Best Smart Locks
In the modern world, we all live in, you can never be too safe. This reigns even truer if you live in or near a rough and tough neighborhood. With standard door locks, they can be picked and broken into. If you are looking for enhanced peace of mind when you lock your home, then you might want to look into a smart lock. In short, this is a technology device that is designed to perform locking and unlocking operations without the use of a key. Now, it may not make your home bulletproof but it will provide you with more options for locking. And, with the spike in smart devices over the last decade, it may be time to upgrade your door locks, anyway (if you think about it).
In a Hurry? The test winner after 2.75 hrs of research
Only replaces the interior side of your deadbolt
Can work with Alexa
There is no hardwiring required for installation
- August 2nd Generation
- Lockly Fingerprint
- Schlage Connect
- August 3rd gen
- Schlage Sense
- Samsung Biometric
- Gate Labs
- Yale Real Living
- Ultraloq UL3 BT
- SoHoMiLL YL 99
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST SMART LOCKS
1. August 2nd Generation
Only replaces the interior side of your deadbolt
Can work with Alexa
There is no hardwiring required for installation
Some sort of low-battery warning system would have been nice
You can lock yourself out if the batteries run out of juice
This is universally recognized as one of the leaders of this technology. And, there are a plethora of buyers and experts out there who feel that this device right here is the pinnacle of the technology.Read more
As you approach, this will unlock and as you leave it will lock the door behind you. This is great and all but in the process, August should have implemented a low-battery warning system. After all, if the battery dies, you can’t open the lock.
This utilizes Low Energy Bluetooth technology and it allows you to sync up with your smartphone. When doing so, you gain access to a 24/7 activity log (with the app) that can show you enters and exits your home.
Do note that the front plate that holds the batteries is not waterproof and should not be exposed to water. Other than that, the build here is very solid.
All this system is going to do is replace the interior side of your deadbolt. As for the exterior hardware on your door that is going to stay the same.
Ease of Use
Overall, most users concur that this is easy to pair to your smartphone. As for the installation, the same applies as there is no wiring or connections required.
It is not hard to see why so many buyers have raved about August’s design. Still, the lack of a low-battery indicator on the unit itself is frustrating and can lead to headaches down the road.
2. Lockly Fingerprint
Designed with a unique algorithm that reshuffles numbers
Sports an advanced 3D fingerprint sensor
If the battery ever runs out, you can open your home with a nine-volt battery
The screw heads can strip if you are not careful
Let’s just say that this bad boy has all the bells and whistles. Smart locks can be very advanced devices, at their core, and perhaps no other device exemplifies that notion better than this.Read more
This pretty much has it all. Included in this design is a unique algorithm that will reshuffle the numbers after each use to prevent copying. In addition, this sports an advanced 3D fingerprint sensor.
Due to the Bluetooth technology that is built in, this is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. Also, this system will store all the access history and will sync it with the accompanying app.
Though the screw heads can be stripped if you are not careful with them, this can withstand inclement weather due to its sealed design.
Not only is this compatible with both left and right swing doors but it will also fit most standard doors from 1 3/8 inches to two inches in thickness.
Ease of Use
The general consensus amongst users is that both the installation and operation are quite simple. All you will need is some general knowledge about both.
As you can see with this technology, you pay for it. It does not come cheap and this lock exemplifies that notion very well. Still, the price will be worth it, ladies and gentlemen.
3. Schlage Connect
Designed with an ANSI Grade 1
The touchscreen is fingerprint-resistant and illuminated
Will fit most one-hole residential door preps
More built-in functions would be nice
Smart devices are pretty much required to use this
This is a model that relies heavily on the use of another smart device, so be aware of that right from the get-go. As for its design, it is fantastic and includes Z-Wave technology.Read more
First off, this comes equipped with a self-locking feature for all of you out there who forget to lock your doors on the way out. Also, there are three alert modes including forced entry, tamper, and activity.
Perhaps more built-in functions would have been better as this really does rely on external devices. Besides your smartphone, with Z-Wave technology, this can also connect to your home automation system.
This sports a Grade 1 Highest Residential Security Rating and also a durable resistive touchscreen. This same touchscreen also includes a matte finish to protect against fingerprints.
Thanks to the standard lock design that is implemented here, this will fit most one-hole residential door preps.
Ease of Use
The illuminated touchscreen helps improve the visibility which will, in turn, ensure easier operation. As for the installation, it only requires a screwdriver to complete.
To put it bluntly, you will need a smart device to work this smart lock. Not all smart devices are designed in this manner but it is safe to say this is. Given the popularity of smartphones, though, this should not be an issue for most.
4. August 3rd gen
Will work with Alexa
Comes equipped with DoorSense technology
Will easily attach to your preexisting deadbolt
The Android app needs some work
The Wi-Fi bridge needs to be close to the lock
August just seems to be a step ahead of the rest of the competition when it comes to the designs of their smart locks. A partial explanation why is the DoorSense technology that they implement (as is present here).Read more
Thanks to the DoorSense technology, the Smart Lock Pro will inform you of when the door is securely closed and locked. Also, this will automatically lock behind so you never forget.
To view the 24/7 activity log, you will need either an iOS (9.0 or higher) or an Android (5.0 or higher) device. But, this also requires a separate Wi-Fi bridge. Oh yeah, and this can also connect to Alexa.
August did not cut any corners with the physical design of their model, let’s say that. It sports high-quality materials and is topped off with a sleek exterior.
Due to the Retrofit installation system that is integrated, you can keep your existing deadbolt. In fact, you can even use your existing keys any time you want to.
Ease of Use
Some buyers have complained about their experience using the accompanying app. From the looks of it, it appears to be buggy at times and needs improvement.
Although the included app needs some work, this device itself is fantastic and a truly advanced design. The sleek appeal certainly does not hurt things, also.
5. Schlage Sense
The installation design is superb
It will function while being exposed to inclement weather
You can add the Schlage Wi-Fi Adapter to enhance the functionality
The numbers on the interface can be hard to see
A few users were disappointed with the app
As a standalone device, this model from Schlage works very well. But, if you add the Schlage Sense Wi-Fi Adapter to your home network, then this little device becomes even better.Read more
As you can see, this is designed with a keypad and this is the main point of entry. Of course, there is also an integrated key lock if you do forget the code.
Though a few users have been disappointed with the app, this can be synced to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Also, if you add the Schlage Sense Wi-Fi Adapter, then you can unlock your home from anywhere on other smart devices.
Schlage designed their model to work in inclement weather and the keypad will stay operational even when exposed to both sunlight and rainfall.
The installation process is pretty straightforward and you can even choose between a quick install or one that implements more secure hardware.
Ease of Use
Again, installing this is easy due to the batter operation. However, the keypad itself is not well-thought-out as the numbers can be difficult to view under most conditions.
All you need to do to be convinced that this lives up to the hype is to glance at the sheer amount of users who have raved about it. There are issues but they are not detrimental.
6. Samsung Biometric
Offers a sleek and modern design
Requires two types of access to unlock
Very sturdy and durable design
It is limited a bit with its smart features
Some users have had issues with the installation process
Now, some people would not consider this a smart model but it implements smart features into its design. So, it qualifies for this list and because it is designed by Samsung, you know the quality is high.Read more
This system can program up to 31 different user codes and also 100 fingerprints. In addition to this, this also has a random security code feature and a fire detection sensor.
Now, this is compatible with certain NFC-enabled items. It is limited in its smart functionality, however, but does offer two-step verification (it requires two different types of access).
Utterly magnificent is the best way to describe the build quality of this device. Not only is the appeal modernized and sleek but the durability is greater than cylindrical deadbolt locks.
Due to the unique shape and size of this, it can be a bit tricky to install and conforms better to newer doors. However, it is designed to fit doors 40 to 80 millimeters thick.
Ease of Use
Outside of the actual installation, this is a breeze to operate. As soon as you enter your two methods of verification, you simply shut the door and the sensor will lock it automatically.
Just sit back and relish in the design of this model. Yes, it is a bit overpriced and yes it should have more smart features. However, it is an exceptional design with a stunning appeal.
7. Gate Labs
Built with a motion-activated camera
You can connect to the mobile app
It does have a keyed backup option
It does not connect to artificial intelligent programs
It is a bit limited in its design functions
Though this is limited in its overall capabilities, there are two integrations that make it unique. Plus, it sports a weatherproof rating of IP56, making it suitable for outdoor use.Read more
The numbers are actually engineered on the outside in a circular pattern, which is different. As for the two other features, this has a built-in motion-activated camera and also a two-way speaker (so you can speak from your phone and it will be heard from the lock).
Overall, the app is pretty limited in its design capabilities. But, this can sync to your smartphone so that is a plus.
It is important to note that the Gate (which is what this device is dubbed) is not fully weatherproof. That said, it does sport an IP56 rating and is weather-resistant.
All this is going to do is replace your existing deadbolt. Everything else remains the same.
Ease of Use
If you do not have a deadbolt installed in your door, you will need to do a bit more work for the installation process. However, others will spend maybe 15 minutes installing. As for pairing the device, the app has step-by-step instructions.
The integrated camera and two-way speaker may be seen to some as simple luxuries that are unneeded. That is fair but for others, it will make this too irresistible to pass up.
8. Yale Real Living
Can store up to 250 pin codes
Each family member can have their own unique access code
It is tamper-resistant and easy to install
The battery life seems to be poor
It can become jammed if you are not careful
In addition to being well-made, in regard to its actual build, this also comes equipped with Z-Wave technology. Plus, each of your family members can have their own unique access code.Read more
One of the coolest features of this entire design is that individual people can have their own custom access codes. This can store up to 250 pin codes so you should not run out of memory.
On top of being able to receive notifications straight from your smartphone, this also sports Z-Wave technology. This allows this to be integrated into your home automation system.
The lock itself is built very well. The real problem comes if you leave your door partially open. The deadbolt is designed to close after 30 seconds and this can create issues when the door is not fully closed. Over time, this can degrade the deadbolt mechanism.
As with most others, this installs right over your previous deadbolt and should be compatible for nearly all types.
Ease of Use
Both programming this device and installing it are fairly easy tasks (based on the general consensus amongst user feedback).
Outside of the potential issue with the deadbolt, this is a well-made device. With the ability to select between different types of finishes, also, it looks the part, as well.
9. Ultraloq UL3 BT
Sports an intuitive OLED display
Backed by an 18-month warranty for electrical
95 different fingerprints can be enrolled
The fingerprint scanner has been criticized
Whether you want to believe it or not, this right here is a five-in-one keyless smart lock system. Of course, one of those five functions (the fingerprint scanner) has been criticized for its performance.Read more
As mentioned, this is a five-in-one system. Among these five features is a fingerprint mode, the key itself and also a standard code. In addition, 95 fingerprints can be enrolled and this integrates an anti-peep password to make it less likely that someone could “see” your code.
Due to the fact that this uses Bluetooth Low Energy, it can be connected to your smartphone. With your smartphone connected, you can then download the Ultraloq app for all kinds of features.
It is important to note that it is not clarified if this is weatherproof or not. But, the sleek and polished design of this model is stunning, to say the least.
To replace your existing deadbolt over, you will need to invest in an optional plate. This may be in your best interest, quite honestly.
Ease of Use
This implements a stunning OLED display and is very easy to operate once you get things up and running.
It is not a coincidence that this right here is a number one best seller on Amazon. With that said, many users have had issues with the fingerprint scanner (which is unfortunate).
10. SoHoMiLL YL 99
Alerts you when the batteries are low
Designed for “do it yourself” installation
Each family member can have their own code
The knob itself can be hard to grip
It is very loud when the alarm goes off
This last entry is going to be controversial because it is not technically a smart lock. Again, though, the YL 99 is not your average lock and does implement functionality that could be seen as “smart”.Read more
Each member of your family can have their own code and this can accept up to eight, in total. All the codes are controlled by your master code (and this also is built with an auto-lock system).
To be honest, this is fairly limited in its “smart” functionality. Consider this an affordable smart option, if there ever was one.
This right here is built to last and that is because it is made of stainless steel. In addition, it is silicon sealed on the inside to ensure its all-weather design.
Without question, this is a do it yourself design and will fit both left and right hinged doors. Also, it will easily replace most existing door locks.
Ease of Use
Outside of the ease of installation, the keypad on this design uses LED lighting when pressed to be able to be seen in the darkest of environments.
Look, the naysayers out there will shake their heads at this model. It may not technically be classified as a smart lock but it consider it one without the wireless technology (in that is has some smart features).
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Features are everything here and you will see why.
Whenever you are in the market for any sort of technology device, you should know that the functionality is going to come to the forefront. In regard to smart locks, you can split most of the features up into regular and advanced. In this section, let’s focus on the regular design features. Now, it is worth noting that some smart locks will come equipped with different types of access systems. The two most popular are touchscreen models that require fingerprint access and also models that require a specific code via the integrated keypad. What is really nice about the code system is that some will come with enough memory to remember well over 100 different codes. So, in theory, each member of your family could have their own personal code.
As for the fingerprint access, this is more of a convenience than anything. This can be a great way to also add extra protection as everyone fingerprint is different. Then again, sometimes the sensors can be finicky (it depends on the model). Also, you can look for other features such as the ability for the device to lock the door automatically when you shut it (to ensure you never forget to lock the door).
You need to choose the wireless protocol that fits your needs the best.
Now, it is time to discuss wireless protocols. At their core, true smart locks will use wireless technologies to allow you to control them via other smart devices. But, the wireless protocol that they implement can be different. The three most popular protocols are Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Z-Wave technology. Each of them has their advantages, so let’s break them down. Starting with Bluetooth, this is arguably the most well-known out of the three. Most of you are aware of what Bluetooth technology is but did you know that its range is limited? Then again, it will not burn through the battery life of the lock, which is nice.
As for Wi-Fi, this is typically available as an optional add-on. You will need a wireless router for this to work but Wi-Fi is generally better than Bluetooth when it comes to performance. Now, for Z-Wave technology. This will not sync directly to your smartphone and, instead, will connect to a hub that is compatible with the technology. From there, the hub can translate a signal for your router to pick up. Then, you can access your lock from virtually anywhere. Also, some systems will be able to connect with artificial intelligence programs such as Alexa.
While not as important as the functionality, the durability of a product will always matter.
Look, you never want to invest in a product that is not built well. The good news is, in regard to this technology, smart locks will not go through that much abuse. They simply stay installed on your door and never look back. That said, is your door somewhat exposed to the outdoor weather? If you have a front or back porch and install a lock on a door that is under said porch, then the inclement weather will probably not be that important. If the opposite is true, look for locks that are sealed and at least weather-resistant.
Of course, the physical appeal of the model can also play a role. In fact, some designs are quite stylish and sleek. At the end of the day, though, simply look for high-quality materials and nothing cheap.
Most units will be compatible with your door but there is something important you need to know.
Ah, can you imagine getting all excited for your new smart lock only to realize that it is not compatible with your door? Here is the good news; most of the time you will be fine. However, with that being said, some models will come with the ability to be mounted over your preexisting deadbolts while others will require you to replace your current deadbolt. It would seem that the former would be the better option, right? Well, there is some truth to that but it is not the whole truth. For the record, this is known as a retrofit setup and the most convenient aspect of it is the fact that you do not have to mess around with new hardware. This can make the installation much easier and, in addition, you can keep your old keys and they will work.
So, why would you want one that does not go on your deadbolt, then? The main reason is that the majority of models out there will not be retrofit styles. In other words, you open up your options if you do not mind spending a bit more time installing the system (which will still take around 20 minutes).
Ease of Use
The easier a system is to operate and install, the better.
Really, not too much needs to be said for this section. It is pretty straightforward stuff. As for the installation process, it was already discussed in the previous section that this should not be too much trouble for you. As for actually operating the device, most systems will be pretty easy to wrap your head around. The included app, however, is another story. Conduct some research of your own to see if the included app (for the model you are interested in) has received criticism. You really want the app to be functional and intuitive (and not full of annoying bugs that decrease the performance).
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Without question, the design features are everything when it comes to this technology. It will literally play as big of a role as any other criterion. But, what features should you look out for? Well, each system may integrate a different lock system. For instance, you may see keypads or fingerprint scanners. Or, some will implement both. Also, you can look for extra features such as the ability to lock itself.
You may be thinking; what else could there be to discuss in regard to features? Well, this section is all about the wireless protocol that is incorporated. There are three main types and each of them has their specific advantages. You will definitely want to pay close attention to this section as this can really play a significant role in your buying decision.
Is the build quality everything in this case? No, this is actually one of the rarer instances where it is not one of the most critical. With that said, it is still important and you want to look for models that implement high-quality materials. You can also look for models that are sealed to be weather-resistant if you feel that inclement weather will be an issue.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What happens if you lose your smartphone?
For the record, not all systems will be solely dependent on the use of your smartphone. But, for those that do rely heavily on it, what do you do if you happen to lose your smartphone? Well, let’s take August for example. With them, you could log onto your account and actually remove the authorization for your device. Then again, you could also simply use a friend’s smartphone, momentarily, to gain access to the lock if you needed to.
q: Is a smart lock as safe as a regular lock?
One of the biggest complaints of smart locks is the fact that they can be hacked into. There was even a study that was conducted in the past that showed over 70 percent of them could be hacked. This is not an issue with standard locks. Of course, they can also be picked. But, you can play a role in limiting the risk of being hacked. Firstly, ensure that your network (if you are using your home network) is secured with top-of-the-line security. Install firewalls and change your default password.
q: Do you still need a key?
No, you are not going to need a physical key with these devices and that really is the entire point. You see, outside of the hassle of keys sometimes (and the fact that they can be lost), key locks are not that strong when it comes to security. In addition to what was just claimed about the fact that keys can be easily lost, traditional key locks can also be picked.
q: What if your smartphone battery dies?
Really, this question goes back to one that was just talked about. If your smartphone dies when you need to use the smart lock, you will either be out of luck or just fine. It really depends on the design and how reliant it is on your smartphone’s functionality. If it is, you could just sign into the app on another supported smartphone (just as before).
q: Will additional holes need to be drilled into your door?
This goes back to what was discussed in the section of compatibility. Some of you may be concerned that when you go to install your new smart lock, you will need to drill some additional holes into your door. Well, is there any truth in this? Yes, there is but it depends on if you have a non-standard lock. If you do, then additional holes may be needed. If you have never used a drill then consult someone who has. It is not too difficult but you may not want to drill too many extra holes.
q: Do smart locks support voice commands?
There is really only one way that a smart lock is going to support voice commands and that is if it is compatible with an artificial intelligence program. If it can connect to Alexa or Google Assistant, for example, then it should be able to support voice commands. Some of the top-end models will sport this functionality and if they do, then reference the manual for that specific device to learn more about the commands you can actually say.