Everything You Need to Know About Smart Locks (Including Some of Our Favorites)
So many aspects of our lives have gone digital—from the way we visit the bank (mobile deposit is king) to the way we order food (smartphone applications make life a breeze), and even the way we workout (smart mirrors are game-changing). So, it should come as no surprise that the way we secure our homes has received a high-tech upgrade as well. Smart locks are the latest way to sync your life to your digital devices and step up your home security game. Here, experts share how to determine if smart locks are right for you, and the best ones to consider before purchasing.
Why You Should Consider a Smart Lock and How to Choose the Right One
A door lock is the most basic element of any home security setup, but smart locks take this staple to a new level according to Dan Mock, brand manager at Mister Sparky. "Using wireless internet technology, sophisticated smart locks can be controlled by smartphones in a variety of ways," he says. You can program your locks to unlock as soon as your phone is within a few feet of the door, give your pet sitter temporary access to your home while you're on vacation, removing the need to hand out a copy of your house key, and so much more.
With so many choices on the market, Mock says the best way to pick the right one for your family is to make a list of the capabilities you want your smart lock to have, and then find one that is compatible with any existing home technologies you already own, like Z-wave, Apple Home, Bluetooth, Google Assistant, or Alexa. "The next step is to determine how the consumer plans to use the device," he says. "The best smart locks provide not just convenience, but safety and security to the home."
How Smart Locks Work with Your Security System
According to Jon Perry, President of Sting Alarm, Inc., there are four main ways your smart lock will work with your home security system. First, they can verify visitors and then unlock your home remotely. "When connected with one of our video doorbells, we can talk to someone at the door and, if we decide it's ok, can unlock the door. The delivery can be made and when they leave, I can lock the door all while watching them on the cameras."
You can also get automatic reminders for extra security. For example, if it's late in the evening and your doors are still unlocked, you can set your security system to give you a reminder to lock up for the night. If you have a fairly structured routine, you can program your locks to follow. Perry has a "sleep" setting on his system. When bedtime rolls around he turns on the sleep setting and his alarm will arm, all of his doors will lock, his thermostats will set to the correct night time temperature and his smart light switches will turn off all of the lights in his home (except the entryway, which he leaves illuminated). Lastly, he says you can avoid the costly and annoying need to replace your locks if you lose your keys. "[You can] easily change your code or remove a code you might have given someone via the app."
Over the years, Perry says he has tested a lot of different locks and found the Yale and Quickset products to be the most reliable and easy to maintain. Mock agrees, and says that these are the best smart locks currently on the market:
The Best Smart Locks to Buy
- For Google Nest Compatibility: Yale Lock with Nest Connect
- For Sleek Design: Yale Assure Lock
- For Keeping Your Key: Kwikset 888 Smart Lock
- For Hands-Free: Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt
Google Nest Compatibility
The Nest Yale Lock is a Google Nest (from $279, amazon.com) compatible smart lock. Offering keyless entry, the LED keypad can work remotely through your Nest app or by entering your personalized security code. Set your Nest account up to receive alerts, and you'll be notified anytime your lock is engaged or disengaged.
You don't have to worry about compatibility with your existing home technology systems, as Yale Assure Lock ($222.18, amazon.com) operates without the need to sync to an application, while still giving smart lock features like keyless entry. And it comes in multiple finishes to match your door's existing hardware.
Keep Your Key
If you're hesitant to get rid of keys all together, the Kwikset 888 Smart Lock ($123, homedepot.com) is the perfect option. It offers traditional key entry, as well as entry through the use of a key code or the Z-Wave app. You don't need to hardwire the box to your door, the lock is screw-free and powered by four AA batteries.
The Schlage Camelot Encode Smart WiFi Door Lock ($249, homedepot.com) can be locked and unlocked from anywhere using either the Schlage Home app or the Key by Amazon app. You can also operate it using voice command technologies like Alexa or Google Assistant. The Encode model also has a keypad and traditional key lock entry.
If you're looking to go handsfree, try the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt ($198.51, amazon.com). This smart lock has settings that can allow you to unlock your front door before you even exit your car (perfect for when your hands are full or you're racing the rain). Compatible with both the Schlange Home App and the Schlange Sense App, the Sense Smart Deadbolt allows you to update your lock's technologies without having to replace the hardware every time upgrades are rolled out by the company.