Buying Guide

Best Smart Locks for Home Security

Smart Lock Functionality
smart door lock

Smart door locks include the same functionality as regular deadbolts and door locks. In addition, they offer the advantages of keyless entry systems, code monitoring and reporting capability via your smartphone.


The keyless entry systems come in keypad, key fob and remote access formats. Simply enter your code directly onto the keypad to unlock the door or press the unlock or lock button on your key fob. For remote access, you will need access to Bluetooth, WiFi or Z-Wave.


Bluetooth is the easiest to set up, but only has a range of approximately 20-40 feet. You’ll need to pair your smartphone with the lock via the door lock manufacturer’s app. The door lock will recognize your phone and allow access.

  

WiFi has an unlimited range once you connect to your router. If your smartphone is connected to a WiFi network, you can activate the lock from just about anywhere.

  

Z-Wave requires a home automation system that uses system controllers to activate the lock. It also requires access to the Internet and a smartphone or other device that also sends commands via the same home automation system.

  

You can also activate most smart locks with a key, or by entering a specific code that you create on the keypad, which is a convenient feature for allowing access to service technicians or friends and neighbors while you’re away. Make sure your smart lock includes advanced communication encryption for added security.


Lifespan

  

Smart locks operate via battery power. Normal battery lifespan ranges from 6 months to one year. The locks will sound an audible alert as the battery power begins to fade, so you’ll know when to replace them.

  

Key fobs also run on batteries with lifespans of 1 to 3 years, depending on how many activations are used.

Additional Features

There are a number other features to consider when deciding on the best smart lock. Be sure that the lock comes with a compatible mobile app for any phone that will need access. Real-time notifications are useful to be able to track who comes and goes when you are not home.

  

More advanced smart locks provide security features that can increase your peace of mind. A tamper alarm can notify you in the event of an attempted break-in, while a perimeter lock feature ensures that outer doors will lock automatically when you leave a certain range.


Smart locks can also interact with other smart home products that are tied to your network, so you can program your lights to come on automatically whenever you unlock the door or have your security camera send a picture to your smartphone so you can see who entered your home.

Deadbolts: Upgrade or Replace?
Deadbolts: Upgrade or Replace?

If you decide you want to keep your old deadbolt, there are a few smart locks that fit or clamp over the existing deadbolt, essentially turning your deadbolt lock into a smart lock. Installation can be complete in as little as 15 minutes.


If you choose to completely replace your lock, choose a smart lock that is compatible with your existing door hardware.


Before you purchase a replacement lock, make sure the locking system you choose is compatible with your smart hub protocol: Bluetooth, Z-Wave or WiFi. You’ll need to choose a lock that is able to communicate with your smartphone or smart hub to operate effectively.


Smart home locks do not necessarily mean improved security, although some promote bump and pick resistance and drill-proof cylinders.