My smart home keeps getting smarter all the time. I’ve got multiple smart cameras, a smart security system (Canary), smart lights (Philips Hue), a smart doorbell (Ring Video Doorbell Pro), a smart alarm clock (Beddi), a smart speaker (Amazon Echo), smart digital art frames (Electric Objects EO1) and the list goes on. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get around to researching smart locks!
Smart locks have been around for enough time that they’re no longer awe-inducing — they’re just expected. But they have taken off in a big way for some really good reasons: you can use your phone as a key, you can issue digital keys to guests from anywhere in the world and you can easily monitor who comes and goes (and when) from your house. Basically, they’re awesome for parents and kids probably wish they didn’t exist.
In today’s top 3 list — and as part of DailyTekk’s ongoing mission to being you the best, most useful new tech products for your everyday life — I’ve chosen what I feel are the 3 best smart locks you can buy in mid-to-late 2016. If you’ve been doing your research you’ll certainly recognize the company names below, although you might not have heard about a couple of the newer models I’ve mentioned. So let me know down in the comments which smart lock looks best for you!
Yale Real Living Assure Smart Lock
When it comes to smart locks, there’s one company who seems to rank highest in user reviews on Amazon and that is Yale (so many Yale smart locks get 4.5 out of 5 stars that I find it pretty remarkable). There are several different models of Yale smart locks to choose from; seemingly one for any whim a person might have. There are Yale locks with traditional keys and many with digital only locking and unlocking. There are some with handles and some without, some with physical buttons and some with touch screens and several different metal and finish options to choose from. So, truly, it looks like you can’t really go wrong with any Yale smart lock.
That said, there’s a new version that’s coming out soon (as of the time of this writing) called the Yale Real Living Assure Lock with Bluetooth. This lock is truly key free and the Twist and Go function adds an extra layer of security. Additional cool features include the ability to power up the lock with a spare 9V battery (in case of low power on the lock; basically ensuring you’ll never get locked out) and a digital keypad so that you can enter your home even when you don’t have your phone (which, trust me, can come in handy — imagine if you just stepped outside to mow the lawn or check the mail and didn’t bring your phone). If this model hasn’t quite come out yet while you’re reading this article, you’ll probably still enjoy the highly rated and very similar YRD240 model.
Overall I really like the sleek look of the Assure; it’s a bit modern while still retaining the ability to blend into more traditional home architecture. To me, the design looks cooler than most other smart locks (with the exception of the August below).
Schlage Sense Smart Lock
Like Yale, Schlage makes some great smart lock options which tend to be highly rated on Amazon. The Schlage Sense is a newer smart deadbolt model that comes in two trims: Camelot and Century. Camelot, as the name implies, is less modern-looking; it’s curvier and would fit a more traditional-looking home style. The Century has cleaner lines and would look better with a modern home style.
On the tech side, Schlage calls this their most advanced lock yet. One reason is that the technology knows the difference between you and your neighbor which ensures only the right people can get into your home. I really love the option to use your voice as a key by saying something like, “Unlock my door,” using Siri (and yep, that means that this smart lock is Apple HomeKit compatible).
The Schlage Sense is also a very strong lock. Not only does it meet the highest industry standards mechanically, but it is smart enough to sense if someone is trying to tamper with it (and can issue an alert to let you know).
One final thing I really like about the Sense is how thin it is; it looks about as thick as a toothpick compared to some other smart locks (and that’s a good thing).
August Smart Lock
If you’re looking for the most high-tech smart lock, that has to be the August Smart Lock. This brilliant lock installs on the inside of your door (which means nobody will even know you’ve got a smart lock in the first place) and it will automatically unlock when it senses that you’ve arrived home (like some other smart locks do as well). Of course it also auto locks when you leave (so no more asking yourself, “Did I lock the door?” when you’re miles down the road).
Like any good smart lock, the August lets you create digital keys to share with people like dog walkers, friends or family members — but I also really love the log feature which lets you see exactly who has come and gone easily and at any time. I also like how granular the guest key function is: rather than just granting a key that works forever, you can give someone access to your home for a day, an hour or even just at a specific time!
Something cool about August is that the company doesn’t just make smart locks; they also make a smart doorbell (with a camera) and a smart keypad: so you can get a whole matching system setup rather than piecing together smart home products from many different manufacturers.
Quite honestly, one of the best features about the August smart lock is simply it’s design: I love how sleek it looks (even if it is rather thick) and the lights create a simple, attractive visual interface that looks ages more modern that competing smart locks.
The Kevo from Kwikset certainly deserves an honorable mention if for no other reason than it works with Nest! Plus it’s nice and small and has an attractive blue light to let you understand the lock status with just a glance. One other thing you won’t get with other smart lock systems? A key fob that can go on your keychain.
Recommendations and Conclusion
- Security: If you want the best security you can get, both mechanically and digitally, the Schlage smart lock is about as solid as it gets.
- Tech Features: If you want the best software (app) experience the August smart lock is hard to beat.
- Crowd Pleaser: If you want a lock that has proven itself a customer favorite I’d look into a Yale smart lock.
When it comes to smart homes it’s pretty hard to think of a smart gadget that offers more real-world convenience than a smart lock. Depending on where you might install it, it’s something that could see a lot of everyday use and something that could literally save you in a pinch (thanks to the remote access). In short, a smart home without a smart lock isn’t nearly smart enough.