Keeping your doors locked and secure can now be done remotely from your app.
As with most “Smart” technology, smart door locks take an old concept and give it a techy makeover. Your old key-based locks can now be controlled from your phone, needing only a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection. While keyless electronic locks have been around for years, smart lock technology allows you to do it remotely, offering multiple ways to let people in, keep others out, and decide when and for how long they’re given entry.
Before scrolling down to see our compilation of the industry’s best picks, here’s an overview of the ‘key’ factors and features of today’s smart lock technology:
How do I lock thee? Let me count the ways…
How many ways can there be to lock and unlock a door? Turns out there are plenty. Smart locks allow you to access your locks remotely from anywhere, using your phone through the smart lock’s app. Or you can use voice commands through Siri, Google, or Alexa. You can also operate your lock directly at your door using the keypad. A Bluetooth signal can notify the lock that your phone is within range and automatically unlock the door – no more struggling for keys while holding bags of groceries! Some smart locks even use fingerprint ID. And if the power is out, most models include a traditional key as a backup.
Smart door locks also have programmable features which are ideal for multi-user buildings like apartments and condos, gyms, clubs and storerooms. Rather than keep track of stacks of keys, unique digital codes can be sent to renters, members, and owners of units. These digital codes can be activated to work during opening hours or by term, and deactivated when the hour or term ends. Access codes are emailed, saving the hassle of manually exchanging keys, plus it’s more secure.
Homeowners can also give temporary codes to visitors or workers, allowing them access to the house at specific times.
Does smart mean secure?
It’s important to remember that a smart lock doesn’t change the strength of your door or the actual lock. It’s still a deadbolt, with hardware that’s as vulnerable to being removed and overpowered as traditional locks. Fortunately, many smart locks include anti-tampering alerts that will send a notification on your phone if it senses a break-in. Some even include a siren.
The app’s electronic security continues to improve and better protect against data breaches, however the best way to avoid being hacked is to use more complex passwords and change them regularly, as well as keep your mobile app updated.
Some smart lock models open your door automatically when Bluetooth senses your phone is within range. A very convenient feature, however this can be a problem if someone steals your phone (and knows where you live).
Installing a smart lock usually requires only a screwdriver and takes about 10-15 minutes if you’re adding it to an existing deadbolt. If you don’t have an existing deadbolt you may need a drill; installation is around 20-30 minutes. Models come with instructions and most include links to step-by-step videos.
Once the hardware is installed, you’ll need to connect the smart lock to the app through Bluetooth or your own Wi-Fi.
Prices range from around $150 to $350, depending on which features are must-haves.
Now that you’re up to speed, it’s time to go shopping. Here are the industry’s picks for various categories of smart locks:
Best Smart Locks for Your Home or Rental Property,
Best Smart Locks for 2021,
Best Smart Locks for 2021: August, Yale, Schlage and more
10 Best Smart Lock Deadbolts in Canada in 2021: Comparison Table
Airbnb Keyless Entry: The 7 Best Smart Locks for Short-Term Rentals
The Apartment Manager’s Guide to Smart Locks
Whether you’re concerned about break-ins, keeping track of who enters your premises, or simply because you tend to lose your keys a lot, smart locks have a feature for everyone.
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