Electronic door locks are a great security solution for homes, offices, and other spaces. But with so many different electronic door locks on the market today, it can be a challenge to find one that fits your individual security needs. This guide will walk you through the technology behind electronic door locks, which models are currently available for purchase, and how to use your lock once it is installed.
Types of Electronic Door Locks
Different types of electronic door locks use different kinds of technology to protect your home or office. It is important to note that in addition to these technologies, most electronic locks will also provide other additional ways to open the door in case a user forgets their pin code, loses their key, or fails to change the lock’s battery before it dies. When searching for an electronic door lock, be sure to note the alternative methods for opening the door, as well.
Bluetooth locks offer an assortment of locking functions. They can detect when users are within a certain distance of the lock and unlock automatically as users approach. Or, users can tap their smartphone or key fob to the lock to open the door. A benefit of Bluetooth technology is that it does not use much energy, so the battery life of a Bluetooth lock tends to be longer than those of other locks.
Biometric locks require a user’s fingerprint to unlock the door. They are easily programmable and can hold a lot of data; up to 100 fingerprints can be stored in one lock. These locks tend to be useful for small businesses that have sensitive information or expensive inventory that only a few employees are allowed to access.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is often used in electronic commercial door locks. Users need a key fob or a card to open these locks; usually, the key must be pressed to the lock in order for the lock to grant the user access. Some other RFID locks can be unlocked from a distance.
Keypad locks require users to enter a pin number to open the door. They are easy to set up and simple to use. Different pin codes can be set for different users and any pin code can be changed at any time. Landlords often use keypad electronic door locks for homes so they can change the pin code for each new renter. Most keypad locks have a touchscreen; some may have physical buttons instead.
WiFi electronic door locks offer more features and can be more convenient than many of the technologies listed above. With a Wi-Fi connected lock, users can see who is opening and closing the door, when they are using the lock, and remotely lock or unlock the door from anywhere as long as they have a cellular and wireless connection.
Buying an Electronic Door Lock
Before purchasing an electronic door lock, you should consider your security needs and which door you will be outfitting with the new lock. Electronic front door locks are very different from electronic interior door locks and may have different features or styles. We’ve compiled a list of the best electronic door locks currently on the market below.
The Yale YRD256 Assure Connected by August lock is a highly rated keypad lock with Wi-Fi capabilities. This lock’s Wi-Fi compatibility means users can control the lock and manage access codes remotely from any device. If you own a vacation home or you are an Airbnb host, then this may be an especially useful feature because you can create new codes from anywhere and send them directly to your guests. Yale also makes a similar model, the YRD226 Assured Connected by August lock, the has a keyway in addition to the keypad.
The Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt is another good keypad option. While it is limited to only 100 user codes, this lock also has Wi-Fi capabilities and works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. It includes a keyway below the keypad, just in case, and has a modern design that comes in a variety of styles to match your home’s decor. Users can send virtual keys to guests via text or email and easily install this lock without the help of a professional.
The August Smart Lock is one of the best lock options for renters who want extra security. This lock attaches to an existing deadbolt, so users’ current keys will still work with the lock and there is no need to purchase and install a new deadbolt. The lock is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and can be operated and monitored from the August app on a user’s smartphone. The lock comes with two-factor authentication, two-layer encryption, and a lost phone feature for added peace of mind.
The Bluetooth-enabled Lockly Secure Plus has three methods of entry: A fingerprint scanner, a keypad, and a keyway. It is easy to install and comes with everything users need to set it up. However, it cannot connect to a Wi-Fi network, which means it cannot be locked or unlocked remotely. This lock also does not work with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. It does have an app that is functional and convenient; users can check the lock’s battery life, add new users, create temporary access codes, and more. While it is not as powerful or capable as some of the other options on this list, it is a good, solid option.
The Nest X Yale Lock is a tamper-proof, key-free deadbolt lock that connects to the Nest app via Wi-Fi and works with Google Assistant. The lock supports four methods of entry: Voice locking using Google Assistant, passcode entry, one-touch locking, and the Nest app. Users are alerted when someone tries to tamper with the lock or its batteries need to be replaced. However, users will need to replace their existing deadbolt in order to use this electronic door lock. Users also need some version of the Nest system installed already to use this lock.
Installing and Using An Electronic Door Lock
Installation for electronic door locks can vary. Some are very easy to install and only take a few minutes to set up. This is especially true for locks that work with an existing deadbolt. Other locks are more complicated and may require that users thoroughly read and understand a user manual before attempting to install them. When this is the case, you may want to enlist help from a friend or pay a professional to install the lock correctly.
Once your electronic door lock is installed, you may have some questions about its functionality and how to take advantage of its many features. Below are some common electronic door lock questions and a few quick answers that should help you get started.
If you’ve ever wondered how to change the code on an electronic door lock, you should start by doing some research. If you held on to the lock’s user manual, then you may be able to find some helpful instructions inside. Otherwise, research the name of the lock online and see if there are any resources available that can help you. Many electronic door lock websites have instructions for changing the code on a lock that are simple and easy to follow. If your lock is paired with an app on your smartphone, you can most likely change the code through the app. Otherwise, the process may involve removing the lock and potentially opening it up.
There is also the issue of reprogramming an electronic door lock. Again, start by conducting your own research and see if you can find any online resources that may be helpful. Pay special attention to FAQs (frequently asked questions) on the lock company’s website. You can also call the lock company and ask them for help. Most lock companies have a designated phone line for support that customers can call to receive assistance. Generally, reprogramming the lock will involve a smartphone app, an appointment with a specialist, removing the lock from the door, or entering a certain sequence that signals to the lock that its programming is changing. Which method you use will depend on the lock you own.
If you are considering buying an electronic door lock for your home or office, be sure to educate yourself on your security priorities and the technology that exists on the market today. The more you know about these locks, the better you will be able to find a product that suits your needs and makes your life easier.