Buying a Smart Front Door Lock
Many smart locks replace traditional deadbolts with models that connect to your home’s Wi-Fi, allowing you to lock or unlock them remotely. They also can support multiple digital keys that you can revoke, edit, or set to expire at any time.
The Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro impressed us with its clever build, with the fingerprint scanner folding down completely to hide it and reveal a standard keyhole backup. However, this model requires a smart hub for operation.
A smart lock that uses biometric unlocking is an excellent choice for homeowners who don’t want to be bothered with passwords or keys. These locks use thermal or optical scanners to capture and store fingerprints or eyes, then recognize them when the user tries to open the door. The scans can take as little as half a second from start to finish, so users won’t be waiting around for long while trying to get inside.
These types of locks also offer added security by not allowing strangers to access your home, and they often come with additional features like anti-peep sensors and the ability to use physical buttons in addition to digital keypads for coded entry. They’re also compatible with home automation systems, allowing you to lock your doors remotely using a smartphone app.
In the past, many smart locks required an extra hub for remote access, but that’s becoming less common. Now, you can usually find a model that connects directly to your Wi-Fi, and even supports voice commands via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Our picks include several of these, including the Secure Pro from Defiant, which offers plenty of locking methods (including fingerprint scanning and digital keypad), and the U-Bolt Pro from Ultraloq, which has an especially clever design, with the fingerprint-scanning front face folding down to reveal a standard keyhole backup for when you don’t need to lock your door.
Most smart locks come with an app that enables remote access from your smartphone or voice control with digital assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. Some also feature built-in Wi-Fi to make them compatible with your home’s wireless router.
Some models have a fingerprint sensor to unlock the door. This technology can be very accurate smart front door lock and is ideal for granting short-term access to trusted friends or family, tradespeople, dog walkers and babysitters. However, the sensitivity of these sensors can diminish over time.
Smart locks can be stand-alone devices or part of a wider smart-home system that includes a video doorbell, lighting, music and more. This integration makes it possible to set up a welcome home routine that turns on the lights and opens the blinds when your key fob is pressed, for example.
The Eufy touch smart lock stands out because it can be used with other devices from the same brand, making it easy to jump between cameras and lock controls from one app. It’s physically well-built, too, with a zinc-alloy and stainless-steel frame that holds up to intruders and the elements. The only drawback is that this model doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi, meaning it needs to be paired with a hub such as the Wink Hub 2 or Samsung SmartThings. It does have an optional plug-in hub option, though.
Most smart locks have a built-in radio that allows them to be controlled and monitored remotely. However, they also need a home Wi-Fi connection to work. Look for one that works with your router’s wireless radio, or choose a model that uses a separate hub to connect to your network.
Some smart locks go out of their way to show off their gadgetry with light-up touchscreens and color-coded LED indicator lights. Others take a more subtle approach, trying to blend in and look just like a standard lock from the outside. Whichever you choose, any smart lock you consider should be ANSI/BHMA certified to guarantee its strength and operation.
Smart locks that are part of a wider smart-home system can give you even more functionality. For example, some will allow you to automatically lock your door when you turn on a security system, or switch off the lights when you leave the house. This can make getting out of the door in a rush much simpler, especially when you’re juggling kids, book bags, keys, and wallets.
You can also use smart locks to create virtual keys for trusted friends, tradespeople, or dog walkers. This lets you grant them temporary access to your home and revoke their permission at any time. Many models also let you set mobile alerts so you know when someone is coming or going.
Most smart locks use AA batteries which can last anywhere from 6-12 months depending on the model and usage. However, some models have longer battery life than others, so it’s important to consider how your smart lock will be used before making a purchase.
For example, if your smart lock will be tied into a home security system or uses proximity features that send and receive data, those will drain the batteries faster than a simple keypad-only model. The number of people in your family will also impact the battery life, since larger families will likely use their front door more often than smaller ones. Finally, the strength of your WiFi connection will play a role in how long the batteries will last as the smart lock needs to communicate with your home’s network over the internet.
One of the simplest ways to improve your smart lock’s battery life is by using high-quality smart front door lock Energizer or Duracell AA batteries. These are more expensive than off-brand batteries but they have exponentially better power and will last much longer than other brands.
In addition, make sure that your smart lock is properly installed and calibrated as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Misaligned doors can cause a lot of friction during the locking and unlocking process that will shorten your smart lock’s battery life.