Are Smart Door Locks Worth It?
Home security has always been a top priority for homeowners. With the emergence of smart door locks, it has become easier to control access to our homes, monitor security, and stay connected even when away. However, this convenience and added security comes at a cost. Smart door locks can be expensive and complex to install, leaving many homeowners wondering are smart door locks worth the investment. In this article, we will not only explore the features and costs of smart locks but also discuss the pros and cons of them. By the end, you will have a comprehensive understanding of smart door locks and be better equipped to decide if they are the right choice for your home.
What Features to Expect in My New Smart Lock?
Compared to traditional mechanical locks, smart door locks offer rich and convenient features and characteristics that may or may not suit your needs. To help you decide whether investing in a smart door lock is worth it, here are some features that most smart door locks have:
- Keyless & Multiple Access Control Methods
The use of physical keys to access a building or space can be inconvenient and problematic. Keys can be easily lost, stolen, or duplicated, which can lead to security breaches and delays in accessing the space. In contrast, smart door locks offer several benefits, particularly through their multiple access control methods. These can include using a mobile app, entering a PIN code, or even facial recognition technology, allowing for secure and efficient access to the lock. This can be especially useful in situations where multiple individuals require access to the space, such as shared offices or vacation rentals. By providing a variety of access methods, smart door locks offer a convenient and secure alternative to traditional physical keys.
- Remote Access
Remote access is a key feature of smart locks that allows you to control your door from anywhere using a mobile app. There are numerous benefits of remote access. For example, if you're expecting a delivery but won't be home, you can remotely unlock your door for the delivery person to leave the package inside. Similarly, if you have guests arriving when you're not home, you can remotely unlock the door for them to enter. Additionally, remote access is useful for people who frequently forget to lock their door when they leave. With a smart lock, you can simply check the status of your door and lock it remotely if necessary. Overall, remote access is a convenient feature that provides flexibility and peace of mind, especially for those who are frequently on the go or have busy schedules. (Note: remote control is only available for Wi-Fi enabled smart locks or Bluetooth smart locks with an extra Wi-Fi gateway.)
- Temporary or Restricted Access Codes
One-time temporary access codes and time-based restricted access codes offer significant benefits for smart locks. These codes can be used to grant temporary access to people such as delivery personnel or service technicians, without giving them permanent access to the property. This ensures security and privacy, as well as providing the convenience of allowing access when necessary. Time-based access codes allow for even greater control, as they can be set to expire after a specified period, limiting access to only the required time frame. Permanent codes can be assigned to family members, allowing them to enter the property at any time. This feature is especially useful in scenarios such as rental properties or vacation homes, where guests need temporary access, but owners want to maintain control over who can enter the property.
- Automatic Locking
Another impressive feature of smart door locks is their ability to automatically lock. If you're constantly unsure whether you've locked the door and have to return home during your commute to check, or if you're frequently forced to get out of bed late at night to lock the door, a smart lock can alleviate these frustrations. Additionally, if you're someone who dislikes manually locking the door before leaving the house, you may want to consider investing in a smart door lock with this feature.
Moreover, some models of smart door locks can detect your smartphone and lock your door based on your location. As long as you leave the predetermined area, the smart lock will automatically lock the door for you.
- Activity Monitoring
Some smart door locks have a feature that allows you to monitor who has entered or exited your home and at what time. This is a great way to keep track of your home's activity, especially if you have children or are expecting guests.
- Integration with Connected Smart Homes
By connecting the smart lock to a home automation system and integrating with, users can easily manage access to their property remotely. They can also be integrated with other smart home devices, such as security cameras, motion sensors, and voice assistants. This integration provides an additional layer of security, as the system can detect and alert the user to any suspicious activity. Moreover, users can create custom rules and automation scenarios, such as automatically locking the door at a certain time or unlocking it when they arrive home. Overall, the integration of smart locks with connected smart homes provides a seamless and convenient experience that enhances both security and convenience.
What Are the Benefits of Smart Locks?
1. Experience Convenience of A Smart Home Integration
Despite the high security and functionality of smart locks, many people purchase them primarily for the convenience they offer. Today, most smart locks integrate with different artificial intelligence features such as Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. As long as these programs fall within their functional scope, they can execute every command you issue.
For example, by saying "Hey Google, good night" to your smart home device, your room lights will be dimmed. Therefore, if you use a smart lock, you can lock your door with a single command using one of these artificial intelligence assistants.
2. A Great Home Security Upgrade
Using a physical key for home security can be risky as keys can be lost, duplicated, or stolen. Experienced burglars can also easily pick or bump locks, making them vulnerable to break-ins.
In contrast, smart locks provide an extra layer of security by using advanced encryption algorithms and authentication methods to protect your home. They can also be integrated with other smart devices such as cameras and alarms, providing a complete home security system that can alert you and authorities in case of suspicious activity. Smart locks also offer remote access control, activity logs, and tamper alerts that provide additional security and peace of mind, allowing you to monitor and control access to your home in real-time.
3. Enhanced Home Access Control Even When Away
Smart locks with remote control capabilities offer the convenience of being able to lock or unlock your door from anywhere using your smartphone or other smart devices. This is especially useful when you need to grant access to your home to others while you are away, such as a pet sitter or family members arriving while you are out of town. Additionally, it allows you to avoid the inconvenience of having to go back home if you forget to lock your door before leaving. Overall, the convenience of remote control from a smart key provides added flexibility and security to your daily life.
4. A Stylish Way to Secure your Home
Smart locks are not only a practical and convenient way to secure your home, but they can also add a touch of style to your lifestyle. With sleek designs and advanced features, smart locks are an excellent way to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home while ensuring the safety of your family.
Most smart locks look like ordinary locks. They don't require bulky or bizarre shapes to provide stronger security and protection. For those who want to protect their homes in a stylish way, smart locks with traditional deadbolts and keypads are the ideal choice. Today's market offers a variety of stylish smart locks to choose from, so you can select the best one based on your needs, with design styles ranging from classic to modern.
What Are The Disadvantage of Smart Locks?
1.Smart Locks are Battery Operated
Most smart locks on the market rely on battery power to function, which means that if the batteries run out, you may be locked out of your own home. While most manufacturers have recognized this issue and provided some solutions, it's impossible to completely avoid such problems. Some smart locks have LED indicators to alert users when battery power is low and send notifications to the smartphone to replace the battery. Some even offer USB ports for emergency power supply from a mobile power bank. Another issue that arises from battery power is the cost and time spent replacing them each year, especially for those managing multiple apartments.
2. They Requires Networks and Smart Phones
Smart locks rely on smartphones and network connectivity for their operation. They use Bluetooth technology and/or wireless internet connections, which means that the security of your home and your loved ones is dependent on these devices. In case your smartphone is stolen and it's your only way to access the lock, you may find yourself locked out of your own home. The same is true when a power outage disrupts your home's Wi-Fi connection. Therefore, it is crucial to have a contingency plan in place to avoid such potential issues when using smart locks, as remote unlocking may not always be possible if you're not connected to the network.
Thankfully, most smart locks support Bluetooth usage even when there is no network connection. Additionally, several unlocking methods, such as fingerprints, passwords, or backup keys, enable users to unlock the door without internet connectivity.
3. Smart Locks Are Possible To Be Hacked
At the 2016 DEF CON hacker conference, Merculite Security tested 16 different Bluetooth smart locks, and found that 75% of them had security vulnerabilities. This result raised public awareness of the security issues with smart locks. Although, smart locks have made great strides in security measures since then and are almost impossible to be hacked, there are still security risks.
Fortunately, the continuous technological innovation has increased the time cost and difficulty of attacking smart locks, and many criminals still prefer to target traditional door locks. And by following best practices for using Wi-Fi networks and smart locks, you can have peace of mind knowing that your smart door is secure and not vulnerable to hacking (Check out our tips to protect your smart home from hackers).
What Are the Costs of Smart Door Locks?
The cost of a smart lock can vary depending on the brand, model, and features. Basic models can start at around $100, while more advanced models with additional features such as voice control and remote access can cost up to $500.
Installation costs can also vary depending on the type of smart lock you choose. Some models are designed for easy self-installation, while others may require a professional installation. Professional installation costs can range from $50 to $200 depending on the complexity of the installation process.
Another cost associated with smart locks is battery replacement. Most smart locks are battery-powered and require new batteries every 6 to 12 months. Battery costs can range from $10 to $30, depending on the type of batteries needed for your smart lock.
While these costs may seem daunting at first, it's important to consider the long-term benefits of a smart lock. With a smart lock, you no longer need to worry about lost or stolen keys. You can grant access to guests or service providers remotely and even monitor when your lock has been used. In addition, many smart locks offer integration with other smart home devices, providing added convenience and security.
Are Smart Door Locks Worth It?
After considering the benefits, disadvantages, and costs of smart door locks, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and priorities. Smart locks offer convenience and enhanced security features, but they may also come with potential vulnerabilities and technical issues. The price range for smart locks varies, with some models being more affordable than others, and it's important to factor in installation and battery replacement costs as well. Ultimately, if the added convenience and security features outweigh the potential downsides and costs, then investing in a smart door lock may be worth it for you. As with any significant purchase, it's important to do your research, read reviews, and check with the seller or manufacturer about installation requirements before making a decision.