The Best Smart Locks for a Secure Home

Say goodbye to keys and hello to extra security when you choose a smart lock. We’ve got the scoop on digital locks with smart home connectivity, changeable codes, and fingerprint readers.

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Best Smart Lock

Photo: amazon.com

It’s been a decade since smart locks began to replace traditional pin-and-tumbler locks on private homes, and increasingly sophisticated features have become the norm. The best smart locks are easy to use and have state-of-the-art features. Whether you want to install a lock that’s straightforward and secure, add a lock that can give access to multiple guests, or integrate a high-tech lock into your smart home plan, you can find the right smart lock to suit your needs.

  1. BEST OVERALL: August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Wyze Lock WiFi and Bluetooth Enabled Smart Door Lock
  3. BEST VOICE CONTROL: Yale Assure Lock SL
  4. BEST FINGERPRINT READER: Samsung SHS-H705-FMK Biometric Digital Door Lock
  5. BEST WITH ALARM: Schlage BE469ZP CAM 619 Connect Smart Deadbolt with Alarm
  6. BEST WITH REKEYABLE LOCK: Kwikset 909 SmartCode Electronic Deadbolt
  7. BEST FOR HOMEKIT USERS: August Smart Lock Pro + Connect Hub with Wi-Fi Bridge
  8. BEST FOR ALEXA USERS: Yale Assure Lock SL, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Deadbolt
Best Smart Lock

Photo: depositphotos.com

Types of Smart Locks

Deadbolt 

Deadbolts come in various styles, but all are basically a sliding bolt that attaches the door to the jamb. The solid structure of the bolt makes it difficult to force open the lock. Many smart deadbolts allow you to set temporary codes to allow entry to guests, unlock a door via fingerprint recognition, integrate with virtual assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa so your voice operates the lock, or use a smartphone connected to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to control the lock. Anyone who’s ever stood in the rain with an armload of groceries while fumbling for a key can understand the convenience of a keyless entry.

Lever-Style

Lever-style smart locks are a good choice to give you keyless entry for side doors or to lock interior doors, such as those that lead to a garage or guest house. Lever locks are not as secure as deadbolts, so many people don’t put them on a front or main door. Lever-style smart locks may have fingerprint readers, codes, or voice controls through virtual assistants such as Apple’s Siri. Some are also compatible with other smart home offerings, including security systems.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Smart Lock for You

When choosing a smart lock, your primary considerations are what door you want to secure, who will be entering, and how often they will be entering. If you’re choosing a lock for an Airbnb rental, you may want a smart lock that lets you recode entry passwords. If you want added security for a front door, the best smart lock for you might be one with an alarm. Consider some of the following smart lock fundamentals as you make your choice.

Battery Life

Most smart locks use four AA batteries, which generally last six months to one year, depending on the lock model and other factors. The best way to ensure that your batteries last as long as possible is to correctly install the lock and make sure the door is properly aligned. Door-alignment problems can drain the batteries.

Touch Screen 

The touch screen of a smart lock can have a variety of options, including fingerprint recognition and more than 50 customized user codes, so you can lock and unlock your door with a touch or a code. Some locks rotate the code numbers on your touch screen for extra security. Others have up to 100 virtual keys that you can manage remotely through an app on your smartphone.

Wireless Security and Connectivity

Wireless security with a smart lock can be a double-edged sword. If the power goes out, the app gets a glitch, the Wi-Fi fails, or the batteries in your phone or smart lock go dead, you may not be able to get into your own home. Be sure to carry a traditional house key as a backup.

Keep your smart lock software updated and powered with fresh batteries to ensure safety and functionality. Other best practices with a smart lock include using a 16 to 20 character password, ensuring the lock uses encryption to shield it from hackers, and enabling two-factor authentication (such as a code and your fingerprint).

Smart Home Compatibility 

There are great smart locks and there are great smart home systems, but the two products may not jibe. This can be true even if both the lock and home systems are controlled by the same digital assistant. You can configure some smart locks to work with smart home systems, generally through a separate networking device that connects systems to the cloud. Using a separate device to connect the two may cause you to lose one-touch entry and other features of your smart lock. If you want a smart lock that connects to a smart home system, the best bet is to ensure the two are designed to work together, so you don’t need a workaround.

Voice Control

Each year, more smart locks feature voice control via Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Assistant. You control your smart lock with these voice assistants much the same way you manage other devices with it. Many people use commands such as “Hey, Siri, unlock the front door.” That’s convenient, but it can also be unsafe. Security experts have shown it’s relatively easy for anyone to use an audio transducer—a device that can turn whatever surface it’s on, such as a window, into a speaker—to command a voice assistant to unlock your door. If you use voice control, you’ll also want to use a Personal Identification Number (PIN) or another form of verification to keep your home safe.

Waterproofing

All smart locks are water-resistant and have some form of waterproofing to protect its front from rain, snow, or the stream from a garden hose. The lock’s back is not waterproof, though, so it may fail if it is submerged, such as during a flood. Fully waterproofing a smart lock is expensive and not a common practice.

Additional Features

Smart locks have features designed for various lifestyles. Some allow you and dozens of others to unlock the door with your finger. Others allow you to program access codes quickly, which is helpful if you have out-of-town guests and want to give them access to your property for a specific time. There are even smart locks for interior rooms that only the room occupant can control. Those locks are ideal for people who have roommates but want added privacy. Smart locks are mostly safe, but some provide extra features that boost their security. Some send a message to your smartphone if your door was left open, or notify you if your doorbell rings.

Style and Finish 

You’ll find some smart locks have the same style and finish options as traditional locks, while others come in just black or silver. Most smart locks are slim and sleek, and many have a keypad onto which you enter your password. The downside to keypads is they tell the world the lock is smart, which might entice tech-savvy hackers to tamper with it. The latest look in smart locks mimics the appearance of a traditional deadbolt. You can still open the door with a fingerprint, voice command, or a programmable keycard, but the style disguises the lock’s digital capabilities.

Our Top Picks

Many of the best smart locks come from companies established decades ago as significant players in the traditional lock market. Reliability, appearance, connectivity, and security are some features that set certain smart locks apart from others. Consider the following smart locks and find the best one for your lifestyle.

Best Overall

Best Smart Lock August
Photo: amazon.com

The August Smart Lock works with your existing deadbolt but doesn’t require a plug-in adapter for Wi-Fi capability, a feature that saves you money. You can program this smart lock to automatically lock and unlock your door, alert you when the door is left open or its batteries run low, and even assign temporary access codes. (August makes that feature free, unlike some of its competitors.) It links to virtual assistants Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. There are other WiFi-enabled smart locks on the market with similar capabilities, but they don’t work as seamlessly with virtual assistants and they lack the contemporary design of this small, minimalist lock that measures 2.8 by 2.8 by 2.75 inches.

Best Bang For The Buck

Best Smart Lock Wyze
Photo: amazon.com

The Wyze Smart Door Lock is a solid, entry-level smart lock. It costs less than half the price of some of its competitors, and you can install it to your existing deadbolt in minutes. Download the Wyze app onto your smartphone and you can use it to automatically lock or unlock your door, provide guests with access, and review a history of entries and exits. The app also alerts you to the door-lock status and tells you if the door is open or closed. It measures 4.9 by 2.5 by 1.3 inches and has a contemporary, minimalist design with a brushed aluminum finish. One downside: This lock is Bluetooth but not Wi-Fi enabled. That means you need to pair it with a plug-in module (sold separately) to give it Wi-Fi capability.

Best Voice Control

Best Smart Lock Yale
Photo: amazon.com

Plenty of smart locks offer voice control, but not many adapt to an array of systems. The Yale Assure Lock SL is both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled, and it supports Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and SmartThings. The Yale Assure Lock measures just 4 by 2 by 4 inches and replaces your current lock. It’s keyless, so you use a voice command or the keypad to lock and unlock the door. You can control the Yale Assure with a smartphone, but it also links to virtual assistants and smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Nest. You may need to upgrade the Yale lock’s Wi-Fi with an app to access certain features, including visual monitoring.

Best Fingerprint Reader

Best Smart lock SamsungSHS
Photo: amazon.com

Smart locks with fingerprint readers sound great until you face their limitations, like being locked out when there’s a power failure. The Samsung Biometric Digital Door Lock solves that problem with a battery-operated emergency-power option you can use if the electricity goes out. It stores 100 fingerprints and 11 user codes, but don’t let the high number of fingerprints make you question its security. You can erase them from the system as you please or use a privacy feature that won’t allow entry to anyone but you. Biometric locks like these are popular because they are difficult to spoof or hack. This Samsung model ups that security with a lockout delay and audible alert if five incorrect fingerprint or user-code attempts are made. This lock is large, measuring 3.2 by 12.5 by 3 inches, but has a sleek, contemporary design.

Best With Alarm

Best Smart Lock Schlage
Photo: amazon.com

For a smart lock with extra features to protect you and your home from intruders, consider the Schlage Connect Smart Deadbolt. Its built-in alarm senses potential door attacks, sounds an alarm, and contacts your smartphone if an intruder tries to break in. The audible alarm ranges from short beeps if the lock senses activity, to a 15-second alarm if the lock detects tampering, to a shrill, three-minute siren if a break-in seems imminent. This lock has plenty of other features too, including a touch screen that can store up to 30 codes, smartphone control, and hands-free voice control with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. You can also pair it with home security systems, including Samsung SmartThings and Ring Alarm. It measures just 5 by 3 by 1 inches and fits on any standard door.

Best With Rekeyable Rock

Best Smart Lock Kwikset
Photo: amazon.com

It’s easy to get caught up in snazzy, high-tech features and forget the basics, such as rekeying. Kwikset offers keyless entry, one-touch locking, and auto-lock, but it’s also easy to rekey. It comes with a SmartKey tool that lets you rekey the lock yourself in seconds, no locksmith needed. The Kwikset smart lock also has an alarm that sounds if the lock is not fully engaged, plus a backlit keypad. It has a traditional design with a nickel finish and measures 3.5 by 5.4 by 9.9 inches.

Best For Homekit Users

Best Smart Lock AugustSmart
Photo: amazon.com

The August Smart Lock Pro combines the best features of traditional and smart locks. You can use it as a traditional lock by manually turning the bolt to lock it and using an old-fashioned metal key to unlock it. But you can also control it with your smartphone plus Apple’s HomeKit, Apple Watch, or Apple’s Siri. You can also operate it through Google Assistant. The August Smart Lock Pro is one of the most feature-heavy smart locks available. You can control and monitor the door with your smartphone, get Alexa to remind you when the lock needs new batteries, use the DoorSense app to monitor the when the door opens or closes, track all entries and exits, and use fingerprint or facial recognition as a secondary authentication to operate the lock. August packs a lot of features into a lock that measures a tiny 3.4 by 2.2 by 3.4 inches.

Best For Alexa Users

Best Smart Lock YaleAssure
Photo: amazon.com

This Yale Assure Lock is designed to work seamlessly with Amazon’s Alexa, although you do need to purchase a hub to use it. Once the keyless Yale lock replaces your existing deadbolt and the hub is in place, an app allows you to use Alexa or your smartphone to lock, unlock, and check your door. The lock includes a door sensor so you will get alerts via your phone if the door opens or closes. You can unlock your door with your phone or enter a PIN code (it can store up to 250 codes) via the keypad. This Yale model also has a privacy setting that temporarily blocks other codes, and it comes with two physical keys to use as backups. Along with Alexa, this lock works with Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri.

The Advantages of Owning a Smart Lock

The main advantage of a smart lock is keyless entry into your home. Smart locks allow you to monitor entry into and activity around your door, assign codes for limited access, integrate with virtual assistants and smart home systems, and lock or unlock your door remotely. Other features include:

  • Secure, keyless access through a unique passcode, fingerprint, or voice command
  • Added security through an alarm or remote visual monitoring
  • Easy steps to rekey the lock without a locksmith

FAQs About Smart Locks

The smart lock has gained prominence in residential homes in the past decade thanks to convenience, security, and ease of monitoring via smartphones. Here are answers to some common questions about smart locks.

Q. How does a smart lock work?

A smart lock works much like a traditional lock, but is controlled by voice, fingerprint, passcode, or remote connectivity via a smartphone, rather than a physical key.

Q. Are there any door components for smart locks?

Keypads, touch screens, and traditional locks are among the possible smart lock door components.

Q. How do you program a smart lock?

That varies by manufacturer and lock model. Locks come with instructions, but generally you program a number into the lock, push the buttons as instructed by the manufacturer, and it’s all set.

Q. Can a smart lock be hacked?

Yes, smart locks on doors can be hacked (or picked), but proper installation lessens the danger. Another safeguard is two-step authentication. Generally, that requires a password and second form of identification, such as a fingerprint or voice recognition.