Smart Locks 101: Secure Your Home the Digital Way

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By tom.baldridge

“Unlock Security: Your Ultimate Guide to Smart Locks in 2021”

Smart Home Security

Did you know that smart locks have prevented over 15% of break-ins in the last year alone? If you’re still relying on traditional locks and keys, it may be time to upgrade to a smarter, more secure system.

Smart locks allow you to ditch your keys entirely and lock or unlock your door from anywhere using your smartphone. For busy homeowners and tenants juggling work, kids, and life’s demands, the convenience is invaluable. No more racing home to let in a pet walker or having to hide spare keys for guests.

With flexible access sharing, activity notifications, and integration with smart home platforms, smart locks put complete control of your home’s access at your fingertips. This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know to choose the perfect smart lock for your needs.

What Are Smart Locks?

Smart locks are internet-connected door locks that allow you to lock and unlock your door remotely using your smartphone or other device. They connect via Bluetooth, WiFi or Z-Wave to offer keyless entry and total control of your home’s access.

Most smart locks install just like a traditional deadbolt. They replace your existing thumbturn and deadbolt mechanism while retaining your existing keys. This allows you to still use a physical key when needed while adding the convenience of keyless digital access.

Gone are the days of hiding keys under mats or rushing home to let guests in. With a smart lock, you can control who has access to your home and when from anywhere in the world. Friends, family members and home services can all be granted virtual keys to come and go with custom permissions and access schedules.

Some of the most advanced smart locks even have built-in HD cameras, video intercom systems, and integration with smart home platforms. This allows you to visually confirm who is at your door and speak with visitors remotely to grant them one-time, scheduled or recurring access.

How Do Smart Locks Work?

Smart locks seamlessly connect your smartphone to the lock on your front door. This is accomplished using three main technologies:

Bluetooth – Most affordable smart locks use Bluetooth to connect directly to your phone from up to 30 feet away. This allows keyless entry when you’re nearby.

WiFi – For broader connectivity, WiFi smart locks connect to your home wireless network. This allows remote access from anywhere, not just within Bluetooth range.

Z-Wave – Z-Wave devices form a wireless mesh network to reliably transmit signals across longer ranges. This allows smart locks to integrate into a home automation system.

For digital unlocking, smart locks use either an app on your phone or a fob. After registering authorized devices, you simply tap to lock/unlock from anywhere.

Advanced models utilize geofencing technology to automate locking and unlocking as you arrive or leave home. Temporary access codes can also be generated for visitors, dog walkers, delivery drivers and more.

Inside, smart locks contain the standard deadbolt components to physically extend or retract the bolt just as with a traditional lock. This takes place automatically when digital keys are presented or schedules/rules are triggered.

Benefits of Smart Locks

Upgrading to a smart lock offers many practical benefits compared to metal keys:

  • Flexible access – Grant 24/7/365 access to family and friends, no matter where they are.
  • No more hiding keys – End the hassle of stashing keys for guests. Send virtual keys remotely instead.
  • See who comes and goes – Review activity logs in the app to see entries and exits.
  • Let visitors in remotely – Grant one-time digital keys for home services while you’re at work.
  • Home automation integration – Connect your smart lock to other devices like lights, cameras, alarms and more.
  • Hands-free unlocking – Unlock as you approach your door with geofencing automation.
  • Enhanced security – Get alerts about forced entries and tampering attempts.

Are Smart Locks Safe?

With any connected device, security is a natural concern. Overall, quality smart locks from leading brands utilize robust encryption and security measures to keep your home safe, while adding enhanced safety features not possible with traditional locks.

Data transmission between the lock and authorized devices uses advanced encryption. This prevents hacking of the signal to digitally unlock doors.

In addition, smart locks retain the same heavy-duty physical components as standard deadbolts and require mechanical force to engage or disengage just like a normal lock. So even if wireless signals were intercepted, the door would remain physically secured.

Leading smart lock brands enable multi-factor authentication, requiring both a verified device and correct login credentials to gain access. One-time passcodes and geofencing provide additional layers of digital security.

Notifications of tampering attempts, abnormal activity patterns and forced entry further enhance security. If someone tries to gain unauthorized entry, you’ll receive an instant smartphone alert no matter where you are.

While no connected device is ever 100% immune from hacking, reputable smart lock makers take every precaution to keep your home safe and secure while adding next-level convenience and control.

How to Select the Right Smart Lock

With many models on the market, here are the key factors to consider when selecting a smart lock:

  • Compatibility – Confirm that the smart lock will fit and install properly on your existing door and deadbolt hardware. Measurements must align.
  • Connectivity – Determine whether you want Bluetooth, WiFi or Z-Wave capability based on range needs and smart home setup.
  • Power – Smart locks are powered by batteries, hardwiring to an existing doorbell transformer or solar. Consider access to power sources.
  • Security features – Look for advanced encryption, tamper alerts, activity logging and solid deadbolt construction. Metal or reinforced polymer housings provide durability.
  • Smart home integration – If you already have other smart home devices, pick a smart lock that integrates with your platform for full connectivity.
  • Customer reviews – Check reviews and ratings on sites like Amazon, BestBuy and CNET to confirm reliability and performance. Top consumer brands include Kwikset, Yale, Schlage and August.
  • Price – Basic Bluetooth smart locks start around $200, while advanced WiFi/Z-Wave options with full home automation integration can cost over $300.

By carefully weighing these criteria, you can select the ideal smart lock for your door setup, budget, smart home ecosystem and convenience needs.

Top Smart Lock Brands

Based on expert reviews and customer satisfaction, these are the top smart lock brands to consider:


Kwikset offers user-friendly smart locks with versatile design options to fit most door configurations. Their Kevo Bluetooth smart locks allow keyless entry via smartphone and fob.

Reviewers praise their ease of installation, intuitive operation and integration with other smart home platforms. Kwikset provides a solid mid-range choice for your first smart lock.


Yale locks are renowned for their high-end security and build quality. Their Assure smart locks integrate effortlessly with a growing list of providers, including Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Ring and more.

According to CNET, Yale’s signature Yale Real Living lineup combines full-featured smart access with the expected Yale quality. With advanced connectivity and solid metal construction, it brings confidence and sophistication to any home entry.


With over 90 years of lock-making experience, Schlage is a leader in smart lock technology. Their Sense and Connect lines allow Apple HomeKit integration in addition to other major platforms.

Reviewers praise Schlage’s innovative features like built-in alarms, activity logging, and an integrated touchscreen for one-touch locking. With bank-level encryption and durable construction, Schlage is one of the most trusted names in smart locks.


August smart locks pioneered auto-unlock as you approach your door. With August’s DoorSense technology, their smart locks use proximity sensors to detect your arrival and unlock automatically, no phone fumbling required.

In addition to handy proximity features, August locks deliver solid app control, activity notifications and ease of use. As an Amazon-owned brand, August also plays nicely with Alexa voice commands to lock/unlock your door.

With any of these leading smart lock brands, you can be confident your home is protected with the latest cybersecurity and smart access innovations.


We’ve covered all the key factors, from how smart locks work to the top brands on the market. With this knowledge in hand, you can shop for smart locks with confidence. Ditch your metal keys for next-level convenience and control over your home’s access.

Ready to make the switch to a smarter, more secure home? Start your smart lock journey today! Choose a top-rated product that fits your door setup and lifestyle needs. Then control access to your home from anywhere with the power of technology.

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