A smart lock is arguably the most important part of a connected home. In addition to allowing you to easily unlock and lock your door, a smart lock also monitors who enters and leaves your house when you're away. Some models simply let you use your phone to open and close doors. Others let you assign special access privileges to friends, family members, or maintenance staff. The most advanced options work with voice commands and support third-party smart home devices and services. Here's what you need to consider before picking a smart lock.
One of the first things you should consider is how much it costs to upgrade your traditional lock. After all, a smart lock costs a lot more than the standard-issue lock you can pick up at the local hardware store. A few smart locks cost around $100 (not many of which made this list), but if you want a lock that you can control from anywhere and that offers features such as voice commands; push and email notifications; and tamper alarms; expect to pay somewhere between $200 and $300.
Many smart locks pair with a mobile app that allows you to lock and unlock doors with a simple icon tap. Some offer a web app that lets you control things from your PC. Most apps allow you to add permanent and temporary users, as well as set access schedules for specific days and times. Make sure your smart lock records activity logs so you can go back in time to see who entered or exited your home and when.
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August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
If the lock is Bluetooth-enabled, you have to be within range (around 40 feet) to control it. However, you can connect to locks with built-in Wi-Fi radios or that use a Wi-Fi bridge from almost anywhere once you set them up with your router.
The latest smart locks offer features such as voice controls, geofencing, and auto-locking features. Voice commands via the companion app make smart locks much more convenient; for example, you can simply tell your phone to "unlock the front door," to disengage the lock.
The geofencing feature ensures that you never have to worry about whether you locked up before you left the house; just use the mobile app to set up a perimeter around your home and make sure your phone's location services are on. When you leave the perimeter, you can set the lock to automatically engage behind you. Similarly, the auto-lock feature configures the lock to automatically engage if it remains unlocked for a specified period of time.
Other features to look for include keyless touchpads for those times when you don't have your phone or your keys; tamper and forced entry alarms that warn you of a possible break-in; and push, text, and email notifications that inform you in real time when anyone enters or leaves.
None of the locks we tested are especially difficult to install, but some are easier to set up than others. If your new lock comes with both an interior escutcheon (the housing you mount on the inside of your door) and an exterior component (usually a touchpad or a keyed cylinder), you probably need to completely remove your old lock (including the deadbolt mechanism and strike plate), before you can install the new device. This is simply a matter of removing the two bolts that attach the interior escutcheon to the exterior component and removing both pieces. Two screws also secure the deadbolt in place.
The good news is that most smart locks work with standard pre-drilled holes; you often don't need to worry about drilling new ones. Additionally, some smart locks simply attach to the inside of your door and use your existing keyed cylinder and deadbolt hardware; with those locks, you have to remove the interior escutcheon only. Either way, estimate anywhere between 10 and 25 minutes to remove your old lock and install the new one.Wyze Lock
Some locks integrate with other connected home devices, such as smoke alarms, and services, such as Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. That last service enables you to, for example, configure your doors to unlock when a smoke or CO alarm goes off or set your smart lights to turn on when someone unlocks the door.
Depending on your home automation setup, you can even pair your lock with a video doorbell, so you can see who is at the door before you unlock it. Or you can configure an indoor security camera to begin recording when someone unlocks the door.
Keep in mind, not all smart locks are designed for your door. The Igloohome Smart Padlock and the Tapplock one+ are Bluetooth-connected padlocks, for instance. They're built to be as tough as any standard lock but use Bluetooth to unlock with the tap of a button when you're nearby. They also let you grant temporary or permanent guest access to your terms via the app. The BoxLock, meanwhile, is a Wi-Fi-enabled padlock with a built-in scanner that lets mail carriers secure your packages in a storage box where would-be thieves can't see or access them.
For more on smart home safety, see our picks for the best smart home security systems and the best outdoor home security cameras.