The Best Smart Locks For Your Home
Houses come in all shapes and sizes, from humongous mansions to single bedroom apartments. But no matter how large or small houses get, they all have at least two things in common: a roof and a lock on the front door! Not only do locks keep unwanted visitors out, they also make us feel safe, allowing a house to become a home.
Despite being so important, door locks have changed very little since they were first invented over 6,000 years ago. But that’s all about to change thanks to smart locks! One of a number of smart home devices, smart door locks are becoming increasingly popular with people who want to harness the power of technology to improve their home. However, changing locks is a big decision, and there are a lot of smart locks on the market. If you’ve come looking for more information about smart door locks, this buyer’s guide is exactly where you need to be.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through what smart locks are and what you need to know to make the right choice for you. To help you make that all-important decision, we’ve included a fine list of smart locks that we think are top notch, too. With what you learn in this guide, your home will be under smart lock and key in no time!
What are smart locks?
In summary, smart locks are locks that operate electronically rather than with a normal key. Traditionally, smart locks use keycards or fingerprint scanners to replace the key, but most smart door locks today use a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signal sent from your phone to unlock the door.
Installing a smart lock might seem like a fad to some but these smart home devices can make securing your home more convenient. With a smart lock, you don’t need to keep track of every easily lost key. If your partner’s just moved into your house, there’s no need to get a new key cut for them: you only need to add their phone to the smart lock’s memory and they’ll be able to come and go as they please.
Most smart locks let you create temporary digital ‘keys’ too. You can even set them up to work only in specific hours of the day, giving you complete control over your guest’s access. These time-sensitive keys are great if you’re hosting a house party or have cleaners or builders entering your home regularly.
Smart door locks are also an excellent choice for people with mobility issues. You can unlock them remotely from anywhere in your home using your phone or voice, allowing you to give access to friends, family and carers without even having to move.
Will smart locks make my home safer?
The appeal of smart locks is their convenience, but they won’t automatically make your home more secure. This is because many smart locks still have a key cylinder (the slot you put your keys into), so you can unlock your door with a set of keys if you need to. They’re still very hard to break into, but they’re equally as secure as a traditional lock, not necessarily more so. Other smart locks are completely keyless, and so are safer in that sense, but they’re not for everyone - if your phone is lost or broken, you could find yourself locked out!
However, a smart lock can improve your security in other ways. For example, you’ll never have to leave your spare key under a mat for any unwanted visitors to stumble upon. Many smart locks can also be set to lock automatically after a certain time. That’s great if your front door doesn’t lock automatically when it closes, and since you can check your lock’s status on the smartphone app, you can double check if your door’s locked from wherever you are.
We’ve gone over some of the general advantages that fitting your home with a smart door lock can provide, so now let’s get specific. There are a few questions that lots of people ask when they first consider buying smart looks, from installation to home insurance. The big questions are:
- What kind of smart lock can be installed on my door?
- Can I install a smart door lock myself?
- Can smart locks be hacked?
- Can I connect smart locks to my smart home system?
- Do smart locks lower home insurance premiums?
We’ve delved deep into research from builders, money advice columnists and digital security experts to provide these answers.
What kind of smart lock can be installed on my door?
If you’ve ever filled out a home insurance document, you’ll already know that not all door locks are the same, and you should double check which locks you have before buying a smart lock. Almost every kind of smart lock is compatible with deadbolt locks (also known in the UK as mortice locks). These locks are very common on front doors, as they’re the standard lock for wooden doors.
However, if you’re looking to fit a lock to your back door, you might have a problem with a deadbolt smart lock. This is because many back doors and doors that lead to patios have locks called multi-point locking systems. As well as the deadbolt, these locks have other bolts that pop out at the bottom and top of the door. Almost all uPVC doors have multi-point lock systems. Deadbolt smart locks won’t work with a door fitted for multi-point locks.
Other than remembering that wooden doors have deadbolts and uPVC doors have multi-point locks, there are ways of finding out which lock your door has. If all you have to do to lock the door is close it or turn the key after closing it, you have a deadbolt. If you have to lift the door handle before turning the key, you have a multi-point system.
Can I install a smart door lock myself?
Most smart door locks are pretty simple to install and you usually only need a screwdriver to remove your existing lock and fit your new smart lock. Hiring a professional locksmith to change your locks can be quite expensive, so it’s tempting to go the DIY route.
That said, you should bear a few things in mind before you open your toolbox. You need to precisely measure your door’s locks before you order a replacement to avoid buying a smart lock that doesn’t fit your door. Additionally, if you make a mistake and damage either lock during the installation process, you might be left with a door that can’t be locked at all.
You also need to speak to your home insurance provider before you start. Your policy may require all locks to be fitted by a professional, so changing them yourself could leave you uncovered.
Can smart locks be hacked?
This is a very common question and the answer’s a little complicated. While a completely hack-proof smart lock would be ideal, it can’t be entirely guaranteed since it’s connected to the internet. However, the risks are minimal as long as you choose a smart door lock from a trustworthy brand and follow a few security precautions.
Make sure the passwords that you use to access the app or to lock and unlock your front door are secure. A secure password is at least eight characters long and has a mixture of lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers and symbols. This strong password should be unique and for extra security you should change it every few months. You’ll want to set a strong password for your Wi-Fi router as well, as routers are a common attack point for hackers.
If your smartphone gives you the option, activate two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA means you have to provide two different types of information whenever you use your smart lock. 2FA makes things harder for hackers, as they have to breach another layer of security before they can do anything malicious.
As well as a strong password, make sure you keep your lock’s smart device app updated. If the lock company discovers a flaw in their lock’s security system, they’ll fix it through an update, so it’s important to keep up-to-date with any changes. In addition to this, make sure you disable any temporary smart lock keys you give to guests once they’ve left your home.
Can I connect smart locks to my smart home system?
Almost all smart door locks can be integrated into an existing smart home setup. Most of these locks are system agnostic, meaning you can connect them to smart home systems run on Google Nest, Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit hubs. Once you’ve connected your smart door lock with one of these hubs you can unlock or lock your door using just your voice. You can even configure your smart home to trigger other connected devices when you unlock the door, like turning on lights when you first enter your house. If you’re a complete newcomer to smart homes, we’ve written a buyer’s guide on how to make your home a smart home.
Do smart locks lower home insurance premiums?
Unlike smart thermostats, which can save you money on your gas bill over time by optimising your heating, installing a smart door lock won’t automatically reduce the cost of your home insurance. Some insurers may reduce your premium because you have installed a smart lock, but this will depend on your provider and the particular policy you have. Whenever you change your locks, smart or not, you should always inform your insurance provider.
For more information on how smart thermostats can save you money, take a moment to read our smart thermostat guide.
Although this smart locks buyer’s guide is focused mostly around the best smart locks for your front door, we can’t help but bring up smart padlocks. You don’t need to install these smart padlocks, just snap the shackle closed and it’s secure. Rather than using keys, these smart padlocks are secured with apps or keypads - some even have fingerprint scanners! Look out for a few of our favourites later on in this buyer’s guide.
That should be everything you could ever need to know about smart door locks - now let’s get to the main event!
Our Smart Lock List
After some careful digging, we’ve picked out seven solid smart locks that will help keep your home and valuables safe. Not everyone’s looking for the same features out of their smart lock, so we’ve chosen a diverse range to cover a variety of needs. Whether you want a smart lock that focuses on security or one that can be fully integrated into a smart home system, this list has you covered!
Pros: Discreet appearance, broad smart home compatibility
Cons: Quite expensive, no anti-tamper alarm
Our first smart door lock is the 3rd Gen August Smart Pro. Unlike the traditional locksmith companies you’ll see in this guide, August is a fairly new brand that specialises solely in smart locks. Despite being so fresh faced, August has become one of the most popular smart lock brands on the market today - and with the amazing Smart Lock Pro, it’s not hard to see why!
Most smart locks are relatively big and bulky, but that’s not the case with the August Pro. Most of the circuitry is contained in a circular case that sits on the back of your door. From the front, the August Pro looks like just a normal key cylinder. Not only does this look sleek and smart, it stops anyone guessing that you have a smart lock.
The August app is another example of the company’s superior design skills. Unlocking your door is as simple as tapping a button on your phone’s screen. It’s also very simple to set up guest ‘keys’ for other phones. Invite someone on your contacts list and they’ll receive an email or text message telling them how to install the app and accept the key. Guests will be able to unlock and lock your door (but not change any other settings), and you can set up a schedule to restrict their access too.
For additional security, the app uses two types of encryption to protect your data and a two-factor authentication system to confirm that it’s definitely you unlocking the door. If you ever lose your phone, you can remotely disable the app and all associated keys from August’s website. These features make the August Smart Lock Pro one of the safest smart locks to use.
Some smart locks are only compatible with certain smart home systems, but August has got you covered on all fronts. Google Nest, Amazon Alexa and Apple’s HomeKit are all supported with this device. If you want to configure the August Smart Lock Pro with a smart home system, you’ll need the Connect Hub. This is often bundled with the Smart Lock Pro as a single package. Look out for one of these bundles if you’re a smart home user.
One downside to the August Smart Lock Pro is its price: it’s consistently the most expensive smart lock around. As such, if you have a tight budget, this may not be the best choice for you. This smart lock also lacks an anti-tamper alarm. It’s not an essential feature, but it's certainly something to note. These are fairly minor concerns though - if you can see past the slightly heftier price tag, the August Smart Lock Pro is the best smart lock for smart home fanatics.
Pros: Superior security, battery override
Cons: Very visible, needs other products for smart home features
Up next is our first completely keyless smart lock and it’s from a name that almost everyone will find familiar: Yale! The Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock certainly lives up to the legendary lock company’s reputation. This smart door lock prioritises security. Instead of using a key you can open this smart lock with a PIN code.
Up to twenty codes can be registered at once, and these can all be time controlled, allowing you to issue guests a temporary PIN number that expires on a set date. You can also unlock this smart door lock with special keycards, fobs and key tags that Yale manufactures.
As well as being keyless, this smart lock features a suite of excellent security features, including enhanced wireless encryption and an 80 decibel tamper alarm that starts blaring if anyone tries to tamper with your lock. Another bonus feature is the 9V battery terminals positioned at the bottom of the lock. These terminals allow you to unlock the door if its internal battery runs dry. Keep a standard 9V battery in your bag and you’ll never need to worry about being locked out. This isn’t a security hole, as you’ll still need a PIN code to unlock the door.
One factor to consider before purchasing this smart lock is that it doesn't come with built-in wireless connectivity. To connect it to your smart home system, you’ll need to install a Yale Z-Wave module, also sold separately. The Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock isn’t the most discreet smart door lock either. Its keypad is both bulky and glows in the dark. While it’ll be fairly obvious that you have a smart door lock, its intimidating appearance might frighten off opportunistic burglars. This might be an advantage if you’re after maximum security.
Pros: Amazon Key integration, access history
Cons: Basic features for Google Nest, not compatible with Apple HomeKit
Our next choice is the Schlage Encode. This easy to set up and nice to look at smart door lock is made by an American giant with over a century of experience. You can open the Schlage Encode with your phone by entering a code on its keypad or by using a key. The key cylinder means that this lock isn’t quite as secure as the Yale Keyless lock, but the loud anti-tamper alarm helps to protect against any attempts to unlock your door.
One of things we like most about the Schlage Encode the controls it gives you over entry. This device can store 100 unique access codes in its memory at any one time. Its comprehensive access history allows you to see a record of who accessed your home and at what time from the app.
This smart door lock is great at keeping your home locked up, but how well does it connect to other devices? This depends on what smart home system you’re running. It’s worth noting that only basic features are available for Google Nest at the moment. You can unlock your door and check the status with Google Assistant, but it won’t lock your front door. The Schlage Encode is incompatible with Apple HomeKit, so we recommend choosing a different smart door lock if your home is wired with Apple products.
The story is completely different for Amazon Alexa users. The Schlage Encode is probably the best smart lock if you have one of these smart homes, as you can lock and unlock your door and check its status with your voice. Even better, it's compatible with Amazon Key. This innovative service gives Amazon delivery staff temporary access to your home so they can leave your package behind a locked door. If you’ve had to deal with people stealing packages from your front door before, this service is definitely attractive.
Pros: Fits multi-point locks, superior security
Cons: The app is a little basic, not natively compatible with smart homes
The Yale Conexis L1 Smart Door Lock is the second Yale device we’ve put on this list, and for a very good reason: it’s the top choice for multi-point doors! If you’ve got a ‘lift to lock’ front door, this is the best smart lock for you. The Yale Conexis L1 has many of the same features that the Keyless Connected Smart Lock does. It doesn’t have a keyhole to pick, and has a 9 volt battery terminal on the bottom for emergencies. In one sense it’s even better, as the Conexis L1 can be unlocked directly from your phone and you check on the lock’s status anywhere, any time.
As welcome as a dedicated unlocking app is, the Yale app could be a lot better. It’s fairly basic and not particularly attractive. Also, it’s been reported that the app can wipe all digital keys if you migrate the app between iOS and Android phones, requiring a hard reset of the door itself. While this bug is a nuisance, it's not necessarily a security risk, and Yale has promised to make the app more reliable soon.
Although it has a dedicated smartphone app, the Conexis L1 shares the same lack of smart home integration that comes with the other Yale lock. You’ll need to purchase a separate module to connect this smart door lock to your hub. However, if you need to secure a uPVC door, the Yale Conexis is the smart lock for you.
Pros: Cheaper than the Smart Lock Pro, great app performance
Cons: Limited smart home integration, may require purchase of additional accessories
Let’s look at another product from August now, the simply titled August Smart Lock. As with the August Smart Lock Pro, the Smart Lock fits around your existing key cylinder, so there’s no need to have new keys cut. Another set of features that both August smart locks share is their reliable and user-friendly app. The Smart Lock is significantly cheaper than the Smart Lock Pro, too.
So what are you missing when you select this cheaper version? A lot of smart home connectivity. Unlike the August Smart Lock Pro, the ordinary August Smart Lock won’t work with Apple HomeKit at all. Even if you’re running a smart home through Google Nest or Amazon Alexa, you’ll need to purchase August’s Connect plug-in separately. These don’t subtract from the August Smart Lock’s core functionality, though. This is most likely the best smart lock you can buy if you’re looking for a more basic, entry-level model.
Pros: Small profile, easy to recharge
Cons: Will not provide protection if stolen, no smart connectivity features
The SlowMoose Smart Fingerprint Padlock is the first smart padlock in our guide for buyers and, as the name suggests, you unlock it with your fingerprint. This padlock is tiny, measuring just 29mm high and 28mm wide. It’s light too at just 58g. With such a portable profile, the Slowmoose Smart Fingerprint Padlock is perfect for keeping your suitcase or backpack locked up as you travel.
The fingerprint scanner can store 20 different digit profiles in its memory banks, which is helpful not only for allowing friends and family members access to your luggage, but also lets you open the smart padlock with more than one of your fingers. It’s also a breeze to recharge thanks to the Micro USB charging port at its bottom, and the battery can last up to six months without recharging.
That said, this is definitely a budget product. With no Bluetooth or Wi-Fi aerial, it can’t connect to your phone at all, so there’s no remote locking or other features. Its thin size leaves it open to damage as well. It won’t open just by tugging, but it will be snapped in seconds if someone takes a pair of bolt cutters to it. Although it won’t last long if your bags are stolen, it should stop an opportunistic pickpocket unzipping your bag and nabbing your valuables.
Igloohome Smart Padlock
Pros: Much stronger than the Slowmoose, smartphone connectivity
Cons: No independent strength verification, no voice control unlocking
We’re capping off this buyer’s guide with a second smart padlock, the Igloohome Smart Padlock. While the Slowmoose padlock is unlocked only with a finger, the Igloo Smart Padlock has its own mobile device app. Not only can you unlock this smart padlock with a tap of your phone’s screen, you can use its algoPIN technology to give your friends and family a way to unlock the padlock.
Activating the algoPIN texts a PIN code to the person of your choice from your contacts list. Typing the PIN into the padlock’s keypad unlocks it, but the code only works once, so you remain in control. You can also set up a permanent PIN code on the device itself, allowing you to unlock the Igloohome Smart Padlock if you lose your phone. While the Igloohome Smart Padlock’s app is fairly comprehensive, there’s no way to control the lock with your voice at the moment.
The thick, hardened steel shackle is much more resilient than the Slowmoose padlock. According to the manufacturer, the shackle can withstand more than 15kN of pulling force and over 25kN of cutting force. These impressive figures aren’t independently verified, but should make the Igloohome Smart Padlock fit for use to secure gates, storage containers and other outside applications.
Smart by name, smart by nature
We hope this buyer’s guide has helped you decide which is the best smart lock for your home. If you’d like to browse an even greater selection, our smart security and safety category contains all sorts of nifty gadgets and gizmos to help keep your home safe. We recommend purchasing a smart doorbell to pair with your smart lock, as you can see who’s come knocking before you even unlock the door - sweet! Don’t know where to start? Check out our guide to the best video doorbells to find out more.
Please note: The information in this buyer’s guide is correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.