With a new generation comes a new wave of technological advances to make our lives easier and now, safer. Thanks to significant innovation in smart technology, our smart homes are now more connected than ever, and with that comes a new level of security to make our homes safer than ever before.
It can seem a little scary for some, we have been carrying keys for our homes and cars for over 100 years, but with the new modern advancements in smart technology, it will not be long before everybody has a smart lock fitted at their home.
Smart locks are pure in their operation. They fit on your front or back door and operate by a small electronic motor, which is usually battery powered. When you approach your front door, you will have an app on your phone; your smart lock will detect your app and unlock itself.
There is no juggling the shopping, the kids, the dog, and the neighbor’s cat around anymore. You need not to worry about leaving your keys at a party, or losing them at the park. You can gain or give access from anywhere in the world, thanks to smart technology.
Smart locks are making our homes more accessible and allowing us to be more flexible with our time. With smart locks, you will never miss a delivery again, and you can set a code which can only be used in a specific window of time.
With smart lock technology, you can generate codes for your kids, your cleaners, and your parents which can all have different time settings or even day settings allowing you to control who has access to your home and when.
With that in mind, let us dive through some of the features of Smart Locks and what makes them the perfect investment for your home.
Types of smart locks
Smart locks all work in the same way; you download an app to your phone, iPad, or another smart device which then connects to your lock. There are a few different types of smart locks which suit different types of homes and users.
Traditional touch screen numeric keypad smart locks are the most common type of electronic home lock you will come across. On most locks, you can set a code, usually between 4-8 digits which will give you access to your home.
This lock is battery powered, and some models also have space for a back-up battery, as a failsafe. These code entry only smart locks have no backup entry mode, so you need to make sure you buy one which has excellent reviews and comes recommended.
The only downside with this type of lock is that if it breaks, you will not be able to access your home. Thankfully though, that is a very rare occurrence.
The second type of smart lock you will come across works in the same with a touch screen or mechanical numerical keypad, but it will also have traditional key access. These types of locks are usually supplied with a key or two.
Smart locks with traditional key entry are a great choice if you are new to smart technology and would like to ‘test the waters,’ so to speak. These types of locks do stand out more to people who may live with a big family.
If you have very young or older people living with you, they may not carry their smartphones very often, or they may struggle with remembering passcodes. A traditional access key means they can still get into your home without any struggles.
The final type of smart lock, which again will appeal to people with younger or older people living with them are Bluetooth smart locks. Now some models of Bluetooth smart lock come with a fob.
If you have people who struggle remembering codes or you want to give access to a friend, or family member than a fob is a great hassle-free option. They are also great for small offices or community buildings for people who come and go regularly.
A lot of Smart Locks will come with an in-built camera, which will let you see who is at your front door before you give them access. You can check with the manufacturer or on the listing whether your Smart Lock has that feature.
Smart Locks Designs
With the different types of smart locks, you can also get different designs and colors. You can get one which suits your home décor and your personality.
Where can Smart Locks be used?
Smart locks do not need to be restricted to just your home. If you have a small office or community hub, they are a great way to keep track of who is coming and going.
Most electronic locks will allow you to set hundreds of different passcodes. For small offices or warehouses which require 24-hour access, they are incredible for keeping track of who is coming and going.
If you run a BnB or motel, you can set the lock before a customer’s arrival and change the combination ready for the next holidaymaker when they leave. Smart locks have strong appeal for Airbnb hosts as they can remotely change the passcodes with ease, no more worries about people stealing or losing keys costing you time and money.
Are Smart Locks Safe?
When you think of a smart lock, the first thing that probably comes to your mind will be security. There is an element of being connected to the internet, which makes some people feel a little exposed and not so safe.
Smart lock technology though is very safe and more protective than you may think. Traditional locks are more susceptible to being broken into, either by lock picking or by somebody finding your lost key.
When it comes to smart electronic locks though for the code only lock, there are no keys to lose or no keyhole to be lock picked. Unless you lose your phone, there is no way for anyone to gain entry to your home unless they know your passcode.
Traditionally when you lost your keys, you would have to call out your locksmith to change the barrel, and it would take time and cost money. With smart lock technology, if you lose your phone, you simply enter your code on to your keypad then reset and create a new passcode which takes seconds and costs nothing.
When choosing a Smart Lock, it is always a good idea to check the certification level of it. Not only for the manufacturing quality but also it’s standing against new residential security. The ANSI/BHMA (American National Standard Institute/Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association) is a grading system which rates the performance, durability, and quality of locks.
When looking at grades, we are sure. You will always want to choose the highest rated lock available.
Smart Locks can be hacked, but with the level of effort and sophistication needed to hack a protected Wi-Fi network and then a lock hardly anybody would go through the effort.
Apps & Connectivity
This is where it gets a little more fun. If you are into smart home technology, then you will know how far the advancements have come. Smart lights, smart TV, smart sockets, and now smart locks.
All Smart Locks will require a Wi-Fi network to connect to.
These innovations in technology can be hooked up to your smart home and controlled by your voice or by a device like your phone or iPad. Not all smart locks will link up to all the smart home assistants, so check the electronic lock you want to buy will work with your assistant.
When you have connected to your smart assistant, you can ask Alexa to lock open your doors, which is excellent for people with movement disabilities as well — making their life that little bit more independent.
Apart from Alexa, you may be able to connect to Nest, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and more. Your smart home can be set to open windows or turn on lights when you unlock your home.
Most of the apps out for smart locks will give you full customization options for passcodes and access times and days. You can set hundreds of different codes for each member of your family or friends.
This gives you the ability to go about your day worry-free knowing the people who need access to your home will have it, whether you are around or not. You can check the app to see who has been in and out, which is excellent for seeing what time your kids came home from the party.
You can set your smart lock up with key by Amazon if you are a prime member so you will never miss a parcel again. This also allows you never to miss a contractor again if they arrive while you’re not home, you can use your phone app to unlock your door and lock it again when they leave. We recommend that you only do this with trusted contractors.
One more standout feature about smart locks is the ability to be able to send a virtual key to friends or house guests. If you are away from home but need to allow access to someone to pick up an item or drop something off, you can generate one-time passcodes which they can receive by email or text.
Almost all Smart Locks are as simple to fit like a traditional Deadbolt type lock. They will replace most, if not all traditional locks using the same holes already in your door. You will need to check the thickness of your door to make sure that the lock is the right size.
Apart from checking the thickness of your door, there aren’t many more things you need to consider apart from what type of lock you want. Once installed, the locks will connect to your Wi-Fi. You will then be able to download and access the associated app to set up your Smart Lock and access codes.
The installation will require little more than a Philips screwdriver and a little perseverance if you have never done it before.
For Smart Locks which have a keypad on the front door and Escutcheon on the inside, you will have to remove the old lock altogether. This isn’t too hard to do and is usually involves removing two screws and two bolts.
For Smart Locks which still use your existing keys, you will only need to remove the inside section of the lock, and the Deadbolt and front can stay in place — making them even easier to fit than a Smart Lock with a keypad.
Always check the warranty available when you buy your Smart Lock. With this type of technology, it is always worth being protected for as much as the product as you can and as for as long as you can.
Traditionally you will get one year on electrical parts and three on mechanical parts and housing or furnishing. With this being an outdoor product have a look to make sure it is weatherproof and has been tested to operate in year-round weather conditions.