Everything you need to know before you buy the best smart lock.
In a rush?
No worries, here is a super quick summary with hand picked top smart locks based on our research otherwise keep reading.
Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave
Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, ZigBee
Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, Nest
Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT
Exterior Escutcheon, Interior Escutcheon
Exterior Escutcheon, Interior Escutcheon
No doubt you’ve seen them.
The self-proclaimed best smart locks of 2018.
While looking for a way to make your home secure, you’ve read numerous smart locks reviews and visited every shopping mall in your area. Still, despite the fact that you consider yourself an expert in this field, there’s one thing you still haven’t got.
The best smart locks for your home.
How do we know that, you may ask?
Well, you wouldn’t be here if that wasn’t the case.
Now that you’re here, we’ll make sure your search ends right here.
To make sure we do just that, we’re going to do what we do best: giving you a lowdown on the best smart locks available in the market.
If you don’t have enough time/patience to go through the whole article, we’ve got you covered. My pick is easy to control and high security providing August Smart Locks Pro + Connect. Moreover, it offers wide-ranging compatibility and is a cinch to install.
Smart Lock Buyer Guide
Time to upgrade to a smart lock?
Here’s what you should know before you buy one.
Before we jump to the best smart locks, we need to know what it is that makes them the best.
Take a look.
What are smart locks?
First of all, the lowdown: keyless door locks aren’t going to make your home any safer than a traditional lock. What they do, instead, is give you a freedom. For example, think of the last time you were arms up with groceries and spilled most of them trying to unlock your front door.
If you had a smart lock back then, the chaos wouldn’t have ensued. Rather, sensing the proximity of your smartphone – smart locks operate via Bluetooth, your door would automatically unlock.
This feature is common in all smart locks. There are other, less ubiquitous features which come with a hefty price tag.
For instance, if your mobile phone is lost, some keyless door locks open up when you talk to them (cue: voice recognition). If you want to take no chances with security, you can invest in a smart lock which will unlock itself after a specific time.
Finally, if you want to go high tech, smart lock apps can alert you about incomings and outgoings, while also leaving behind a history. The features are limitless depending on what you can afford to pay.
Top features to look for when buying a smart lock
How do smart locks work?
If you aren’t a locksmith nerd, unlike myself, you can bypass this section. For others like me – who have a keen interest in reverse engineering, here’s what happens behind that metal frame of your lock.
The first type of smart locks uses pin codes to operate. Just like your ATM card, they would require you to enter a combination of usually between 4 and 12 digits. Since they are bit old school, smart locks operating on PIN codes are relatively less expensive.
Second, if you don’t like remembering passwords, some smart locks provide security tokens. Comparable in size to any hotel room key, simply waive these security tokens to unlock the door.
Finally, if you can afford to pay over the odds, there are locks which operate on biometrics. Using unique features of your personality i.e. hand geometry, fingerprint, voice recognition or eye scan, they are the best when it comes to security purposes.
Can smart locks be hacked and/or picked?
When it comes to hacking, security experts believe that smart locks can be hacked. Using methods i.e. replay attack, device spoofing, and fuzzing, these experts were able to get through 75% of the locks which they tested.
There’s, however, one catch. When testing their methods on locks from August, Kwikset, Masterlock and Noke, the experts were unable to break them. While that doesn’t mean that locks from these companies are impenetrable, still, these locks proved to be a hard nut to crack.
Turning our attention to the next question, there are videos available on YouTube giving demos on how to pick smart locks. What you need, then, is an alarm accompanying your smart lock. That way, every time something unbecoming happens, the entire neighborhood knows that something is amiss.
BOTTOM LINE: Nothing in this world is perfect, lest of all smart locks. Still, that doesn’t mean that they are an open invitation to burglars. Select the right smart lock, and the odds will be stacked heavily against the burglar.
Picking a Protocol
To put it simply, a protocol means how your smart lock will communicate with your phone. While the majority relies on the good old Bluetooth, some also rely on Wi-Fi. Finally, a small minority also relies on Z-wave to get its message across.
If you don’t want to pay over the odds, consider spending your money on a Bluetooth Smart Lock.
Another advantage they provide is in the shape of increased battery time. For, Bluetooth smart locks use batteries that can last a year, at worst.
On the other side of the picture, the range of Bluetooth locks is their biggest downside – not more than 300feet.
Depending on the geometry of your home, the range can further decrease, meaning that while you would be able to control your lock when you’re home, wander out and risk losing connection.
Compared with their Bluetooth counterparts, Z-wave smart locks provide one advantage and one setback. Z-wave locks won’t directly connect to your phone. Rather, you’d have to have a compatible hub to get them going.
As a result of this hub, the compatibility offered by Z-wave smart locks is unprecedented – especially if you want to connect third-party devices.
On the downside, however, the range of Z-wave smart locks lets them down, badly. For, while a Bluetooth Smart Lock has a range of 300feet, Z-wave smart lock signals die down after a mere 120feet.
In contrast to Z-wave and Bluetooth models, a Wi-Fi smart lock doesn’t come as standalone. Rather, it comes as an add-on with models which offer other protocols, which, in most cases, is Bluetooth.
If you are using this protocol, it gives you the advantage of controlling your smart lock no matter where you are. All you have to do to avail this feature is to connect, only once, your Smart Lock to your Home Wi-Fi. Once you have done that, you can control your smart lock from anywhere.
If you want the range of Bluetooth and the compatibility of Z-wave, go for Wi-Fi smart locks. They offer both and unlike Z-wave, do not come at a premium.
Smart Lock Brands
Recently bought by Assa Abloy, August is rightly considered as the King of the Smart Lock brands in the world. From designing to marketing entry products and smart-home access, August’s products carry with them an aura which sets them apart.
While August is favored by the majority, our pals at Home Depot, Lowe’s and a plethora of other authorized dealers favor Baldwin. Just like August, it offers a wide range of products, albeit, at a premium price.
Like Baldwin, Kwikset comes from the same manufacturer, HHI. Going back into history, it was Kwikset which introduced the concept of electronic door locks. Drawing in on its experience, Kwikset offers the world’s biggest range of smart locks.
A daughter company of Allegion, Schlage is known for making both residential and commercial smart locks. Though not as famous as August, the brand is available internationally at Best Buy, Amazon, and home centers.
Additional Features You Should Look For
Provided you’re willing to pay over the odds, the sky is the limit when it comes to additional features. Still, we have selected only those which will give you real value.
Have that one friend who always comes to your home in office timings? Don’t want to see the angry face which he makes after waiting hours outside your house? Congrats, the guest access feature will solve this problem.
Just so the burglar knows that the house (s)he is trying to break into is secured, some smart locks come equipped with tamper alarms. These alarms sound off the moment they sense some untoward behavior. Though they won’t guarantee security, they can still scare off a faint-hearted burglar.
Smart Home Compatibility
Most of the best smart locks offer smart home compatibility. That is, you can control them, alongside other equipment in your smart home, via a single menu-bar. Locks which fall into this category include August Smart Lock, Kwikset Kevo, and Schlage Sense.
Tap to Unlock
Though not exactly “hands-free”, locks i.e. Kwikset Kevo allow you to unlock the front door just by tapping on them. In case you’re wondering, that “tap to unlock” feature won’t be for everybody as it would sense your fingerprint before unlocking the door.
Best Smart Locks Product Reviews:
1. August Smart Locks Pro + Connect
Don’t want to tell your neighbors that you have a smart lock guarding your front door?
Well, you’ve just got your wish.
As August Smart Lock Pro can be installed on the door’s inner side, meaning no burglar will ever know that it’s there.
Seems like a good deal to you? Wait till you read the features.
Starting from its design, the August Smart Lock Pro + is a refreshing addition to the August series.
Unlike its 2nd Gen predecessor, its round lock ensures a user-friendly interface. It also has LED rings on the outer edge which turn green when you unlock the door.
When closed, they will turn red, leaving no doubts in your mind whatsoever.
Active monitoring is another feature which I found worth mentioning in this review. Every time any of your loved ones open the front door, you’ll receive a notification on your app.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you’d be bound to get notifications all day. Instead, you can choose the timing of these notifications.
Moving forward, the Smart Lock Pro also has an auto-lock feature. That is, every time the door is left open for a specific time– the duration of which you’ll decide, it will auto-lock itself.
In this way, you’d never have to wake up in the middle of the night amid apprehensions that you forgot to close the door.
Lastly, since we talked about Protocols above, you’d find it good to know that the August Smart Lock + works with all three of them.
Yes, be it Z-wave, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, the August Smart Lock Pro would work with all/any of them.
Read the FULL PRODUCT REVIEW
2. August Smart Lock HomeKit Enabled
Some smart locks have a good design.
Others provide convenience whereas there is a third category which provides ease of control.
Merge all these three qualities into one – and you’d be looking at the August Smart Lock.
Have doubts about this claim? The features will take care of them.
First thing first, the August Smart Lock – unlike many of its competitors, doesn’t require you to change your door keys. Rather, what it does is upgrade your existing deadbolt. Consequently, you can use the existing keys without any hassle.
The August App offers brilliant compatibility with both Android and iOS devices. The app allows you to send recurring, permanent or temporary keys to your loved ones. What’s more, it also comes with an auto-unlock feature – so that your door unlocks itself whenever your phone is in the proximity.
And since we’re talking about the Homekit Enabled, you won’t have to worry about its compatibility. For, be it Amazon Alexa, Nest, Home Kit, Xfinity, Logitech Harmony or even Google Home, this smart lock would be compatible with every famous home platform.
Finally, if you prefer a smart lock with the camera, the August Smart Lock lets you add its Doorbell Cam on your door. As a result, you can keep track of any unwanted visitors which may be making the rounds.
3. Schlage Sense
Talking about experience, not many lock manufacturers can rival the 100 year lock-making history of Schlage Sense.
That said, it was the features – and not a trip to the memory lane – which forced us to include the Schlage Sense in our review.
No matter how good a smart lock looks, providing security should be its paramount concern.
Thankfully, the Schlage Sense doesn’t shirk from this responsibility.
Apart from being ANSI Grade 1 certified – which means it belongs to the narrow list of elite security-providing locks, it has a built-in siren. Anytime someone wants to break-in through the door, the automatic siren would start sounding.
Apart from bringing the potential intruders some unwanted attention, the siren also gives you time so that you can protect your family.
If that wasn’t enough on the security front, the Schlage Sense uses encrypted Bluetooth connection for unlocking the front door.
It means that as long as hackers don’t have your login information, they won’t be able to break through.
While it doesn’t have the auto-unlock feature, the Schlage Sense does have the auto-lock one.
The auto-lock feature lets you close the door between 15 seconds and 4 minutes of its opening. In this way, you can always be sure that your front door is locked.
Read the FULL PRODUCT REVIEW
4. Poly-Control Danalock v2 BT
For those of you who have had the bad luck of using its predecessor – the 1st Gen Danalock, be ready for a pleasant surprise.
For, if anything, the Danalock v2 is an upgrade on almost every department when compared with its much-maligned ancestor.
If there is one thing which Danalock v2 has borrowed from its predecessor, it is its shape. Luckily, the shape was the only good thing associated with THAT model.
Moving towards the security level it provides, the Danalock V2 has one good, one bad feature.
Starting from the former, it will protect your door against electronic hacks by using heavy encryption. It also sends alert notifications when the door isn’t completely locked.
On the flip side, since it attaches to the existing deadbolt, the lock is as good/bad as your existing deadbolt.
If you ask me, I’d recommend opting for a Grade 1 deadbolt before installing this smart lock.
Otherwise, if you are using a Grade 3 deadbolt, the security level might not be sufficient.
Finishing on a high note, the convenience offered by Danalock v2 is unparalleled. Like other high-end models, there is a Guest Access Feature on offer here.
Available in three settings – temporary, permanent and recurrent, the guest access feature sure you never leave your guests waiting at the door while you’re busy in the office.
Read the FULL PRODUCT REVIEW
5. Kwikset Kevo Touch to Open Smart Lock (2nd gen)
Being the latest connected lock from Kwikset – while also being their most expensive model till date, the Kwikset Kevo 2nd Gen has got what it takes to justify what seems a lofty price tag.
Unlike other models mentioned in this review, the Kwikset Kevo doesn’t offer multi-protocol compatibility.
Rather, whether you are using iOS or an Android device, it would use Bluetooth to communicate.
Thankfully, during our testing, the Bluetooth showed no signs of abating, thereby giving us a seamless experience.
One area where this model has improved is that of its LED lights. While they turn green and red on unlocking and locking – like all other models, the color change is accompanied by a loud beep.
It means that provided you’re home, you’ll know when the door is locked/unlocked.
Moreover, if you don’t have your smartphone – and haven’t spent the extra $28 which this model wants for its fob, its Triple Touch Feature will come to your rescue.
All you have to do is to tap the lock 3 times when outside. On recognizing your fingerprint, it will unlock the door without a moment’s delay.
To protect against lock picking, torque attacks, and lock bumping, this model comes with SmartKey Security feature.
Similarly, if you have your keys lost or stolen, this technology lets you re-key the lock to prevent any unauthorized entry.
Read the FULL PRODUCT REVIEW
FAQ about Smart Locks
What is ANSI rating?
When selecting a smart lock – or any lock for that matter, always look for its ANSI rating. Based on the level of security a lock provides, American National Standards Institute grades it into one of the three categories. Starting from Grade 1 Locks – which can withstand 360lbs force, six door strikes and 800,000 cycles, the ANSI rating gives a good roundup of how the lock will protect your home when under duress.
What if the batteries go flat? Can I still unlock the door?
Depending on the model you select, there are two ways to proceed. First, if your model supports it, just go for the mechanical override key. If it doesn’t, you can supply emergency power to the supply plate using a 9V battery. In this way, you can power the lock and unlock it.
Would there be a sign when the battery needs replacement?
In the majority of cases, yes! The sign, however, may differ. While some locks trigger a low continuous beep when the battery is low, others start blinking in red. Check your product’s manual to learn about the warning sign.
What if I lost my phone which has the Smart Lock App?
Immediately log into the Smart Lock App on any other smartphone, and delete or disable your previous phone from the list of options given. Most models provide standard keys so that you can unlock your door.
As stated at the start of this article, the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect is undoubtedly my pick among the locks mentioned in this review.
It is easy to install and even easier to operate. Similar is the case with its feature-set and wide-ranging compatibility. Last, but not the least, is the level of security it provides.
Hence, if you are looking for a very good smart lock, August Smart Locks Pro + Connect is what you need.