5 min read
Home automation isn’t complete without a smart door lock. It is an important addition when you are considering transforming your home from traditional to a smart one. Moreover, it is one of the simplest upgrades you should have to ensure home security. As well as provide convenient access for investment properties and holiday rentals.
What is a smart door lock?
A smart door lock is a device that is both mechanical and electronic. It is designed to lock and unlock your door without the need of a traditional key. Also, you can unlock and open up the door via smartphone or type in a passcode to allow entry.
Within a smart security door lock, you can integrate a smart doorbell with the smart lock on your front door. Both features allow you to see who’s at your door and will give you complete control over who can access your home.
In addition to this, your new smart door can track activity and send alerts on your smartphone via texts. Its programmable functions can deny entry to anyone without the given access. This way, you are in the know when forced entry happens if you’re away from home and you can alert the authorities.
How do smart door locks work?
Smart door locks may seem complicated to use on the surface. However, they operate just like traditional locks that need a lock and a key to function – only electronically.
With smart door locks, your keys are innovative. You can either unlock your door via smartphone, a key fob or code that you can enter on a numeric keypad.
Smart lock manufacturers are continuously upgrading these devices, making it easier to use by integrating the smart door locks with other home devices.
They can integrate with other smart home services efficiently. Thus, enabling you to achieve the highest levels of home automation. Perhaps with the help of Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and the Apple Home Kit.
How to install a smart lock?
Smart locks come in various designs which may need a smart home installation service. Therefore, you must use one that is compatible with your door, and you need to follow the manufacturer’s installation procedures carefully, or it will not function correctly.
Take note that the installation process varies from a standard lock to a smart lock. A stand-alone smart lock can usually be fitted by DIY. In contrast, a smart lock that belongs to a full-scale home automation system may require advanced configurations. When in doubt, it is best to call a professional to do the installation for you.
Do smart locks need WiFi?
Most smart door locks have to integrate within a home automation setup, so you need to connect it via a communication protocol – which is usually WiFi.
However, you can also use Z-Wave, Bluetooth or other network bridges. There are advantages and disadvantages to using each. Therefore, it would be up to you to choose which one to use based on your home environment.
Bluetooth smart lock devices will most likely use batteries, and you have to be in close range to be able to control your smart door with the Bluetooth app. If either the batteries in the lock or on the smart device fail, then you need a redundancy mechanism (a spare key or keypad) to gain access.
Z-Wave, on the other hand, has a 120-foot connection range and is more common when retrofitting a home for smart devices. For this, you will need to connect it to a Z-Wave-compatible hub, which requires communication with your WiFi. So, in the end, you will need stable WiFi as well.
Connecting your smart door lock to WiFi is seemingly the easiest choice for DIY purposes. There are now a plethora of WiFi-enabled smart locks that can control your smart lock remotely.
Do smart locks need power?
If there is no cabling in the door, then how do smart locks get power? Most smart locks have backup batteries to operate. So, when unexpected outages happen, you don’t have to worry as the smart door lock will still function efficiently.
If you’re wondering how long do smart lock batteries last? Or how often the batteries need to be replaced? That depends on what type of application you are using on your smart lock.
When using Bluetooth, the batteries can last up to two years. Usually, this is the same with Z-Wave. On the other hand, smart lock batteries connected to WiFi may last one to three months—some last up to six months, depending on the quality of the brand.
In most cases, you don’t have to worry about your smart lock running out of battery without knowledge of it. Most smart locks have low-battery warning indicators before they run out, which should give you enough time to find a replacement.
Are smart door locks safe?
Your primary reason for installing smart door locks may be to enhance home security.
However, is a keypad door lock safe? Are keyless locks secure? Can a smart door lock be hacked? How safe and secure can your home get with smart door locks?
A keypad where you type a passcode is one of the features of a variety of smart door locks. Some claim that using it is not safe. Yet, other brands have programmable functions to disable keypad passcode for a specific time for added protection.
You can disable the passcode when you are inside the home or the moment you opt to go out. That way, your home is still safe in the event someone’s prying eyes manage to find out your passcode. If you think your passcode is compromised, you can replace it anytime with a new one.
Like other digital devices, hacking is possible on counterfeit smart door locks. It can happen when you choose to install low-quality automated locks or inferior copy-cat products.
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Cheap or fake locks will make your home vulnerable to intrusion. Most companies producing counterfeits do not have built-in security measures in the software to prevent hacking.
Make sure you buy only authentic smart door locks from trusted brands, and your home will be as secure as you’d hope it to be.
The best smart door locks
Smart locks come in all shapes and sizes. With a wide variety to choose from, it would take you some time to pick the one that suits best to your needs. Thus, we’ve come up a shortlist of three of the best smart door locks in the market today.
iLock15 Z-Wave Door Lock
- Has four different ways to operate.
- Fire Building Exit Standards compliant.
- Has enhanced security features.
- Stunning design.
- Can be installed easily.
- Fits any door.
- Does not require external wiring.
- iOS and Android smartphone accessibility.
Nuki Combo 2.0
- Accessible through a smartphone app or smartwatch.
- Auto unlock allows the door to open for you even if you don’t touch your phone.
- Lock ‘n’ Go locks your door the moment you leave home.
- Lets you manage recurring, permanent, or one-time basis access for other people.
- Has an activity log which allows you to see who locks and unlocks your door at a given time.
Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro
- 6-in-1 keyless entry smart lock.
- Dual data encryption.
- Locks and unlocks automatically.
- An anti-peep keypad.
- Allows you to give access to other people even when you’re not at home.
Knowing that your home is safe from intrusion gives you peace of mind and for property managers and holiday letting (think Airbnb) a smart lock makes perfect sense!
A smart lock is an investment that gives you control when you are away from home during the day or even on holiday. Yes, it can be confusing when choosing the correct smart door lock that is suitable for your home. However, hopefully, this research can provide you with an informed choice and has offered the right solution for you.