How to choose and install a smart lock, according to a smart security expert

Want to upgrade to a smart lock? Here’s what you need to consider when turning your door into a smart one

A lifestyle image of the Ultion Nuki Plus on a front door
(Image credit: Ultion)

Protecting your home from intruders is as simple as locking your doors and windows, right? Wrong! According to security experts, 76% of burglars break into your home using the front door and a standard door lock can be compromised in under nine seconds.

After reading these scary statistics, you might be looking for a way to tighten your home security and secure your home from break-ins. Investing in the best security cameras can keep an eye on your premises and scare off intruders with their built-in sirens and spotlights. But for specific protection for your front door, you need a smart lock.

The best smart locks replace your standard door locking mechanism and allow you to easily lock and unlock your home using an app, keypad, fingerprint or digital keys. What puts some people off using a smart lock is the ‘hassle’ of changing their existing lock to a smart one, but it’s actually much easier than you think.

To find out more, I spoke to Nick Dutton, CEO at British security company, Ultion. Ultion develops and manufactures locks, keys and handles for better door security. Below, Dutton explains how to choose the right smart lock, and tips to keep in mind during installation.

How to choose the right smart lock

There are many reasons why you might want to upgrade your front door with a smart lock. Security is at the forefront of this decision-making, as is the convenience and integrated smart functionality. Rather than fumbling around looking for your keys, forgetting them or losing them completely, a smart lock connects to an app so you can lock and unlock your front door with a tap of a button and even with your voice.

While this functionality makes your comings and goings a lot easier, your smart lock “also has to keep the bad guys out, so be mindful your quest for functionality doesn’t compromise security,” says Dutton. With this in mind, Dutton recommends looking for a smart lock “that will only be visible on the inside of your home. You don’t want to alert would-be burglars to the fact you’ve got one, plus any external workings could be tampered with by criminals.”

When choosing a smart lock, it’s important to look at the security features it comes with. For example, the Ultion Nuki Plus has “a super strong molybdenum core that houses LockDown Mode. This gets triggered should someone try to force entry, by activating hidden firing pins with hardened steel drill protection.” This is a significant upgrade to traditional door locks and the LockDown Mode makes it harder for intruders to break in as the lock shuts them out entirely.

Someone installing a smart lock

(Image credit: Ultion)

What to keep in mind when installing a smart lock

Installing a smart lock can look complicated, which is why Dutton has listed four things to keep in mind during the installation process.

Do your research

Research the lock you want to buy as you might find that you’ve bought one that isn’t compatible with your door. As stated by Dutton, “British door locks and handles tend to work differently to others around the world, so do your research and make sure the smart lock you want to fit is designed specifically for UK doors and isn’t a generic product being sold worldwide.”

For British customers, the “Ultion Nuki Plus has a secure digital module that slots over a high security Ultion mechanical lock… and is designed specifically for British doors. That way, you get all the remote access you’d expect – including an auto-lock feature should you forget to lock it yourself after leaving the house.”

Check fitting times

Depending on your smart lock of choice, you can set it up yourself, but it’s important to “check how long it will take to fit” before you start tampering with your door. According to Dutton, “some lock brands suggest their smart version can take around four hours to fit with wiring and drilling, which is ridiculous!” In general, it should only take a few minutes to half an hour to set up a smart lock, and with an Ultion lock, Dutton says it should only take about five minutes.

Ultion Nuki Plus

(Image credit: Ultion)

When in doubt, hire a professional

If you’re not a DIY expert, installing a smart lock might look a little daunting, so when in doubt, hire a professional. While “you don’t necessarily need a locksmith to do it,” says Dutton, “if you’re replacing something old, want added peace of mind with a guarantee, or would just rather leave it to the professionals, we can always suggest someone reputable in your area.”

Don’t forget the app!

After the lock has been attached to your door, setting up and calibrating your smart lock is the final step in the process. Dutton explains that “most apps will have a step-by-step guide to help you, but it helps if the lock is Matter compliant, so you know it’s compatible with all major smart home platforms and voice assistants fresh from the box… Naturally, Ultion Nuki Plus is.”

Head to the Ultion website to upgrade your door to a smart one with an Ultion smart lock.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!