A smart lock is a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled smart home device that lets users leave their house keys behind, locking and unlocking doors with the tap of a finger or a simple voice command. Smart locks even allow remote access, so you can unlock a door to let in a guest while you're at work.
Smart locks are a relatively new and evolving technology. Some rely on fingerprint scanning, while others utilize digital assistant support and mobile apps. Evaluate a smart lock's features and functionality and choose the best one for your needs.
What Can a Smart Lock Do?
Smart locks have created a new home security experience with customization features and functionality designed to give you control over what happens to your home. They go way beyond the capabilities of ordinary locks.
Many come with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, which increases the ability to use remote features. If a smart lock had only Bluetooth connectivity, you'd have connection problems if your front door was too far from your smart home hub.
Here are some important smart lock features to look for:
Offer Remote Control Via an App
Most smart home locks have iOS and Android apps that allow you to control the lock remotely from your mobile device, monitor comings and goings, and alert you to any activity.
Connect to Wi-Fi for Real-Time Monitoring
Wi-Fi connectivity lets you view entry and exit logs in real-time, so you always know who has come and left your home, and when. This is an important feature for parents who want to make sure their kids have arrived home safely from school.
Connect Via Bluetooth
Bluetooth connectivity helps your smart lock recognize you by connecting with your smartphone and unlocking your door as you approach.
Utilize Multiple Keyless Entry Options
Multiple keyless entry options could include proximity unlocking with your smartphone, remote unlocking with your smartphone, custom code numbers for anyone who needs to enter your home, voice commands, and touch or fingerprint recognition.
Create Permanent or Temporary Entry Codes
Many smart locks let you create permanent or temporary entry codes for visiting guests, cleaning services, dog walkers, repair services, and every individual member of your family.
Set Limitations for Access
Set access limitations for every entry code. Limitations can include days of the week and specific hours to ensure code holders can access your home only during approved times.
Allow Auto-Lock Settings
Auto-locking options let you set your smart lock to lock the door automatically if it's been left unlocked for a specific amount of time.
Trigger Auto-Locking When Outside a Designated Perimteter
Perimeter auto-locking can lock your door automatically if your smartphone's location is detected outside of a designated perimeter from your home. (This is also known as geofencing.)
Send Alerts to Your Smartphone
Receive alerts on your smartphone if someone tries to break in or tampers with the smart lock. You can also set your lock to notify police or a home security service automatically if this happens.
Integrate With Your Connected Smart Home
Integrate with your connected smart home to activate other smart home devices when your door is unlocked. For example, set your smart lights to turn on when the door is unlocked.
Sync Your Smart Lock With Your Video Doorbell
Sync your smart lock with your video doorbell and any indoor cameras for extra security. View or record anyone who accesses your home (or attempts to).
Features vary depending on brand and model. Our list includes features from several top smart lock manufacturers.
Common Concerns About Smart Locks
When it comes to the security of your home and family, it's natural to have concerns about making the switch to a smart lock. Here are some common concerns many people have about smart locks:
Can a hacker use the smart lock's Wi-Fi connection to access my home?
Keep your connected smart home devices secure from hackers and electronic tampering by setting up your Wi-Fi system using security best practices. For example, require a password to connect to your Wi-Fi, and always use complex passwords. Since your smart lock and all your connected smart home devices access the internet through the same Wi-Fi setup as your computers, smartphones, tablets, and TV streaming services, a secure Wi-Fi setup is critical.
How much do smart locks cost?
Depending on the brand, model, and features, a Wi-Fi-enabled smart lock can cost anywhere from $100 to $300.
If my internet connection or electricity goes out, how do I get into my home?
Many smart lock models also come with a traditional key port so you can use it as a standard lock if needed. Additionally, Bluetooth connectivity will still work with your smartphone when you're in range for the phone and lock to connect. Smart lock manufacturers are aware of these types of issues, and many have their own solutions for these situations.