How a Smart Front Door Lock Can Make Your Home Safer

How a Smart Front Door Lock Can Make Your Home Safer

smart front door lock

How a Smart Front Door Lock Can Make Your Home Safer

A smart front door lock offers a range of features that can make your home safer. The best locks offer a variety of options, including guest codes, automated locking and integration with home security systems.

Some smart locks use a paired smartphone or connected to your Wi-Fi for remote control. Others need a small hub device that plugs into an outlet within about 30 feet of the lock.

Keyless Entry

Most smart locks let you unlock your door with an app or a keypad, but some take additional approaches. Many of the most advanced offer fingerprint scanning or touch sensitivity to help you enter, and some have extra security features like an alarm that lets you know when someone is at your door. You can also use the new Home Key feature in iOS15 to store a digital house key on your phone and open compatible smart locks with just one tap.

Retrofit smart locks that work with your existing hardware are the best choice for renters and other homeowners who don’t want to change out their deadbolt. These include locks like the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock and the Kwikset Halo Touch Smart Lock. Both offer an easy installation and good performance, though we prefer the streamlined look of the Kwikset lock’s smaller front plate, which is a bit less bulky on the exterior.

Bluetooth-only smart locks have a few limitations, including the inability to integrate with your home’s Wi-Fi network and the absence of geofencing. However, they’re often cheaper and work just as well as the more expensive models we tested. For instance, the affordable Wyze Lock Bolt provides a wide range of access options including an onboard fingerprint reader, and you can set temporary codes for guests from afar.

Virtual Keys

If you’re sharing a key with house guests or giving access to service professionals, a smart lock with virtual keys is essential. The best models let you create multiple smart front door lock temporary codes that can be used for anything from one-time visits to recurring access, all controlled by the app. These features help you eliminate the need for physical keys and prevents the possibility of someone stealing your key code or unlocking your home without your knowledge.

Regardless of your needs, you should also look for smart locks that allow you to set up automations with other smart home devices. For example, you can program your lock to automatically unlock when your connected lights turn on or lock when your smart security system triggers an alarm. This way, you never have to worry about accidentally leaving the front door unlocked or worrying that you forgot to lock the door when you’re out and about.

Smart locks that retrofit with existing deadbolts are a good option for renters or homeowners who don’t want to replace the entire lock system. They typically require minimal fussing and work with most existing deadbolts. They also tend to be less expensive than full replacement models, but they may lack advanced functionality like geofencing.

Controlling Access

Whether you have guests, dog walkers, housecleaners or tradespeople who need to enter your home regularly, smart door locks offer a convenient way to grant them temporary access from your phone. You can also revoke these virtual keys at any time, giving you complete control over who can and cannot access your property.

Many smart locks work as standalone products, although most can be integrated into a full smart-home system that adds additional functionality to the front door area and beyond. For instance, some — like the Yale Assure Lock 2 and the Level Bolt — integrate with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant while others — such as the Schlage Encode Plus, Array by Hampton Connected Door Lock and Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi — offer Apple HomeKit integration.

These smart locks all fit in your existing deadbolt, but they each have a slightly different design. Most replace the interior thumbturn and exterior keyhole with their own hardware, but some, like the Array by Hampton, the August Smart Lock and the Level Bolt, let you keep your existing door lock’s exterior, so you won’t need new keys or swap out the deadbolt.

These retrofit locks also tend to be pricier than those that replace the entire lock, although they often offer better aesthetics and more features. For example, the Level Bolt works with most major ecosystems, but requires you to buy and install its Hubspace Smart Plug, which plugs into a wall outlet up to 20 feet away from the lock, to act as a gateway to your Wi-Fi connection.

Interactivity

If you’re building a full smart home, it helps to choose a lock that integrates with a wide range of devices. This allows you to set up a number of automations that will activate when your door unlocks or locks, and can include commands for other devices like lights, music and video doorbells, and even your home’s security system.

The best smart locks use Wi-Fi to communicate with your smartphone and other connected devices, but many also feature Bluetooth or a cellular connection so they can operate independently. Some are standalone products, but most will work with the most popular smart-home hubs such as Apple’s HomeKit and Amazon Alexa.

With these integrations, you can control your door with voice commands, and most will let you check on its status. For example, the gyroscope built into our top pick, the Wyze Lock, can detect if it’s smart front door lock left ajar and will notify you with a loud dinging sound.

This lock requires a separate smart home hub, but it works well once it’s connected and can be controlled from anywhere using the Eufy app. It features a solid build and good battery life, and its proximity and smart card unlocking capabilities make it one of the most secure options on the market. It can’t be tampered with, and it will alert you if someone tries.