If you love staying at the cutting edge of technology, you’ve probably considered upgrading your home security with a smart lock.
Smart locks are electronic locking mechanisms for your doors. While they come packed with advanced features such as remote access, fingerprint scanners, and entry logs, the “cool factor” can sometimes blind you to what’s really important: keeping your home secure.
What are the features you need in a smart lock? There are a number of factors you need to consider beyond just strength and futuristic access options. When you’re dealing with online-enabled electronics, you also need to make sure your lock is hackproofhackproof and that it won’t run out of battery when you need it most.
There are a ton of smart locks popping up these days, and many are just not up to snuff. To help you shop smarter and keep your home safer, follow this checklist of the most important features smart locks must have.
In a hurry?: Scroll to the bottom of the article for a summary of the must-have features and our pick for the best smart lock available now.
Biometric access is one of the most important features you can get in a smart lock. Biometric scanners unlock the door via your fingerprint (kind of how you unlock your phone).
Most smart locks unlock your door via your phone, a code, or a keycard, but these options just aren’t good enough.
The whole point of getting a smart lock is to eliminate the vulnerability of keys. In the case of keycard access, this pretty much defeats the purpose.
Smartphone access is a bit better, but if you lose your phone (or if it dies), you’ll be locked out of your home.
Passcodes seem like a wise choice, but they can be easily forgotten. And if you have young children, there’s no telling if they’ll remember (or who they’ll tell).
That’s why biometric access is a deal-breaker. You can’t lose your fingerprint, you can’t forget it, and you can’t give it away to a stranger. It’s a fool-proof system.
Most biometric smart locks allow you to program dozens of fingerprints into the system and to assign temporary access.
Note: Although biometric access is the best primary access method, your smart lock should feature at least one additional access method as a failsafe.
If your smart lock is truly smart, it should be programmable and trackable via a simple app. Without an app, you’re missing out on a ton of the features that make smart locks worth a buy.
Here’s what you get with a quality smart lock app:
- Lock access: Unlock your door via the app.
- Access Management: Change your passcode, update authorized fingerprint data, etc.
- Temporary access: Give someone full access to the lock for a short period of time (e.g. visiting relatives, the babysitter, etc.)
- Scheduled access: Schedule the door to remain unlocked during a certain time period (e.g. during a BBQ party).
- Entry logs: See who comes and goes.
- Battery updates: Enjoy peace of mind knowing your lock is charged.
In essence, your smart lock app turns your lock into a full home security system. You can schedule access times, monitor who comes and goes, manage access options, and check on the security of your home from anywhere on the globe.
Without an app, your smart lock isn’t really smart. It’s just an electronic lock that does basically the same thing your old lock did.
Encryption is 100% vital if data is being transmitted from your lock to your phone (and vice versa). Encrypting the communication between your devices will ensure that your lock cannot be hacked and that no one can access your entry information.
Look for a smart lock with AES128 Bit encryption tech. This is the gold standard in encryption technology and will make sure your data is untouchable. Just for reference, this level of encryption is so strong that not even the government can hack it.
Note: Encryption is super important, but don’t forget about physical strength as well. Your smart lock should be unhackable and strong enough to sustain heavy blunt force blows. Most smart locks are made of plastic parts and can’t do this. See the end of this article for a lock that can.
Long Battery Life (and Reserve Power)
If there’s one thing that traditional locks have over smart locks, it’s that they can’t run out of batteries.
Luckily, most smart locks have made this all but negligible. Smart locks are extremely conservative with their power usage and most last over 6 months on a single charge. The best last up to a year.
But even the longest-lasting smart locks are only as good as their failsafes.
A smart lock should let you know in multiple ways when its batteries are running low, and it should do it at least a month in advance. The lock itself should inform you via a sound or a flashing light, and you should get notifications on your phone too.
Finally, every lock should hold a small emergency power reserve in case the batteries die. This will give you another day or so to replace your batteries should worst come to worst.
We thought we’d have flying cars by 2020. But in reality, we can’t even get the internet to work half the time.
Your smart lock should NOT depend on the internet to function. In fact, you should rarely need to use the internet with your lock at all. It’s true that if someone needs to get into your home (for example, the plumber), it’s nice to be able to unlock the door for them from work. But otherwise, your lock should be accessed mainly via fingerprint and passcode.
Smart locks should always have Bluetooth connectivity as well. This will allow you to control the lock with your phone whether you have the internet or not.
Lockibly: Our Pick for the Top Smart Lock
Let’s look again at the top 5 features all smart locks must have. Then, we’ll tell you a little about our favorite smart lock.
- Biometric access (fingerprint scanner)
- Feature-rich app (to control your lock and secure your home)
- AES 128 Bit encryption (for unhackable security)
- Long-lasting battery
- Offline access options
We’ve only found one smart lock brand that combines all of these features (plus a bunch more) in a physically unbreakable design: Lockibly.
In fact, Lockibly’s smart lock tech is so secure that it won the prestigious Red Dot award for design.
Lockibly’s 3 stylish and state-of-the-art smart locks can be found at Lockibly site. Even better, you can now take up to 34% off of your purchase (up to $100 in savings) in Lockibly’s launch sale.
Lockibly’s locks cover all of the bases. They have all of the features on the list above, plus the following:
- Up to 6 customizable access methods
- Program up to 100 fingerprints in the database
- Unbreakable and tamper-proof aluminum alloy build
- 30-minute charge for 365-day battery life
- Auto-lock after door closes
- 100% waterproof and weather-proof
- DIY installation in 5 minutes
Lockibly makes the most attractive and advanced smart locks we’ve ever tried. We also love that you can choose from a variety of handles/knobs as well as different colors to suit your home. All of the designs are discreet and universally compatible with all door types.
Lockibly makes it easy to update your home security permanently with a one-time purchase. And thanks to its limited-time sale, you can make a big upgrade for a small price. Don’t forget to click the link and get up to 34% off your entire purchase at lockibly.com.