Smart door locks are a young and immature market , with various products emerging , but it is difficult to claim that any product is universally applicable to every home. Here are some key considerations to help you narrow down your shopping list.
How smart is it?
Some "smart locks" don't work at all with smartphone apps or any smart home hubs. They're really just electronic locks that open with a password rather than a key.One step up from that, you’ll find some locks work with a smartphone app, but cannot be monitored remotely or through a smart home system.
That's fine if you want to get rid of the keys in your pocket, but less impressive if you want the entry portal to be a real part of your home network.
Replace or retrofit?
You'd be forgiven if you didn't want to replace a vintage Victorian antique doorknob. While plenty of smart locks are big guys that contain entire panels, there are some that don't require you to replace all your existing hardware.
They only replace the lock cylinder, or are installed on the inside of the door, and you can continue to open the lock from the outside with a standard key or via a smartphone app.
Smart Home Hub Integration
If you already have a hub in your home, you need to make sure the smart lock you choose is compatible from the start. Many smart locks support Bluetooth, so they can work with your phone, but don't necessarily have the add-ons needed to connect to your home network.
Alternative means of entry
Forgot your phone in the office? How do you get in the house? Physical key? Numeric keypad? Waiting for your spouse to arrive? There are countless different methods available.
What would you do if the battery inside the lock dies - and you're stuck outside? If this happens, some locks allow emergency power to be applied or leave an emergency charging port , giving you enough power to open the door.
The geofencing system automatically locks the door when it detects your phone has left the vicinity, and can be set to open automatically when it finds you home. This feature may be exploited by thieves, isn't it really bad to manually lock the door when leaving?
Guest access feature
Most smart locks let you set up a temporary key for your tenant that you can remove when they get home. A smarter system even lets you set a time limit when each access code can be used.
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