What Is A Smart Lock? Everything You Need to Know Guide!

What Is A Smart Lock? Everything You Need to Know Guide!

Your home key, unlike a smart lock, just locks or unlocks your front door. That’s it.

However, if you’re searching for something more than stripped-down basic functionality or features, then a smart lock is the best option to think about.

Somehow, smart locks make life a little easier.

With regards to the security of your loved ones and your home, it’s normal to have concerns about switching to a smart lock.

Smart locks have made a new home security experience with customized features and designed functionalities to give you the full access or control of your home even if you’re outside.

So, here’s the complete guide about smart locks & everything you need to know. Let’s have a look!

What is a smart lock?

A smart lock changes a conventional lock into a keyless smart door lock to your home.

Mostly, the smart locks use to connect with your home’s Wi-Fi and are very easy to lock and unlock utilizing a touchscreen pin code or the mobile application.

You’ll have the option to open your door when you’re outside your home, if your hands are not free, or you can give the access of your home to your guests in case you’re away or in case of any emergency.

What are the common types of a smart lock?

There are numerous kinds of smart locks to pick. But there are two common types of smart locks: a mechanical keypad or a touchscreen.

Mechanical keypad

Mechanical keypad smart locks utilize a button press system to enter your password to lock and open your door.

Remember that it’s more likely for a few numbers to handily get worn. But if you consider the bright side, most mechanical keypad locks incorporate a traditional keyhole to open or lock your door as you typically would if you’d like to.

Touchscreen

A touchscreen smart lock permits you to enter your code on a screen.

The best touchscreen smart locks are fingerprint resistant to keep criminals away from interpreting your code utilizing a keypad with worn numbers that might be your code or password.

Some touchscreen keypads additionally incorporate a biometric fingerprint entry to open your door by your finger.

Are there any communication protocols for smart locks?

Yes, there are three basic protocols available for you & each of them have their pros and cons which you need to understand to make a purchase.

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi, the most popular one, it’s the most impressive regarding data transmission ability; it has boundless range given satisfactory network connectivity.

This implies that you can communicate with your lock from anyplace. However, it has the checked drawback of requiring a great deal of power so, unless you need to replace the batteries consistently, you’ll have to wire in the power, that according to us, to some extent spoil the purpose.

  • Connects with your home’s internet to work.
  • Can cooperate with other smart gadgets.
  • Often utilizes applications.
  • May utilize geofencing.
  • May utilize voice commands.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth is somewhat less powerful, when it comes to network load, even though it will be more sufficient for smart locks.

The one disadvantage is its range, which is typically restricted to around 150 feet or less, implying that you should be in its range to open the door. But it is amazingly proficient, requiring less upkeep.

Your phone communicates in the Bluetooth language, which means you can communicate with it without requiring any interface.

  • Utilize Bluetooth on your cell phone to work.
  • Restricted range.
  • May utilize geofencing.
  • May utilize voice commands.
  • Safer than wi-fi.
  • Longer battery life.

Z-Waves

Z-waves protocol fundamentally the same as Wi-Fi, as far as data transmission and range, with the additional benefit that they are improved for low battery use, implying that you’ll need to replace the batteries significantly less often.

They do have the disadvantage that they can’t connect with your network directly to send data: They require a Z-wave hub to act as a middle man. Fortunately, most smart home hubs can decipher Z-waves, however, it’s an additional thought.

  • Utilize a hub.
  • Requires a particular range from the hub to work.
  • May require various hubs for more properties.
  • Can cooperate with other smart gadgets.
  • May utilize geofencing.

What are the features of a smart lock?

Wi-Fi connectivity

Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to view entry and exit logs progressively so, you always know the details about who has come or left your home, and about timings.

This is the most important feature for parents who need to ensure their children have shown up home securely from their school, college, or university.

Bluetooth connectivity

Bluetooth connectivity enables your smart lock to remember you by connecting with your cell phone and opening your door as you come home.

App support

Mostly, smart locks have iOS and Android applications that permit you to control the lock remotely from your cell phone, monitor entries, and even alert you to any suspicious activity.

Multiple options of keyless entry

Multiple options of keyless entry could incorporate proximity unlocking with your cell phone, remote unlocking with your phone, voice commands or, code numbers for any individual who wants to enter your home, touch or, fingerprint recognition.

Temporary or permanent entry codes

Many smart locks allow you to make temporary or permanent codes for visiting guests, dog walkers, cleaning services, repairing services, and each individual of your family.

Access limitations

Set access limitations for each entry code. Limitations can incorporate days of the week or explicit hours to guarantee code holders can get to your home just during approved times.

Auto-locking options

Auto-locking options allow you to set your smart lock to lock your door automatically if it remained unlocked for a particular measure of time.

Get notifications on the phone

Notifications assist you to remember to lock your door. If you’ve ever gone out of your house in a rush to drop your kids on time, to make it to work, or you know the stress that occurs with wondering whether you lock your door or not on the way out.

Many smart locks allow you to receive notifications on your smartphone in case you forget to lock your door. So, you can lock it quickly with just a tap on a button.

Also, get alerts on your cell phone if somebody attempts to enter or messes with the smart lock.

You can likewise set your lock to advise police or home security services automatically if this kind of situation occurs.

Incorporate with your smart home

Incorporate your smart lock with your smart home to activate other smart home appliances when your door is opened. For instance, set your smart lights to turn on when the door is opened.

Perimeter auto-locking

If your smartphone’s location is detected outside of an assigned perimeter from your home, this feature will lock your door automatically.

How does a smart lock work?

Each smart lock comes with a complete step by step installation guide in its application and supportive videos to make the process simpler.

Generally, you just need a screwdriver for the installation process. If you don’t have a deadbolt lock, you may need somebody to help you with drilling holes in your door and to set your new smart lock.

Most of the smart locks are easy to install, yet others can turn into a tough project, depends upon your comfort level with the equipment and technology.

The installation process of a smart lock is genuinely simple and normally takes under 30 minutes.

A few locks work with your current deadbolt, just trading out the visible shields on the door and not the internal mechanism. Some locks require a complete replacement.

Mostly, the deadbolt and the strike plate are unscrewed and the external escutcheons are eliminated. Every piece of the old lock is taken out.

The new interior pieces of the smart lock are mounted and screwed into place. At that point, the new shields are screwed over them.

Set up of applications, hub, Bluetooth, wi-fi, or keypad pins takes just a couple of moments more.

A few owners may feel good taking on this installation themselves, particularly for locks that are intended for simple installation.

Once installed, you can connect the smart lock to the application utilizing Bluetooth or your home’s Wi-Fi. At the point, when you’re done with that, you can lock or unlock the door utilizing your phone, and control all those features of the smart lock through the application.

While some smart locks require you to change your entire lock system, others can fit directly over your current lock system or just require a couple of settings to change.

At the point, when smart locks are coordinated in a total smart home, they can likewise incorporate with your different home appliances, like integrate to your smart speaker or your security system.

In any case, they should be connected with a smart home hub that allows all the appliances to work together.

Do Smart Locks need Wi-Fi or Bluetooth?

A smart lock is a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled home device that allows the users to forget about their home keys, and opening doors with just a tap of a finger or a or a voice command. Smart locks also permit remote access.

A smart lock can go way beyond the capacities of a common lock. Most of them have both features, the Bluetooth and the Wi-Fi connectivity, which expands the capability to utilize the remote features.

If a smart lock just had Bluetooth connectivity, you might face connection problems, if your front door was excessively far from your smart home hub.

How much does it cost to install a smart lock?

Smart locks offer extra security for your home, without the burdens of conventional mechanical locks.

They come in numerous sorts to accommodate your specific requirements and home system, and they retrofit many doors.

The options of locks available additionally imply there is a wide scope of related expenses. Most owners pay around $300 for the installation of a smart lock and related pieces of equipment.

Smart locks are extremely simple to install, and many are intended for home-owners installation, implying that you needn’t bother an expert.

But if you feel good about having another person carry out the responsibility, a handyman is fit for installing most smart locks.

Rarely, you might need to have a locksmith come out to set it up, yet this is regularly pointless and can prompt higher installation expenses.

The normal expense to install a smart lock is around $50. Added to the cost of the lock and hub, this makes the total cost of the project around $300.

However, there are some additional costs to consider:

  • Some lock systems utilize a remote control or fob that lets you lock the door from a distance. This is regularly an additional cost and can expand the expense by $25 to $50.
  • Touch technology-based locks utilize RFID based systems, however, as opposed to having a fob or card, you can just have it nearby and touch the lock to open the door. One-touch locks commonly cost equivalent to any RFID system, $200 to $300.

Is Smart Lock safe?

People are truly concerned with regards to the security of internet-connected gadgets, particularly when it comes to the security of your home.

Would you blame them?

Obviously not, there are a lot of risks involved when it comes to security & privacy so, it’s an authentic question to ask, “Is it safe to use a smart lock?

Not really! Smart locks installed in your home automation systems or alarm systems are commonly configured to utilize high-grade Z-Wave technology. These systems to the extent I know presently can’t seem to be compromised.

This is a similar level of encryption utilized in business-grade VPNs. For smart locks utilizing Wi-Fi, those use the equivalent SSL encryption that your bank uses to secure your savings.

The greatest security threat in smart locks will be you and the passwords you pick.

You have to completely understand the pros and cons of the technology you’re using.

Understand that any IoT gadget is probably going to be hacked, so comprehend the worst-case circumstance and then decide what is more essential to you.

But still, many people see an incentive in the smart locks when it comes to security, for example, utilizing a camera to see and record whoever is at the door, and the comfort of having the option to remotely operate your door.

Smart locks aren’t good for everyone, and you need to consider your particular needs first before investing in any kind of smart home technology.

Can a Smart Lock be hacked or picked?

The problem that makes people hesitate about installing smart locks is the question: “Can smart locks be picked or hacked?” Yes, their security can be compromised and they can be hacked.

If you have a device that works with the internet, the hacking threat is always there, and some researchers have found security-related issues even in popular smart locks that make them unsafe from hackers.

  • Just like with all password-protected services and gadgets, anybody with the password key can get into it. If your smart lock system code isn’t strong, you help the hacker & make his job much easier to hack & use it. When a hacker makes the right guess of your password, they have power over your home.
  • Smart locks that you controlled utilizing a mobile application, if your cell phone is taken, crooks may then have the option to open the application and make their way to your home. Realize that some smart locks open if the phone is close by, so if a criminal has your phone and appears close to home, it could automatically open the door and give them access to our home & even to your devices.
  • Just like conventional locks, criminals with advanced tools can easily alter, eliminate, and destroy smart locks.

How to prevent hacking of the smart lock?

  • Ensure your password is strong: Choose a novel key or password for each of your smart locks that are difficult to figure. When you pick them, try to change them and don’t offer them to anybody you don’t certainly trust.
  • Update software as often as possible: Manufacturers are continually attempting to outsmart crooks and will consistently release system updates. Continuously download them when they’re accessible.
  • Consider an electronic lock: While all smart locks are electric, there are electric bolts that aren’t smart, which means they don’t work over Bluetooth or W-Fi. Some work through a keypad, while others grant access with an access card or key fob.

Do you need to take any precautions about smart locks?

Yes, you need to know about the following precautions, when it comes to your smart lock.

  • If you are living in a rental, get permission to install a smart lock before continuing. Make settings for moving out if you need to take your lock with you.
  • You should always have a backup plan for getting into the home if there would be an occurrence of a glitch, wi-fi outage, or Wi-Fi outage. It means utilizing another door or having an extra key with you throughout.
  • If you are installing a smart lock, you may need to realign the door first if you live in a more established home. Mostly, older homes habitually require you to push on the door as you lock it. This won’t work with a smart lock.
  • Ensure the new lock fits with your door perfectly, including trim or other likely blocks.
  • Smart locks run on batteries, which operate the wi-fi ability, LED lights, and the system that works the door. Batteries wear out after some time and should be replaced.

Does a Smart Lock integrate with Alexa, Google Home, or, Siri?

Smart locks are one of the most famous smart home item setups in the world.

With these easy to-introduce gadgets, you can shield your home from anyplace on the planet.

These locks can improve on account of Alexa, Google, Siri mix, just yell when you are going out the door to ensure everything is secured.

These integrations take things to the next level, as you can always check the status of the home whenever you are leaving for the day or even from your bed.

These integrated smart locks are a component that will empower one-tap logins and can be utilized on applications, for example, Chromebooks, Google Chrome, or Android applications.

On Android, your cell phone will remain opened if certain rules are followed. This can be the point at which it’s in a recognizable spot or connected with a known Bluetooth gadget.

It can likewise open when it perceives a face or a voice and most fascinating when it’s on your body.

Can I enter my home if the power or internet is out?

When you’ve lost the power, it doesn’t mean a smart lock has totally stopped working. Smart locks are battery-charged, so the locking mechanism can continue working in any event, even when the other gadgets of your home lose power.

In any case, remote capacities that depend on the internet or an associated hub won’t work.

Furthermore, that incorporates battery warnings, so if the power outage is relied upon to last, you should change your batteries as a safety.

In that case, most of the smart lock models come with a conventional key port so you can utilize it as a traditional lock if necessary.

Furthermore, Bluetooth availability will in any case work with your cell phone, when you’re in range for the cell phone and lock to connect.

Smart lock manufacturers know about these kinds of issues, and many have their own answers for these circumstances.

Internet outage or batteries passing out won’t be a stress if your smart lock incorporates a keyhole.

Although, try to have your key, however, if your smart lock includes just a keypad or Bluetooth connection, at that point feel free to change the batteries or test their charge.

Is Smart Lock Insurance Approved?

At present, there are three potential security situations from an insurer viewpoint for door locks:

  • You have ordinary locks, a solitary Yale type for instance, and your insurer has not set any security necessities on you, other than the normal duty to take sensible consideration, for instance, lock it when you leave the home.
  • You have ordinary locks and the insurer has given you a superior discount since you revealed to them you would keep certain security precautionary measures. Regularly, this will be things like having a mortice lock fitted on all doors, other than the front, locking them around evening time, and when the house is unattended, and eliminating the keys once locked, for instance.
  • You have typical locks or high-security locks and the insurer has made it an endorsing necessity that they meet the least degrees of security, for instance, this generally involves all doors other than the front having mortice locks and all windows having locks. The inability to keep this agreement may see the insurer decline a case.

If you changed any of these locks with a smart lock, for example, one controlled electronically, you will likely be fine in cases one and two, yet for case three you would be all around advised to discuss with your insurer before replacing them.

Mostly, from the smart locks I’ve seen, the insurer will generally approve of these – it may even be the situation that the insurer would give you more benefits for having these kinds of lock since they may consolidate other security functionalities like automatic dead-bolting.

Later on, almost certainly, more insurers will consider smart home technology when choosing the amount to charge you. In this way, they need to know when any type of change is made to their house.

Is a smart lock worth it?

It’s dependent upon every family to check the pros and cons of smart locks before getting one.

Pros

  • You ought to have the option to open and lock your door utilizing the keypad, your cell phone, fingerprint, or different ways for simple accessibility.
  • With smart locks, you’ll have the option to bolt the door and never bother. Smart locks are intended to be advantageous yet give additional security keyless entry, for example, fingerprints, passwords, or opening the door utilizing your cell phone. Your visitors will even have simple admittance to your home when you give them your password specially made for their utilization.
  • Hackers or criminals will make some harder efforts cracking your codes and getting through solid knock proof structures. They may think that it’s harder to pry your door open than most conventional locks. Most smart lock bolts even have additional measures to rearrange your code quickly or include additional digits before or after the code. What’s more, with your cell phone, you’ll generally keep the record about who comes in or goes out with the help of notifications.
  • Some smart locks can be customized to automatically lock behind you, if you forget so, your home will consistently be secure.
  • Integrating the door with other smart home appliances so, when you open the door, the lights turn on, or the heater turns on.

Cons

However, there are a few drawbacks of various smart locks too.

  • If the wi-fi or power goes out, the locks may breakdown.
  • A wet or frigid climate may make a biometric lock breakdown.
  • Batteries wear out, and when this situation occurs, the lock stops to work without a key.
  • A few systems need costly extra components, for example, hubs, to work appropriately.
  • While the smart locks offer an added level of security, they’re not 100% sealed. Similarly, as with any remote technology, there are chances that hackers can break down your system. Any wi-fi-empowered system is hackable, and accordingly a security danger.
  • If you have a normal lock and key, there’s no maintenance needed except if it breaks. Smart locks require batteries, and you’ll probably need to perform system updates for the application. Not a big deal but a little amount of additional work, yet a few people would prefer not to be messed with it.

Numerous individuals find that the drawbacks are manageable and that the convenience exceeds any likely concerns.

Others have a sense of safety with locks that have additional keys.

How to pick the right smart lock?

I’m listing a few factors you need to consider when choosing which smart lock will accommodate your home and way of life the best.

Thus, glance through these factors to see which are the most essential to you before making a buy.

Battery life

First of all, battery life is the main point to consider. It perhaps the greatest factor for the vast majority who need to buy smart locks for their homes. Although, not many homes run electrical wiring right to their doors, which implies that smart locks depend on batteries for power.

Regardless of your remote connection, you’ll surely need to know about the battery life and consider what is reasonable for you. If this is for a rental property, you don’t often visit, at that point a more extended battery life might be more significant with your home, where you can more quickly replace the batteries easily.

Power failure situations

Possibly your phone isn’t with you all the time, or maybe its battery is dead. In these cases, the ideal approach technique is a keypad.

Besides, keypads are more exceptionally beneficial with regards to making temporary keys for visitor access. In any case, imagine a scenario where there’s an electrical failure like a dead battery.

In those situations, you’ll need to have a mechanical key that permits you to enter your home.

Auto-lock feature

If you have your smart lock set to open once your cell phone shows up at the front door, that can be unbelievably great.

No compelling reason to shuffle an armload of things or a sleepy kid to bobble with the lock or your cell phone. Rather, you should simply turn the handle and can enter easily.

Compatibility with the door

At the point when it comes time to install your new smart lock, the deadbolt must adjust accurately with the strike plate.

If there’s a ton of friction when you attempt to bolt your deadbolt, your smart lock engine mechanism won’t be sufficiently amazing to reliably lock or open the bolt.

Temporary Access

It’s one of the reasons that smart locks are unimaginably well-known. You can simply set lock codes that are custom for each set of visitors, and afterward, turn them off when the rental contract is up.

You can likewise renounce visitor access. Significantly, a few companies do charge for impermanent access. If this is a component you intend to utilize regularly, see whether it’s incorporated or if it’s optional.

Renting vs. Owning

Picking the ideal smart lock comes down to whether you’re purchasing or renting your home.

Some smart locks require proficient installation that property chiefs may not allow since installation requires drilling and eliminating the first lock.

In case you’re renting your home, consider a smart lock that works with the current lock.

However, homeowners have more smart door lock choices to select. You’ll have the option to pick a style that works best for your home and door without being restricted by the installation process.

You’ll have the ability to eliminate the current lock and install the new smart lock you pick. Yet, in case you’re searching for a simple to install, locks without eliminating your current lock, consider a smart lock conversion pack to transform your conventional lock into a smart lock.

Trade the inside of your lock, and for the converter smart lock’s design and proceed with smart lock set up as typical.

Which brands you should consider while choosing your smart locks?

The brand you pick additionally impacts the features & functionalities.

Only one out of every odd brand works with all systems, so if you need Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, or another network-style system, you might be restricted in what brands to look over.

Similarly, not all brands are viable with all systems, with some working with Apple Home, however, not Alexa, and others favouring Google. A couple of brands work with all. These brands of note include:

Schlage

Some may state a lock is only a lock, yet Schlage has gone through a century unlocking opportunities.

You should see how they’ve gone from large thoughts in a little workshop to obvious security for homes and companies around the globe.

They’re continually developing from the items that improve your life to the logos, place with satisfaction on each lock.

  • Easy to install.
  • Mainly utilize Bluetooth, but some of them have wi-fi.
  • Has voice commands to control.
  • Has alarm functionality.
  • Wi-fi based models work with most of the home systems.
  • Includes the average cost of 200$ to 250$.

Kwikset

Kwikset is an American lock and lockset producer by Spectrum Brands HHI (Hardware and home improvement) group.

Kwikset offers a total line of items including embellishing door handles, door switches, handle sets, deadbolts, and electronic keyless entry locks for the homes.

  • Bluetooth options are available.
  • Easy to utilize.
  • Simple models are available.
  • No remote access.
  • Includes the average cost of 200$ to 250$.

Yale

Yale Home has given trustworthy security since 1840. They offer a huge continuum of hardware and locks including a broad scope of residential hardware options.

The hardware incorporates electronic door locks with driving edge technology combinations just as excellent mechanical hardware intended to fit any home.

Yale Home electronic items are driving the path in security for the portable way of life.

  • Easy to install.
  • Works with Nest.
  • More reliable.
  • Keypad options are available.
  • Includes the average cost of 250$ to 300$.

August

With August, you are always in charge of your front door, regardless of where you are, directly from your phone.

Their smart locks work to assist you with keeping the trouble makers out and let your loved ones in.

All August smart locks easily append to your current deadbolt, within your door. Since it doesn’t change the outside mechanism of your lock your keys will even now work.

  • Easy to install.
  • Wi-fi, Bluetooth, & Z-Wave enabled.
  • Use geofencing.
  • Works with most of the home systems.
  • Includes the average cost of 275$ to 350$.

Array

Array is the most appealing, cloud, and application enabled smart locks from Hampton Products.

Their locks are a great choice in smart locks. Most importantly, it works with your home Wi-Fi. No compelling reason to purchase additional hardware to work distantly.

It works with Android and iOS gadgets, cell phones, smartwatches, tablets, and if you have an Amazon Echo, you can ask Alexa to “lock the door”.

  • Solar-powered options are available.
  • Does not work with some home systems.
  • Uses Wi-fi.
  • Includes the average cost of 300$ to 350$.

Wrap up

If you have such people coming to and from your homes like cleaners, visitors, or children and you need a touch of additional security and convenience, at that point, a smart lock might be an extraordinary choice to make.

It’s something you don’t require perhaps, yet one might make your life simpler and let you rest a little better with regards to your home’s security.

It depends on every household to see the benefits and drawbacks of smart locks. For some, the convenience and extra security smart locks offer to exceed any hacking hazards.

For those not ready to face the challenge of being hacked or don’t know about how to avoid potential risks or about precautions, a conventional key lock is a perfect choice for them.

Truly, there’s no guarantee with conventional locks either, and picking between the traditional and smart locks is to a great extent a matter of an individual’s choice.

A smart lock might be a perfect choice for someone who leans toward smart home products.

Now that you completely understand each and every detail about smart locks, you’ll have the option to select the one that is perfect for you with ease.

Hunger for more answers about smart locks? Check this article:
11 Questions About Smart Locks Answered

Resources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_lock

Auther:

Morten Pradsgaard

Morten has been working with technology, IoT and electronics for over a decade. His passion for technology is reflected into this blog to give you relevant and correct information.

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