5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Smart Lock
If you were to visit your local locksmith in Orlando today and ask about locks, chances are he would recommend a smart lock to you as part of your options. Why do you need a smart lock when a deadbolt can do everything you want the smart lock to do? That’s because you are going to be saving yourself a lifetime of lost keys and many lazy hours of running to the door whenever there is someone there. How cool would it be to open your door from the couch and be able to check when your door is locked or not without driving back to the house?
Now not all smart locks are identical. There are a lot of models and styles out there of smart locks so how do you know what you are looking for. We have put together a quick guide to help you know what to pay attention to before you go ahead and choose that smart lock that your locksmith in Orlando has been pitching to you.
1. Will it fit your door?
Smart locks are made to automate the motions of your deadbolt and this mechanism is not compatible with every type of door. You can check the deadbolt on your door first to be sure that it opens and closes smoothly and easily. Doors that require extra force or some special adjustment or nudge to properly lock or unlock may not be compatible with a smart lock. That is because you want the smart lock to be able to function with little or no supervision, especially remotely. Also have a locksmith check that the jamb can receive the lock when fully extended. If there is a problem with any of the conditions of the lock, you should ask any locksmith in Orlando to fix it before installation. The locksmith can then install the smart lock and confirm that everything works fine.
2. Will the smart lock be replacing your deadbolt or adding to it?
Most smart locks can act as a deadbolt. There are some however that are designed to fit unto the pre-installed deadbolt and then do the normal locking and unlocking. These types are a breeze to install although you need to ensure that they can work with the pre-existing deadbolts before you buy them. Using a smart lock to replace the deadbolt something is a better idea because the entire door lock system will be fully automated for the most part. The other option is also convenient and gives you the manual feel of locking and unlocking your door.
3. What kind of connection would you prefer for your smart lock to have?
Just as smart home devices have different means of connecting to your smartphone, so do smart locks. Some are internet-enabled while others simple use Bluetooth. Almost all smart locks make use of Bluetooth technology. This is by far the most widespread standard used in smart locks because it is energy efficient and therefore allows the battery of the smart lock to last long. One disadvantage of Bluetooth however is that it has a limited range within which it works effectively. Now this means that you need to be close to your lock in order to interact with it. It is still the most convenient means of operating a smart lock.
Other smart locks use a standard called Z-wave and this typically requires a standalone Wi-Fi hub which enables you to control your smart locks from your cell phone. You can use Z-wave technology to pair up several devices which is what makes it extremely efficient. With low power consumption, and the better range of about 120 feet’s distance, you have the advantage of full control over your locks from anywhere you have Wi-Fi, even if you are on vacation.
The last standard used for smart locks is Wi-Fi and this can be extra to back up Bluetooth on most smart locks. This enables you to seamlessly swap between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi no matter where you are. When Wi-Fi is down, you can access the lock through Bluetooth and when you are beyond Bluetooth range, Wi-Fi kicks in.
4. How do you prefer unlocking your door?
A large percentage of smart locks are designed to mimic traditional locks and thus they come with a keyhole so that you have the option to have a regular key if need be or you’re feeling nostalgic once in a while. However, smart locks are inherently built to be keyless devices so you will need to be sure that you are comfortable ditching your lifelong habit of putting keys in a hole in favor of a more contactless approach. This will then guide whether you buy a fully touchscreen smart lock or one that comes with a keyhole. One convenient compromise that smart lock manufacturers make is to develop models that have both a touchpad and a keyhole so that both parts of the divide find what works best for them and thus more options.
5. What is the motivation behind buying a smart lock?
You should also know that smart locks are first and foremost just locks. By being connection-enabled or digitalized, they have become more efficient and not always more secure. Not to say that smart locks are not safe but they are also subject to the same risks as traditional locks and some more like cyber-attacks and hacking attempts or software failures.
So prepare your mind that you will be getting more convenience and not necessarily more security. You will also be getting a world of new features, access control, portability and efficiency with the new set of locks. Having a smart lock is however not an excuse to take unnecessary security risks. You still need to protect the passcodes and also access to any phone that you have given a digital key card to access your home.
Any locksmith in Orlando will tell you that a system is only as strong as its weakest link and this also translates to smart locks. Know exactly what you are buying and get advice from your locksmith about which works best for you before deciding whether a smart lock is right for you.