Smart Locks – Overview and Guide

Smart-Locks-Overview.

Smart Locks – Overview and Guide

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What is a Smart Lock?

Smart locks, also known as electronic or connected locks, are locking devices powered by batteries and managed remotely, usually via an app on your smartphone and using standard WiFi, wireless and Bluetooth technologies. They allow you to open and close the door with just a simple touch of your phone or an entered code, with some models offering a key-based entry as a backup.  Not only do they make it more convenient for homeowners, but they also make homes and property more secure.  And most smart locks are easy for everyone to install and operate.  In this article, we discuss primarily residential-type smart locks.

What are the uses of a Smart Lock?

There are many different reasons why people choose to upgrade their current locks with new technology.  Smart locks can be used for unlocking your front door, garage, backdoor, and other home entry points with added convenience and security.  These can include adding more security features for those who live in more dangerous neighborhoods, keeping parents from having to walk their child’s friends home every day, giving access only when necessary to visitors, and managing rental property. Let’s review some of the more popular uses.

Replacing existing locks – One of the most common uses for digital door locks is replacing an old-style mechanical lock with a new one that has all of the features and technologies available today. Gone are the days when you had to fumble around looking for keys to get inside. Instead, you can use your smartphone or other handheld devices to make a quick entry into your home without even worrying about locking it behind you.

Remote access from your smartphone – There are many reasons why you might want access to your door from anywhere in the world. You could have left something behind, forgotten if you locked it, or even left your keys inside your home by mistake. Having remote access to your locks can let you quickly check and see if you did indeed shut it up properly before leaving the house. It is also helpful when friends come over unexpectedly and need somewhere to wait until someone can get back home instead of sitting outside on the porch all day long!

Increase security – One of the most common reasons that homeowners choose to upgrade their locks is for increased safety and security. This can include preventing access to delivery or unknown people or having stricter procedures in place to ensure only authorized personnel gain access to your home.

Save money by using electronic keys instead of physical ones – Using smart home technology can help you to be more secure while saving money at the same time by requiring only a phone app, code, or fob to unlock your front door.  Those who rent out their properties will see how much money they will save by switching to mechanical keyless systems, even on top of the money they will save on property maintenance overall. Many property management agencies charge a monthly fee for property access options that can be done by smart locks. This can be especially useful for individual owners and businesses who need remote access to all of the various properties they own but may not have enough employees willing to visit each location every day.

Partnering with your smartphone or smart home voice assistant – Most smart locks use an app from the app store on popular smartphone brands.  Many of the newer smart locks also work with the popular voice assistants, including Amazon (Alexa), Apple (Siri), and Google (Google Assistant), and Bixby (Samsung), letting you do everything from locking and unlocking doors without even having to touch your phone

Locking out guests or unauthorized visitors – An interesting use for this kind of technology is giving people access to certain rooms within your home while keeping others locked down. For example, you could have a separate entrance where visitors can enter but are only given access to one room (or part of one room) at a time.  Another example would be an owner’s storage closet in a rental property.  If you need extra privacy or security in any house area, you will see how easy it can be to lock down that part of space quickly and efficiently.

 Smart-Locks

What are the types of Smart Locks?

Smart locks come in many shapes and sizes, but most can be categorized according to the following features:

  • Lock Type: Most locks are either a deadbolt or a lever-type, or both.  And most use a single cylinder as the internal locking mechanism to drive the deadbolt or lever.  A majority of the popular, highly rated smart locks are the deadbolt, single-cylinder type.  That said, you will find more complex and secure locking mechanisms as you go up in price.
  • Operation Methods: Options include an electronic switch, knob, or handle, physical keypad (number pad), digital keypad, digital fob, fingerprint or biometric sensors, and app-based virtual key, plus the trusty keyhole as a backup.  Some lock models offer a combination of these options, such as a physical keypad and keyhole, for added security and access.
  • Fit Type: Either “retrofit” or “full replacement.”  Retrofit style means the smart lock either fits over the interior side of the existing lock, such as the thumb-switch, or replaces only part of the lock, usually the interior part, while keeping the existing lever or bolt and the outside portion.  Full Replacement style means the smart lock fully replaces your entire existing lock, including the existing lever or bolt.
  • Connectivity Type: Most locks use the proven wireless technologies of Bluetooth or WiFi to enable remote operation and monitoring.  The less expensive models will start with Bluetooth as it’s less power intensive compared to WiFi but will have a limited range for remote usage.  Even if you buy a Bluetooth-only model, many manufacturers offer accessory devices that will enable the model to connect to WiFi.  The next step-up is built-in WiFi as newer WiFi radios will last longer on batteries.  Having WiFi will also enable the smart lock to connect with other smart home devices, such as speaker hubs, thermostats, and lights.  More models are incorporating additional networking protocols such as Z-Wave or Zigbee, to integrate with a wider range of smart home devices (you’ll need compatible hubs to take advantage of those protocols).

smart-locks-purchase

What are the key features to consider when buying a Smart Lock?

Besides the above categories of the lock type, the operation method, the fit type, and the connectivity type, you will want to consider these features when choosing a smart lock:

  • Multi-User Functionality: Anticipate the number of potential users, including immediate family, extended family relatives, friends, visitors, renters, housekeepers, and contractors.  You can add up to a hundred smart keycodes that you, your family members, guests, and other approved people can use to open the door.
  • Remote Monitoring: Smart locks usually have smartphone and tablet apps that can be set up with alarms and alerts that send notifications every time a user successfully unlocks or locks the door, in addition to overall usage reports.
  • Physical Security: It’s important to remember that a lock’s primary function is to keep a home secured, and a lock’s physical security should be considered, especially if you are replacing your entire existing bolt or lever.  Check the manufacturer’s listing for the lock model’s American National Standards Institute (ANSI) grade, with Grade 1 being the most secure and Grade 3 being the least.
  • Digital Security: These locks employ different encryption types, such as PKI, to protect against hacking, and they have different user authentication methods, such as two-factor authentication, to protect against unauthorized access.  Many smart locks employ a “master code” for the owner to prevent unauthorized code or key changes.
  • Voice-Assistant & Home Technology Compatibility: Ensure the specific smart lock model has an app on your smartphone type, supports Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity (wireless), and, ideally, can be operated using one of the popular voice assistants such as Alexa (Amazon), Google (Google Assistant), and Siri (Apple).  Additionally, smart locks are also designed to be used with the various smart home hubs and device ecosystems, such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings, as well as integrated with smart cameras and video doorbells, to form a complete home security system.
  • Battery Life & Backup: Compare the recommended battery life of different models and what to do if the batteries run out.  Consider choosing a smart lock model with a backup physical keyhole if you want a foolproof lock.
  • Budget: Most of the popular smart locks range from $50 to $400, depending on the lock type, physical design, connectivity type, physical and digital security, the number, and complexity of features.
  • Finish: The style and color of the lock can be a deciding factor, especially if you are replacing multiple locks in your home.  Determine if you want a handle, keypad, or both or neither.  Many smart locks come in either a neutral black or chrome-type finish, while some may have multiple finish options to match your existing door and home décor.

Smart-Lock-manufacturers

What are the different Smart Lock manufacturers?

Some of the most popular and well-known residential smart lock brands are August, Schlage, Yale, Kwikset, Ingersoll Rand, Robin, ADT, Samsung, and TurboLock.  Kwikset, Schlage, and Yale currently lead the market with smart tech home security products such as smart deadbolts, smart doorknobs, and smart lever handles.  Recent entrants to the market include Level, igloohome, Latch, KeWe, and Ultralog.  Further, you can also find smart keypad locks from manufacturers like Gate and Goji.

All of these smart tech manufacturers offer over 100 years of combined experience to provide a variety of security features that help keep your home safe and secure and go beyond just making it convenient for you to enter your own house.

Where can I buy a Smart Lock?

There are many places to buy and many companies on the market today offering smart locks:

  • Online marketplaces, such as Amazon and Alibaba
  • Online and in-store home goods retailers, such as Best Buy, Target, and Walmart
  • Online and in-store home improvement retailers, such as Home Depot, Lowes, and Ace
  • Online stores of the above manufacturers

Smart Lock products to purchase

See the below comparison tables of the most popular smart locks for easy purchasing:

Brand & Model
August Wi-Fi, (4th Generation) Smart Lock – Fits Your Existing Deadbolt in Minutes, Silver
SCHLAGE BE479AA V CAM 619 Satin Nickel Sense Smart Deadbolt with Camelot Trim
Kwikset 99390-001 Halo Wi-Fi Smart Lock Keyless Entry Electronic Touchscreen Deadbolt Featuring…
Yale Assure Lock SL with Z-Wave, Key-Free Touchscreen Deadbolt, Satin Nickel
eufy Security Smart Lock Touch & Wi-Fi, Fingerprint Scanner, Keyless Entry Door Lock, Smart Wi-Fi…
Preview
August Wi-Fi, (4th Generation) Smart Lock – Fits Your Existing Deadbolt in Minutes, Silver
SCHLAGE BE479AA V CAM 619 Satin Nickel Sense Smart Deadbolt with Camelot Trim
Kwikset 99390-001 Halo Wi-Fi Smart Lock Keyless Entry Electronic Touchscreen Deadbolt Featuring...
Yale Assure Lock SL with Z-Wave, Key-Free Touchscreen Deadbolt, Satin Nickel
eufy Security Smart Lock Touch & Wi-Fi, Fingerprint Scanner, Keyless Entry Door Lock, Smart Wi-Fi...
Voice Assistant Compatible
Works with Alexa, Google, Siri, SmartThings (Phone or hub sold separately)
Works with Siri (Phone or hub sold separately) / Also Alexa & Google (Adapter required)
Works with Alexa, SmartThings, Wink (Phone or hub sold separately)
Works with Alexa, SmartThings, Wink (Phone or hub sold separately)
Works with Alexa, Google (Phone or Hub sold separately)
Phone & App Compatible
August App on Google Android and Apple iOS
Schlage App on Google Android, Apple iOS
Kwikset SmartKey App on Google Android, Apple iOS
August App (Connection module sold separately)
eufy App on Google Android and Apple iOS
Network Connection
WiFi, Z-wave
Bluetooth (WiFi adapter sold separately)
WiFi, Z-wave
Z-wave (Bluetooth & WiFi available via adapter)
WiFi, Bluetooth
Lock-Specific Features
Fits Over Existing Deadbolt / Fingerprint ID
Replaces Existing Deadbolt / Physical Keyhole
Replaces Existing Deadbolt / Physical Keyhole
Replaces Existing Deadbolt
Replaces Existing Deadbolt / Fingerprint ID / Waterprooof
Price
$219.99
$269.99
$222.00
$219.00
$209.99
Prime Status
Brand & Model
August Wi-Fi, (4th Generation) Smart Lock – Fits Your Existing Deadbolt in Minutes, Silver
Preview
August Wi-Fi, (4th Generation) Smart Lock – Fits Your Existing Deadbolt in Minutes, Silver
Voice Assistant Compatible
Works with Alexa, Google, Siri, SmartThings (Phone or hub sold separately)
Phone & App Compatible
August App on Google Android and Apple iOS
Network Connection
WiFi, Z-wave
Lock-Specific Features
Fits Over Existing Deadbolt / Fingerprint ID
Price
$219.99
How to Buy
Prime Status
Brand & Model
SCHLAGE BE479AA V CAM 619 Satin Nickel Sense Smart Deadbolt with Camelot Trim
Preview
SCHLAGE BE479AA V CAM 619 Satin Nickel Sense Smart Deadbolt with Camelot Trim
Voice Assistant Compatible
Works with Siri (Phone or hub sold separately) / Also Alexa & Google (Adapter required)
Phone & App Compatible
Schlage App on Google Android, Apple iOS
Network Connection
Bluetooth (WiFi adapter sold separately)
Lock-Specific Features
Replaces Existing Deadbolt / Physical Keyhole
Price
$269.99
How to Buy
Prime Status
Brand & Model
Kwikset 99390-001 Halo Wi-Fi Smart Lock Keyless Entry Electronic Touchscreen Deadbolt Featuring…
Preview
Kwikset 99390-001 Halo Wi-Fi Smart Lock Keyless Entry Electronic Touchscreen Deadbolt Featuring...
Voice Assistant Compatible
Works with Alexa, SmartThings, Wink (Phone or hub sold separately)
Phone & App Compatible
Kwikset SmartKey App on Google Android, Apple iOS
Network Connection
WiFi, Z-wave
Lock-Specific Features
Replaces Existing Deadbolt / Physical Keyhole
Price
$222.00
How to Buy
Prime Status
Brand & Model
Yale Assure Lock SL with Z-Wave, Key-Free Touchscreen Deadbolt, Satin Nickel
Preview
Yale Assure Lock SL with Z-Wave, Key-Free Touchscreen Deadbolt, Satin Nickel
Voice Assistant Compatible
Works with Alexa, SmartThings, Wink (Phone or hub sold separately)
Phone & App Compatible
August App (Connection module sold separately)
Network Connection
Z-wave (Bluetooth & WiFi available via adapter)
Lock-Specific Features
Replaces Existing Deadbolt
Price
$219.00
How to Buy
Prime Status
Brand & Model
eufy Security Smart Lock Touch & Wi-Fi, Fingerprint Scanner, Keyless Entry Door Lock, Smart Wi-Fi…
Preview
eufy Security Smart Lock Touch & Wi-Fi, Fingerprint Scanner, Keyless Entry Door Lock, Smart Wi-Fi...
Voice Assistant Compatible
Works with Alexa, Google (Phone or Hub sold separately)
Phone & App Compatible
eufy App on Google Android and Apple iOS
Network Connection
WiFi, Bluetooth
Lock-Specific Features
Replaces Existing Deadbolt / Fingerprint ID / Waterprooof
Price
$209.99
How to Buy
Prime Status
Brand & Model
Bosma Aegis Smart Door Lock w/WiFi Gateway, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth, Auto-Lock & Auto-Unlock, Keyless…
Level Bolt Smart Lock – Smart Deadbolt that Works with Your Existing Lock for Keyless Lock Entry,…
Lockly PGD628WSN Secure Pro Latch, Smart Wi-Fi Lock with Fingerprint, Keyless Entry Door Lock with…
Danalock Bluetooth Low Energy Smart Lock, Retrofit Your Existing Deadbolt, Compatible with iOS and…
Smart Deadbolt, SMONET Fingerprint Electronic Deadbolt Door Lock with Keypad-Bluetooth Keyless Entry…
Preview
Bosma Aegis Smart Door Lock w/WiFi Gateway, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth, Auto-Lock & Auto-Unlock, Keyless...
Level Bolt Smart Lock - Smart Deadbolt that Works with Your Existing Lock for Keyless Lock Entry,...
Lockly PGD628WSN Secure Pro Latch, Smart Wi-Fi Lock with Fingerprint, Keyless Entry Door Lock with...
Danalock Bluetooth Low Energy Smart Lock, Retrofit Your Existing Deadbolt, Compatible with iOS and...
Smart Deadbolt, SMONET Fingerprint Electronic Deadbolt Door Lock with Keypad-Bluetooth Keyless Entry...
Voice Assistant Compatible
Works with Alexa (Hub or Device Sold Separately)
Works with Alexa, Google (Phone or Hub sold separately)
Works with Alexa, Google, Siri (Phone or Hub sold separately)
Works with Alexa, Google, Siri, SmartThings (Phone or Hub sold separately)
Alexa, Google, Siri (Phone or Hub sold separately)
Phone & App Compatible
Bosma App on Google Android, Apple iOS
Wyze App on Google Android and Apple iOS
Lockly App on Google Android and Apple iOS
DanaLock App on Google Android and Apple iOS
Smonet App on Google Android, Apple iOS
Network Connection
WiFi, Bluetooth
WiFi
WiFi
WiFi, Bluetooth
Bluetooth (WiFi adapter sold separately)
Lock-Specific Features
Fits Over Existing Deadbolt / Keyless
Replaces Existing Deadbolt
Replaces Existing Deadbolt
Fits Over Existing Deadbolt / Keyless
Replaces Existing Deadbolt / Physical Keyhole
Price
$119.99
$199.00
$319.00
Price not available
$119.99
Prime Status
Brand & Model
Bosma Aegis Smart Door Lock w/WiFi Gateway, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth, Auto-Lock & Auto-Unlock, Keyless…
Preview
Bosma Aegis Smart Door Lock w/WiFi Gateway, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth, Auto-Lock & Auto-Unlock, Keyless...
Voice Assistant Compatible
Works with Alexa (Hub or Device Sold Separately)
Phone & App Compatible
Bosma App on Google Android, Apple iOS
Network Connection
WiFi, Bluetooth
Lock-Specific Features
Fits Over Existing Deadbolt / Keyless
Price
$119.99
How to Buy
Prime Status
Brand & Model
Level Bolt Smart Lock – Smart Deadbolt that Works with Your Existing Lock for Keyless Lock Entry,…
Preview
Level Bolt Smart Lock - Smart Deadbolt that Works with Your Existing Lock for Keyless Lock Entry,...
Voice Assistant Compatible
Works with Alexa, Google (Phone or Hub sold separately)
Phone & App Compatible
Wyze App on Google Android and Apple iOS
Network Connection
WiFi
Lock-Specific Features
Replaces Existing Deadbolt
Price
$199.00
How to Buy
Prime Status
Brand & Model
Lockly PGD628WSN Secure Pro Latch, Smart Wi-Fi Lock with Fingerprint, Keyless Entry Door Lock with…
Preview
Lockly PGD628WSN Secure Pro Latch, Smart Wi-Fi Lock with Fingerprint, Keyless Entry Door Lock with...
Voice Assistant Compatible
Works with Alexa, Google, Siri (Phone or Hub sold separately)
Phone & App Compatible
Lockly App on Google Android and Apple iOS
Network Connection
WiFi
Lock-Specific Features
Replaces Existing Deadbolt
Price
$319.00
How to Buy
Prime Status
Brand & Model
Danalock Bluetooth Low Energy Smart Lock, Retrofit Your Existing Deadbolt, Compatible with iOS and…
Preview
Danalock Bluetooth Low Energy Smart Lock, Retrofit Your Existing Deadbolt, Compatible with iOS and...
Voice Assistant Compatible
Works with Alexa, Google, Siri, SmartThings (Phone or Hub sold separately)
Phone & App Compatible
DanaLock App on Google Android and Apple iOS
Network Connection
WiFi, Bluetooth
Lock-Specific Features
Fits Over Existing Deadbolt / Keyless
Price
Price not available
How to Buy
Prime Status
Brand & Model
Smart Deadbolt, SMONET Fingerprint Electronic Deadbolt Door Lock with Keypad-Bluetooth Keyless Entry…
Preview
Smart Deadbolt, SMONET Fingerprint Electronic Deadbolt Door Lock with Keypad-Bluetooth Keyless Entry...
Voice Assistant Compatible
Alexa, Google, Siri (Phone or Hub sold separately)
Phone & App Compatible
Smonet App on Google Android, Apple iOS
Network Connection
Bluetooth (WiFi adapter sold separately)
Lock-Specific Features
Replaces Existing Deadbolt / Physical Keyhole
Price
$119.99
How to Buy
Prime Status

For more smart home products, check out the CoolSmartHomeTech.com Shop

Final point to remember

While smart locks all provide remote usability of your door lock, and many have similar features, the best smart security device for your smart home is the one that meets your convenience and security needs while having your above-preferred features.  Keep in mind that a smart lock’s main functions are to control and share home access among family members, friends, and visitors, as well as remotely monitor who opens your doors when you are away from home.  If it fits in with your other smart home devices, then even better.

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