How many times have you walked away from home unable to remember whether you locked the door or not? With electronic locks, you receive an alert so that you can secure it even if you’re away from home. There is also a convenience element, as smart locks (via the Bluetooth connection in your smartphone) can automatically detect your presence and unlock your front door for you.
It is also possible to generate passwords (that work only during times that you specify) instead of lending keys to others. You can know who entered your residence and synchronise opening the door to other features, such as the activation of lights or an alarm system. If you are travelling, you can use the remote monitoring system to check every room of your home.
There is also the possibility of leaving some smart lights connected as a protective measure, programming them to turn on using alternate schedules so that your home looks as though there are people inside. Whether you’re considering buying or, as an installer, recommending a smart door lock to a client, you should first know your options.
There are two main types available: Bluetooth-only and Wi-Fi locks. Bluetooth-only locks (because of their nature) offer more security, but at the expense of many cool features. Bluetooth also generates a minor - but annoying - lag in the unlocking process.
Wi-Fi locks offer more functions such as being able to see whether your door is locked in real time or telling your smart thermostat when you’re away so it can enter its energy-saving mode. However, these are inherently less safe because they’re always connected to the Internet, and thus potentially open to hackers.
1. August Smart Lock
This is an automatic access control worked via fingertip or app (Bluetooth). It’s smart enough to know when you’re coming and going - it actually knows not to unlock the door if you’re passing by the house instead of going inside it. The August Smart Lock, which replaces your current deadbolt lock, is a Bluetooth-only lock, but to add on Wi-Fi features like remote buzz-ins and real-time unlock alerts, all you need to do is purchase the optional August Connect (coming soon). It’s powered by four AA batteries, and it will send a low-battery alert to your phone. It also works with Nest. And because August is HomeKit enabled, you can control it using Siri on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
2. Kwikset Kevo & Kevo Plus
Your life just got easier. With Kevo’s Touch-to-Open technology you can simply leave your smartphone in your pocket or purse upon entering. The best part of this is that Kwikset Kevo is rather discreet for a smart door lock because it doesn’t look much different than a standard deadbolt - except for the ring of blue lights around it.
The Bluetooth-only lock works by touch – tap the lock, and it’ll unlock - as long as your smartphone or keyfob are nearby. Each Kwikset Kevo now comes with two physical keys, two electronic keys (eKeys) and free unlimited 24-hour guest keys (as long as they have a compatible Smartphone so they can use their phone as a key too). Extra eKeys are available.
Receive notifications of lock activity and manage the lock and eKeys with the Kevo mobile app. You can add, delete or disable eKeys from the mobile app. This single cylinder deadbolt can be locked or unlocked by a key on the outside, or the turn of a button on the inside. The crisp, clean appearance of the ‘Satin Nickel’ finish adds to the overall look of the product and brings a modern feel.
Price: £285 each
3. Lockitron Bolt
The Lockitron Bolt is the least expensive smart door lock on this list. This Bluetooth-only lock, which replaces your existing deadbolt lock, offers the basics - sensing your approach and automatically unlocking for you when you arrive home. It’s a good option for renters, as the physical lock’s setting can be easily matched to any key. You can add on the optional Lockitron Bridge for Wi-Fi functionality, allowing the device to deliver real-time unlocking alerts. There are no advanced smart home features but it does the job - it unlocks the door without your assistance. Lockitron has a beautifully rigid design, built with die-cast metal for durability.
Waterproof seals protect electronic components, it has a backlit keypad for use in low light and up to ten changeable codes including passage, user and master levels. There’s also a deadlatch assembly with adjustable backset, LED indicators for code entry, 50 event audit trail recording, anti spy code encryption and low battery warnings as standard with an emergency power jump override. It’s suitable for indoor and outdoor use and no external wiring is required.
Haven is a first-of-its-kind ‘preventative’ home security platform and unlike many other locks listed, It is anchored to your front door at its strongest point – the base. It acts as a mechanical barrier to entry, released via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Created by a former Army airman in Iraq, Haven also features a physical footplate that can release the lock in an emergency. Made with steel and glass-reinforced nylon and aluminum, the Haven system stands strong against relentless kicking, lock bumping and even a battering ram. Haven is compatible with the Nest thermostat and Apple HomeKit; Z-Wave compatibility is being ‘researched’.
Price: $219 (£154), but only available in the US
5. Goji Smart Lock
Goji is a ‘packed with features’ digital lock for your home with its own on-lock welcome screen. It works both via Wi-Fi for remote control functionality, Bluetooth for smartphone connection and fob proximity unlocking. Each Goji comes with four electronic keys and two mechanical backup keys. However this device can send photos of visitors who are outside the door, allowing you to enable temporary access to a third party. You can also use it to record all entry and exit activity. And if you are concerned about what happens during a power outage, you can lock and unlock the door normally. If you somehow lock yourself out without your phone – Goji maintains a customer service call centre for lockout requests.
6. Genie Smart Lock
Genie Smart Lock is the new smart market lock. The lock doesn’t primarily use traditional keys (but the option is there if you want to). The device offers users a system that allows them to lock or unlock any enabled door in the world using Wi-Fi AND Bluetooth. The Genie will fit traditional 54mm door holes and can be removed without a trace, making it great for both homeowners and renters - and you don’t need a locksmith to install it.
The problem with these kind of locks is that many go through batteries pretty quickly. But not Genie. It’s with this in mind Genie Smart Lock creators set out to design a device with all of the features needed, but much less power drain. Genie promises up to 12 months of life rather than the one month life all the other devices use. This is only possible by using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). The lock itself only sends out BLE signals, and the Genie Hub (a Wi-Fi-connected device that is part of the system) receives those signals and sends them to the user’s smartphone through Wi-Fi. This means that the lock itself is never actually connected to and searching for a wireless internet signal, thus keeping power consumption very low.
Price: $249 (£175), but only available in the US
Sesame’s main selling point is its installation - just slot it over your deadbolt lock, which will fit inside the Sesame, and configure the app and voila, you have an automated lock. It syncs with the app and lets you pop open the lock, or close it, whenever you feel like it. This five-patented design works with just about any single cylinder deadbolt in the world - yes, in the world. Sesame also comes with a Wi-Fi access point - a very desirable addition to this door lock. The optional Wi-Fi access point connects Sesame to the Internet without further draining the batteries. The Wi-Fi Access Point runs open source OpenWrt Linux and uses 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and a Bluetooth LE 4.0 radio. It’s fully compatible with Arduino IDE v1.5.4 or later -- the ideal choice to connect your Bluetooth devices to your home/mesh Wi-Fi network. Another super cool feature is its Knock Recognition. Yep, simply knock on your phone or your door to unlock Sesame!
Price: $89 (£62.50), but only available in the US
SkyBell is a Wi-Fi enabled doorbell that lets you answer the door, no matter where you are, BUT the key selling point of this device is its video capabilities. You can hear, see and speak to the person at your door using any iOS and Android devices. SkyBell features a video camera, speaker, microphone and motion sensor and sends you the video feed over Wi-Fi 4G LTE. Forget about codes and temporary eKeys, your doorbell simplifies your life even more. The exclusive Motion Sensor launches a call even when the person at your door doesn’t actually press the button, acting as a security camera at your front door.
Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section.
Image sources: (no.1) www.august.com; (no.2) www.kwikset.com/kevo; (no.3)www.lockitron.com; (no.4) www.havenlock.com; (no.5)www.gojiaccess.com; (no.6) www.geniesmartlock.com; (no.7) www.candyhouse.co; and (no. 8) www.skybell.com.
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