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Smart locks are now widely available and they can be used to replace the more traditional mechanical locks providing a number of advantages over the more traditional types.
With smart home technology taking off and providing some real advantages in terms of convenience and efficiency, smart or digital door locks can add an extra level of convenience to a home.
Smart locks can provide a host of advantages in terms of capability and also ease of use - everything from remote locking to voice recognition.
However, knowing how to buy the right smart or digital lock can be a little daunting because the variety of products available. It could be very easy to choose the wrong lock.
Here we will provide some top tips and explain the jargon associated with buying the best smart lock for your smart home so that you can buy the right lock and understand what you are buying.
Buying the right smart lock: points to consider
When buying a smart lock to complement other aspects in a smart home, there are many things to consider. If you are new to the world of smart locks, then there are a few pitfalls, so it is best to be prepared and understand what things need to be thought about when trying to buy the best smart lock for your door.
- Consider why you are buying: The first thing to ask about a smart lock, is why one is wanted or needed. The advantage of smart locks is that they can be more convenient. They are not necessarily more secure. Most smart locks still use the door locking mechanics, it is just they the operation and control is more convenient. The main thing to remember is that they will not make any door or home more secure.
- Check the dimensions: Although smart locks are designed to be almost universal, not all doors fit this requirement. So often some of them have been designed in a slightly non-standard fashion. Check all the dimensions carefully, inside and out to ensure that the smart lock will fit and operate.
- Can the door take a smart lock? In theory smart locks are designed to be an easy replacement within almost any door, but it can sometimes be the small points that cause the biggest issues. Smart locks are designed so that the deadbolt on the door can automatically lock and unlock, but not every single door will work properly. Doors need to have a smooth action for this to work, and as often happens doors may not have been installed well, or they may have deteriorated over the years and they may need a little pulling to get them to lock properly. Doors where this is needed will not be suitable for smart locks. However, in most cases they can be fixed.
- Full deadbolt or not:Not every smart lock serves as a deadbolt – but most do. Some simply attach onto an existing deadbolt and do the manual locking and unlocking.These are generally a little easier to install, but make sure that they are compatible with the existing deadbolt before buying.
- Wireless & / or keypad: There are several ways in which a smart lock can be controlled. Keypads and wireless are the two most common. Keypads require you to remember a number or code, whereas wireless ones can be unlocked using a smart phone. Some can even be voice activated. Think about the logistics. Do you want friends, relatives or a neighbour to look after the house when you are away, or a friend may come to stay. They may not want to load an App onto their phone to get in, etc. These practical aspects need to be thought through for your situation.
- Wireless connection method: Using a wireless connection is one of the most common ways for a smart lock to operate. There are several forms of wireless connection that can be used. The most obvious is to connect to the home Wi-Fi network, but another wireless network system known as Z-Wave is also becoming popular as it is aimed at smart home usage. Using either of these it is possible to link to the cellular system and control the locks from an App on the phone. Possibly the easiest system to use is Wi-Fi as that is already likely to be installed, but a Z-Wave compatible lock will require a Z-Wave network to be available.
Home smart locks seem to offer a number of advantages. They can provide a number of advantages and certainly look like the way forwards for the future offering greater convenience and ease of use and they can complement other aspects of a smart home. However before settling on going for smart locks, it is worth asking what real advantages it will bring.