Modern lifestyles can be so busy, with various household members all on different schedules, so it’s high time for an up-to-date approach to home security. Whether you’ve got an arm full of packages or your kids tend to lose keys, a convenient electronic door lock can streamline and simplify your family’s comings and goings.
An electronic door lock will let you gain access to your home with a punch code or finger swipe—no more rummaging for keys. Many of these devices work seamlessly with your smart home, making them even more flexible. Yet when shopping for an electronic door lock, research is key.
Use this guide to learn what features and functions to look for and why the following picks are considered among the best electronic door lock options available.
- BEST OVERALL: August Home Smart Lock Pro
- BEST FOR INTERIOR DOORS: Kwikset Smart Code 955 electronic lever
- BEST UPGRADE: Yale Assure Lock SL
- EASIEST TO USE: HARFO Fingerprint Door Lock
- TECH PICK: ULTRALOQ Smart Door Lock U-Bolt
- BEST FEATURES: Sifely Smart Lock
Types of Electronic Door Locks
All electronic door locks bring home a modern approach to security and convenience, but they do so in different ways. Here’s how the various options work.
Magnetic locks, simply called maglocks, secure doors with magnetic attraction. They have a two-part design, with an electronically controlled magnet installed in the door jamb and a metal plate installed on the door. When the magnet receives electrical current from the control board (via a keypad, proximity card, or push button), it activates and pulls the metal plate, securing the door.
Maglocks can tie into the fire alarm system and deactivate in the event of an alarm, allowing free passage in the event of an evacuation. Though popular in commercial buildings, maglocks are rare in residential settings, as they require additional hardware and complex wiring.
Electric Door Strikes
On conventional doors, the strike is the small metal piece in the door jamb that catches the latch. With an electric door strike, the door cannot be pushed or pulled open until someone holds a proximity card up to a reader or enters a keypad combination. The device then sends a signal to deactivate the strike, allowing you to pull the door open without even twisting the doorknob.
Electronic door strikes can be programmed to work in conjunction with the fire alarm system. They are also more popular in commercial construction for the same reasons as maglocks.
Electric Bolt Locks
Electric bolt locks can be found in both residential and commercial settings, though they’ll likely be entirely different products. Both types typically install in the door and send a bolt into the jamb when in the locked position.
Commercial bolt locks typically use a type of electromagnet, called a solenoid, to manipulate the bolt, while residential locks have motors and gears. A signal sent to the motor or solenoid will retract the bolt, allowing passage.
Electronic Keypad Locks
Electronic keypads are the most popular type of electronic door look for residential entryways (keypads in commercial settings are often mechanical). These locks install in the door with a keypad facing the exterior.
When you punch the appropriate code, a motor inside the lock will flip the locking latch, allowing you to use the doorknob to enter. Locking the door from the outside typically requires pressing one button rather than entering the code.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Locks
Radio frequency identification (RFID) locks use signals detected from RFID-embedded tiles or prox cards to activate their unlocking mechanisms. In many cases, these locks come with a handful of plastic tiles for use by household members; the tiles are usually small enough to hang unnoticed on your keychain. When the lock detects them, it will unlock the door and allow entry.
RFID readers and the accompanying systems are popular in commercial settings, as they’re very easy to manage, especially on a large scale. Creating prox cards is faster and easier than cutting keys, and you can deactivate a card if it’s lost or stolen. In most cases, these locks also have keypads and traditional key locks in the event that the batteries die or you lose your tile.
Bluetooth Electronic Locks
Many residential door locks use Bluetooth to activate and deactivate the locking mechanisms. By installing an app on your phone and programming it with the door lock, Bluetooth locks can detect your phone’s Bluetooth signal and unlock as you approach the door. To avoid locking yourself out if the batteries die, these locks often include keypads and traditional keylocks as well.
Becoming more popular in residential settings lately, biometric locks use your fingerprint to detect your ID and grant access. You can program them to accept several people’s fingerprints, but if you’re not on that list, you won’t be able to unlock the door. You’ll often find these with keypads and keylocks as a backup.
Many of the best electronic door locks can operate with your home’s Wi-Fi system. Downloading an app allows you to communicate with your lock through the Wi-Fi, even if you’re across the globe.
These apps allow you to program several unique codes, grant instant access, and track alerts like entries, failed logins, and battery levels. They’re popular with folks who want to control access remotely to allow entrance to cleaners, repair technicians, dog walkers, or friends when they aren’t home.
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Electronic Door Locks
Now that you’ve familiarised yourself with the different types of electronic door locks, you’re ready to dig deeper. Consider these important factors, features, and capabilities when shopping for the best electronic lock for your home.
Rather than a wired powered supply, most residential door locks use rechargeable or changeable batteries to power keypads and controls. Battery lifespan will vary, depending on how often you activate the lock or access Wi–Fi–controlled features, but they should be able to last for several months.
It would be frustrating to find yourself locked out with a dead keypad, so many of the best electronic door locks have low-battery indicators to help avoid this scenario. Stand-alone keypads often have flashing lights, which will flash a particular pattern to alert you to low batteries. Locks that function with smart apps will usually send a notice to let you know you need to charge your batteries.
Door locks come in grades that indicate the security level you can expect. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) categorize them by Grades 1, 2, and 3. Grade 1 locks are the most secure, while Grade 3 are the weakest.
The standards the agencies use are rigorous, testing locks against the types of forces the average would-be burglar would use, such as cranking hard on the door handle, prying, twisting, and smashing the lock with blunt force.
While it’s accurate to assume Grade 1 locks are the best of the best, it’s not necessarily fair to assume Grade 3 locks aren’t any good. They still have to pass the BHMA/ANSI basic requirements, which are stringent. And keep in mind that there are plenty of locks on the market with no grade at all.
Display and Controls
There are a few options available for display and controls. Some people want a simple push-button keypad, while others prefer higher-tech options that feature touchscreens. One benefit of a push-button keypad code is that when you press a button, you can be pretty darned sure you entered the corresponding number.
With a touchscreen, you might not realize you missed a key. Touchscreens make for a sleeker entryway appearance, and they can be easier to see in the dark, though bright sunlight can make them difficult to see.
The ability to connect your electronic lock to your Wi-Fi broadens the scope of convenient home security. If your lock can connect with your Wi-Fi, you’ll be able to access it from anywhere to check its current condition, track entries, and keep tabs on its battery life.
Many of these locks can link up with 2.4 gigahertz Wi-Fi systems. While your router might handle 5G, it’s not necessary for an electronic door lock’s features, so most manufacturers haven’t adapted their locks for it yet. The good news is that most routers with 5G also offer a 2.4 gigahertz network that you can tie into.
Smart Tech Integration
If you find a door lock that can connect to your Wi-Fi, you may also be able to control it with your smart home system. Many of the best electronic door locks will work with digital voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing you to lock/unlock your door from the comfort of your couch and ask for a report on the state of your lock, locked or unlocked.
What’s more, you can often set up IFTTT (If This, Then That) programs with your smart home, and program the system to lock the door automatically when you turn on your alarm system before bed, for instance.
On-Site and Remote Access
The ability to monitor and control the entrance to your home when you’re away can offer peace of mind. So if you’re looking for a new door lock that uses an app, ensure that the app is user-friendly, easy to set up, and provides access off-site as well as on.
The app should allow you to check on the status of your door, lock and unlock it, program temporary access codes, and track your lock’s battery life. You should also be able to track entries by date and time.
Outdoor locks endure a variety of weather conditions, such as precipitation, wind, and temperature extremes. These conditions can be tough on electronic devices that don’t have exterior or outdoor ratings.
Even behind a storm door, direct sunlight or brutally cold temperatures can seriously limit your electronic door lock’s lifespan. Exterior-rated door locks can handle the changing outdoor conditions, while interior door locks do best in a controlled environment, so factor this into your decision.
Our Top Picks
The following electronic door locks were selected according to the criteria detailed above. All are considered among the best available, so whether you want a simple keypad to replace your current deadbolt or a high-tech device you can operate from anywhere, one of these models may meet your needs.
If you want a technologically advanced door lock that’s a snap to use, check out the Smart Lock Pro from August Home. This easy-to-install lock bolts directly to the existing deadbolt—no need to drill any new holes, change keys, or worry about aesthetics. It’s a solid way to sync security and convenience with your smart home system.
The Wi-Fi bridge supports unlocking and tracking door use remotely. Users can also set the device to recognize a cellphone’s Bluetooth signature to both unlock the door automatically upon approach and lock it behind when you leave. Its temporary key codes are simple to create for visitors and service people from the app so the dog walker or plumber can get in while you’re at work or on vacation.
If interior privacy is important—for a bedroom or home office, say—the Kwikset can help you keep your personal space personal. It’s designed for use on interior doors only, but it’s an easy, direct swap with your current interior door locks. Once installed, it can program up to 30 separate codes for easy access.
The Kwikset sets to three different locking modes, including unlocked, locked, and automatic lock, which automatically relocks the door after every entry to allow customization of a room’s security. The automatic lock mode ensures privacy, whether at home or away. There is even a one-time emergency code available through Kwikset for anyone who locks themselves out and can’t remember the code.
Those who want to get the most out of an electronic door lock might look into this option from Yale. Flexible for many different situations, the lock gives you the choice of upgrading just the deadbolt or replacing the entire lockset. The touchscreen keypad can store up to 25 preset codes. Users also can control and grant access remotely through the Connected by August app that Yale recommends.
Yale’s electronic lock works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, allowing you to lock or unlock the door with voice commands. The device can also lock and unlock automatically by sensing a user’s approach, as long as they have their phone with them. It even integrates with the Airbnb and HomeAway apps for fast and easy check-ins.
HARFO’s lockset can help you get in and out of the house with ease, in a variety of ways. While simply placing a finger over the fingerprint reader allows entry, users can also gain access through programmable codes, the included access cards, or a backup key.
This lockset fits most standard doors without modification, and the HARFO holds up to 300 different codes. While it is a fairly high-tech set, HARFO walks users through the setup process with voice instructions and a digital organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display on its face that lights every time you punch a number.
This lockset includes a setting that activates a “deadbolt” feature, which will only allow a user with the preset admin code to unlock the door.
For a superior high-tech replacement for an outdated deadbolt, consider this smart deadbolt from the U-Bolt from ULTRALOQ. This high-end deadbolt works via voice control with Alexa and Google Assistant. It’s also easy to lock or unlock a door with customizable If This, Then That (IFTTT) programs.
This deadbolt features an automatic lock and unlock mode, which operate when residents enter or leave a home. It also provides four additional ways to lock or unlock, including the keypad, a smartphone app, a standard mechanical key, and a shake-to-open feature where a user wiggles a phone in front of the lock.
This door lock also includes remote access, so an owner can lock or unlock the front door while also creating custom e-keys for guests and visitors. Those keys can work as a one-time access code or open at specific dates and times, allowing users to schedule appointments and program the lock ahead of time.
Versatile convenience is key with this Sifely door lock, which offers five access methods to choose from: fingerprint reader, keypad punch code, key fob, smartphone app, or an included mechanical key. This Sifely pairs with Alexa to work with voice commands, and the Sifely app lets users lock and unlock the door or create custom e-keys for visitors.
Keep in mind that the Sifely Wi-Fi Gateway (sold separately) is required to make the most of the Sifely’s features. The lock installs easily with just a screwdriver and is suitable for both left- and right-handed doors.
The Advantages of Owning Electronic Door Locks
If you’ve ever struggled to find your house keys while juggling packages or had to stay home to grant entrance to a worker, you may appreciate the security-with-convenience of an electronic door lock. Equip your entry door with a device that can sense your proximity and unlock automatically as you approach.
Electronic door locks with apps allow you to program unique, individual access codes for children, the dog sitter, or service and repair technicians. You’ll also be able to track who’s been entering the home and when.
One of the most obvious benefits of an electronic door lock? It will all but eliminate the odds of locking yourself out of your home. As long as your door lock has battery life, you’ll be able to access your home without carrying a key.
- Enjoy hands-free unlocking, a bonus when your hands are full.
- Track the date and time of anyone entering your home.
- Eliminate the chances of locking yourself out.
FAQs About Electronic Door Locks
Though you now know a bit more about choosing the best electronic door lock for your home, you might still have some questions, so check out the info below. If you still have questions, reach out to the manufacturer and speak to a customer service representative.
Q. How do electronic door locks work?
Basic electronic door locks have internal control boards that recognize when you enter a correct entry code. The board then activates a motor and gear combination to retract a deadbolt or flip a lock into the unlock position. The simple press of a button usually reverses this, locking the door with one touch.
Q. How do I choose a keyless door lock?
Think about what will best fit your lifestyle. If you’re looking for a simple electronic option, look for a stand-alone model with a keypad. If you have a smart home, find one that integrates with your chosen system to make the most of its features.
Q. Do smart locks need Wi-Fi?
Smart locks do need Wi-Fi to integrate with your smart home. However, Bluetooth locks do not. If you program the lock to recognize your phone’s Bluetooth signal, it will unlock automatically, sans Wi-Fi.
Q. Do smart locks have cameras?
There are very few locks with built-in cameras. What you might prefer is a doorbell with a built-in camera and lock enabled using smart technology.
Q. Can electronic locks be hacked?
Any device that uses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or a punch code is potentially hackable, though the best electronic door locks are often the hardest to hack. Keep in mind that even traditional door locks aren’t impenetrable, so doubling up your lock with a comprehensive alarm system is always a good idea.