Residential Smart Locks: Pros and Cons of Top Models on the Market

Thanks to the latest technological advancements, we’re becoming increasingly connected. Smartphones keep us linked to friends and loved ones while the internet as a whole links us on a global level. With a growing selection of smart devices and, dare we say it, artificial intelligence, we’re even tied in to our homes remotely no matter where we may be.
Since we’re now connected to our vehicles, appliances, home electrical systems and dozens of other aspects of our lives, it only makes sense to tap into the world of security using this same technology. After hitting the market only a few years ago, smart locks skyrocketed to popularity, currently lingering among the nation’s top five connected devices.
With demand projected to surge during the years to come, plenty of manufacturers are sure to try to cash in on this particular niche. Obviously, not all of them are going to measure up where quality and versatility are concerned, but at this point, a few stand out in the growing sea of competition.

Kwikset Kevo Touch-to-Open

Designed for use with Android and iOS devices, this 2nd Generation version of Kwikset’s original smart lock can be controlled manually, via your smartphone or unlocked using transferrable eKeys. You can also purchase additional fobs if you like. It comes with its own hardware meant to replace your home’s existing lock.

Though you’ll need to be within 40 feet of the lock in order to control it with your smartphone as-is, the Kevo Plus Wi-Fi connector is available if you want more far-reaching freedom. It can be linked to certain thermostats and video doorbells, but its connectivity is a bit more limited than some other smart locks on the market.

Pros:

  • Numerous security features in place, such as tamper resistance
  • Simple to install and operate
  • Gives you options to set up schedules and allow or deny access at will based on individual eKeys, fobs and smartphones

Cons:

  • No voice command option
  • Fobs not included with purchase and eKeys beyond the two provided cost extra
  • Pricey considering its somewhat limited features

While the Kwikset Kevo Touch-to-Open 2nd Generation does offer remote operation capabilities, you’ll have to pay extra for the wider range. Additional fobs and eKeys also come at an extra cost, so getting from basic capacity to fully equipped can be quite an investment. That being said, it’s a quality lock stocked with plenty of security measures and is simple to both install and operate.

August Smart Lock HomeKit-Enabled

Operating courtesy of Apple HomeKit, an Apple smart TV or the lock manufacturer’s own plug-in bridge, this latest version of the August Smart Lock allows you to grant or deny access to whomever you choose. You can also set up specific schedules for those on your list of acceptable entrants. Its accompanying app gives you the opportunity to name connected locks as well as your home while keeping a running tab on which doors are locked and unlocked, when and by whom.

This lock works with your door’s current internal mechanisms and requires calibration once it’s installed. It can be set to automatically lock after being open for a specified amount of time ranging from 30 seconds to five minutes.

Courtesy of its own IFTTT channel, you can also program the lock to prompt responses from other connected devices in your home, like lights or security cameras. Optional voice command, geofencing and IFTTT email capabilities are a few of the other features with which this smart lock is equipped.

Pros:

  • Extremely versatile
  • Easy to install
  • Plenty of features
  • User-friendly controls

Cons:

  • Can’t be controlled remotely without an Apple TV or manufacturer’s Wi-Fi Bridge (sold separately)
  • Falls on the more expensive end of the spectrum
  • No touchpad on the lock itself

Despite its higher price and somewhat limited remote activation potential, the August Smart Lock HomeKit-Enabled is currently a crowd favorite due to its functionality, wide range of features and simplified user experience where installation, setup and control are concerned.

Schlage Century Touchscreen Deadbolt Lock

As opposed to most models on the market, this one doesn’t rely on batteries alone. Its digital touchpad appears at the tap of a finger and offers you clear indications of whether or not the lock is fully engaged and working properly. Though it’s equipped with a programmable tamper-deterring alarm, it doesn’t offer its own app like most other options do. Remote operation can only be achieved using a compatible Z-Wave home automation system.

The Schlage Century Touchscreen lock comes with a unique master code and the capacity for up to 30 additional ones. This model gives you a combination of digital and keyed operation, so you essentially get the convenience of technology and the added comfort of old-fashioned manual entry should the need arise.

Pros:

  • Simple to install and set up
  • Ample built-in security features
  • Touchscreen display

Cons:

  • Fairly pricey
  • Internal mechanisms are loud compared to other models
  • Full capabilities require a separate home automation system
  • No dedicated app

In short, the Schlage Century Touchscreen Deadbolt Lock provides both digital and manual security with the capacity to add up to 30 different entry codes at no extra charge. Though there’s no app, you can operate it remotely if you purchase a separate Z-Wave home automation device. Base price is comparable to other models, and it has the built-in touchscreen certain others lack.

Yale Real Living Z-Wave Touchscreen Deadbolt Lock

Like the Schlage Century, the Yale Real Living Z-Wave Touchscreen Smart Lock requires a separate home automation system for remote capabilities. It’s a digital-only model, so keyed entry and locking isn’t an option. Voice-guided instructions make for easy installation and programming.

Once it’s in place and tapped into a Z-Wave or ZigBee home automation network, you have the freedom to add up to 250 individual PIN’s, but the 25 available without being connected to a remote system seem to suffice for most people. While this lock has an extremely short list of features on its own, being paired with a separate Z-Wave or ZigBee device or certain other automation systems greatly extends its parameters.

Pros:

  • Easy to program and operate
  • Has a touchscreen
  • Comes with voice-guided and hard-copy instructions
  • Can be integrated into a home automation network

Cons:

  • No app of its own
  • Requires a separate system or device for whole-house connectivity and remote operation

Simple programming and user-friendly controls make the Yale Real Living Z-Wave Touchscreen Deadbolt Lock a nice choice; however, getting past its limited functionality comes at quite a cost if you don’t already have the right home automation system in place. One unique aspect of this model is its jump-start feature. If its batteries die, you can still bring up the digital touchscreen by connecting a 9-volt battery to its jumper terminals.

Bottom Line

Smart locks give you the potential to lock and unlock your doors from your phone and choose who may or may not enter your home at any given time. Some can be programmed to turn on your lamp, change the temperature in your home and perhaps even prompt your oven to preheat with the right automation system in place.

Convenience and added security are only a few of the benefits of incorporating this type of technology into your home. Because each model comes with its own list of features, you have plenty of customizable security options at your fingertips.
If you’ve decided to take your home’s security and connectivity to the next level, don’t hesitate to contact Bradleys Safe and Lock Works. Their staff has the training and experience to install all of the models listed above and many more.

Avoid These 4 Types of Locks to Thwart Any Potential Lock Pickers

Home security is the number one priority of every homeowner. There are many ways to strengthen it and locks are one of the primary ways to prevent intruders from gaining access to your property. There are a wide range of locks available on the market and they all differ when it comes to cost and effectiveness. It is important to know what types of locks are more prone to lock picking so you can avoid them and install the ones that best suit your needs.

Following are 4 types of locks that you should avoid to thwart any potential lock pickers:

1. Knob Locks

These are the most common type of locks that are found in residential homes. Knob locks are used on both internal and external doors of a property. On one side they have a rotatable knob and on the other side, a key cylinder. These types of locks are very easily compromised to brute force attacks and they are also very prone to shimming and picking. But if you must use them, then it is recommended that you install them along with a strong secondary lock i.e. a deadbolt.

2. Lever Handle Locks

Lever handle locks are commonly used on the inner doors, particularly in commercial buildings. As the name suggests, lever handle locks use a lever that can either be swing down or up to release the bolt. Lever handle locks can be compromised through the use of brute force torque attacks and lock picking. So, you should avoid using them if possible. But if you must use them, then it is recommended that you install lever handle locks that employ ‘clutch’ levers that are effective against brute force as they don’t put pressure on the locking mechanism if force is applied.

3. Rim Latch Locks

Rim latch locks utilize a rim cylinder. They have a latch lock mounted on the surface of one side of the door and a rim latch on the other. Rim latch locks are not designed to withstand a good amount of force so you should avoid installing them if you want to prevent any potential intrusion. But if you must use them, then it is recommended that you install them along with another form of lock that is used on exterior doors.

4. Spring Latch Locks

Spring latch locks offer minimal security, but since they are very easy to install and also the least expensive, they are the choice of many homeowners. Also known as slip bolt locks, spring latch locks provide security by locking the doorknob of the door and preventing the release of the latch which is spring-loaded and fitted into the door frame. These types of locks are vulnerable in several ways. Forceful intruders can smash the lock and doorknob with a wrench or hammer. If you have them installed in your property, then it is recommended that you reinforce the wood around the doorknob with a protective metal plate to prevent this.

Package Theft Prevention Tips for the Holidays

Even before the pandemic hit, Americans were buying more items online and report getting an average of 45 packages per year delivered to their homes. It is alarming to note that in a 2019 survey of 2,000 people who shopped online, 36 percent reported having a package stolen and only 11 percent said their ‘porch pirate’ was caught.

They also reported that they spend an average of over $200 a month on online orders. Of those that had packages stolen, only 73 percent reported that they received a refund on the item stolen.2 Given that online shopping will likely increase this holiday season, knowing how to protect your packages can save you from losing valuable items and your hard earned money.

As a trusted Locksmith for over 10 years, we have a few tips for you.

Tip #1

Install a visible home security camera or doorbell camera. Wi-Fi phone doorbell cameras like Ring and Google Nest range in cost from $99 to $229 and allow you to monitor your entryway around the clock and record footage that may be used to apprehend your package thief. These cameras allow you to hear and see what is going on, and to vocally respond by using an app on your smartphone or computer.

Don’t forget to also install motion detecting lighting since winter brings shorter periods of daylight. In northern climates, darkness can descend even before your package hits the front porch. In a survey commissioned by Comcast, 74 percent of respondents felt that having a visible home security camera was an effective way to prevent packages from being stolen.3

Most locksmiths are skilled in home security systems. They can assist you in selecting and installing the home security system or Wi-Fi doorbell camera that will work best for you.

Tip #2

When you shop online, have your delivery sent to your office if your employer allows you to do so. If not, have your online purchases sent to the home of a neighbor or relative who is home the majority of the time.

Tip #3

Schedule your delivery when you know you will be home. Many companies, including Amazon, allow you to select the day that your package will be delivered. Many companies also let you specify where you would prefer a delivery be placed, which is a better option that having a delivery being in full view of the street, and a thief, for a long period of time.

The U.S. Post Office allows account holders to put a hold on their mail while they are away. This is a good option if you are going on vacation but are expecting a package. The day you return you can have all your mail, including your packages, delivered by your regular mail carrier or you can pick up your mail at your local post office.

Tip #4

Use your credit card when making your purchase, as most major credit cards are protected from loss, including theft. If your item is stolen, contact the vendor first to see if they will refund or replace the item. If not, contact your credit card company to see what remedy they may offer. American Express Card members with Purchase Protection, for example, are reimbursed for theft or damages up to 120 days from the date of purchase.4

Tip #5

Track your packages. Many vendors and all the major package delivery services allow you to track your package online. If your package is being delivered by FedEx or the United States Postal Service you can go one step further s they allow you to schedule your delivery in advance so that you will be home on the day the package is delivered.5

Tip #6

Have your package held at the post office or UPS store so you can pick it up. If you are buying items from Amazon, you can have your item delivered to a secure Amazon locker. You can access Amazon locker locations on their website and add your nearest location as the delivery address when you make a purchase. When the package is delivered you will receive a notification with a unique code that you will input to open the locker and retrieve your package.6

Package theft is a crime of opportunity. It is no secret that packages left on porches, especially during the holidays, probably contain gifts that can easily be converted to cash by a thief. Taking a few easy steps can ensure that your gifts go to the intended recipients, not your local porch pirates.

A professional locksmith service can be of great assistance anytime of the year. If you are concerned about the security of your home or business or want to make sure your doors and locks are ready for the Holiday Season, Action Locksmith can help!

Our locksmith technicians are experienced, professional, and resourceful. From re-keying to code compliance, access control to camera systems, we specialize in both residential and commercial locksmith services and provide 24-hour Emergency Service. Questions? Contact us today!