The era of “smart” devices has taken over today’s world in many ways. One such trend that has gained momentum are smart locks.
And if you’re wondering how they work, then you’ll find the answers you need here.
I’ll share the ins and outs so you can determine if these products are the right choice for you or not. And, if you do decide that it’s a good fit, I’ve got another helpful guide so you can be sure you’ll get a good deal, more on that later.
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Smart Lock for Your Door
A smart lock can prove to be a convenient luxury for many families. It addresses concerns relating to security that’s ineffective through conventional means.
Some people may question if they need a smart lock for their door, but having one is an exponential upgrade from basic functionality. These products can make life easier, giving you a sense of control and constant notifications on when the front door should be locked.
Now, let’s dig into the details on how a smart lock works.
How Does a Smart Lock Work Exactly?
A smart lock has a keyless lock that allows you to unlock your front door without the need for a physical house key. In short, these products allow you to lock and unlock your door without the need of a physical key.
The product can be accessed through a mobile phone app for your smart home. Certain products have a keypad embedded on the lock so that an access code can be entered.
The lock connects to your home’s WiFi so you can lock or unlock your door anytime. This is what allows the lock to receive the code, or for the mobile phone to command to either lock or unlock your door.
Certain intelligent locks require a complete replacement of the lock system, but others can fit right over the existing setup on the door.
Smart Home Technology
When the product is integrated into a smart home, advanced locks can connect themselves with other devices, such as a speaker or security system. However, this would require a specialized hub that allows all of the devices to co-exist with other smart products. This can be a great addition to your smart home.
The power to connect your smart products with Bluetooth technology comes into play here.
As long as there’s a stable connection, you’ll be able to have access to your lock and other valuable information. These information includes:
- push notifications that you can customize in your phone’s settings
- a log of who has accessed the home (or attempted to)
- the ability to send out virtual keys
This kind of lock uses virtual keys and temporary codes that are sent from your smartphone to another person’s phone. This allows that person to enter your home without you having to be present.
Intelligent locks come in handy in terms of organizing your security. If you happen to notice someone who shouldn’t be at the house at a specific time, you’ll see it through either failed attempts or a notification sent out.
You’ll be able to tell precisely when someone who lives in your home has arrived or left (i.e., children getting home from school or a family member that leaves without your permission). In this way, you can get a real-time notification if someone unlocked the door and is about to leave.
The best part is you only need to connect it using a mobile phone to make this all work.
Additionally, we’ve all had times when we’re in a rush and either misplace our keys or forget to lock the front door when we leave. Instead of having to rely on the conventional key or go all the way back home to lock the door, all you have to do is download an application on your mobile phone. That will provide you with everything that you need to enter to your home.
Another advantage is that you won’t have to fumble with your keys to unlock your door when you just arrived with your hands full of grocery bags. You can unlock the door before you come out of the car. Or there are other devices that allows you to unlock your door using a sound command.
5 Advantages of Having a Smart Lock for Your Door
Many advantages come with having a smart lock, it’s not just the convenience of unlocking, but so much more. These advantages might assist you in your home’s convenience on how you unlock your front door and for security.
One of the primary benefits that you’ll see is that it will help keep your home much more secure. The locks effectively eliminate the chance that someone swipes your traditional keys. And since you won’t have to make extra copies of the key, there will be fewer methods of entry required to unlock the front door.
Smart locks can be set to lock and unlock the front door after a certain time, or whenever the smartphone connected to the lock has left the vicinity. Other locks contain specialized features that can help you keep a log of who tried to access the house and what codes were used. This feature of a wireless lock can prove to be convenient in case of an emergency.
2. Ease of Access
Having a smart lock for your smart home can allow you to authorize access to your household to people you trust, like your friends and family. This can be something useful if you happen to be the owner of a vacation property or leave for a vacation.
What makes this feature special is that you can set a specific time for when users are allowed to unlock your doors and enter your smart home. Or, if you’re feeling extra generous, you can allow certain people unlimited access to the house.
Of course, some smart lock systems know when only you are home and can either keep the front door locked or unlocked per your preference.
Since the system can detect when you’re either home or away, you can take solace in the fact that it’s always working on your behalf to make sure your family, friends, and possessions are safe.
Some locks can generate like 30 unique access codes so you can monitor who and when comes in and out of the house. Maybe you’d like to give a code to the babysitter or another code to the cleaner. Once the code is used to unlock your door, a notification is sent to your smartphone.
In the future, you can review the log-in history available on your smartphone. This can be useful in case of emergencies, theft, or for any purpose.
Since smart locks can be connected via Bluetooth and wireless internet, it can be integrated with your smart home’s security system. This allows you to lock and unlock doors even when you’re not home.
Doubtful events will be notified on your mobile device via the available Integrated Automation System. This will also allow you to continue monitoring your smart home. Some smart locks automatically once it detects that you hadn’t locked the door (when you left or if you’re inside the house already).
With its Connectivity convenience, some smart locks can also be connected to voice command devices available like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.
With this digital sound command technology, you can now lock your front door without lifting a finger, and it just needs to hear your command. You can create a command and connect to Alexa or Google and say, “Hey Alexa, lock the front door.”
It doesn’t get more convenient than this. However, most smart locks do not come available with this feature, so it’s something you should consider before picking the smart lock for your home. Also consider which sound command devices can connect to your wireless door lock.
4. Custom Rules
Other smart locks allow you to create custom rules for your convenience. Like for example, upon entering your home, you can set 20 seconds for the doors to automatically lock in case you forgot to lock them.
Or you can set a custom rule where the lights will automatically turn off, adjust the smart home’s thermostat system, and then enable your smart home’s security system upon locking of your front door.
Of course, these custom rules and features depend on the brand and manufacturer of your smart lock.
You can also set a system before you go to sleep. This is to save your effort in checking all doors are locked and checking all the rooms in your house if lights need to be turned off. Another notable feature however, is smart locks also sync with your thermostat system to adjust automatically.
5. An Advantage for Business Owners
Smart locks are not only designed for residential use but commercial use as well. This can be an advantage to business owners who want to make sure that only authorized personnel can enter the premises.
With the convenience of personal access codes, each employee can have their code. This will be helpful to the business owner in tracking who came in or went out during a specific period.
This will also give peace of mind to the business owner if the employee comes in late for work, or leaves early. Because of the recorded history of all coming and going employees sent to the owner’s mobile phone, this can serve as proof of attendance for the employees.
Frequently Asked Questions About Smart Locks
Should I Replace or Keep My Existing Deadbolt?
Keeping or replacing your existing deadbolt depends on the brand and manufacturer of your smart lock. Other brands allow you to hang it on the current provision for your deadbolt. These are called “retrofit” options. This is great for apartments where the lessee can change the smart locks and keys.
Popular smart locks like the August Smart Lock is designed to clamp in place over your existing deadbolt. The retrofit design of August Smart Lock allows you to add another layer of protection for your door.
This means that you get to keep your physical keys. It is a simple way to add connectivity to your door’s lock without the need to replace the whole deadbolt replacement system.
Aside from the retrofit option of a keyless lock, if you want, you can also replace the whole existing deadbolt. Many smart locks use this option, however this may take more effort during installation.
But not to worry, because a novice DIYer can install a smart lock on his own. The installation of a WiFi door lock will take about 15-20 minutes and a screwdriver. Take time to read the instructions included in the package, and if you want you can watch instructional videos online to install the smart lock by yourself.
Just remember to measure your deadbolt and door first before buying a new smart keyless lock. If you want to make things easier in the future, remember to take a photo of the existing set up of your lock before making any changes.
You can use the photo of the lock as a reference in the future in case you encounter any unexpected issues with your new smart lock.
What Are the Voice Command Devices Compatible With a Smart Lock?
The voice command devices compatible with a smart lock are Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. Of course, this will depend on the brand and manufacturer of your smart lock.
There are smart locks that is only compatible with one sound assistant, some of them work for many options. So this is something you want to check out before buying a new WiFi door lock.
How Do Smart Locks Get Power?
Most smart locks get power from batteries. The type of battery and how many batteries required will depend on the brand and manufacturer of the lock. For example, an August Smart Lock requires 4 AA batteries.
Other WiFI locks for doors may require 4 AAA batteries, some locks may require two.
How Long Is the Battery Life of a Smart Lock?
The battery life of most smart locks can last up to 6-12 months.  Again, this depends on the brand and manufacturer of the smart lock you chose. The wear and tear of the batteries depend on your daily usage, battery quality, and cold temperatures.
How to Install a Smart Lock?
How you install a smart lock depends on the lock you purchased. But it’s safe to say that there is no need to hire a locksmith to get the job done. But if you don’t want to break a sweat, it’s up to you to hire a locksmith.
Smart lock installation may differ from one lock to another. Make sure to read the instructions before making any new purchase, read reviews online, or watch instructional videos to guide you.
Is There a Required Distance where I can Control the Locks?
The required distance where you can control the locks depend on the connectivity you use. For example, when you control the locks using your mobile device, all you need is an Internet connection, then you can control it anywhere. All you need to do is download the required app of the lock, sync it, then you can remotely control your door from anywhere. Even when you’re in another zip code or country, you can have access anytime.
When you use the Bluetooth Technology, then there is a required distance for you to be able to control the locks. A general rule of thumb of Bluetooth devices is it can connect an estimated range of 55-78 meters. 
In cases of voice commands used to control a lock, it depends on the clarity and loudness of your command.
Now, if this sounds like something you want, be sure to check out my cheapest smart door lock reviews. That guide helps you find the best possible lock for the lowest price.
Now you know how a smart lock works and how to find a good deal. I hope you enjoyed the information in this guide and find the best smart lock for your smart home.