Are you thinking of improving the security of your home? Smart door locks are becoming a big part of securing and upgrading your home. Also known as electronic door locks, they provide comfort, safety, and are easy to use. Once you have decided you want a smart lock the next question is – what is the best smart lock?
The primary purpose of smart locks is to make things easier and safer for you. But, there are other benefits such as remote access to your property and doors that lock behind you.
Want a keyless lock? If your answer is yes, then the smart lock technology is ideal for you. Today we delve into this new technology and analyze their advantages and their functions. We will look at everything you need to make a well-considered choice of a smart door lock.
Ready? Let’s get started!
What Are Smart Locks?
Have you ever wondered what smart locks are and what they are for?
A smart lock uses communication protocols such as Bluetooth, Z-Wave, or Wi-Fi to interact with other devices in your home.
You can use an application on your Smartphone or a dedicated keyfob. As you approach the door, it will open, so you don’t have to grope for the key or worry if you left your keys at work or lost them while shopping.
This produces greater security, versatility, and significant simplification. You can customize access to specific rooms in your home and drop the use of keys. It’s a spectacular application for landlords, offices, and hostels.
Smart locks also notify you of what is happening in your house. Some will even give off an alarm if they are tampered with, so if you are alerted to suspicious movements, you may contact the authorities if you anticipate a threat.
What Is The Best Smart Lock?
There are many models of smart front door locks that exist today. Choosing one can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a lot of knowledge in this area.
But how do you know how to buy the best smart door lock? It’s a question that many people ask themselves.
Answering this is not as simple as getting into Amazon and filtering the most valued and sold. Some features and functions make a smart lock the best in the market.
What Should You Look For When Buying a Smart Lock?
They are many options to consider when deciding to buy and choose a smart lock.
The performance includes easy installation and ongoing support if you encounter a problem.
Once it is out of the package and installed, it should be easy to use and problem free, or else it’s not worth your time or money. Besides the security aspect of automating your home, it should also make your life easier.
A brand is everything, customer service, quality, performance, and everything in between. Have you ever purchased a knock off brand and in the end, ended up regretting the purchase?
When it comes to home security, you can’t afford to work with a cheap model. It’s an investment. And the better brands will run around $200.
Check the quality and lifespan of the battery, the responsiveness of the app, and the physical construction. You should also find out how well it stays in place once it is installed.
Another factor to pay attention to is the smart door lock reviews and in-depth analysis of the quality from customers who have purchased or used the product.
Price dictates everything. However, for your safety, you’d better choose quality over price. When buying smart locks, the price is not a determining factor. Consider encryption or even two-factor authentication and a backup method for unlocking.
How long is it made to last? If all goes well, it should last for decades. Whether it is about the frequency of replacing the battery or the length of the mechanical or electrical warranty you don’t want to put $150 to $200 into a smart lock that fails in a year.
If you are not big on being a do-it-yourselfer, make sure the smart lock you choose will fit the current dimensions of your lock cutout. Luckily, the sizes are pretty standard across many manufacturers but there are some smart locks that might still require adjustments to your door.
Dimensions play a role in this. The installation of smart door locks can take from thirty to ninety minutes depending on the size and complexity. Even if you are not a real do-it-yourselfer, you can still install most smart locks quite easily.
Update Or Replace Your Smart Door Lock?
Some smart door locks allow you to work around your existing deadbolt, while others are a total replacement.
You may install some smart locks over your existing deadbolt. This achieves connectivity without the cost of replacing your current deadbolt lock allowing you to keep your keys as a backup. Many times these are best used on apartment or rental locks.
However, there are other types of smart locks that are a total replacement of the deadbolt. You will need little more than a screwdriver and usually not more than 30 minutes when installing a new smart lock. There are also some other factors to consider when doing the installation.
Take care to not damage any parts of the existing deadbolt that you are removing. In cases where the new smart lock doesn’t work correctly or you don’t like it for some other reason you can always put the old deadbolt back. This allows you to return the smart lock and, more importantly, remain secured with a deadbolt on your front door.
Do You Rent Or Own Your Home?
If you own an apartment or house, any change in the electronic locks of your doors will depend on what your needs are. You might want to grant access codes or view logs of who entered from anywhere remotely.
If you’re a renter, you should check with the property owner or their representative before adding a smart lock. Usually the rental agreement has a stipulation that you agreed to not change the locks.
However, using a retrofit deadbolt, like the previously mentioned August Smart Lock Pro is a gray area. This doesn’t actually change the lock because it only installs on the inside part of the deadbolt.
It is just an adjustment to the lock but still allows the landlord to gain access with their key. You are merely adding to the lock allowing you to remotely access or check the status of the lock.
What Types of Ways Can You Access a Smart Lock?
Although most smart locks can be accessed using a key, the point is not to have to use a key. I installed a smart lock years ago and couldn’t tell you where the key for it is now.
It is very convenient to have when leaving the house to go for a run or walk or going to the store and not worrying about locking up or making sure I have the keys.
There are three main ways to unlock or lock a keyless smart lock, as you’ll see below.
Fingerprint Touch Screen: Smart locks with touch screens identify your fingerprints as a biometric reader does. Always keep a backup security code to use just in case the system fails.
Keypad: With the button keypads, it is necessary to enter a numerical code to gain access.
Smart Phone Access: Most of the best electronic locks some type of protocol that enables you to unlock your door using your phone.
Smart Locks Communication Protocols
Gone are the days when you had to remember where the keys are or make spare ones. Intelligent smart locks are here! They make life much more comfortable, safer and easier.
Smart locks use protocols to communicate with other smart devices in your home.
Check them out!
Bluetooth locks battery life is longer than WiFi locks. When you use your Bluetooth smart lock under normal conditions, the battery may last for one year.
Bluetooth locks also integrate seamlessly with your Smartphone without needing a third-party hub. If you need a keyless entry into your smart home, then Bluetooth is a smart choice.
However, BlueTooth does not allow you to access your lock remotely, you will need to be in BlueTooth range, which is about 40-50 feet.
If you want to access a BlueTooth lock remotely, you will need to buy a hub that will act as the middleman between your lock and WiFi and internet.
Did you know that you can connect your smart front door locks to your Wi-Fi? If you have WI-FI connection in your home, then go for Wi-Fi locks.
You won’t regret it. I love my Reagle Smart Deadbolt. I can access my door lock from anywhere in the world using the Wi-Fi connection in my house. Amazing, isn’t it!
WiFi will reduce battery life faster than using BlueTooth. But not significantly. Under the same operating conditions batteries in a BlueTooth smart lock might last 1 or 2 months longer than using WiFi.
However, it is a very nice option to have to be able to check the status of the lock, grant access, check the visitor log or lock or unlock your smart lock from anywhere you are.
Home Automation System Locks
More and more homes are being built with or upgraded to home automation systems. The two most popular home automation protocols are Z-Wave and Zigbee. Apple HomeKit is increasingly being used as well.
Using these home automation systems you can get a smart lock that uses Z-Wave or Zigbee and access it from anywhere as though you are using WiFi.
The first thing to do is to connect your smart lock to the smart home automation hub. It will then translate the signal received from your lock.
Most smart locks that interact with a home automation system will connect easily, almost like plug and play.
Home automation systems are restricted, and can only reach a range of up to 100 feet. However, you can use up to 4 extension devices to increase the signal to 150 meters away.
You’ll have to consider the design of your home so you can budget the accessories if you are choosing a smart lock to connect to your home automation system.
Smart Lock Battery Life
The electronic smart lock needs a power source for operation. Thus, this guide would be incomplete without mentioning the batteries.
When discussing smart locks, battery life and how often you have to change them is one of the most asked questions I get.
The battery life depends on the number of times used, the type of batteries(AA, AAA or 9V), and even the length of time the batteries have been installed. The more the smart lock is used, the faster the batteries will run out.
Most of these digital locks offer 12 to 20 months of battery life with moderate use, such as ten entries per day.
Most smart locks have an alarm of some kind, either a beep or blinking light, to alert you when the battery is low. It provides you with enough time to replace the battery.
Or you can consult the smart lock app. I can look at the battery life of my smart lock under settings on the app. I have been using my smart lock for 3 months and the battery life is at 93%.
What if the battery runs down, what do you do? Don’t be worried! The smart locks have jumpstart contact points for a 9 volt battery that allow you to get enough power to open your doors or you can use the backup physical key.
Final Tips To Buying Smart Door Locks
- The recommended buying process is as follows:
- Determine your budget
- Select the model appearance and brand that suits you
- Decide on your desired product function and connection method
- Research the quality of the product and warranty length
- Look into customer service response times and availability
- Review the online ratings. You may also look for the best smart lock reviews from people who have purchased and used the product..
- Look at the difficulty of installation. So, before the purchase, be sure to look at the installation guide and determine if you are able to install it yourself or if you need to hire a professional.