Smart Home

Buy One of These Electronic Door Locks and Ditch Your Ancient Keys

Joel Lee 25-02-2016

With every month that passes by, smart home automation What Is A Smart Home? We recently launched a Smart Home category at MakeUseOf, but what is a smart home? Read More becomes more awesome. It might have been little more than a gimmick just a few years ago, but now people are really transforming their homes with cool new products and innovations.


At the very least, home automation can help you improve home energy efficiency Is Your Home Energy Efficient? 7 Things You've Overlooked The true cost of a smart home is far cheaper than you think. In fact, there are many home automation devices that everyone can afford, and many of them will feature in this article. Read More , but another area where it really shines is in making your home a safer place Safe and Sound: 4 Great Smart Home Security Devices Read More . And while security cameras and motion sensors are great, neither has more of a wow-factor than an electronic door lock.

Pros & Cons of Smart Home Locks

Why would anyone want to get a smart home lock that can be controlled remotely with a smartphone? At first glance, the entire concept screams of gimmickry, doesn’t it? What possible benefit could an “advanced” door lock offer that a “dumb” door lock can’t?

The main benefit is convenience. Imagine being able to walk up to your door and have it automatically unlock as you approach it — and automatically lock itself when you walk away from it. No more fumbling with keys. No more accidentally forgetting to lock.

Imagine being able to grant temporary access to certain people. Maybe you want your babysitter to only have access between 1 PM and 7 PM on Tuesdays, and no access on any other day. A smart door lock can be programmed to do that and you won’t have to juggle extra keys.

Most smart locks also keep logs of when they’ve been accessed, which you can use to discern who entered or left your house and when. (This could be useful for parents who have teenagers on a curfew, for example.)


But isn’t it unsafe and unsecure? Not any worse than a normal door lock, if you think about it. Sure, an electronic door lock could be smashed up — but if someone’s going to do that, they could just as easily smash up a normal door lock as well.


Can’t smart home locks be hacked? Yes, anything that’s connected to a network always has the potential to be hacked, but anyone who wants to enter your house is more likely to smash it up than learn what it takes to hack it. Plus, electronic security holes can often be patched.

That is to say, smart door locks will rarely be worse than normal door locks, but they will often be better because of all the extra features and convenience they offer. Not to mention the fact that these are one of the most affordable smart home upgrades you can make How Much Does a Smart Home Really Cost? A smart home could change your life – freeing up time in your day and regulating your routine so you don't have to remember what needs to be done. But how expensive is it, really? Read More .


1. Schlage Sense

One of the downsides to Apple’s HomeKit is that it isn’t compatible with many devices, but that’s starting to change Future Proofing Your Smart Home for Apple HomeKit Compatibility Read More . In fact, here’s one device that’s built specifically for HomeKit: the Sense Deadbolt by Schlage, which is one of the best entry-level smart locks out right now.

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt With Century Trim (Matte Black) Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt With Century Trim (Matte Black) Buy Now On Amazon $146.00 ($1.84 / oz)

The Sense lock can respond to commands given to Siri through Apple Watches, iPhones, iPads, and iPods — and it can be locked or unlocked remotely, but only if it’s within 40 feet of an Apple TV. Set up and programming is easy. All you need is the free Schlage Sense mobile app.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a proximity unlock. (Siri commands are as close as you’ll get to that.) It can hold up to 30 access codes at a time, and comes with a built-in alarm that goes off when it detects a potential door attack.


2. Schlage Connect

If you want to stay outside of Apple’s ecosystem but still want to use a Schlage smart lock, then you can try this one instead: the Connect Deadbolt by Schlage. Instead of using HomeKit, it’s based on the Z-Wave protocol, which is supported by many smart home hubs Which Smart Hub for Home Automation Is Best for You? For a while, people thought of the idea as nothing more than a gimmick, but recent product releases have shown that smart home automation is starting to live up to its promises. Read More .

Schlage Connect Century Touchscreen Deadbolt Smart Lock w/ Alarm (Matte Black) Schlage Connect Century Touchscreen Deadbolt Smart Lock w/ Alarm (Matte Black) Buy Now On Amazon $145.00 ($2.38 / oz)

The Z-Wave support allows you to manage the lock remotely, and you can also connect it with a Z-Wave-compatible hub for automated security (such as triggering the lock with a motion sensor or an IFTTT event 9 Smartphone IFTTT Tricks to Make Your Life 100x Easier IFTTT lets you automate aspects of your life without requiring any technical knowledge whatsoever. Here are some quick IFTTT smartphone tricks that can ease the stresses of everyday life. Read More ).

The Connect lock also comes with a built-in alarm that can alert you when it detects three levels of door activity: contact, tampering, or forced entry. Unfortunately, like the Sense lock, this one lacks a proximity unlock.


3. Yale Real Living

Yale Locks & Hardware is an old player in the locking business, and their latest smart home offerings show that they aren’t playing around. The Yale Real Living Deadbolt is easy to install but strong enough to give you peace of mind.

Yale Touchscreen Deadbolt with Z-Wave in Satin Nickel, Works with Alexa via SmartThings and Wink (YRD220-ZW-619) Yale Touchscreen Deadbolt with Z-Wave in Satin Nickel, Works with Alexa via SmartThings and Wink (YRD220-ZW-619) Buy Now On Amazon $198.00

It’s based on the Z-Wave protocol, so you can lock or unlock it remotely using a Z-Wave-compatible smart hub. Unfortunately, there’s no proximity unlock, but it does have Auto Relock and One Touch Lock features that make it sufficiently hands-free.

It can hold up to 250 user key codes, and also has a Privacy Mode that locks out ALL user key codes for a period of time. By default, it even comes in three languages: English, Spanish, and French.

4. Kwikset Kevo

The Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock is really nice if you want one that’s subtle and discreet. After all, a futuristic touchscreen — like the ones in the smart locks above — might draw undue attention your way, whereas the Kevo lock just looks like an ordinary lock.

Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock with Keyless Bluetooth Touch to Open Convenience in Satin Nickel Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock with Keyless Bluetooth Touch to Open Convenience in Satin Nickel Buy Now On Amazon $112.95

It has a promixity unlock: as long as you have your smartphone on you, you can just touch it and it will lock or unlock. Or you can use the physical key that it comes with. And if you’re within Bluetooth range, you can trigger the lock remotely from your smartphone.

You can also give out unlimited guest eKeys, which expire after 24 hours. You also get notifications when the Kevo is locked or unlocked, when eKeys are sent out, and when eKeys are accepted. Furthermore, the Kevo lock logs everyone who locks and unlocks.

5. August Smart Lock

Perhaps the most popular smart home lock on the market, the August Smart Lock was the first to popularize the concept. It wasn’t very good when it first launched, but after a year or so of firmware improvements, it’s easily worth the money — and it’s quite affordable, which is nice.

August Home 1st Generation Smart Lock - Dark Grey August Home 1st Generation Smart Lock - Dark Grey Buy Now On Amazon $99.00 ($3.34 / oz)

The August lock has a proximity sensor that unlocks as you arrive and locks as you leave. It’s also somewhat discreet, though not as much as the Kevo lock. Guest access can be given out, and each guest key can last however long you want it to last.

User access is managed through your smartphone (both Android and iOS are supported), invites are sent out to phone numbers, and you can view a running log of everyone who accessed the lock.

Will You Get a Smart Home Lock?

If you ever feel like doubting the potential of a smart home, check out these amazing videos that will change your mind 8 Amazing Videos to See Smart Homes in Action People have been living in smart homes for 20 years! So what kind smart home tech of tomorrow can actually be demonstrated today? Let's see the life that awaits us in the near future, not... Read More . And if an electronic door lock isn’t enough to impress you, consider pairing it with a smart doorbell What Is A Smart Doorbell, And Which Should You Buy? Doorbells that provide two-way communication, allow for remote monitoring, and send alerts directly to your smartphone? We're not talking about the future – all of this (and more) is already possible using smart doorbells. Read More . Smart products shine when combined like that.

And a smart home lock is one case where the features are worth the price tag Attention Homeowners: 5 Smart Home Features Worth the Extra Cost Which smart home features are worth it? Which ones can be safely tossed aside and ignored? Let's take a look at a few that are actually worth the money. Read More .

Just be aware that there are security concerns to consider 5 Security Concerns to Consider When Creating Your Smart Home Many people attempt to connect as many aspects of their lives to the web as possible, but many people have expressed genuine concerns over how secure these automated living spaces actually are. Read More when incorporating smart products into your home. They might seem awesome at first, but they may come with a whole host of unanticipated problems that you may not want to deal with 7 Reasons Why The Internet of Things Should Scare You The potential benefits of the Internet of Things grow bright, while the dangers are cast into the quiet shadows. It's time to draw attention to these dangers with seven terrifying promises of the IoT. Read More .

How do you feel about smart home locks? Which one is your favorite? Which ones have disappointed you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Anonymous
    February 26, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    It's bad enough when I lock myself out of my house and have to call a locksmith to let me in. With the always-spotty Internet access at my house, I'd be locked out every time Comcast service went down.

    • Anonymous
      February 26, 2016 at 8:38 pm

      If you get locked out with a Smart Lock, instead of calling a locksmith, call the local hacker. :-)

  2. Maryon Jeane
    February 26, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    My house has a centuries-old oak door with a key which is a work of art in itself (looks like something out of a Harry Potter film) - I don't think this is going to be a candidate for any of the above systems!

    Which raises the question of the ability of systems like these to be comprehensively useful in the real world. As an early adopter of a robotic lawnmower and robotic vacuum cleaners and floor mop, I've discovered to my cost that electronic items such as these are too often tested in far-from-real-world situations (the early lawnmowers, for example, were tested in Israel where every lawn was constructed from scratch out of near-desert and was therefore level and with uniform grasses, heights and edges).

    Where things are uniform (houses on vast estates, for example) despite the assurances above I still think that this offers the opportunity for any potential malefactor to study how to crack the device at their leisure (they can try it out on numerous identical doors, even their own).

    Not for me, I'm afraid - and I'm no Luddite.

  3. Anonymous
    February 25, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    I'm interested in combination door locks with battery backup (that would be two keys I wouldn't need to carry). But I have no interest in connecting any lock to the internet.