Smart locks became a trend that permits you to get rid of the key under the mat and can automatically open your door as you walk up. You can set it to unlock, for instance, when it is linked to Bluetooth, when it recognizes your face or voice or when you bring it with you.
What Is A Smart Lock?
A smart lock has three basic components: a locking mechanism, a small motor, and a wireless transceiver. The locking mechanism is essentially a deadbolt lock. The motor, which typically runs off AA batteries, turns the locking mechanism. Finally, the wireless transceiver sends and receives information from a connected mobile app or smart home system. As long as a lock has all three of these parts, it qualifies as a bona fide smart lock. There are two main types of smart locks available on the market today: deadbolts and doorknobs.
The majority of smart locks are deadbolts, so we focused on that type while searching for review candidates. To narrow the field further, we chose smart locks that still use a physical key.
With a physical key, you can override the lock in situations where you might otherwise be locked out such as if you lose your smartphone, the app doesn’t work, the lock has a dead battery or your phone is stolen. Smart locks simply haven’t been around long enough that you won’t encounter at least one of these problems at some point.
Bluetooth connects the lock directly to your mobile phone if you’re near your house. Wi-Fi locks connect to your home network to access the internet so you can control the lock from anywhere. Finally, a smart lock that connects to a home automation system can work in tandem with other products, such as IP cameras or programmable thermostats, to streamline your routine.
Smart Lock Buying Tips
There are 5 categories you should consider while choosing your smart lock: security, convenience, design, control, and technical support
If you choose a smart lock that uses key fobs, you can give them to your kids to activate the lock if they don’t have smartphones. The best Wi-Fi deadbolts keep track of who uses the door. Locks that also track when someone uses a physical key or keypad to unlock the door are particularly helpful since they give you a complete record of when visitors enter your home. Some smart locks only track users that access your home using the mobile app.
Look for a lock that lets you customize settings such as how long to wait until the door automatically locks itself. Likewise, locks that let you choose to send guest keys to an unlimited number of people have an advantage over those that give you a set number. Building on this, locks with keypads typically have a limit on how many guest codes you can create, but unless you intend to give codes to more than 20 people, it’s not an issue. Smart locks with keypads give you an additional way to override the lock. Don’t focus too much on auto-unlock; it might leave holes in your home’s security.
As you choose a smart lock, think about whether you want a self-contained smart lock or a home automation smart lock. Self-contained smart locks don’t require any extra equipment beyond a compatible smartphone. In contrast, other smart locks require home automation systems in order to control them with a smartphone.
Don’t forget to look at the finishes or colors, each lock is available. The finish is another opportunity for customization; when a lock comes in many finishes, it is easier to match it to your home’s decor and the doorknob already on your door. If you want Wi-Fi connectivity, you often have to purchase an extra accessory, either in the form of a bridge that connects your smart lock to your home network or a home automation system with its own built-in Wi-Fi.
If you don’t feel comfortable installing the lock on your own, locksmiths can do the work for you, but they’re not necessary since the locks only require basic skills to install and program. In most cases, a locksmith is only necessary if you plan to rekey the lock to keys you already have. The exceptions to this are the Kwikset locks in our review, such as the SmartCode, which have a SmartKey feature that lets you rekey the locks with compatible keys.
If you plan to integrate a wireless door lock into a smart home, compatibility is the first thing you should look at. If you already have a home automation system, Z-Wave- or ZigBee-compatible locks are likely your best option.
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi door locks don’t require a home automation system but often still have some sort of compatibility. Additionally, you can increase security by adding other smart home devices. For example, smart doorbells such as Ring help you monitor visitors you let in when you’re away from home.
Warranty & Support
Look for a warranty that covers your smart lock for at least one year, which should give you enough time to determine if the lock works properly and replace it if necessary. The best smart locks come with simple installation manuals that tell you where to go for help. Good manuals usually have images or diagrams and a directory of phone numbers and email addresses so you know who to contact if there’s a problem.
Smart Locks: Verdict and Recommendations
Here I pick the top three smart locks that embody one of the following qualities: security, automation, and compatibility.
August’s smart locks, I would say Gold Award winner, has been in top favorites since 2014 for its multi-platform support, and sleek aesthetics. August smart lock installation is easy and quick. You won’t have a headache because of its compatibility as it supports Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and numerous other third-party platforms and devices.
Yale keyless connected smart lock, Our Silver Award winner, you can control from your smartphone or smart speaker as it works with HomeKit, Alexa, SmartThings, and Google Home.
In addition, it is easy to install and truly attractive. It does not have a classic manual key option, though: app, keycode, or nothing.
Schlage Connect, our Bronze Award winner, is the best option if you already have home security or automation system in your home. Schlage Connect lock has wider compatibility (Alexa, Z-Wave, etc…), easy to install and connect, and comparatively, it is more affordable.
As with many smart home products, smart locks are still relatively new. There simply is no perfect example out there. However, when you take a moment to look at your options, you can find the one that best fits your needs.