With almost every household around the world having some kind of smart device to make their daily activities easier, one thing many people are hesitant about investing in is a smart lock.
The best smart locks offer keyless entry to your home using an app on your smartphone to lock and unlock your door. Not only does this help tighten your security but it also means you’ll never have to worry about losing your keys and having to wait outside for hours for a locksmith to turn up. But despite the ease and convenience of smart locks, many people are still nervous about making the switch.
Traditional locks and keys have been around for centuries, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?! Well, I understand why some people are skeptical about smart locks but the adoption of smart home devices is pretty undeniable… so why not add smart features to your door too?
To help you decide whether a smart lock is right for you, here are the pros and cons of buying a smart lock.
How do smart locks work?
A smart lock is an electromechanical lock that locks and unlocks your door without the need for a physical key. Many smart locks on the market are Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled, and can be controlled via an app on your smartphone, an electronic keypad, biometric sensor, access cards and even your fingerprint, which is something the Ultion Nuki Plus offers. Smart locks also allow remote access to your home, for example, if a guest comes to stay with you, you can grant them entry while you’re away.
There are different types of smart locks on the market, including deadbolts or multi-point locks. Some brands also offer key fobs or mechanical keys with its smart locks so you still have a physical key for back-up. Popular smart lock brands include Nuki, Yale and SimpliSafe.
Smart lock pros: 5 reasons why you should have one
1. Never have to worry about losing your keys again
The main reason people switch to a smart lock is because you don’t need a key to open your door. If you regularly forget your keys or lose them, you don’t have to worry about waiting for your partner to come home to let you in or have to go through the process of getting your locks changed. By using an app on your phone, you can unlock your door quickly and conveniently, and be inside your home in seconds.
2. Better security
Smart locks offer tighter security compared to a traditional lock and key. In general, smart locks are harder to break and many have security features that detect unusual activity or force. When a smart lock detects an attack, it’ll automatically go into lockdown mode and many will activate a hidden firing pin to secure the lock to stop the door from being opened. While some people worry about hacking, smart locks are encrypted, with many brands relying on authentication, authorisation and encryption technology which make it extremely difficult for hackers or thieves to gain entry to your home.
With a smart lock, you don’t need to worry about someone finding your hidden spare set of keys under your doormat and letting themselves in. Some smart locks don’t even have a keyhole so they also cancel out people being able to pick your locks, too.
3. Easier access for guest and visitors
If you have family coming to stay but you’re not there when they arrive, you can give them easy entry to your home, instead of making them wait for you in their car. In your smart lock app, you can quickly grant access remotely or assign them a digital key so they can let themselves in while you’re away. With the app, you can keep track of who’s coming in and out of your home and after they leave, you can reassign or pause that digital key so they no longer have entry.
4. Back-up with mechanical keys
If you still want a physical key as a backup, many brands offer mechanical keys or key fobs which you can use to unlock your doors. Having a physical key means you always have another entry method available to you, which is especially helpful if there’s a power outage, the lock’s electronic components fail, if your phone dies or if you’re having trouble with the app.
5. Can connect to other smart home devices
If you already use the best video doorbells or the best security cameras, you can connect your smart lock to them for better protection and security. For example, if someone tries to unlock your front door by hitting the lock, your smart lock will detect this and alert you, and the same will happen if you have a smart outdoor camera set up. Many smart locks are compatible with smart ecosystems and virtual assistants like Alexa or Apple Home, so you can keep all your smart devices in one place for a better overview of your home and security.
Smart lock cons: why you might prefer to keep your keys
1. Battery life
While technology is fairly reliable nowadays, battery life is still a concern to many. Smart locks tend to have a long lasting battery but if you forget to recharge them, they won’t work. If your phone dies, you won’t have access to the app so you might not be able to get inside your home, either. Having said that, many smart locks have emergency battery modes and PIN options if there’s any issues with battery or connections, but it’s a big reason why many prefer to hang onto their keys.
2. Hacking threats
While potential break-ins and having your keys stolen are major problems with having a physical set of keys, one thing you don’t have to worry about is hacking. While smart locks have end-to-end encryption which makes them hard to hack, they still have Wi-Fi connections which can make people wary about their levels of security. In general, if you make sure your network and passwords are secure, as well as regularly updating your phone and smart lock app, you can further protect your home.
3. Replacing door handles
The majority of smart locks are easy to set up and don’t require professional installation. However, you do need to replace your door handle which can be a bit of a hassle, especially if you decide that you no longer want to use a smart lock.
Verdict: should I buy a smart lock?
Should you buy a smart lock? Depending on your lifestyle, it can be beneficial to have a smart lock on your front door. If you often forget your keys or you want to better secure your door, a smart lock is definitely something to invest in. For those who worry about the lack of keys, I’d definitely recommend getting a back-up option for your smart lock, like a key fob or mechanical key, just so you’re not always relying on your phone for entry and to give you peace and mind.