We are well on our way to a world where everything from your refrigerator to your car is connected via the Internet. And while some of these connected devices, like smart lights and smart speakers, already enjoy mainstream status, others have yet to break out of their niche.

So which of our household objects do we think will be next on the list to take the spotlight of intelligent processing? Smart locks.

Several of these smart locks have appeared on the market in recent years, and within the next five years they could be a common feature in every techie's abode.

But why buy one in the first place? Well, the lock you have on your door right now may serve its purpose, but it's not very practical. How many keys have you lost over the years? How many times have you dragged yourself from the sofa to open the door? Smart locks change that by automatically locking the door when you enter or exit and unlocking the home with just a few clicks on your mobile phone or tablet.

Of course, not all smart locks are created equal. That's why we've put together this guide, to help you decide which smart lock to buy, how to install it, and more.

Before you buy a smart lock, consider the following:

As mentioned, not all smart locks are the same: different locks use different protocols, different ways to unlock, and more.

Here are some things to consider before buying a smart lock:

#one. Is your door compatible?

Smart locks are designed to ensure that your deadbolt can lock and unlock automatically, but not all doors will work properly. If you go to your deadbolt and lock or unlock it, you should do it in one easy, smooth motion.

If you have to push or pull on the door to lock it properly, a smart lock may not work properly: it won't be there to push or pull while the door locks and unlocks on its own.

You'll also want to make sure that the lock can extend all the way inside the jamb. Your smart lock will always try to fully extend and if it doesn't the lock motor could burn out more easily. Of course, both problems can be fixed, but you should make sure they are fixed before attempting to install your smart lock.

#2. Do you want to change your lock or complete it?

Not all smart locks work as deadbolts, but most do. However, some, like the August Smart Lock, simply clip onto your existing deadbolt and do the manual locking and unlocking for you.

They're usually a bit easier to install, but you'll want to make sure they're compatible with your deadbolt before you buy them.

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#3. How would you like your smart lock to connect to the internet/your phone?

There are a few different connection standards that are used with smart locks, just like with any smart home device. Most will use multiple standards to connect to your phone and other devices, but you'll want to check the lock before you buy.

The first standard, and perhaps the most common, is Bluetooth. This is common as it doesn't consume a lot of power, especially compared to Wi-Fi. It is important to note that most smart locks are battery operated.

Bluetooth, however, only works within a certain range. So with that being said, if you're not near your lock, you won't be able to lock or unlock it. However, the great thing about Bluetooth is that you don't need another hub to use it.

Another standard is Z-Wave and it requires a separate hub so you can control the lock from your smartphone. Normally, this hub also connects to Wi-Fi. Z-Wave has a range of around 120 feet, but if you have multiple Z-Wave devices, each can act as a range extender, so with enough products, the range can be extended. at 600 feet. An example of a Z-Wave hub is Samsung's SmartThings.

The third and final common standard is Wi-Fi, and it's usually available as an optional add-on, like in the August Smart Lock. In this case, you'll need to purchase a separate component that plugs into an electrical outlet and then bridges the connection between the lock's Bluetooth and your Wi-Fi. The advantage of this is that you can control the lock wherever you have Wi-Fi. – so if you're on vacation and your friend needs to come in, you can open the door for them.

#4. How do you want to unlock your padlock?

Most smart locks also have a traditional keyhole, so if you're not necessarily comfortable trusting your smart lock 100% of the time, you don't have to.

Still, some smart locks are keyless, so you'll need to consider whether that's something you're comfortable with. Of course, some locks use more than just a keyhole; for example, many of them have a touch panel with which you can install a PIN code to unlock them.

#5. Consider why you are buying a smart lock

Before you buy a smart lock, here's something you should know: smart locks are useful because they're convenient, not because they're necessarily more secure. Most smart locks still use the same old stupid deadbolts, they just make those deadbolts easier to use. If you think a smart lock will make your home much more secure, you may be disappointed.

The five best smart locks you can buy right now

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August Smart Lock: This lock plugs into your existing deadbolt and offers a simple app with Apple's HomeKit, Nest, and IFTTT integration.

1668003020 570 Smart locks everything you need to know about smart locks

Kwikset Kevo - All you have to do is touch this deadbolt replacement lock to unlock it, as long as you have the right smartphone that came with it.

1668003020 58 Smart locks everything you need to know about smart locks

Schlage Sense: With its HomeKit integration and the ability to create guest entry codes, the Sense is perfect for the iPhone user on the go.

1668003020 904 Smart locks everything you need to know about smart locks

Yale Real Living - The Yale Real Living deadbolt lock comes with Z-Wave and Zigbee connectivity, meaning it's a great option for those who want to use their lock with other smart home devices.

1668003020 603 Smart locks everything you need to know about smart locks

Lockitron Bolt: This is the cheapest lock on the list, and while it only connects via Bluetooth, if that's all you need, there's no need to spend more on anything more expensive.

How to install a smart lock

You've done some research and now you've got a shiny new smart lock, but how do you install it? It turns out that you don't necessarily need to hire a locksmith to install your lock.

It's important to note that smart lock installation varies greatly for each product, so you'll want to read the instructions for the lock you end up purchasing. How you install your lock also varies depending on the type of lock you buy - if you buy a complete deadbolt replacement, you'll obviously have to remove the deadbolt. However, if you purchase something like the August Smart Lock, your deadbolt will remain installed on your door.

1668003021 617 Smart locks everything you need to know about smart locks

bolt replacement

Follow these steps to install a replacement deadbolt, such as the Kwikset Kevo. Remember that the details of the instructions vary by lock, so for a more detailed description, follow the instructions that came with your lock.

  • First, remove the screws on the side of the door and on the face of the latch. Once unscrewed, both sides of the latch should easily release from the door, after which you can slide the latch out.
  • Next, slide the deadbolt into the gap at the edge of the door, then screw the deadbolt firmly into place.
  • Then route all the wires from the front of the bolt to the back.
  • Most locks will have a back plate that you will need to install, taking care to route the wires through the corresponding holes.
  • Finally, insert all the batteries that need to be installed in the front of the lock, connect the wires, and insert the lock into place.

Latchless Replacement

If you get a lock like the August Smart Lock, which doesn't replace your lock but turns it on, the installation process is a little different.

  • Glue the outside of your deadbolt to the door. This prevents it from falling out when you unscrew the other side.
  • Unscrew the inside of your deadbolt, which is usually held in place with two screws.
  • Screw the metal mounting plate into your deadbolt.
  • Insert the plastic adapter that best suits your lock.
  • Slide the actual lock onto the plate and make sure it is secure.

Now that your smart lock is installed, you should be able to quickly and easily unlock and re-lock it using your phone. Again, this will depend on the model you get, but most locks use Bluetooth as a proximity sensor, and with many you can simply press the lock to lock or unlock it. Not only that, but many will automatically unlock when they sense you've moved away from the lock.

As you can see, smart locks are extremely easy to use, install, and monitor. Sure, they all work a little differently, but their goal is convenience, and most can be installed in about 10 minutes without calling a locksmith.

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