What is a Smart Lock?

A smart lock adds security to protect your home and family

Smart Lock with iPhone App Showing Door Unlocked
Unlock the Front Door Smart Lock with Your Phone.  Screenshot / august.com

A smart lock is a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled smart home device that allows users to lock and unlock a door by sending secure signals from a mobile application on their smartphone, computer, or tablet. Smart locks provide a new home security experience with the ability to customize who can access your home and when, lock or unlock your door from anywhere with your smartphone, and even unlock the door with your voice.

What Can a Smart Lock Do?

A smart lock is more than just another smart home device. A smart lock gives you a whole list of features and capabilities no ordinary lock can match. The key when reviewing smart lock options is to choose one with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, instead of only Bluetooth connectivity. If your front door is too far from your smart home hub to reliably connect via Bluetooth, this significantly reduces your ability to use many remote features that are the true benefit of a smart lock.

In addition, smart locks may contain some or all of these features:

  • Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to view entry and exit logs in real-time so you always know who has come and left your home and when — great for parents to verify kids get home safely after school.
  • Bluetooth connectivity allows your smart lock to recognize you by connecting with your smartphone and unlocking your door as you approach.
  • Multiple keyless entry options could include proximity unlocking with your smartphone, remote unlocking with your smartphone, custom code numbers for anyone who needs to enter your home, voice command, and touch or fingerprint recognition.
  • Create permanent or temporary entry codes for visiting guests, cleaning services, dog walkers, repair services, and every individual member of your family.
  • Set limitations for access for every entry code. Limitations can include days of the week and specific hours to ensure code holders can only access your home during approved times.
  • Auto-locking options let you set your smart lock to automatically lock the door if left unlocked for a specific amount of time.
  • Perimeter auto-locking can automatically lock your door if your smartphone’s location is detected outside of a designated perimeter from your home (also known as geofencing).
  • Receive alerts on your smartphone if someone tries to break in or tampers with the smart lock. You can also set it to automatically notify police or a home security service should this occur.
  • Integrate with your connected smart home to activate other smart home devices when your door is unlocked, for example set your smart lights to turn on when the door is unlocked.
  • Sync your smart lock with your video doorbell and any indoor cameras for extra security and to view or record anyone that accesses your home (or attempts to).

Note: Features vary depending on brand and model. Our list includes features from several smart lock manufacturers.

Common Concerns About Smart Locks

When it comes to the security of your home and family, it’s natural to have concerns about making the switch to a smart lock. Here are some common concerns many people have about smart locks:

Can a hacker use the Wi-Fi connection of my smart lock to access my home?

The most important key to keeping all of your connected smart home devices secure from hackers and electronic tampering is to ensure your Wi-Fi system is set up using security best practices, including requiring a password to connect to your Wi-Fi and always using complex passwords. Your smart lock and all of your connected smart home devices access the internet through the same Wi-Fi set-up your computers, smartphones, tablets, and TV streaming service use. Making your Wi-Fi set-up as secure as possible is the most effective way to protect against hackers.

How much do smart locks cost?

Depending on the brand, model, and features, a Wi-Fi enabled smart lock prices range between $100 to $300.

If my internet connection or electricity goes out, how do I get into my home?

Many smart lock models also come with a traditional key port so you can use it as a standard lock if needed. Additionally, the Bluetooth connectivity will still work with your smartphone when you are in range for the phone and lock to connect to each other. Smart locks are also designed with these common issues in mind. When you’ve narrowed down your choices, review how the manufacturer has designed the smart lock to work in these situations.