The term ‘Smart Home’ has gained a lot of recognition over the last several years. With all of the advancements in technology over the years homes are now able to have features that were never possible before.
Smart Keyless Door Locks fit into the smart home category and they are gaining in popularity. Having smart locks on your exterior doors allow you a lot of control over your locks so you can unlock it even with your arms full of groceries or your child.
Smart locks also allow each member of your family to have their own code to unlock the door. This eliminates the possibility of a child losing their key at school and being stuck outside. In the event your child forgets their code, you can unlock the door for them even if you are not home.
It also makes it much easier for pet sitters, childcare givers or housekeepers to get into the home even if you are not there and you are not passing out keys everywhere. If you change housekeepers or childcare givers, just change codes and they won’t be able to enter your home anymore. This is possible when you have passed out keys to people.
Top 5 List
It is important to note that not all smart locks are created equal. There are high quality door locks such as the ones we have reviewed below and there are cheaper made products that can potentially have a lot of problems. There are many different options to choose from on the market.
Before purchasing a smart lock, it is important for you to understand what is available and the differences in the various smart locks.
|Schlage Connect Camelot||Best Overall|
|Samsung Ezon Keyless||Editor's Choice|
|August Smart Lock||Great Alternative|
|Kwikset 909 SmartCode||Best Budget
|Schlage Sense||Best For Apple Users
Smart Locks Buyers Guide
Determining Your Needs
Before you begin researching smart locks you will need to determine what your needs are. This will prevent you from spending money on the wrong type of smart lock. Below, we have listed some important questions to ask yourself that will give you a clear picture of what your needs are.
How many exterior doors are you purchasing locks for?
Most homes have at least two exterior doors. Decide how many smart locks you want to get. Do you just want one for the main entry or do you want to put one on the secondary entry as well? Purchasing smart locks for all your exterior doors will add more security to your home.
How many access codes do you want?
Smart locks come with different amounts of access codes that are possible. Some of the models we have reviewed have as many as 30 possible codes and others have a smaller amount available. The way you can decide how many access codes you need is to think about how many people need to have access to your home while you are not home.
This can include a spouse or significant other, children, housekeepers, parents or grandparents, pet sitters, childcare providers and any friends you may give access to. You will want to allow for a special code for each of them. In the case of children, you can give them all the same code if you choose a model that only has 9 or 10 codes available. Be mindful of who you give access codes to.
What features are important to you?
Smart locks have many different features available. Some are very basic and don’t have much in the way of extra features. Others can be feature rich and include a lot of extras. Think about your specific needs and decide which features are the most important. You will want to ensure the smart locks you consider have those features. If you are not sure what features smart locks offer, we have listed the common features smart locks can have in this guide for your convenience.
What is your budget?
Smart locks come in all different price points. Determining factors in the cost of a smart lock will be the brand, the features they offer, the finish the lock has and other similar factors. Set a budget that allows you to get a smart lock with all the features and finish you want and need. Don’t base your decision solely on price. You can get an excellent, feature-rich smart lock for less than $200.
How important is appearance?
Smart locks come in many different styles and designs. When making a decision, look at the style of the smart lock and the finish choices available. Some smart locks have 3 or more finish choices you can choose from and others just have one. You want the lock to fit in well with the exterior of your home but with all the different styles out there, this is not typically a problem.
Are you willing to spend extra for remote access?
Many smart locks that offer remote access require a monthly fee for this benefit. The monthly fees are not usually expensive but many people don’t know that they exist. It is better to decide ahead of time if you mind the extra cost and to get an idea of what it is before you purchase that particular model of smart lock. Not all smart locks with remote access require this monthly access fee.
Types of Smart Locks
There are many different types and styles of smart locks on the market to choose from. The amount of choices can be overwhelming if you are not sure what to look for. We’ve provided some helpful information for you on the different types of smart locks so you can determine which type fits your specific needs the best.
Smart Lock with Keypad
This is a basic model of smart lock that is simple in design and features. You won’t find any fancy features with a basic keyed smart lock. This is the perfect choice for someone who wants the added security and convenience but that doesn’t need or want any of the extras. Keyed smart locks are very easy to install and set up regardless of whether it is a new installation or you are putting it on an existing exterior door. Keyed smart locks do have a few features that come standard with most smart locks of this type. We have listed them below.
- Back-lit keypad – The back-lit keypad is very convenient to use, especially if you are coming home after dark. The numerical buttons range from 0-9. There is also a lock/unlock button. Depending on the style, the keypad could have an individual number per button or it could have 2-3 numbers per button.
- Programmable codes – the purpose of a programmable code is to replace having to use keys. This makes it much easier to unlock the door if your arms are filled with other things. Punch in the code and the door will unlock.
- Multiple Access Codes – Depending on the model of smart lock you are considering you can have a choice of 8 different codes up to 30. Multiple codes are very useful when several people need access to the home when you are not there such as other family members, children, and caregivers. It is much safer to give outside people (childcare givers, housekeepers, pet sitters) their own code so that it can be erased and changed in the event they no longer require access to your home. Using codes prevents you from having to go through the expense of changing the locks every time someone no longer comes to your home.
- Finish Choices – Some smart locks offer several finish choices and others come in only one design and color. If you are trying to match existing hardware, you will want to look for a model that offers several finishes for you to choose from. If you can’t find a finish you like, black is a good basic color that usually goes well with any kind of home exterior.
- Battery Life – The life of your smart lock batteries is very important. If the batteries die, the codes won’t work. Look for smart locks that use lithium batteries. Chargeable ones are even better. It is also a good idea to look for a model that offers a low battery alert so you know exactly when it is time to change the batteries and prevent any problems getting into your home.
Smart Lock with Radio Frequency Keyfob Control
Many of the same features that come with the keyed smart lock with keypad are present in this type of smart lock as well. In addition to the features listed above, there are often additional features that you can benefit from. These include:
- Multiple unlocking methods– This intermediate smart lock allows home owners the ability to unlock their door one of three ways: a keyfob, a keyed access code that is punched into the unit, or a regular key.
- Bluetooth Deadbolt – Some smart locks have a deadbolt that is accessed when the lock is activated. If your smart lock is Bluetooth enabled, you can use your Bluetooth to activate the deadbolt as well. Some smart locks operate the deadbolt and door knob as well.
- Keyless Entry Remote – One of the most popular things about smart locks is the ability to open your door without having to dig around in your bag or purse to find your keys and then fit the key into the lock and then turn… you get the idea. With keyless entry remotes like the ones smart locks provide, you can just press a button or punch in a code and you’re in. In some cases you can unlock the door from your car and have it ready to open before you ever get there. This is really great if it is raining outside and you want to get inside as quickly as possible.
- Radio Frequency key fob – The key fob used with a smart lock is very similar in function and style as a key fob for a car. Users can unlock or lock their door from a distance, such as at the car, simply by pushing the unlock button on the key fob. Ranges usually fall between 30 to 50 feet. Although the key fobs will range in size, all of them will fit easily on a keychain.
- Multiple key fobs – Most smart locks will come with a main key fob and offer the user the chance to purchase additional key fobs if needed for a spouse. It is better not to give a child a key fob due to the chances of losing it. Older teens would be fine with one but a small child is better off with an access code that is easy for them to remember.
Smart Locks with Remote Access
This is the “father” of the smart locks and offers a lot of features that the other styles don’t. With this type of smart lock you can lock and unlock your doors remotely while you are running errands or at work. These smart locks have all the features mentioned above plus some special ones as well. The remote access smart lock has built in wireless protocols that will most often be Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Z-wave. We’ve listed some information about the three different protocols used in remote access smart locks and some of the additional features you will have access to.
- Wi-Fi –Once you have connected the smart lock to the wireless router, you can have an unlimited range as long as you have a wireless connection. You can use this connection to lock or unlock your door.
- Bluetooth – Bluetooth protocol provides users with the shortest range but it is the easiest of all three protocols to set up and get working properly. All you have to do is pair the door lock and the key fob or Smartphone through the appropriate app so the device is recognized when you are within range. Locking or unlocking your door can be done, literally with the touch of a button when you are within Bluetooth range.
- Z-Wave – This is the most advanced protocol and offers the most options of all three protocols. If you use Z-wave technology with your smart lock you can also use other types of Z-wave controllers to lock or unlock your doors. The range for Z-wave is unlimited as long as you have an internet connection and the smart lock you have purchased is compatible with Z-wave.
- Notifications and Alerts – One of the great things about a smart lock that communicates wirelessly is that it can “talk” to you through email or alerts that let you know if they are unlocked, locked or if they have been unlocked. This is a great way to get a notice that your child is home, but if they are coming home alone to an empty house it is better to also have them call once they are inside and have the door re-locked that they are safely home and all is well. You may need to pay a small fee for this remote access but if you have children home alone, it is worth the extra cost for the extra peace of mind.
- Smart Lock Android and Apple Apps – You may want to look online for difdferent appls that you can use to have better access to your locks. Many apps provide users with the access they need regardless of how far away they are from their home. You can do an easy search online to see what is available, just make sure it is compatible with your particular brand and type of smart lock.
- Remote Access Fees – Some smart locks that have remote access will require a monthly fee to have this remote access and notification alerts as well. Not all models charge, so if this is something you don’t want, shop around and make sure that the models you are considering don’t require this additional purchase to use them.
Smart locks don’t always guarantee that they will be safer locks but they definitely provide a more convenient way of unlocking and locking your doors. This is the purpose of smart locks and they do their job well. You will appreciate this purpose if you have ever walked up to your front door with your arms loaded down with grocery bags and forgot to grab you key first. With a smart lock all you need to do is punch in an access code and you’re in.
There are many benefits to having smart locks on your exterior doors. Rather than worrying about who has keys and if the kids are going to lose theirs, you can assign each member of the family their own code that they can easily remember and never mess with keys. This is very helpful if you have a lot of people who have access to your home.
These people can be anyone you choose such as childcare providers, housekeepers, children, spouses, house sitters and other people you trust to go into your home when you are not there. Caution your children to never tell anyone their access code or let anyone, even their friends, that they are home alone. This is a safety precaution that is very important to instill.
The information we have provided in this guide is to help you understand the different types of smart locks on the market and the differences between them. We have also provided you with the knowledge and steps to determine what your needs are so you get the right smart lock for your needs.
There really is no right or wrong smart lock; what it comes down to is whether the smart lock you choose meets your needs when it comes to access codes, convenience, extra costs and other factors. All of the different smart lock models have their advantages.
This guide will provide you with the considerations you need to think about so you choose the perfect smart lock for your home. This ensures that your money is well spent and not wasted which is very important. No one wants to waste their money or their time.
With this knowledge you will not be overwhelmed or confused about what is out there and the different features available with the different models. This means you can make a confident decision that you will be very happy with for years to come.
- August Smart Lock Review – http://august.com/
- Schlage ConnectCamelot Touchscreen Deadbolt – http://www.schlage.com/en/home.html\
- Samsung Ezon Keyless smart deadbolt – http://www.samsungdigitallife.com/
- Kwikset 909 SmartCode Electronic Deadbolt – http://www.kwikset.com/
- Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt – http://www.schlage.com/en/home.html\