Have you ever fumbled through your bag in the rain, trying to find your keys? Ever leave them at the office? A smart lock is a solution to all that. Just type in a keypad code on the smart lock or unlock the door via a smartphone app. It’s easy.
A smart lock can also grant limited access to your home to a plant-sitter or dog walker without handing over a physical copy of your keys. And thanks to time limits and other fine-tuned controls, you can ensure that permission expires and that way those same guests won’t be able to get back inside your home without your permission later down the road.
There are many different smart locks by a variety of reputable brands like August, Schlage, Yale and Kwikset. And while they look different, and have different features and price points, virtually all smart locks work the same way: with the help of a battery, and a wireless connection, they lock and unlock. Bluetooth connections let you control your lock from short range (30 feet or so) and Wi-Fi lets you control it from anywhere through the internet and attach to virtual assistants at the cost of putting your lock on the broader internet.
A smart lock will take a little more installation than a plug-and-play smart lightbulb or speaker, so pull out the toolbox and make sure your lock of choice works with your virtual assistant of preference.But are smart locks safe? The answer is “at least roughly as safe as a traditional lock.” As with any smart device, especially one that connects to the internet, it can be hacked, and as such you should buy from a reputable brand and keep your eye out for news about exploits that might require an update.
But ultimately no lock, smart or otherwise, can keep out someone who is truly determined to get into your house. Hackers are a threat, but so is anyone with a crowbar or set of lock picks.
August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
The Best Overall Smart Lock
This is August's most expensive smart lock, but it's also its smallest and most convenient. The big advantage of the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is, as its name gives away, it doesn't require an extra hub or bridge for you to control remotely. It doesn't cover up your deadbolt, so you can still use your old keys to unlock the door if you want to.
The Best Affordable Smart Lock
The Wyze Lock is a very affordable smart lock that goes over your existing deadbolt. It requires a Wi-Fi bridge to work, which comes in the box and can be plugged into a nearby wall outlet. In the Wyze app, you’ll also be able to access a complete activity history of the Wyze Lock, meaning you’ll know anytime the door opens and closes, as well as whenever it locks and unlocks.
More Great Options
August Smart Lock
The August Smart Lock is is great because installation is a breeze; you don't have to worry about removing your door's existing dead bolt because the August Smart Lock fits right on top of it. Additionally, the August Smart Lock is compatible with all the major smart home ecosystems. On the downside, you'll have to purchase a separate hub, the August Connect ($67), if you want to control this smart lock while you're away from home.
This second-generation smart lock is great because doesn’t take up a large real estate on their door. A neat feature is that you just tap the Kevo with your finger to unlock the door, so long as the smartphone that it’s paired with is nearby. This works with locking the door, too. If you don’t have your smartphone with you, you can also buy a key FOB ($25) and attach it to your keychain.
Nest X Yale
The Nest X Yale has two big advantages. First, it's a collaboration between Google (Nest) and Yale and works seamlessly with any Google smart home. Secondly, it comes with a touchscreen keypad, so anybody can get into the home as long as they know the code. The main downsides are that it's not compatible with other smart ecosystem