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Buying Guide for Smart Locks: What You Need To Know

Smart locks now play a big role in any smart home's security system, extending the way we grant, or deny, access to our abode. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before buying one.

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Smart locks vary wildly in design, technology, and functionality than other smart home products. But all actual smart wireless-enabled smart locks include remote capabilities – email virtual "keys" to supply friends, family, and home workers entry, remotely lock or unlock, and get alerts and a log reporting exits and entrances—all innovative ways to control and monitor your entryways 24/7.

However, smart locks are not inexpensive smart devices. Some with excellent features and high-quality designs and finishes can be expensive. Today, you can expect to spend between $200-$300 on a fully-featured high quality and secure smart lock which meets your design needs.

To help you purchase a smart lock, here are five questions you must ask yourself before buying one.

  1. Who makes smart locks? Traditional lock companies make true Wi-Fi smart and smart-ish locks without remote and virtual key options. The most innovative smart locks come from technology start-ups. But you may want to consider these start-ups' lack of essential lock experience and reputation for something so crucial as your home's security.
  2. Can I install a smart lock myself? Yes, usually with just a screwdriver and usually in less than an hour. Just ensure you have the correct bolt lock to replace a smart lock.
  3. What wireless technologies does a smart lock work with? Smart locks use Wi-Fi so that you can monitor entries and exits via the Internet. But some use Bluetooth to enable proximity lock/unlock features, some use NFC to respond to touch, and some combine all three.
  4. How does it open? Some smart locks can automatically lock and unlock when it senses you're within a defined distance from it or after a predetermined period. Others are activated by tapping the lock with your smartphone, touching it with your finger, or punching in a passcode on a physical or touchscreen keypad. Many offer a mix of all of these methods, and some even open with a standard key. Which lock you choose should be based on your comfort and trust level with the varying keyless or even key-centric options.
  5. How do the remote keys work? You can assign keys to a limited number of people and set parameters for using these keys, such as limiting virtual key activation to specific times and dates. Caveat emptor: some lock makers charge for virtual keys after an initial included allotment. So read the fine print, and as usual, ask.
Also, remember that just one smart lock malfunction plants the seed for distrust in any "smart" security system. It would be best to look at GearBrain's Smart Locks Get A Backup Plan to learn why smart lock makers don't want that to happen and how important a back plan is to ensure you don't get locked out of your smart home. Also, if you need help installing a smart lock, you can visit HelloTech for help.

Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility find engine, to see the other compatible products that work with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa-enabled devices.

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