All About Smart Door Locks: Keyless Entry, Bluetooth, and More
You and your family may never have to worry about getting locked out of the house again. ‘Smart’ door locks-especially dead bolts-have gotten so clever that you don’t even have to remember to carry a key with you anymore (although we recommend it).
Are Smart Locks Safe?
This is basically what makes a smart door lock ‘smart.’ Thanks to electronic keypads, key cards and fobs, fingerprint scanners and smartphone technology, frantically fishing in your pocket for a house key while holding an armload of groceries can be a thing of the past. Some smart locks will even allow you to open a door via a smartphone app when you’re away from home, so you can let in anyone who needs access. Check out these 14 gadgets that turn your home into a smart house.
Motorized Throw Bolts
Alerts and Activity Logs
A Variety of Styles and Finishes
Unlocks with Your Fingerprint
You can also enable the lockset’s ‘double authentication mode’ setting, which strengthens security by requiring both a password and a fingerprint to unlock. The lock can also be operated using an RFID (radio frequency identification) card, key fob or metal backup key. It also has a built-in alarm that goes off if a burglar breaks in. (These are the 21 things a burglar won’t tell you.)
Note: The installation manual recommends keeping wet hands and water away from the lockset, so install it only on doors that have protective overhangs. It’s also a full-mortise lockset, which calls for some advanced carpentry skills to install it. For more info, visit samsungdigitallife.com.
Motorize your Existing Dead Bolt
Available in four colors, this ingenious smart lock replaces your dead bolt’s interior thumb-latch and uses Bluetooth technology to turn your smartphone into a wireless key, which activates a motorized throw bolt that unlocks as you approach the door and locks when you leave.
It keeps an activity log of who’s coming and going, which you can view on your smartphone using an app. The app also lets you control the lock remotely with an August Connect accessory ($79). You can create virtual keys for other users, and use your existing dead bolt keys as backups. The manual is well illustrated and easy to understand, making installation simple on most existing dead bolts. Runs on four “AA” batteries.
Opens with the Touch of a Finger
If you don’t have your smartphone with you, use the included Bluetooth fob (additional fobs are sold separately) or one of the included traditional backup keys. Or, if you prefer, the lock’s SmartKey feature allows you to rekey the lock to an existing key. You can also send virtual ‘e-keys’ to other people to grant them access. A free smartphone app lets you keep track of comings and goings.
The Kevo also integrates with an existing Nest thermostat. Each time you come and go, you’ll get a notification on your smartphone allowing you to adjust the temperature within the Kevo app. The Kwikset Kevo comes in three finishes and runs on four ‘AA’ batteries. For more info, go to kwikset.com/kevo.
Simple Lock, Sophisticated Features
Schlage has offered keypad dead bolts for a few years, but it has new ones now with a few extra bells and whistles—like the Schlage Connect Camelot ($150 to $230) shown here.
It has a touch-sensitive keypad and will store up to 30 codes. It also has a motorized throw bolt that locks and unlocks when you enter your code, and a built-in alarm that sounds if somebody tampers with the lock or breaks in. It’s compatible with Z-Wave home automation and comes in several finishes. You can also use a regular key as an emergency backup. Runs on four ‘AA’ batteries. Learn how to upgrade to keyless door locks.
Call in Reinforcements!
While smart door locks add brains, sometimes what you really need is more brawn. An electronic dead bolt isn’t worth much if your front door is easy to kick in. Regardless of what door lock you choose, consider beefing up your door and jamb with reinforcement hardware. It only takes about an hour to install and costs $20 to $110, depending on your specific needs.
Reinforce the Door
Slide a reinforcement plate (see photo above left) ($10 to $25 at home centers) onto your door and reinstall your dead bolt and latch. Then secure the plate to the door with the included screws.
Reinforce the Jamb
Install a reinforcement plate like the Strike Master II on your door’s jamb ($90 at asafehome.net). Start by extending the dead bolt slightly and close the door. Now take a pencil and mark the location of the bolt’s center on the edge of the doorjamb (see photo above right). Do the same thing for the center of the latch. Extend the pencil marks to the doorstop. Line up the center of the latch alignment hole on the reinforcement plate with the centerline mark on the doorstop and slide the plate into place. Predrill holes and run the supplied screws almost all the way into the jamb with your drill. Stop before they’re seated or you’ll bow the door frame.