How to Choose a Smart Lock (5 Must Have Features)

Written by Dave

January 26, 2020

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Smart locks have become one of the top security devices thought of when choosing home security. Many times, house keys have been copied out for various reasons and there may never be a way to know how many copies are out there, or who exactly has access to them. Sometimes they get lost, or are stolen.

When searching for a smart lock, there are an array to choose from. Here we will answer some common questions and address them by need.

How to choose the best smart lock? 

Here are 5 features your lock must have:

  1. Having different entry options
  2. Weather durability
  3. Battery life
  4. Auto lock and unlock
  5. Guest entry options

 

7 Things to Consider Before You Buy Your Smart Lock

Will it fit your door?

If you have at least one smart home device in your home already, consider narrowing your choices to a smart lock that will be compatible to work with your home device. Look at your door, how far does the bolt extend into the door jamb? The smart lock you choose needs to align with it otherwise, you’ll need to replace your dead bolt. Especially if you’re looking to just add a smart lock with or without a keypad. 

When searching online, most websites will provide a diagram of the length and width of their lock. This way you will have knowledge if the lock you are considering, is compatible with your current door strike plate and door jamb. Look at your door, will the smart lock pair well with a push or pull type handle? Are you willing to change the handle to the smart lock you are considering?

How will you use it to get in?

Decide on how you want to have access into your home. Do you want to enter by using a keypad? Use Bluetooth enabled via your smartphone? Connect the smart lock to your home WIFI? All 3? Some keypads are always on, meaning the numbers/letters are always visible. Some light up when motion is detected, or a hand is waved over the sensor. How is the battery life on the smart lock you are looking at?

Will it work in my climate?

Consider how it will work when the weather isn’t favorable. Make sure that the lock has been tested in extreme weather conditions. If you are unable to find on the company website, give them a call.

(Andrew here, as a note this is an important one for us, if your door is exposed to very cold weather there is a good chance there can be moisture in the lock causing the mechanism to not turn when it gets too cold.)

How will you unlock it?

Bluetooth smart locks are popular, because they can be used with a smartphone. Keep in mind when using your smartphone, these locks will have a limited working distance because they are only controlled by your smartphone.

Consider battery life of the lock

These locks can also be tricky and battery draining. Conveniently, some smart locks will auto lock when the door is closed and unlock as well. If you are wanting a Bluetooth only enabled smart lock, and you find yourself without your phone, is there another way to get entry into your home?

Can you create temporary keys?

If your home has a lot of foot traffic, or you employ a pet walking service, childcare, elderly care or use a delivery in home service. Make sure your smart lock has guest entry options, this is a key in how to choose a smart lock. Also check what the maximum number of guest codes you are permitted to create.

Having control of key codes and being able to change them or being able to let someone in by simply using your smartphone when you aren’t home is a valuable option to have. Keypads models are hackproof and especially ideal for those who own an Airbnb or rent out a guest house. They also can be remotely monitored, and codes can be changed as well.

Bluetooth, WiFi and Z-Wave on Smart Locks: What do They Mean?

How your smart lock connects to devices is important. Here are the 3 ways your lock will connect.

  • Bluetooth –  the lock can be sync/paired with your smartphone. Your phone then becomes the main way your smart lock can be controlled.
  • WiFi connection – the smart lock can be the main source for your smart lock to function and can also be used with your smartphone. Having another way to have access to the lock is important, sometimes power outages happen.
  • Z-Wave connectivity requires a compatible hub to work. Make sure the hub is compatible with your router and that it is up to date. Once the Z-Wave hub and your router are fully connected, you will have access to your lock remotely via smartphone.

No matter what choice you make, consider if there is a backup operation feature in your smart lock. It’s an important feature to have.

 

Top 5 Smart Locks

The August Smart Lock Homekit


It’s a higher cost lock and needs a different component to be able to remotely have control with the lock. Voice activated, this lock is also easy to install. You can also watch everyone who enters your home. 

Pros: 

  • Sleek design
  • Easy to install
  • Has a camera
  • Voice activated
  • Reliable
  • Works seamlessly with Apple’s Siri and Nest Platform

Cons: 

  • Might not fit your deadbolt
  • Price

Buy this here!

August Smart Lock Pro + Connect

A nice-looking smart lock packaged with a door sensor and a WiFi bridge. This Smart Lock supports WiFi, Bluetooth and Z-Wave. You can see the video of this lock here.

Pros: 

  • Compatible with Apple’s Siri (smartphone and watch)
  • Has door sensor
  • Sleek design
  • Supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Z-Wave
  • Easy to install
  • Price

Cons: 

  • Noisy

Buy this here!

Schlage Sense


This one has a built-in temper alarm. You can use with a smartphone where you can program access codes. This lock also features the traditional key hole as an option to use.

Pros:

  • Excellent reputation
  • Easy to install
  • Built in temper alarm
  • No additional expense for Wi-Fi connection
  • Keypad and traditional key access

Cons: 

  • Motion sense not available


Buy this here!

Next X Yale Lock with Nest Connect


Pleasing to the eye the Nest X Yale, is quiet and easy to install.

Pros: 

  • Simple to use
  • Nice looking design
  • Quiet
  • Traditional key not required
  • Compatible with Google Assistant

Cons:

  • Installation time
  • Additional accessory expense needed



Buy this here!

Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt.


This Smart Lock works with the Ring camera doorbell. That said, it works with Amazon Key, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Scheduling options are available as well.

Pros:

  • Compatible with Ring doorbell, Alexa, Amazon Key and Google Assistant
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent reputation
  • No added expense for Wi-Fi connection

Cons:

  • Requires 4 apps to download to get full usage benefits 

Buy this here!

Questions to ask before buying a smart lock

There are many options available when choosing a Smart Lock. Your purpose for the smart lock will determine what you choose. Here are some questions to ask yourself.

  • Are you looking to completely replace a key entry?
  • Do you want your smart phone to be the main source for control with your Smart Lock?
  • Is your WiFi reliable, and can your router provider take on adding another WiFi dependable product?
  • Are you wanting to solely use your smartphone to enter your home?
  • Do you have more than just your family needing access to your home?
  • How do you want your Smart Lock to look?
  • Do you want a visible keypad design? A sleek new deadbolt?
  • Are you wanting a Smart Lock with a camera feature?

Consider what will work best for your family’s daily life needs. 

Here are a few categories to further help you in your decision:

The Best Deadbolt Smart Lock:

The best Deadbolt Smart Lock is the Kwikset 660 Single Cylinder Featuring a Smart key Security. It’s also a great value. Very simple to install, ready to use in minutes.

 

The Best Smart Lock for Non-tech People:


August Smart Lock Third Generation, it goes right over your current deadbolt, allowing you to continue using your current house key.

Buy this here!

The Easiest Smart Lock to Use:

Simplisafe Smart lock, it too fits right over your current deadbolt. Features a built-in keypad which is nice. You are also able to continue using your current key as well.

In Conclusion about the Best Smart Lock for You

No matter which Smart Lock you decide on, your home will have an added safety device that will give you and your family and friends peace of mind when you aren’t home to watch over those you love.

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