If you’re in a hurry, we think you should take a look at the 3rd Generation August Smart Lock, it’s simple to use, extremely convenient, and interfaces well for those who are looking into an entire smart home solution. On the other hand, if you’re the picky type then read on. We’ve dug up the five best on the market and we’ll show you how to select the one which is right for your home.
Smart locks are one of the best of the various devices which have been coming out. With the right one you can get a lock which is both super convenient and secure by interfacing with your phone. There are a ton of them on the market, however, which means that picking out the right one can be something of a pain.
For those who just want to ensure they have a tried and true product that’ll slot right into their door, the 3rd Generation August Smart Lock delivers.
Top 5 Smart Locks
|3rd Generation August||Nest||5/5||Check Price|
|Schlage Z-Wave||Z-Wave||4.5/5||Check Price|
|Samsung Ezon SHS-3321 Keyless||None||4/5||Check Price|
|Ultraloq UL3 BT Bluetooth||None||4/5||Check Price|
|Kwikset 92640-001||None||3.5/5||Check Price|
1. Best Overall
3rd Generation August Smart Lock
August was one of the first companies to market with smart locks and despite some hiccups with the first couple of generations this is our favorite of the bunch.
The first thing we noticed was the ability to interface with Nest’s wide range of different security products. We’re strongly in favor of integrating your whole network after all, and Nest really does it the best until you get into third party software.
On top of that this Bluetooth smart lock has the usual features: keyless access, smart phone integration, and it’ll install right where your deadbolt currently sits in about ten minutes.
It’s not perfect by any means, but the simple design places it a bit above the competition for most people, especially if they’re planning on a whole security system.
Pros and Cons
- Bluetooth compatibility for keyless entry
- Easily installs wherever a deadbolt already exists
- App will tell you if the door is locked or unlocked
- Integrates with Nest devices
- Plastic “mounts” for replacement can be a bit less than durable
- Solely battery powered
2. Most Secure Smart Lock
Ultraloq UL3 BT Bluetooth Enabled Fingerprint and Touchscreen Keyless
While it’s not great for those looking for a whole home solution, the Ultraloq functions well and is really one of the best on the market if you don’t mind not being able to interface with many other devices.
The keyless entry feature is a bit unique, you just knock on your phone and it’ll open quickly and easily. There’s also a keypad for those who want to let others into their home when they’re away.
On top of all of that the physical security of this lock is pretty impressive and you can also use a fingerprint entry. Even the key hole is hidden and at a fairly hard angle to pick in case someone is trying hard to gain entry.
While smart locks aren’t really great for increasing security, we feel the Ultraloq UL3 is one of the best on the market when it comes to keeping your home secure. The main flaw is a lack of interfacing with a wider network of apps.
Pros and Cons
- 3 keyless entry methods
- Super long battery life
- 18 month warranty
- Super secure physically
- A bit expensive
- Doesn’t interface with a wider network of devices
Best Z-Wave Smart Lock
Schlage Z-Wave Connect Camelot
There are an impressive number of Z-Wave devices out there and if that’s your preferred method of home automation you’ll be quite pleased with this lock.
The main thing you’ll find here is the fact that this smart lock has keyless entry and great build-quality to keep it from being forced the old fashioned way.
The finger pad is also made of matte glass, which will keep smudges off so that people won’t be able to tell which keys you use most frequently for entry. Add in a built-in alarm and you have a smart lock with some pretty impressive security.
If you’re using Z-Wave compatible devices for your home’s security system or other automation, this is the lock that you’ve been looking for. Others might still enjoy it for the great security it provides.
Pros and Cons
- Z-Wave compatibility
- Easy keyless entry
- High build-quality
- Easy to install
- Doesn’t work in super low temperatures
- Keypad can be problematic
4. Best Budget Smart Lock
Not everyone who wants the benefit of a keyless lock has a huge budget, and while
Kwikset does have some problems we feel that this is the best of the sub $100 smart locks by a wide margin.
Let’s get one thing out of the way though: Kwikset has a horrible reputation when it comes to the digital security measures in place. Smart locks really aren’t as much for security as convenience though, no matter how they’re currently being marketed.
The low price is the main factor here, but the keypad makes things super simple and it’s extremely easy to install for even those who aren’t exactly the DIY-type.
If you want a super cheap and effective smart lock, this is our recommendation. Don’t expect it to increase the security of your home much, but the convenience factor is great.
Pros and Cons
- Easy to install and operate
- Illuminated keypad for night time
- One touch locking on your way out the door
- Can have 6 different codes
- Not networkable with any other devices
- Kwikset doesn’t have a great reputation for digital security
5. Best Non-App Smart Lock
Samsung Ezon SHS-3321 Keyless
While it doesn’t connect with Samsung’s proprietary SmartThings network, you’ll find this lock is super convenient to use and easy to install which makes for a great end user experience. It also has a sleek, modern design which will look great in front of most homes.
When it comes down to it, the main thing you’re looking for with a smart lock is an impressive amount of convenience and the Ezon delivers. If you’re hesitant about using your phone for a smart lock but still want to get a great experience this is the right one for you.
It also has a ton of detection features, including an alarm for forced entry and fires, which adds to it’s utility.
If you want a great smart lock, but aren’t willing to have to rely on your phone to get in and out of your home then this is an awesome way to get your needs met.
Pros and Cons
- Super easy to install
- Simple keypad entry
- Excellent, aesthetic design
- Awesome build-quality
- No integration whatsoever
- Doesn’t handle humid weather well
Smart Locks and Integration
One of the coolest things about modern technology is the sheer amount of integration when you’re using smart devices.
Smart locks immediately come to mind for many people when it comes to a truly connected home. Some companies offer an entire, home-based solution which can interface with your home.
This makes the branding of them more important than with many of the devices out there, if you’re planning on going for a full scale smart home.
There are a couple of things to consider, however.
Are Smart Locks Safe?
We always caution about security risks with smart devices for one simple reason: there are definitely some vulnerabilities in any device which connects to a Bluetooth network or the internet.
We’ll say it upfront: a smart lock will nearly always have more vulnerabilities than a standard deadbolt. While some of the higher-end brands out there are fairly good at not being cracked, it’s not a given across the board.
Basically everything can be hacked, given enough time and a creative enough person with ill-intent.
On the other hand… pretty much all locks can be bypassed by a determined individual. Whether it’s the old screwdriver trick or just ripping the door open with a crowbar, no lock is a perfect defense and that can be a bit disconcerting for many people.
Indeed, anyone with a little bit of manual dexterity and physical access to a lock can bypass them with just a couple of dollars’ worth of “tools.”
The main advantage of smart locks is convenience for the user, not increased security. Someone who wants to get in and is willing to break things to do it will be able to bypass pretty much any sane lock setup you can utilize.
We really don’t feel there’s too much of a trade-off as long as you’re using a good smart lock, there hasn’t been a single break-in attributed to someone bypassing the locks just yet, so basically you get convenience in exchange for a higher price.
Who Needs a Smart Lock?
Unlike many security measures which can be had for the modern home, smart locks are more a matter of convenience than increased security. As we noted above no lock is really fool-proof, but the convenience which can be gained with one of these locks is pretty high.
For most people smart locks are a great way to let personnel into the home while you’re away. Whether it’s the maid or the baby sitter, being able to either remotely unlock your door or allow others to use a temporary “key” is pretty awesome.
There are also locks which can be quickly and easily undone while you approach. If you’re tired of having to fumble for your keys with a couple of bags of groceries in your hands then smart locks are an almost perfect solution for the average person.
Lastly, they make a great way to get started on full integration of a home. Some brands do it better than others, but a lot of us just get a kick out of the near sci-fi levels of technology which are currently available.
We don’t recommend them for the paranoid. They really don’t increase the security of your home, and while there aren’t a whole lot of documented cases of people cracking smart locks with ill-intent the possibility is still there.
Of course, if you pair them with cameras and a smart doorbell, you’ll definitely know who entered your home.
Basically, they’re one of the fundamentals of building an integrated smart home, and we think the convenience outweighs the relatively minor security risks posed. If you’re already using smart devices around the home, tapping into the new territory of the “internet of things” then take a look and see if you think one of them could make a simple quality of life improvement for your home.
Picking the Right Smart Lock
Picking your lock from the myriad of them on the market can be a bit hard. Mostly you’ll be looking at the different features which are offered by each individual lock.
Of course, there are definitely some other concerns which are a bit more solid than just features so look for the following.
Most smart locks are deadbolts. This makes them hard to pick or force for the most part.
Of course, any lock can be bypassed with enough brute force… or going through a window. The safer the better though, seconds can count and you’re likely to get a much better look at the thief with the rest of your security system if it takes them an extended period to get through the door in the first place.
At any rate, make sure it’s a dead bolt. Regular door locks are able to be bypassed with minimum force in most cases, and more finesse-based methods like picking are also harder to use on dead bolts than on standard locks.
High-quality construction is pretty much assured with the higher end brands available, but you’ll want to look carefully at any kind of “off-brand” lock.
Unfortunately, there’s no real “measure” for digital security apart from taking a look at the data which white hat hackers have put together. We’ve done our best to not recommend anything which is easily cracked, and if a device has been cracked made sure to note it.
This is one place where marketing claims rarely hold up to the hype. In the past nearly every smart lock on the market has been cracked at some point or another, but the amount of time it takes and the raw talent required differs by quite a bit.
You’ll have to rely on news reports if you’re going to be doing your own independent research in this area.
Remember that just because a lock has been cracked in the past doesn’t mean that someone on the street will be able to do it. There are dedicated folks out there who literally make a career out of exploiting security systems just to see if it can be done, and your average burglar or prowler is unlikely to be possess the skillset to do so.
Retrofit or Exchange
Some of the locks on the market can be added to your existing deadbolt. This means that you haven’t wasted a bunch of money on the high-end lock you may already possess and you can rest assured of the physical security of the lock.
On the other hand, some locks will actually need to be installed entirely. If you have the skills to do it and trust the lock’s durability then these are a great option for most people. They actually tend to be simpler overall to replace.
This mostly boils down to personal taste.
The convenience factor is the real selling point of smart locks as far as we’re concerned. As noted before, they aren’t any more secure than a regular lock at the best of times.
However, you have a ton of different functions which can make your life easier.
Our favorite is automated locking. This can let you unlock your door as you approach, making things a whole lot easier if you’re coming up with your arms full and don’t want to fumble with your keys during the entry.
The flip-side of automated locking are locks that lock as you exit. You definitely won’t have to worry about whether your lock is on or off with almost any smart lock, since you can almost always make sure of things in the app, but many locks will also lock behind you on your way out the door.
In addition to these pieces of convenience, one of our favorites is temporary keys. If you need to let someone in on their own time while you’re away, then you’ll be able to let them use a “key” which expires automatically.
This will let, for instance, a handyman access your home while you’re at work.
Bluetooth vs. Wifi
Different locks work on different wireless protocols.
As a general rule, Wifi tends to burn through batteries a lot quicker, but has a much better range than you’ll be able to find with Bluetooth devices.
The best will have both and be wired the majority of the time. Don’t use a wired lock without a battery backup, unless it has a standard key as well. A battery backup means less work on your part, but will still let you use the lock when your power is out.
Combination devices allow for both remote access and for Bluetooth features like automatic unlocking when you approach the door. Having the best of both worlds is definitely something to keep an eye out for, so make sure that you analyze which system your chosen lock runs on.
Z-Wave is a relatively new technology that’s really cool for those who want to integrate a lot of devices. It runs off of a central hub which is placed in your home and there are quite a few different items which can be used with these awesome little devices.
Look, it’s no secret that we’re big fans of smart devices. In addition to the utility they can add to your home, we think they’re downright cool.
Smart locks are often able to be integrated with some of the central hubs available out there, or even through a whole brands products.
If you’re using a centralized home control, like Amazon Alexa or Apple’s HomeKit then you’ll be in good hands with a lock which integrates well with them.
Other devices use Z-wave and you can come up with some pretty interesting stuff if you take the time to work with it. Turning on lights when the door unlocks, for instance.
Integration is one of our favorite aspects, especially since smart locks are more for convenience than anything else. With a bit of creativity you’ll be surprised at just how snazzy your home becomes.
We’re going to be honest here: if price is a huge concern, then you may not want to pick up a smart lock. The cheap ones are too easy to crack to really be recommended and they function best as part of an integrated home instead of simply being a standalone device.
That said, there are definitely some budget Bluetooth models out there which are worth a look for the convenience of not having to lock and unlock the door each time you approach.
For anyone else, it’s more a matter of the features that can be gained for your home than the cost at the end of the day.
Smart locks may not be a hot new security feature, but we feel that making one part of your home is a great idea. Whether it’s simply for convenience when you approach or having the ability to control your lock no matter what it’s doing, you’ll be in good hands by purchasing the best smart lock you can find.
Be sure to look into integration as well, the usefulness of these locks doesn’t have to end at your front door.