With home automation becoming more and more popular, the market is being flooded with new features and options in what seems like daily. This makes it more difficult to sort through all the noise to find the one that best fits your needs and budget. Therefore, we have compiled all the data and test results to provide you with an easy to read and understand review for each of the top 10 brands complete with comparisons and the pros and cons for each system. Our goal is to make it easier for you to review, study, and find the system that best suits your particular situation.
Features Matter in a Smart Lock
OK, you’ve read the reviews, the pros and cons, and a variety of information about the above mentioned smart locks. Now that you have those details, you will need to consider which features matter before you can narrow down your choices and make a purchase. The answer isn’t going to be the same for everyone. So we are going to go over a list of the most important features when it comes to smart locks, then you will be able to determine which of those features best suits your particular needs.
Different features hold more weight than others because they are the more popular features most people want. For example, automatic unlocking and locking, remote control, mobile app, encryption technology, backup systems, a retrofit lock or new lock, etc.
Here is a list (in no particular order) of the most popular features people look for when shopping for smart locks.
- Remote control
- Auto unlocking and locking (using proximity sensors)
- Mobile app
- Security features (military grade encryption, etc.)
- Retrofitted lock or replacement smart locking system
- Backup key feature
- Battery life
- Communication types (Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Zigbee, etc.)
- Door history and notifications (names, dates, times, etc. lock was used)
- Compatibility with home automation features
What is the Right Fit for You and Your Family?
Finding smart locks that fit your budget and have the right features for your particular situation is the most important thing when it comes down to deciding which one to purchase. Our guides are designed to help you do just that; however, since everyone’s situation is unique, it’s important that you perform some of your own independent research as well.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself that will help narrow down your choices and find the one that’s right for you.
Do I need an automatic unlock and locking feature?
If you have kids and/or pets, or, if you frequently have your hands full to the point it’s difficult to find and use a door key to open or close your door, then yes, an automatic unlock/lock feature is probably necessary for you. However, this feature is a huge convenience for anyone who doesn’t want to have to deal with keys.
Is a remote control feature really necessary?
A remote control feature is necessary if you have the need to grant access to contractors, dog walkers, a nanny, package delivery, guests, or even your kids when you are not home. Or if you would like to monitor and manage your door for activity while you’re not home. You can use your mobile app to remotely grant access to anyone who visits your home when you’re not there and check to make sure they locked the door when they left or remotely lock it yourself if they didn’t.
How important is it to have a backup key feature?
When talking about electronics, nothing is flawless; therefore, it’s good to have a smart lock that comes with the capability of using your key as a backup if the batteries ever go out or you forget/lose your PIN code/phone/keyfob, etc.
What about battery life?
Of course, you want a smart lock that has the longest battery life as possible, but what if the lock you want doesn’t have a long battery life? Well, in most cases, but not all, the corresponding mobile app will send you a notification when the batteries are low so you have the opportunity to change them before they lose their charge. Another thing to keep in mind is that some batteries are rechargeable and some aren’t. Additionally, the Sesame smart lock by Candy House enables you to automate your replacement batteries with Amazon so they are automatically sent to you when they are low.
How secure are smart locks?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions. And the answer is not cut and dry. However, many of today’s smart locks have advanced encryption technology that uses multiple levels of military-grade encryption, as well as thoroughly tested physical security standards to help keep you safe. But you definitely want to research this aspect of any smart lock before you make a final decision.
What happens if I lose my smartphone?
Most brands that come with a mobile app will also have a feature that will allow you to log into your web portal from another device and disable or delete your phone. Then you can use any backup method such as your PIN code, a keyfob, or standard key to gain entry into your home until you get a new phone.
Are all apps compatible with Android and iOS devices?
No. Every brand’s app is different. And while almost all apps these days are compatible with both an Android or iOS device, not all of them are. Therefore, you need to confirm that your chosen smart lock is compatible with all the mobile devices you will be using to lock/unlock your door.
What is a single-cylinder deadbolt?
A single cylinder deadbolt is one that uses a traditional key to lock and unlock the door from the outside and the inside lock is controlled using a thumb turn mechanism.
Will smart locks work on any door?
Most smart locks today are designed to work with or replace any single-cylinder deadbolt regardless of your door’s width or height. However, the thickness of your door and the backset do matter. Some smart lock brands sell add-on equipment to compensate for such issues.
Do I really need a smart lock that offers door history and notifications?
If you have anyone that comes and goes from your house, you will probably want to have a door history report that gives you the name, date, and time of when any given person used that door. And most smart locks will also notify you in real-time whenever your door is opened and closed. These features are helpful in so many ways, such as knowing when your kids get home from school and if they left the house at any time. They tell you when a contractor, housekeeper, etc. entered your home and how much time they spent there. They can also tell you when a senior or disabled loved one left the house and when, and if they arrived back home, etc.
Are Smart Locks Worth the Price?
Well, that depends. If you are busy, have kids and/or pets, always have your hands full, or have physical challenges that make it hard to use keys, then yes, smart locks are pretty much priceless. However, if you have a more relaxed lifestyle that affords you more time in the day and don’t always have your hands full, then maybe not so much.
Either way, it’s an undeniable fact that having smart locks is a huge convenience regardless of whether you really need a smart lock or not. There’s also the security factor that comes with having an advanced locking system that has multiple layers of security and encryption technology. These features alone will help prevent or eliminate the possibility of your traditional locks from being opened using bump keys which can be purchased just about anywhere for $10-$50.
So when you look at it from a convenience and security standpoint, then, yes, smart locks are worth the price…and then some!
If you are still not quite sure which smart lock is right for you, take a look at the categories below for more information that will help you narrow down your choices even further.