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Smart home technology is expanding to every possible device. From your fridge to your washing machine, just about all tools and appliances have a “smart” version. The usefulness and practicability of each vary. One item you might be overlooking is a smart lock. It seems a bit mundane, but the usefulness might be more than you’d expect. So, should the smart lock be the next upgrade on your list? Let’s take a look at what a smart lock can do.
What Are the Benefits of a Smart Lock?
The first big benefit of a smart lock is convenience. Most of us have lost our keys at least once. A smart lock takes keys out of the picture. You won’t need to worry about bringing a key or leaving it somewhere by accident.
That leads to the other big advantage of smart locks. They take stress and worry out of the equation. Can’t remember if you locked the door? It doesn’t matter, the smart lock automatically secures itself when you leave. When you come back it unlocks for you. The concept of getting “locked out” is totally removed. The idea you might leave your house unsecured is totally gone.
A smart lock brings a peace of mind that a traditional lock and key don’t. This alone might make the investment worth it.
You also have some flexibility in the style of smart lock you get. Most will operate based on the distance of your phone to the lock. But you can include keypads in case you forget to bring your phone along. The lock can be a full replacement or a partial conversion kit that keeps the current deadbolt attached. It all comes down to personal preference. In terms of intended functionality, not much changes. Having options is still a nice perk though.
Finally, different smart locks are compatible with various other smart home services. Apple HomeKit, Ring, and Skybell just to name a few. If you are looking for the full smart home experience, then a smart lock can integrate nicely with all your other systems and devices.
Are Smart Locks Safe?
It is important to remember that a smart lock in most cases only changes the way you open your door. It doesn’t change the method of security. The majority of smart locks still use a classic deadbolt system. If you don’t think deadbolts are secure, then you might not think a smart lock is secure. But it certainly isn’t less secure than a traditional key.
A door can still be broken down. And there will always be some people that know how to use a lock pick. At least with a smart lock, you are removing the chances of someone finding a spare key. Or the chance of you accidentally leaving your front door unlocked.
It is possible to hack a smart lock connected to Wi-Fi? Yes, but that is much less likely to happen. Keep your apps and passwords updated and you should be just fine. When it comes down to it, a smart lock is at least as secure as a traditional lock. But probably more so.
If you are looking for increased security, you have other options like cameras and alarms. A smart lock is more about the convenience and hassle-free system of going keyless.
What are Issues with Smart Locks
There are a couple of issues you might run into when considering a smart lock.
First, you’ll need to make sure your door is compatible. If you live in an older home and the deadbolt doesn’t fit perfectly, be careful. You won’t be able to physically force open or adjust the door when unlocking with a smart lock. The door needs to be properly aligned. Otherwise, the motor of the lock might cause more damage in a poor fit.
In some cases, you’ll have to be willing to make some adjustments to your door before installation. Keep that in mind before making a purchase.
Another thing that could be an issue is the use of smartphone apps. Some locks function on a touch-based operation with no keypad. Without the app, the lock won’t work. If you don’t have a smartphone, then this defeats the purpose. Plus, it might be a hassle depending on who needs access to the house. Any house sitters or regular guests will need to download the app to enter. And some brands require you to pay for a digital key per download.
Other Features of Smart Locks
Besides being perhaps the best way to get in and out of the house, there are some other interesting features available with smart locks. With some apps, you can set specific windows of access. Meaning a user of the app can only enter during a range of hours on certain days. This can be a good feature if you have cleaners come by weekly or various other daily appointments. Of course, you can also allow unlimited access to others when needed.
Wi-fi models can let you unlock the door remotely from just about anywhere. This is a pretty cool feature that allows guests to come right inside when they arrive before you. Again, eliminating the need for a hideaway key that leaves your security more at risk.
If you have in-home surveillance, you can even set up access for the delivery person to drop packages right inside your home! Seems a bit sketchy, doesn’t it? Well, that is why you should probably only use this feature with proper surveillance. The door code the delivery person receives is good for one use. So no worries, they can’t just walk in anytime they want. This feature requires a certain level of trust but keeping your valuable packages safe inside could be worth it.
Smart locks might not be a life-changing device, but the convenience they afford will make them feel hard to live without. They don’t drastically improve your home security, yet still, eliminate some of the risks of traditional keys. Overall, if you can afford the investment, a smart lock is a great feature to add to your smart home. If you have trouble keeping track of your keys, then maybe even more so!