Smart door locks are arguably the most important part of a truly smart, connected home. Not only will it allow you to come and go as you please, but it will also monitor who is entering and leaving your home while you’re away. Some models simply let you use your phone to open and close doors. Some let you assign special privileges to friends, family members, or maintenance staff. Others can be activated using voice commands or triggers from other smart home devices and services.
More than just smart security gadgets that keep your home and you safe – smart door locks can also add a stylish touch to your doors too. Whether you want a traditional-looking lock that conceals is smart features or a more high-tech design with a touch screen that makes keys obsolete, there’s plenty of choices when it comes to the best smart locks you can buy. So, here are a few things to consider when deciding on a smart lock.
What Is a Smart Door Lock?
One of the first things you’ll want to consider is how much it will cost to upgrade your traditional lock. After all, a smart lock costs a heck of a lot more than the standard issue lock you can pick up at the local hardware store. You can find a few smart locks out there in the $100 range (not many of which made the cut for this list), but if you want a lock that you can control from anywhere, with features such as voice commands, push and email notifications, and tamper alarms, expect to pay somewhere in the $200 to $300 range.
Many smart locks offer 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 desktop or laptop PC. Most apps let you add permanent and temporary users and set access schedules for specific days and times.
Smart Door Lock Features
If the lock is Bluetooth enabled, you’ll have to be within range (around 40 feet) to communicate with it, while locks with built-in Wi-Fi circuitry or a Wi-Fi bridge can be controlled from almost anywhere as long as they are connected to your home router. Make sure your smart lock offers activity logs so you can go back in time to see who has entered or exited your home and when the activity took place.
The latest smart locks offer things like voice activation, geofencing, and auto-locking features. With voice activation, locking and unlocking doors is as easy as it gets; simply tell your phone to “unlock the front door,” and the lock will disengage. With geofencing, you’ll never have to worry if you locked up before you left the house; just use the mobile app to set up a perimeter around your house, and use your phone’s location services to pinpoint your exact location. When you leave the perimeter, you can have the lock automatically engage behind you. Similarly, an auto-lock feature will have the lock automatically engage after it has been unlocked for a specific 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 let you know who is coming and going in real-time.
How to Install Smart Door Locks
None of the locks, in general, are especially difficult to install, but some are easier 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’ll probably have 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. The deadbolt is also held in place by two screws.
The good news is that most smart locks use the standard pre-drilled holes so you don’t have to worry about drilling new ones. Additionally, there are smart locks available that attach to the inside of your door and are designed to use your existing keyed cylinder and deadbolt hardware, which means you only have to remove the interior escutcheon. Either way, you can count on spending anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes removing your old lock and installing your new smart one.
Best Smart Door Locks
So which of the best smart locks should you pick? We’ve put some of the most popular brands to the test to discover just which are the best smart locks you can buy right now.
August Wi-Fi Smart Door Lock
This latest iteration of the August Smart Lock breaks free from the bonds of its predecessors’ need for a bridge to operate remotely. Thanks to its built-in Wi-Fi connection, the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock connects to your home’s wireless network without the need for a bridge or other additional hardware.
Beyond that, it’s one of the simplest smart locks to install and set up. Plus, it’s able to retain your existing lock — so you don’t need new keys. What’s impressive is that the company adds in the Wi-Fi connection, while shrinking the overall size of the lock. It is 45% smaller in volume and 20% slimmer, making it a sleek little lock, and comes in either silver or matte black plastic.
In addition to using the app to remotely operate the lock, the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock supports Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri. Meaning, it integrates nicely with just about any smart home platform. There are also some advanced features that make it a premier offering, like virtual keys that work on a set schedule, and automatic lock/unlock as you approach or leave your home.
Nest X Yale
This attractive smart lock is a product of Nest and Yale. An elegant touchscreen keypad replaces the regular old lock and key mechanism, and the exterior surround comes in satin nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, or polished brass. The oval-shaped outside keypad is 4.59 inches tall by 2.59 inches wide, while the interior lock is 7.03 inches tall by 2.78 inches wide. Four AA batteries power the lock, and the batteries should last about one year before you have to replace them.
You choose a passcode (between four and eight digits) to unlock the door, and you can also use the app. Additionally, the Nest X Yale has an automatic locking feature that activates after a duration of time that you select, and it has a home/away feature that locks the door automatically. Google Home users can voice control the Nest X Yale. You can check the status of your lock from the road, lock your door when you’re not home, and add your lock commands to Google Routines.
The Nest X Yale is not the most feature-rich lock on the market. However, the features it has work well, and it incorporates very well into a smart home run by Google Assistant.
Xiaomi Smart Door Lock Pro
The novelty offers everything you need to have your home perfectly protected. In addition to being a security lock, it also includes an intelligent doorbell and a face recording and recognition system, which is enabled by an ultra-wide camera with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
Unlocking is possible in the following seven ways:
- Temporary code
- By attaching an NFC device
- Apple home kit
- Classic key
Two cameras that ensure a high level of security
There are even two cameras here. One of the records and records the surroundings, the other serves to identify the face of the person in front of the door. It is a sophisticated complete face recognition system. Of course, it is also safe. Integration into a smart home is also a great feature. The new lock can identify people, warn of the arrival of a household member, but also warn that there is a person in front of the door that he does not know.
If you own a smart bracelet Xiaomi Mi Band 4, Mi Band 5, or Mi Band 6, you will also be able to unlock it with the bands. The smart lock is compatible with the Xiaomi ecosystem, but also with the Apple HomeKit. This means that it will be possible to easily integrate it with other smart home appliances and set up automation.
Level Lock Touch
There are very few smart locks that support Apple’s HomeKit. However, the best one for Apple’s smart home platform is none other than the Level Lock Touch.
First of all, it sports a very unconventional design for a smart lock. There are no bulky keypads, nor is there an equally bulky component that goes over the deadbolt on the inside of the door. Instead, the Level Lock Touch looks like an ordinary lock — one that retains the look and styling of a traditional lock. What’s also neat about it is that you can interact with the Level Lock Touch by either tapping on the keyhole housing, or use the included NFC-equipped keycards for opening and locking the lock.
Once it’s connected to HomeKit, you can ask Siri on your iOS device or HomePod speaker to unlock the door. It will also unlock itself automatically because it leverages GPS on your iPhone to set up a geofence around your home. All of these features make the Level Lock Touch the best lock for HomeKit.
The Securam Touch is not afraid to show off its powerful design, which is part of why we love it. The deadlock casing is wrapped in an impenetrable milled metal shell, and the bolt itself is stainless steel. Any cat burglars looking to swipe this bad boy from your front door will be hard-pressed to pry it loose. We tried to make it budge ourselves (with tools to do so!) and had zero luck popping it free. For those concerned about hackers hacking away at your data, the Touch boasts an additional layer of armor through its AES 128-bit encryption.
Setup was a breeze with the step-by-step guide in the Securam app (available for iOS and Android), and the Touch boasts an impressive arsenal of smart lock features. Users can lock/unlock with their phone, the keypad, the sleekly housed fingerprint scanner, or with a physical set of keys (the keyhole is located underneath the deadbolt). We also love that the Securam app allows you to issue visitor codes to your guests and will log all entrances and exits through your selected door.
Hands full on the way out the door? The Securam Touch will lock once you press any button on the touchpad. If you can’t even spare one finger, that’s not a problem, either. Once you and your phone are out of range, the Touch will lock automatically.
Finding the ideal choice is different for everyone. For some, having a door lock that can be retrofitted for a traditional lock instead of replacing the existing deadbolt on a door is a must-have. For others, scheduling and user code limits will be important. Some people may look for smart features, like a lock that connects with your existing security system or an auto-lock feature. Thus, we cannot surely say that this or that smart door lock is the best, as it depends on your priorities and preferences. However, the smart door locks mentioned above feature the most important functions and specifications, so the choice is yours!