10 Best Smart Locks | January 2017
- works with most standard doors
- responsive touchpad
- weak motor sometimes fails to bolt
|Rating||3.5 / 5.0|
- stores up to 100 biometric ids
- multiple failed attempts trip alarm
- requires aa and 9-volt batteries
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
- battery power stands up to blackouts
- easy to grant and rescind access
- limited entry options
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
- meets ansi grade 1 security standard
- matte finish touchscreen
- batteries drain quickly
|Brand||Schlage Lock Company|
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
- compatible with android and ios
- military-grade encryption
- rubber casing degrades quickly
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
- easy installation
- tracks history of who passes through
- not enabled for apple homekit
|Model||925 KEVO2 DB 11P|
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
- anti-peep security
- hardside zinc alloy handle
- knock-to-open function
|Model||Ultraloq UL3 BT AB|
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
- backlit number keys
- pass codes between 4 and 8 digits
- lockout mode disables all activity
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
- water-resistant design
- battery lasts approximately 1 year
- coded tap-to-open option
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
- 9-volt backup battery
- no hard wiring needed
- voice guidance in three languages
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
A Smart Lock For A Smart Home
If the thought of misplacing your house keys bothers you, and you'd like to bring the security of your home into the twenty-first century, then a smart lock affords you both peace of mind and the freedom to unlock your front door with the touch of a finger. Or, through the use of an appropriate code carried by your smartphone, too.
A smart lock is an electromechanical tool that is designed to lock or unlock a door upon receiving a specific set of instructions from a device containing both a cryptographic key and a wireless protocol to authorize a person's entry. Just like traditional locks, a smart locking system requires two parts to function properly, the lock and key.
Unlike a traditional metal key used to unlock a door's deadbolt, the smart key typically takes the form of either a mobile smartphone app or key fob, both of which are capable of delivering wireless authorization for entry into a home by the key holder. This can be accomplished with access codes on the smartphone and any combination of Bluetooth or WiFi technology, which also affords the homeowner the ability to control access remotely from work or even when stuck in traffic.
The smart lock is available in a variety of styles, technologies, and materials, but the majority of them are constructed from hardened steel and tamper-resistant alloys for additional security. The internal components of most smart locks include a series of interfacing electronics, computer hardware, and a motorized drive that are all brought to life by a power assembly equipped with either a live electric current or a series of batteries. When an access signal is approved, the lock's motor assembly moves the pins and tumblers in order to turn the door's deadbolt.
When using a smartphone with a companion security app to manage a smart lock, the app is capable of sending electronic codes to the lock, disabling codes, or displaying a history of lock activity, which the homeowner can use to monitor access in or out of the house. Temporary access codes can also be assigned to guests for entry, which will expire after a specified period of time. Depending on the app being used, it can also program the home's internal environmental controls to come on automatically when the smart lock has been activated. The app can also be used to send text alerts for power outages and even codes to the cell phones of contractors, children, or housekeepers for authorized entry.
Investing In High-Tech Security
The choice to invest in a smart lock doesn't have to represent a be-all, end-all solution; it doesn't have to be a complete replacement to one's traditional locking system. For example, if you're worried about electronic tampering and the ease of gaining access to your home using a mobile phone, you can still keep your traditional key system and simply add the smart lock as another layer of security.
It's important to realize that a smart lock system can be used in conjunction with other home security measures, so it can be considered an addition instead of a replacement. Many smart locks integrate both traditional and high-tech functions, so you can choose when to use one or the other. This can be especially helpful should one happen to misplace their metal key and need another way to gain access to their home.
A lock running on both electricity and battery power is also quite useful. Should your home or neighborhood experience a blackout, you can remain confident that your smart lock will continue to function normally on its battery until electrical power has been restored.
History tracking capability is also important for the lock one chooses, particularly if there are potential prowlers and strangers around the neighborhood or if you plan to have several people coming in and out throughout the day. Alerts can be sent to your mobile phone to inform you of those people who have recently approached your front door and when.
Other smart locks offer illuminated access keypads on the outside of your front door, which can be a welcome convenience for anyone in the household coming home late at night.
A Brief History Of Smart Locks
The earliest known lock-and-key device was discovered among the ruins of Nineveh, the capital of ancient Assyria. This style of lock eventually evolved into the more familiar Egyptian wooden pin lock, which consisted of a bolt, door fixture, and accompanying key. By the time of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, advances in both design and engineering allowed for more complex manufacturing of lock and key systems.
The modern version of the double-acting pin tumbler lock was invented by Linus Yale, Sr. in 1848. This design used pins of varying lengths to prevent the lock from opening without the proper key. Inspired by both his father and ancient Egyptian pin locking mechanisms, Linus Yale, Jr. invented a smaller key in 1861 with serrated edges that could interface with the same internal pin system designed by his father.
Although digital keypad entry and wireless locking systems have been used in commercial buildings for many years, it is thought that the budding interest in home consumer smart lock technology grew out of the popularity with smartphone technology during the late 2000s, particularly after 2012 when cell phones integrated high-speed mobile broadband capabilities.