Greater Security, Easier Access For You
We are all familiar with keys, padlocks and other security measures to protect our homes and offices. While locks and keys didn’t evolve much for centuries, recent technological advances have created some major changes.
Smart locks provide homeowners with many benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of having a smart lock and some of the best smart locks available.
One of the major benefits of electronic entry systems is that they can be changed at a moment’s notice — they are highly configurable. Property owners can generate a record of when a door was opened.
With more advanced options, different keys are used for the same lock, so homeowners can tell when a housekeeper arrived or a family member came home. The development of keyless systems means you no longer have to worry about misplaced or forgotten keys.
Smart keyless locks are programmed to allow certain people access and keep others out. They come with a corresponding mobile application that offer a variety of features, such as notifying you when someone opens a door with a text message.
One of the reasons people use smart door locks rather than traditional ones is because they’re able to integrate them with other smart home devices. They enjoy the benefits of being able to turn on their lights as they open the door and much more.
What to Consider When Looking For a Smart Lock
Who Needs Access?
In most cases, more than one person needs access. The number of people who need access will determine your locking solution. For example, more people need access to a large company office than a private home. Some companies give a limited number of digital access keys and charge for extra ones.
Most smart locks let you set up temporary keys for house guests. You simply delete them when they leave. Smarter systems even let you set time restrictions for using a particular access code.
How Smart Is It?
Some smart locks don’t work with a smartphone app or any smart home networking hubs. They are just electronic locks that use a code instead of a key to open. Others are Bluetooth-only locks that work with a smartphone app, but you can’t monitor remotely or via a smart home system.
This is not enough if you want to integrate with your home network. Some Bluetooth locks offer a radio add-on module so you can connect to your home network.
Replace or Retrofit?
If you have an antique doorknob on your vintage door, you’re unlikely to want to replace it with a metallic device. If so, you need to choose a product that doesn’t require you to replace existing hardware. These products are installed in the inside of the door, replacing the interior part of the deadbolt.
What Security Features Are Offered?
Some of these locks have built-in alarm systems and others automatically unlock when you get close enough.
What Alternative Entry Means Can You Use?
What will happen if you have left your smartphone at the office? Will you be able to use a numeric keypad or a physical key? Are you still be able to gain access in some way if the batteries inside a lock die?
A geofencing system will automatically lock the door when it detects your phone has left the vicinity. It can be set to open automatically when you return home.
Two of the Best Smart Locks on the Market
The Schlage Sense
It may have a slightly bulky build, but the Schlage Sense smart lock offers impressive reliability. If you’ve lost your phone, you can open the lock with an illuminated numeric keypad or a physical key. A recent update allows you to unlock a door by using Amazon Alexa voice control.
The lock is powered by four AA batteries which are supposed to last for about a year. The installation process is not that difficult; but if you have a WiFi adapter, you’ll need to pair that separately.
The app is available for both Android and iOS. Once everything is set up, the Schlage Sense is easy to use. You can lock and unlock your door from the app with entry codes on the keypad and easily create and delete codes for guests. You will need the WiFi adapter to create codes remotely because they need to be synced to the lock.
At launch, the Schlage Sense did not integrate with many smart home hubs, but this has improved. It integrates with Apple TV, iPad, or HomePod acting as your hub, so you can control the lock remotely, even without a WiFi adapter. It now also works with Amazon Alexa but doesn’t work with Samsung SmartThings, Nest or Wink.
The August Smart Lock Pro
The August Smart Lock Pro replaces the inside portion of your deadbolt so you can keep using your key. The lock is well-built with an aluminum finish. It has an automatic lock and unlock feature, and it will let you know if you’ve left a door open.
The lock can still be used manually, and it has a ring of lights on the front, indicating status. It’s easy to replace batteries by removing the front cover.
Simply download the August app, create an account and open the menu to set up the device. The app works with both iOS and Android devices. The app walks you through all the steps of installing the device and setting up the Connect WiFi adapter.
Locking and unlocking isn’t all you can do from the app. You can set the lock to automatically lock after a period of time or to automatically unlock when you return home.
The August Smart Lock Pro is compatible with Xfinity, HomeKit and Nest. A WiFi bridge allows you to control and monitor your door remotely, and it comes with an optional doorbell camera or keypad.
Smart locks have raised the bar in safety and security. A smart lock is more expensive than a traditional one, but considering the many benefits, it is worth the extra expense.