The 6 best smart locks for a secure home

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best smart locks

You know the feeling: After a bleary-eyed morning of rushing to get out of the house on time, you suddenly can’t remember whether you locked the door, or worse — you've forgotten your keys and can't get back in. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lead to forgetfulness, so in those moments of absentmindedness after a rough night, a smart lock can come in handy. The best smart locks either replace or work with your current deadbolt and allow keyless entry with keypads, mobile apps, or fingerprint scanners. Many also have auto-lock features or the option to control the lock remotely.

The first thing you'll want to consider is installation. Most options replace your existing deadbolt, but if you're renting, you can choose one that works with your current key and deadbolt setup, and if you don’t have a deadbolt at all, you can opt for a smart lock built directly into the handle — great for interior doors.

Many of the best smart locks allow entry with keypads and mobile apps, and — if you really want to get high-tech — fingerprint scanners. Whichever you prefer, nearly all of these picks have features like auto-lock, auto-unlock, and the ability to create multiple temporary and scheduled passcodes for guests. But if you want to enable remote operation, you’ll want to consider Wi-Fi connection. Most smart locks require a bridge that connects to your Wi-Fi network, so you can operate it when you're not at home, and while many come with the bridge included, in some cases, you'll have to buy it separately. On the other hand, if you're looking for totally straightforward setup, you can choose a lock with built-in Wi-Fi capability that connects directly to your network, so you won't need a bridge at all.

If you’ve ever locked yourself out while grabbing the mail or needed an easy way to let guests into your home, these are the best smart locks that will come to the rescue.

1. The overall best

With an impressive overall rating from Amazon reviewers, this Bluetooth door lock is a popular pick that’s relatively affordable. It features a backlit touchscreen keypad, so you can unlock the door with a PIN code, but you can also remotely lock and unlock the door from an app when it's connected to Wi-Fi. (Note that you’ll need a gateway, which is sold separately.) You can also create permanent, scheduled, and one-time passcodes to share with guests, and if your guest also has the lock’s smartphone app, you can conveniently send them an e-key.

Other features include a timed auto-lock, a deadlock setting that can only be overridden with the admin passcode, and a low battery warning. For security, it locks automatically for five minutes if the incorrect passcode is entered more than five times. Plus, it comes with two physical keys in case you prefer to unlock it manually.

  • Power: 4 AA batteries and a backup 9-volt battery

According to a reviewer: “This lock was very easy to install and did not require any modification to my existing door or frame. Great quality and sleek looking lock. I Like the convenience of not have to carry keys when I go out for a walk.”

2. The best budget

The Wyze smart door lock is the most affordable option on the list, and it works with most single-cylinder deadbolts, so you can use it with your current key and deadbolt setup. For even more convenience, it comes with a gateway to connect to your Wi-Fi network, so you can lock or unlock your door from anywhere in the world using the Wyze app, but you also still have the option of using your existing manual key. Unlike the other options, there's no keypad — you just use the smartphone app or enable the auto feature to have it unlock as you approach and lock as you leave. You can also use the app to see a history of lock and unlock event and check to see if your door is ajar. It's Alexa-compatible for easy voice control, but there's no mention of a low battery indicator — the maker recommends replacing every five to six months, though.

You may want to consider purchasing the accompanying keypad for this option, so you can send out one-time passcodes or set schedules that'll allow other people to unlock without you having to log onto the app yourself.

  • Power: 4 AA batteries

According to a reviewer: “I was looking for a WiFi lock that works with my existing keys. This installed in about 10 minutes using the existing dead bolt lock on my door. The gateway setup and lock calibration took an additional 5 minutes. I then attached it to Alexa via the Wyze skill. The lock works great via the Wyze app and through Alexa. The GPS location function also works well. When I get home the lock is unlocked automatically by the time I am out of my car and at my door. Well done WiFi lock."

3. A totally keyless lock

If you want to go completely key-free, the Yale smart lock is a reliable choice. The backlit touchscreen keypad replaces your existing deadbolt, so you can enter a PIN code to unlock, but there's also a handy app for more in-depth control. When connected to the included bridge, you can use the app to lock and unlock remotely, and you can also create permanent, scheduled, and temporary passcodes to let others come and go in the most secure way possible. A sensor monitors ajar doors, and when you have your phone on you, it'll automatically lock and unlock as you leave and approach. It's also enabled for voice control with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, so you don't have to get off the couch to unlock the door for a guest. And when the battery runs low, the app will notify you, so that you have plenty of time to replace.

Another helpful feature: If you’re hosting on Airbnb or HomeAway guest, the app connects to your account, so your renters can receive an auto-generated passcode that expires upon checkout. Choose from four finishes — satin nickel, bronze, brass, and black — as well as key-free locks that include a door handle or lever.

  • Power: 4 AA batteries

According to a reviewer: “This lock has made our life so much easier and works super seamless with our phones. We don't have to carry keys anymore and can remotely let in folks as needed. And it looks great unlike some of the other clunky smart locks out there. In two months haven't had a single failure and it is still running on the original set of batteries.”

4. A lock with a fingerprint system

For even more convenience, opt for the Ultraloq U-Bolt smart lock with a touch sensor that lets you unlock with your fingerprint. It replaces your existing deadbolt, and it's versatile, too: You can also use a keypad code, physical key, or the mobile app to lock, unlock, view an entry log, and share or schedule temporary or one-time passcodes with guests. The app also lets you manage profiles, so you can program the lock to accommodate up to 120 fingerprints. A low battery indicator alerts you when it's time to replace, but there's no door ajar feature on this option.

To control the lock remotely and make it voice control-capable, it’s worth paying a bit more for the version that comes with a bridge.

  • Power: 4 AA batteries and micro-USB for emergency power

According to a reviewer: “The lock is very responsive, fingerprint reader is very accurate, has notification and alert on our phone and a logs of when it was opened/closed and by which profile.”

5. A lock with built-in Wi-Fi

Most smart locks require a bridge connection to your Wi-Fi network in order to use them remotely, but the Schlage Encode deadbolt has built-in Wi-Fi capability for a totally seamless setup. It replaces your existing deadbolt and pairs with one of two apps — the Schlage Home app or the Key by Amazon app — so you can remotely lock and unlock the door from anywhere, and create permanent, temporary, or recurring access codes for guests. The lock is also voice control-capable with Alexa, and other features include timed auto-lock, built-in alarm technology, a low battery warning, and a manual backup key. And although there isn't an official door-ajar sensor, you will be notified if the lock hasn't engaged, which is a good indicator that the door may be open.

Choose from two designs and four finishes: matte black, satin nickel, bright chrome, and aged bronze. And if you want, you can bundle it with an Amazon Echo Dot to get your smart home really up and running.

  • Power: 4 AA batteries

According to a reviewer: “One of the best features is that you don't need anything more than WIFI to remotely lock and unlock, change/add codes, and receive notices, and if you don't have WIFI, bluetooth can be used to set new lock codes and make changes to the programming. The Schlage app is great and free as well. We have ordered three of these now and are pleased with them all.”

6. The best for doors without a deadbolt

If you don't have a deadbolt to begin with, the Yale smart lock door handle is an easy way to add some extra security. The handle connects to an app for auto-lock and -unlock functionality, and you can monitor entry, and create permanent, temporary, and one-time keypad access codes for other users. It's also voice control-capable with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, and a bridge is included for remote operation. Plus, the app connects to your Airbnb or HomeAway accounts to create timed passcodes for renters that'll expire the day they check out. There's no backup manual key included, but there is a door ajar sensor and an LED indicator that'll alert you when it's time to switch out the batteries. Choose from a bronze, oil-rubbed bronze, and satin nickel finishes.

  • Power: 4 AA batteries and 9-volt backup battery

According to a reviewer: “I highly recommend this lock for any door without a deadbolt and especially for people who are transitioning into utilizing Smart Home products.”

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