality of your life, the safety of your loved ones, and the ability to rest assured that your home is protected in the best way possible.
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