- Security features include fingerprint sensors and ability to share unique codes.
- Some smart locks attach to the existing deadbolt systems, others completely replacing the home’s existing lock.
- DIY installation for most smart locks shouldn’t take longer than 20 to 30 minutes.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve had the opportunity to test 10 different top selling smart locks. This includes everything from simple Bluetooth-only locks with keypads all the way up to internet-connected locks with video doorbells, fingerprint technology, and advanced security features. I was also able to connect with industry leaders from Lockly and Schlage, who shared their insights via email interviews
The most crucial element in a smart lock is security, says Todd DeLong, general manager at Lockly, a property technology company that helps individuals secure their homes, offices, and personal items through a variety of advanced smart lock solutions. That’s why technologies such as fingerprint sensors and the ability to share a unique code to access residential homes and rental listings, are key features in a smart lock system. They also add convenience, he adds.
“Convenience is being able to use a fingerprint to access your home in the same way most of us have locked and unlocked our smartphones for years, but on a larger scale, for one of the most highly valued investments in your life,” DeLong says.
Consumers should look for companies that make their products better and more secure over time, says Rob Martens, senior vice president and chief innovation and design officer at Allegion, maker of Schlage locks, which has been around for more than 100 years and is one of the largest manufactures of locks in the world.
“Some will argue that a connected smart device is inherently less secure,” Martens says. “I would suggest that you consider any connected device like a smartphone or laptop as a similar example. Would you ever buy one of those devices without the ability to receive upgrades? Good companies will add features, capabilities, and security upgrades. Any good, connected device will employ encryption and other digital security tools and protocols.”
Reliability is another vital part of an efficient and trustworthy smart lock system. For instance, Lockly has an extended battery life upwards of 10 months or more. There are smart locks that can be attached to the existing deadbolt systems as an added layer of security, DeLong says. There is also the option of completely replacing the home’s existing lock system so that the smart lock serves as the door’s only deadbolt.
When it comes to installation, most smart locks available on the market will offer instructions for set up, DeLong says. Lockly smart locks include an easy guide and the option to download the BILT app for step-by-step directions with images.
“DIY installation for most smart locks should take no more than 20 to 30 minutes, however when adding multiple smart locks or if you are living in an apartment, you can consider hiring a professional to properly install your devices for extra peace of mind,” DeLong says.
Looking to the future, Martens says the next big trend in smart home technology will be the simplification of the total ecosystem. “Another big trend will be the continuing migration of battery-operated devices to Wi-Fi despite the technical challenges of doing so. The experience is far better without costly adapters or bridges, and the major players will make the investments to get there without sacrificing battery life.”
In this video, we compare the top 10 smart locks based on price, connectivity, integrations, access methods, and extra features.
Here’s a breakdown of the locks tested:
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Z-Wave Plus, Zigbee, and Bluetooth versions available.
Extra Features: Integrates with Ring, also compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and SmartThings.
August Lock (4th Generation)
Price: $250 (on sale for around $200)
Keypad: Keypad not included, only replaces interior portion of lock, the optional keypad can be mounted near the lock.
Extra Features: Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, SmartThings, and Google Assistant. Can also be bundled and integrated with Phillips Hue Starter Kit lights.
Price: $200 to $300
Connectivity: Modules are available for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave Plus, and Zigbee.
Extra Features: Lever lock version available, compatible with Google, Ring, and SmartThings.
Price: $160 to $250
Connectivity: Available with Z-Wave Plus or Zigbee. HomeKit compatible option available.
Keypad: Yes, except Kevo and Convert.
Extra Features: Other options are available for lever locks or to only replace the interior portion. Kwikset Halo Touch lock with fingerprint technology is now available.
Connectivity: The original version of this lock relied on Bluetooth, but it has since been upgraded to include Wi-Fi connectivity.
Extra Features: Unique key design and fingerprint scanner.
Price: $180 to $400
Connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Keypad: Yes—location of numbers changes for added security.
Extra Features: Comes with its own hub, includes a fingerprint scanner, and optional video doorbell functionality. Other versions available for different types of door or lock configurations are available.
Connectivity: Zigbee and Bluetooth connection to the included hub which connects to Wi-Fi network.
Extra Features: Only replaces the interior portion of the lock so you can use your existing key.
Price: Bolt $229, Touch $329,
Extra Features: Only lock with battery a system built right in, allowing you to use existing door lock. It connects to Ring and HomeKit, and Touch version has keycards for access (ideal for Airbnbs or businesses).
Extra Features: Does not connect to the internet, only to a phone via Bluetooth. They also make padlocks.
Extra Features: They also make mortise style locks, padlocks, and lockboxes. The lock can sync with Airbnb for access management and has an interesting looking key.