The use of smart door locks is among the most popular options for home security nowadays. As the hype and usage of smart locks keep growing, the skepticism grows, as well. Smart door locks tend to be safer as well as more convenient, which does mean there are no flaws, there is the obvious significantly higher price point.
As one starts to enquire more about the pros and cons of smart locks, it is natural to ask the question, are smart door locks worth it, especially if you are a potential buyer.
What is a smart lock on a door?
A smart lock is a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled smart home device, smart lock lets users leave their house keys behind, and lock as well as unlock the doors with just the tap of a finger or even a simple voice command. Smart locks can also grant remote access, which means that you can unlock a door to let in a guest despite you being at work.
The majority of the smart locks come with both Bluetooth as well as Wi-Fi connectivity, which increases the ability to use remote features. Say a smart lock only supported Bluetooth connectivity, you would have connection problems if your front door was out of range of your smart home hub.
What are the advantages of smart door locks?
1. Increased Accessibility Without Compromising Security
House keys are often easily misplaced. If you wish to avoid tracking down keys or the process of changing the locks when tenants move out, you should consider smart locks with keypads. With many models, you can unlock the door with your smartphone using Bluetooth technology. You also have the ability to assign your children their passcodes to monitor their entry as well as exit.
2. Smart Locks Are Accessible Via Smartphones
The virtual keys provide easy access to vacation rental guests, visiting relatives as well as aging family members. Smart door locks are a great addition to the security of your house. As you can also control them remotely via Smartphones.
3. Simplify Home Security
Smart keys provide you the ability to grant access to multiple people. You can also track who comes in and out of your home any time of the day or night.
4. Boost Your Connectivity
You can integrate your smart locks into your home security system by downloading the companion app onto your mobile device. Say one of the family members or house guests forgets to lock the door after they exit, smart locks have the ability to activate the locking mechanism.
5. A lot of Options to Lock and Unlock the Property.
If you happen to have a guest, tenant or a house cleaner who is not comfortable with technology, smart deadbolts with a traditional locking mechanism provide you an additional way to open as well as secure the lock. If you do not wish to rely solely on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, you can choose a keypad smart lock that stores the passcode directly on the locking mechanism.
There are a million different passcode possibilities, and the chances of someone randomly guessing your code or even brute-force hacking it is nearly impossible. On top of that, the digital keypad locks have a passcode disguise feature, this adds to the security and privacy of your keyless security.
6. Stylish Designs to Choose From
Whether you wish to have a simple design smart doorknob or a futuristic design, it can be done as keyless entry smart locks, you have a wide range of styles you can choose from. You can choose a model that looks like a traditional deadbolt. Or, you can choose the one that appeals to your aesthetics.
7. Forget the Hideaway Key
Are you still hiding the spare key under the flowerpot on your front porch? You know that is probably where everyone looks first. However, with smart locks, there is no hassle of spare keys
Say someone in your family forgets the key and can’t get into the house and you’re out running errands, you can just send them a passcode.
8. Remote Security Rocks
If you happen to own rental properties, for example, Airbnb homes, or if you manage them for clients, a smart lock would be really helpful.
As the installed smart locks can be accessed, or the passcodes shared, when your house when you are:
- On a vacation
- At work
- Amidst family time
- Running errands
- Don’t want to deal with forgetful guest
9. You can manage Your Home or Investment Property from Across the Country
Smart locks provide you the ability to check on your property without having to be physically present. These also simplify the check-in as well as the check-out process of others like guests or property managers. As long as you have a data connection, you will be able to check the lock history, share as well as revoke eKeys and more.
How safe are smart door locks?
There is no such thing that has no loopholes that can’t be exploited, as so do smart locks. However, it is not to take away from the fact that smart locks provide better security and functionality than traditional locks. Smart locks are pretty reliable and are not easy to break through or hack through, if you are taking precautions, buying from trusted companies, and keeping your firmware up to date.
If you happen to buy something from some unknown brand or site for dirt cheap, it most definitely will not guarantee safety, be it a traditional lock or a smart lock.
The steps you can take to protect your locks from becoming vulnerable:
- Regularly updating the smart lock password.
- Not sharing the smart lock password with everyone.
- Updating the mobile application linked to the smart door lock.
As there are ways to safeguard your smart lock, there are also ways it can be compromised:
- Lock Removal
- Getting Hacked
- Phone Detection
- Bluetooth Sniffing
Why would you want a smart lock?
The answer to the question depends on you, if you wish to have the flexibility as well as the number of features provided by the smart locks, go for it. If you feel that traditional locks are the best for you and that smart locks are not really in your budget or the technical expertise of the elders in your family, go for the traditional ones. There is no one answer, that fits all.
Do smart locks work without Wi-Fi?
Only specific smart lock models require Wi-Fi to work, the majority of users prefer to connect their smart locks to Wi-Fi because it offers more features. These go beyond simply locking and unlocking a door remotely, for example, receiving instant notifications through a dedicated app. However, the users have other connectivity options, for example, Bluetooth and Z-Wave, available.
Smart locks are battery-powered; thus, the locking mechanism will have the ability to keep working even when the rest of your home loses power.
Many Bluetooth smart locks do not require Wi-Fi to operate, i.e., they do work without Wi-Fi. These types of locks have their own set of advantages compared to the ones that require a connection to the internet.
Can smart door locks be hacked?
People often forget that a smart lock is more or less a small computer, and, just like a computer, it can be hacked. Hackers can access the user’s phone data to break in. The hackers can also access the lock itself if it is Bluetooth-enabled.
The ways that a smart lock can be hacked are:
Bluetooth Sniffing – Any number of Bluetooth hacking devices can be used; these range from very simple tools to more advanced technology that’s specifically designed for hacking smart locks.
Though this is possible, Bluetooth is a short-range communication protocol, what does that mean? If someone wanted to try to hack your smart lock, they would have to be in physical proximity to the lock.
Wi-Fi Breaching – Hackers have the ability to possibly exploit certain vulnerabilities in the Wi-Fi connection the smart lock uses. However, like with Bluetooth, hackers would have to be close to your home’s network.
Out-of-Date Firmware or Companion App – Locks have their companion apps, however, it sometimes happens that the locks are not compatible with newer firmware updates, which can leave the lock vulnerable to hackers.
What is the best smart door lock to buy?
1. August Wi-Fi Smart Lock – The best smart lock overall
Lock Type: Deadbolt, Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Number Pad: Optional, Alarm: No, Codes: Unlimited, App: Yes
2. August Smart Lock – The best smart lock value
Lock Type: Deadbolt, Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Home, Connectivity: Bluetooth, Z-Wave Plus, Number Pad: Optional, Alarm: No, Codes: Unlimited, App: Yes
3. Schlage Encode – Best smart lock with an alarm
Lock Type: Deadbolt, Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Home, Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Number Pad: Included, Alarm: Yes, Codes: 100App: Yes
4. Schlage Encode Plus – The best smart lock for Apple Watch owners
Lock Type: Deadbolt, Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Home, HomeKit, Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Number Pad: Included, Alarm: Yes, Codes: 100App: Yes
5. Yale Real Living Assure SL – The best smart lock design
Lock Type: Deadbolt, Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Home, Homekit, SmartThings Connectivity: Bluetooth, Zigbee, Z-Wave Plus, Number Pad: Yes, Alarm: No, Codes: 250App: Yes
6. Kwikset Halo – The best smart lock with a re-keyable lock
Lock Type: Deadbolt, Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant, Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Number Pad: Yes, Alarm: No, Codes: Unlimited, App: Android/iOS
7. Level Bolt – Best smart lock if you don’t want others to know you have a smart lock
Lock Type: Deadbolt, Smart Home Compatibility: HomeKit, Alexa, Connectivity: Bluetooth, Number Pad: None, Alarm: No, Codes: Unlimited, App: Android/iOS
8. Lockly Secure Plus – Best smart lock with fingerprint reader
Lock Type: Deadbolt or lever, Smart Home Compatibility: Lockly, Connectivity: Bluetooth, Number Pad: Included, Alarm: No, Codes: Unlimited, App: Yes
9. Nest X Yale – Best smart lock for Nest users
Lock Type: Deadbolt, Smart Home Compatibility: Google Home &Assistant, Nest, Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Number Pad: Included, Alarm: No, Codes: Unlimited, App: Yes
10. Kwikset Premis – A solid smart lock for HomeKit users
Lock Type: Deadbolt, Smart Home Compatibility: Homekit, Connectivity: Bluetooth, Number Pad: Yes, Alarm: No, Codes: 30App: Yes
11. Kwikset Obsidian – Minimalist keyless smart lock
Lock Type: Deadbolt, Smart Home Compatibility: Z-Wave, Connectivity: Z-Wave, Number Pad: Included, Alarm: No, Codes: 30App: Yes
12. Level Lock Touch – A tap of your finger opens this lock
Lock Type: Deadbolt, Smart Home Compatibility: Apple HomeKit, Alexa, Connectivity: Bluetooth, Number Pad: Optional, Alarm: No, Codes: Unlimited, App: Android/iOS
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