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5 Best Smart Locks for Your Home

posted by on July 26, 2016 in Guides & Reviews, Health and Home, Home Safety & Security, Home Improvement, Automation Systems :: 34 comments

Kwikset KevoSmart locks that supplement or replace your front door deadbolt do much more than lock and unlock your door without a key. Most smart locks (and all of the locks on our top picks list) let you receive alerts and track who's entering and leaving your abode; email limited-access digital "keys" to visitors, children, trusted service workers or guests when you're not home; and remotely lock and unlock when you're away from home.

Some smart locks are compatible with smart home ecosystems such as Nest, the Apple HomeKit and the Wink. They can be locked or unlocked as part of a group operation; for example, you could program a night mode action that locks the doors and also turns off the lights and closes the shades. A smart lock can be handy when paired with a compatible smart doorbell. If a friend, family member or service worker rings your smart doorbell while you're away, you can visually confirm who it is via the smart doorbell, then remotely unlock the door to let them in.

Smart home products, including smart locks, are still in their awkward adolescence of development. Many of these new wireless gadgets are awkwardly designed and frustratingly unresponsive. You'll probably take to carrying a traditional key as a back-up in case your smart lock doesn't lock or unlock as advertised.

Since smart locks run on batteries, coming home to a dead smart lock is a remote possibility. Most smart lock batteries last between six months to a year, and flashing lights on the lock or a smartphone alert let you know if the batteries need replacing. But the fact you even have to worry about power for your lock, on top of the will-it-or-won't-it-open anxiety, could dissuade you from buying one of these brainy bolters to begin with.

Lest you become thoroughly discouraged, some smart lock makers recognize these reliability issues and are redesigning their wares accordingly. Many second-generation smart locks and new products include belt-and-suspenders options that provide second and even third physical methods of entry in addition to the primary wireless mode.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. If the idea of a lock you can lock and unlock without a key or that you can monitor and control remotely appeals to your inner geek, here's a primer on the available features and best models.

Smart Locks 101

In most cases, you won't need a locksmith to install your smart lock. A front door deadbolt is easier to remove and replace than you think with a screwdriver and about an hour's time. Smart locks are pricier than a sturdy standard key lock, but not significantly so. Figure on spending between $200 and $250.

Not all smart locks lock and unlock the same way. Some can be operated by mimicking a key as you turn or wave your smartphone in front of the lock. Some smart locks require you to physically touch the lock to lock or unlock it, as long as your controlling smartphone is with you. Some smart locks make you tap a button within the lock's smartphone app. Some smart locks open automatically when you enter a defined zone. Some smart locks obey spoken commands. And some smart locks are smart enough to lock without asking after you've left the building.


The Best Overall Smart Lock: Kwikset Kevo

Kwikset Kevo

Kwikset's Kevo, the first-ever smart lock on the market, remains our favorite; read our original review. Last fall, the company added the Kevo Plus ($99), a small module that adds Internet connectivity to your Kevo lock via Bluetooth, so you can lock and unlock Kevo with your smartphone from anywhere, including your own home.

Kevo is due to release its next-gen model sometime this year. The Kevo II (or whatever the company plans to call it) will be 40 percent smaller than the original, all-metal version and a bit more stylish. An interactive app installer will help speed up and simplify the installation process and eliminate the need for user-initiated calibration. To enhance your peace of mind, the lock has been redesigned to better resist so-called torque attacks (break-ins using a wrench), a vulnerability previous Kwikset locks have been accused of, as well as other common lock-picking techniques.

The new Kevo will be compatible with Android Wear, Nest, Ring video doorbells, Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostats and Moto 360 smart watches. No word on Apple HomeKit compatibility.

Available finishes: Satin Nickel, Polished Brass, Venetian Bronze

Replace the entire lock: Yes

How it unlocks: Touch

Alternate means of entry: Key

Keyfob: Yes

Auto lock when you leave: No

Smart watch compatibility: Yes, Apple Watch

Smart home system compatibility: Nest

Price: $149.99 on Amazon


The Best Smart Lock if You Don’t Want to Replace Your Lock: August

August Smart Lock

Instead of replacing your entire lock, the August replaces the latch inside. Your front door keyhole stays put and can be used by less tech-oriented members of your family. Tap the lock/unlock icon on the smartphone app to unlock the door. The August automatically locks behind you after a period of time or after you've moved 100 feet away.

The Apple HomeKit-compatible August Smart Lock HomeKit, introduced three months ago, lets you lock, unlock and check the August's status using Siri voice commands and your iPhone.

Because reaching for your smartphone to open your door wirelessly may not take less time than digging out your keys, add the two-column Smart Keypad ($79.99) to provide keyless entry via a PIN code. It's great for granting access to smartphone-less relatives. To make your door even smarter, add a Nest-compatible August Doorbell Cam (starting at $165) to let you see who's at the front door wherever you are.

Like the Kevo, the August didn't originally include remote control, so August added the external August Connect box ($79).

Available finishes: Dark Gray, Silver

Replace the entire lock: No

How it unlocks: Bluetooth via smartphone app

Alternate means of entry: Your regular key, optional keypad

Keyfob: No

Auto lock when you leave: Yes

Smart watch compatibility: Apple Watch

Smart home system compatibility: Apple HomeKit

Price: Starting at $201.97 on Amazon


The Best Traditional Smart Lock: Schlage Smart Sense Deadbolt

Schlage Smart Sense Deadbolt

Schlage's first smart lock entry, the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt ($229), is similar to the Kwikset Kevo in installation but completely different in operation. (We recommend you view the YouTube installation guide before finalizing your purchase decision.) To give you total flexibility and peace of mind over your security, Schlage designed the Sense Smart with four opening options: Bluetooth by tapping an icon within the Schlage iOS app, a standard key, an illuminated touchscreen numeric keypad, or Siri voice command with Apple HomeKit compatibility.

There's no need to buy extra keypads or fobs. All the outside world sees is a standard keyhole and a flat white area above it. Instead of emailing virtual keys, you assign individual key code combinations to family, friends and service workers, which can be set on a customized schedule. You'll receive alerts via text or email and can view a log of entries and exits. There's a built-in alarm if someone tries futz with the lock. Unfortunately, the Sense Smart is only compatible with Apple mobile devices running iOS.

Like many smart locks, the Sense operates only within range of its Bluetooth signal. If you want to open and close it from further away, either at home or away, you'll need an Apple TV to use as a control hub, much like the Kevo pairs with a Kevo Plus or the August with the August Connect. 

Available finishes: Aged Bronze, Satin Nickel, Matte Black

How it unlocks: Bluetooth via app

Alternate means of entry: Key, key code, Siri voice command

Keyfob: No

Auto lock when you leave: No

Smart watch compatibility: Apple Watch

Smart home system compatibility: HomeKit, iDevices, Insteon

Price: $229 on Amazon


Coming Soon: Yale Linus and Assure Locks

Yale

The most anticipated smart locks are those promised from lock behemoth Yale. Its first two smart locks, announced last fall and slated to arrive by now, have both been delayed until Fall 2016. We've seen demos of both, however, and are drooling in anticipation.

Yale's entry-level smart lock, the Linus (price to be announced), will work via Wi-Fi and be compatible with Works with Nest. While it lacks a key option, you'll get both a touchscreen touchpad on the lock face and remote locking/unlocking capabilities without the need for an extra box or hub like the Kevo or Schlage. The lock will automatically lock behind you after a customizable length of time.

Like the Schlage, the step-up Yale Assure ($224.99) will provide both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth control. Twist your smartphone in front of the lock, mimicking a key turn; use the lock's built-in touchscreen keypad; remotely control the lock from anywhere with the smartphone app; or use your Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch app.

You'll be able to mail up to five virtual keys to friends, families and in-home workers, but you'll pay $1.99 for additional keys. Add Zigbee or Z-Wave compatibility via a $70 module.

Best of all, Yale has planned to take care of the dead battery issue. Terminals on the bottom of both the Linus and the Assure let you attach a standard 9-volt battery to supply emergency power.

Available finishes: Not yet known

How it unlocks: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

Alternate means of entry: Keypad

Keyfob: No

Auto lock when you leave: No

Smart watch compatibility: Samsung Smart Gear 2

Smart home system compatibility: Nest, Zigbee, Z-Wave

Price: Not finalized


On the Horizon: A Smart Lock for Apartment-Dwellers

Ikilock

All these deadbolt replacements are suitable for houses, but what if you're an apartment-dweller? You could put one on your front door, but with a buzzer-controlled outer door, you lose one of a smart lock's favorite functions: letting people in when you're not home.

To solve this problem, French company called Ikilock (yes, pronounced "icky-lock") is taking preorders on the wood-tone Ikiplug box, a remote doorman that lets you remotely trigger your intercom to open the outer building door.

The system begins inside your apartment with the AC-powered Ikicenter hub, which lets control your lock from anywhere. The matching oblong Ikilock is a replacement smart lock that can operate smartly or with a key.

The "key" piece, if you will, is the Ikiplug, a matching rectangular box you stick next to your intercom. Use the smartphone app to transmit a remote opening order, and the Ikiplug will trigger the intercom to open your building's outer door. How it triggers the opening and what intercom systems it may be compatible with are unclear, and so far only a European unit has been announced. 


[Image credits: Kwikset, August, Schlage, Yale, Ikilock]

Updated on 7/25/2016 with new product picks



Discussion loading

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Security Issues

From Rey Carr on March 04, 2015 :: 6:04 pm

You didn’t mention it in any of the reviews, but what might happen if someone gets a hold of your smartphone and then uses it to access your house? Is there a way to prevent this from happening? (I didn’t go to any of the lock websites to check the details about this security issue.)

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Yes, you can prevent a

From Suzanne Kantra on March 04, 2015 :: 6:35 pm

Yes, you can prevent a thief from using your phone to gain access to your home. Since the locks are digital, you can easily deauthorize your phone by making a call or logging into your account with another device.

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Phones are not toys

From Bill on March 19, 2016 :: 2:32 pm

Like my gun, my phone is only stolen from me by prying it from my cold dead fingers.  Only morons lose their phones.

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yup!

From Melissa Rand on March 24, 2016 :: 5:44 pm

I 2nd that!

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Yes, down with the Morons!!

From z on July 01, 2016 :: 2:49 am

Yes, down with the Morons!!  All hail the gun-toting geniuses!

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Password

From Gavin Granger on June 01, 2016 :: 5:54 pm

I can only speak about the Mul-T-Lock ENTR and you can password protect the application and if you do use your phone you can re-enroll your new smartphone and that will remove the access from the password protected application.

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nice post.

From tripti on March 05, 2015 :: 11:00 am

Unlike the other locks listed, Haven is anchored to the base of your front door, its strongest point.

Thanks for sharing this informative post, I thought these would be available India also. smile

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weather

From Jim on March 06, 2015 :: 11:18 am

Are these locks guaranteed to work in -40C?

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Geez, if it's -40c just

From Josh Kirschner on March 06, 2015 :: 12:42 pm

Geez, if it’s -40c just leave your door unlocked. Who’s going to be breaking in in that weather? grin

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Goji Smart Lock is my

From James Beveridge on April 03, 2015 :: 3:47 am

Goji Smart Lock is my favorite, not just in the list – but probably it’s the finest smart lock I have used. Interestingly, the Goji’s built-in camera lets me see on my smartphone as to who is trying to open it.

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Hey, Goji sales dude...

From Jeff Perkins on April 16, 2015 :: 4:32 pm

DO you mean the Goji that is not available yet?

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Prove it.

From David Burman on July 18, 2015 :: 9:10 pm

James,
It’s not that I don’t trust you, but I don’t trust you.  Goji is not shipping product yet, so I am very interested in how you have this amazing lock that is your favorite????
Why don’t you post a picture of your lock on your door and a recent newspaper.  I would bet that you work for or with Goji

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Goji guy is a liar

From Tina on February 06, 2016 :: 1:36 am

I pre-ordered 3 locks since summer of 2014 and I never heard from them about shipping. The latest email I got after sending over 20 emails to get my over $800 refund back was that, the company has gone bankrupt. I need my money. Guys never pre-order

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Such a liar.

From Me on June 02, 2016 :: 9:00 am

There NO GOJI. Goji never produced any lock for customers. I prepaid $900 and still they did not refund my money back to me. Guys don’t listen to this guy talking about goji had his favorite Goji are fraud. They took money from people and never send them locks.

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goji

From goji on April 19, 2015 :: 2:43 pm

How can you put goji in this article. There isn’t one lock that has even been shipped. They have the worst customer service and its a company scamming people. The only reason they can scam si easily is because of people like you pushing products that don’t exist. They have been taking peoples money and been delaying for over 2 years and don’t give refunds. They say they do but they don’t process the refund so when you purchase a goji lock you don’t get a product and have to hope your credit card company will refund you. This is white collar crime and something needs to be done about it.

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You should not be advertising Goji Lock - it is a SCAM

From Adam Benkovic on June 23, 2015 :: 10:02 pm

Goji lock is a complete scam.  They state that they are delivering from ‘now till August’ for the past month and yet still not one single person has recieved their lock.

Additionally they are unable to post a photo of a final product, obviously because they simply do not have a final product.

I think it is very wrong of you to advertise this sham of a company when they are clearly stealing from anyone who doesn’t do their homework first and pre-orders from their site.

This type of behaviour should not be allowed little own advertised!

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GOJI LOCK

From Beverley Fulton on September 27, 2015 :: 12:11 am

I, like many others fell for this SCAM. Unlike others I did receive a refund, however it took 2 years. This is a SCAM. Please do not order a lock from this so called company.

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How did you receive a

From Tina on February 06, 2016 :: 1:42 am

How did you receive a refund? I need them to refund me it been 2014 and need my money.

-I pre-ordered 3 locks since summer of 2014 and I never heard from them about shipping. The latest email I got after sending over 20 emails to get my over $800 refund back was that, the company has gone bankrupt. I need my money. Guys never pre-order-

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Smart Goji

From Randy North on October 16, 2015 :: 9:19 am

Ohhh just superb, Goji really you have written and explaining ideas are awesome. Enjoying and love your blog writing, videos, thinking…

Thank you so much for sharing

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Kevo Crapo

From Bob on October 25, 2015 :: 2:21 pm

You forgot to mention the Kevo only works with a small number of Android phones.  Not even the reference Nexus 5!  Plus they charge you every time you “make” a key for a friend.  Garbage!

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Goji

From Tony Mokbel on November 01, 2015 :: 11:59 am

Hey there, I have heard a lot of complaints against the Goji and would not recommend it! Just check the BBB, you will see tons of them! Stay away. Remember that these devices are new and will take some time, before they’re perfect or even close to it. However, staying away from the Goji is recommended!

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Remote Control Deadbolts

From Anna Kilbourne on November 02, 2015 :: 10:26 pm

Anything connected to the IoT can be hacked.
Even with Bluetooth LE connectivity, you have to stand within five feet from your door and wait up to ten seconds while your Bluetooth app syncs with the lock. Hardly convenient. These smart locks are supposed to be about convenience. I enjoy pulling into my driveway and unlocking my garage and front door’s deadbolt with a push of a button from 80 feet away. My key fob is attached to my visor, so I don’t misplace it. Has anyone misplaced their smart phone with a dead battery? Good luck. .

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Goji

From Jack on December 22, 2015 :: 12:28 am

Wasn’t there something about Goji being a scam?

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We've updated our story to

From Suzanne Kantra on December 22, 2015 :: 12:43 pm

We’ve updated our story to indicate that we do not recommend Goji. Since we wrote the ariticle two ship dates have passed without Goji fulfilling orders and early backers have had trouble getting a refund.

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More Styles of Smart Locks

From lee Wen on January 01, 2016 :: 3:12 am

Recommend some more smart locks.Pls check:

http://www.aliexpress.com/store/1026183

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Goji Lock Scam

From Beverley Fulton on January 01, 2016 :: 4:33 am

Goji have declared bankruptcy but were still taking orders the day they declared.

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What about Mul-t-lock ENTR?

From Bruno on January 01, 2016 :: 5:56 pm

I’m really interested on Mul-t-lock’s ENTR. Seems very good, although expensive.

Has anyone have anything to share about ENTR?

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Refund for Goji Locks

From Beverley Fulton on February 06, 2016 :: 2:38 am

Hi, I managed to get my refund for 3 locks before they declared Bankruptcy. I contacted my Credit Card Provider. The first 2 people I spoke to said they couldn’t do anything the 3rd person I spoke to said maybe. I then insisted that they put a claim in. I did produce the email and Facebook post from Goji that said they would refund. Good luck to everyone. It isn’t fair that these Mongrels may get away with stealing your hard earned dollars.

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Omg

From Me on March 24, 2016 :: 5:57 pm

Thank you for writing this. I paid with my amex and will have them follow up on this too. If I knew, I would have done this long ago.

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Remote door lock

From Keith Elcomb on March 14, 2016 :: 1:19 pm

Our company - Arbel Electronics Ltd - manufactures and sells remote door locking and unlocking systems. Usable via internet or smartphone.
These have been in production for 24months and are used by Local Authorities.
They also monitor temperatures and footfall plus lots of other customisable features.
Drop me an email - .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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I 2nd that!!!!

From Melissa Rand on March 24, 2016 :: 5:43 pm

I 2nd that!!!!

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SmartCode Deadbolt

From Flint Dempsey on July 13, 2016 :: 3:35 am

I’d say that Kwikset is the perfect choice for a smart door system. We’ve a different model installed at our home, the SmartCode deadbolt. And while it might not have fancy looks of other SmartKey models, both the functionality and performance is up to the mark.

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Kwikset Kevo can be opened in 10 seconds with a screwdriver

From Randy on August 05, 2016 :: 7:30 pm

Did you not check to see if any of your smart locks stood up to basic lock attacking techniques?  This video has been out for over two years. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1mmjVvMsGs

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Always keep your phone locked

From Stephen Powers on August 11, 2016 :: 9:49 am

A good security measure with or without a smartlock is to keep your phone password protected. This prevents unauthorized access to your data as well as unlocking your smarthome. In addition most smartphones these days now come with fingerprint sensors ensuring you are the only one who can open your phone or the door.

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