If you’re still using a traditional key and lock system on your doors, it’s time for an upgrade. Smart door locks offer many advantages over traditional counterparts, from convenience and peace of mind to increased security and curb appeal. You also have several options when it comes to smart lock technology, from inexpensive keypad locks to Wi-Fi-enabled systems that provide remote access from anywhere.
Unsure if smart locks are right for you? Here’s a quick overview of your smart lock options, plus five great reasons to make the switch.
The Different Kinds of Smart Locks
Smart locks typically fall into three categories based on operation and connectivity options. These include keyless keypad locks, Bluetooth, NFC/RFID locks, and Wi-Fi-enabled locks.
Depending on the type, you can lock and unlock doors by entering a code on a keypad, remotely using mobile apps or internet access, or with a key fob. A few advanced smart locks even use biometrics, such as facial recognition or fingerprint ID.
Regardless of the type, all smart locks are battery-powered, and many have a physical key backup if needed. Here’s a quick overview of each.
Keypad Door Locks
Keypad door locks are the most basic type of smart lock. They have a numerical keypad, and you simply enter a code to unlock the door. Most keypad door locks have several programmable codes, which are convenient for allowing temporary access for guests or service providers.
Most keypad door locks also have a traditional keyhole, so you can always use a backup key if you forget your code or the batteries die. Keypad door locks tend to be the most affordable type of smart lock, making them a good choice for budget-conscious shoppers.
NFC, RFID, and Bluetooth Smart Door Locks
NFC, RFID, and Bluetooth door locks are short-range keyless locks controlled using a mobile app or key fob. You generally need to be within 250 to 400 feet of your lock to connect via the mobile app or fob. These locks don’t offer the remote-access capabilities of Wi-Fi door locks, but offer a ton of home access convenience for the cost.
Even without remote access, NFC, RFID, and Bluetooth door locks support automatic locking and unlocking based on your location, plus the ability to create temporary codes for visitors and service providers. However, you must be within range of the lock to add access codes and make other settings changes. To control lock settings, visitor access, and lock monitoring from anywhwere, you need a Wi-Fi smart lock.
Wi-Fi Smart Door Locks
Wi-Fi smart door locks are the most technically advanced smart locks on the home market. Like a keypad lock, most Wi-Fi door locks have a keypad for code entry. Like Bluetooth door locks, you can lock or unlock your door using your smartphone or other mobile devices. However, Wi-Fi smart locks, like the Halo Keyless Entry Door Lock by KwikSet, also give you remote access to the lock from anywhere via the internet connection in your home.
With a Wi-Fi door lock, you can check the status of your lock from anywhere, plus lock or unlock your door remotely using your smartphone, tablet, computer, and even Alexa or Google Home devices. You can also remotely add and activate or deactivate guest or service provider codes immediately. Many Wi-Fi smart locks also offer automatic locking and unlocking based on your location, have built-in video cameras, and send lock tampering and door opening alerts.
The downside to Wi-Fi smart locks is that they require a reliable Wi-Fi connection to work. However, most also work via Bluetooth, so if Wi-Fi or the internet is down, you can still use your cell phone to communicate with your lock within Bluetooth range. Wi-Fi smart locks’ advanced technology makes them the priciest of the three types of smart locks.
Five Reasons to Consider Switching to a Smart Lock
Whatever the type, all smart locks provide distinct advantages over traditional locks. Here are five top reasons to make the switch to smart locks for your home.
1. Convenience and Peace of Mind
If you’ve ever been locked out of your house or lost your keys, you know how frustrating it can be. With a smart door lock, you’ll never have to worry about being locked out again. You can open your door with your smartphone, a physical key, or a code. Some even connect to a fob or mobile app for an auto-unlock as you get near the door. No more fumbling for keys—how’s that for convenience!
Whether you’re coming home from a long day at work, juggling bags of groceries, or taking the dog for a walk, you can always get into your house with a smart lock.
2. Bolster Home Safety
When it comes to home security, smart locks are much better than traditional locks. That’s because they’re much more difficult to pick, and they offer features like tamper alerts and automatic locking. So if someone tries to break into your home, you’ll know about it immediately, and in most cases, they won’t be able to get in using the lock. Plus, if you have small children, smart locks offer an added measure of childproofing for exterior doors.
Best of all—you can finally get rid of those hide-a-key rocks! They’re not fooling anyone.
3. Prevent Lock-Outs
Say goodbye to those frustrating moments when you can’t find your keys, and never call the locksmith again for a lost key. Whether you’re coming home from work or heading out for a run, you can easily lock and unlock your door using your smart lock’s phone app or keypad.
4. Style and Curb Appeal
Along with convenience and security, smart door locks add style and curb appeal to your home. Ask any realtor—traditional keyed locks look dated and out of place on modern homes. But with their sleek designs and high-tech features, smart locks fit in perfectly with today’s aesthetic standards. If you’re looking for a way to add perceived value and curb appeal to your home, switching to a smart lock is a great option.
If you’re planning to sell your home soon, a smart lock upgrade is something buyers look for. Plus, you can set realtor access codes to monitor who’s been in your home and when they were there.
5. Visitor and Emergency Access
With smart locks, letting someone into your home when you’re not there is a snap. You can give guests and service providers a code that allows access, then cancel the code when they leave or when the project is complete. You never have to worry about leaving or retrieving keys, plus you can see when they enter and exit your home.
Smart locks also offer instant access if you ever need to let first responders into your home in an emergency. Just provide them a code or unlock the door remotely so they can get in and do their job.
Where to Find Smart Locks and Read Reviews
Amazon has the largest selection of smart locks that we’ve found online, and many connect with Amazon Alexa devices. With plenty of useful information, product videos, and user reviews, Amazon is a great place to start your search for smart locks. Home Depot and Lowes also carry many keyless and smart locks.
Smart Door Lock Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the features of a smart door lock?
Smart door lock features include remote and automatic locking and unlocking, video camera feeds, custom access codes, guest and service provider temporary codes, lock tamper alerts, access logs, and much more. Smart locks offer Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections to activate settings, locking and unlocking, and most have a simple keypad for code entry and a keyed lock for key access.
What are the different types of smart locks?
The three primary smart lock types are keypad door locks, Bluetooth smart door locks, and Wi-Fi smart Locks. Each offers far more convenience and security options than a traditional lock, and you can find a smart lock that works for virtually any budget.
How does a smart key door lock work?
Smart key locks communicate with key fobs, mobile, or remote devices via Bluetooth, NFC, or Wi-Fi. When you approach the door, the lock will automatically unlock itself if it recognizes your device, and a simple button or app click locks it back. Most also let you set auto-locks and control the lock using a mobile app or a voice assistant such as Alexa or Google Home. If you lose your phone or key fob, don’t worry—most have app-driven access codes, a keypad, and a physical backup key as well.
That’s a Wrap
Smart door locks are convenient, secure, and stylish, plus offer easy guest and emergency access. However, before shopping for smart door locks, consider how you’ll use your lock and how much you want to spend. High-tech remote Wi-Fi door locks are more expensive than the keypad and Bluetooth varieties, but they offer far more remote conveniences. A Wi-Fi or Bluetooth door lock might be worth the cost if you need remote access for convenience. If you don’t need the remote bells and whistles, an inexpensive keypad door lock might be the right fit at a lower cost.