Modern technology is developing by leaps and bounds, so everything that has recently been considered fantasy fiction is quickly rather than gradually becoming a reality. Many houses and apartments have already acquired intelligent assistants, the number of which increases practically every day. Not so long ago the army of “smart” assistants was joined by a smart door lock, which is a useful, reliable and very convenient device. If potential buyers are interested in this new helper, then most likely they will be interested to know what kind of design it is, how it works, what are its advantages and whether there are disadvantages.
What are smart doors and locks?
They have become an integral part of the Smart Home system. A smart (or pseudo-smart) door is a construction which is equipped with an electronic locking system and video surveillance (video eye).
Smart Lock (or Smart Lock) – a device that securely locks doors, which can be unlocked by entering data from an electronic device – an electronic key fob, smartphone, which has an application installed. Their transmission is made over a wireless protocol (Bluetooth) with a cryptographic key. However, there are other options for opening the door.
Such a key works on a finger (little finger) batteries. The device is rarely “capricious”, makes it possible to control the mechanisms remotely, and is able to solve the tasks assigned to it independently. Since Smart Lock is connected to the Internet, the owners are able to configure automatic actions. An example is sending the owners a notification about a break-in.
Like conventional devices, the smart device consists of a lock and a key. Its mechanical part is almost no different from traditional locks. However, the key is not the usual physical, but a digital, virtual one. The code to open the lock is transmitted through small key chains (Key Chain) or with the help of a smart phone, which has a special application installed.
The digital code used to unlock the door is unique, so the individual identifier is very difficult for burglars. Thanks to the code there is an opportunity to secure the house or apartment as much as possible: the smart lock identifies the owner’s device absolutely precisely. A big plus of smart devices is the data transfer via the Internet.
Thanks to the new technology, the owners can let guests in when they are away from the house or unlock the lock on their way to it. Another plus is the chance to keep track of who used the device and at what time. The device can be unlocked for a certain period of time. The smart door lock has protection against mechanical tampering, against picks and hard knocks. Protection functions in some models are performed by special sensors.
Smart door lock: advantages and disadvantages
There are no ideals, but unlike conventional mechanical devices, the “thinking” lock has many advantages and a minimal number of disadvantages. Traditionally, we start with the first ones.
The first advantage is the maximum convenience. The owners will not have to look for the key in the purse or pockets, as the smartphone (keychain) are always at hand. The second advantage is the speed of opening the lock: smart devices unlock doors within seconds. The list of advantages does not end here.
- It completely eliminates the possibility of being left in front of a closed door, which happens to owners who, in a hurry, left the key at home.
- The security of the home is close to absolute. Smart door locks from reliable manufacturers belong to the category of devices which are “unbreakable” even if the device has a keyhole for emergency opening.
- It is possible to get information about events when you are far from your home. Most models are equipped with burglary and shock sensors. Therefore, if the sensors detect an attempted unauthorized entry into the home, the owners will immediately receive an alert of what is happening at the door.
Even smart devices are not without disadvantages, so before making a final decision, with the possible problems of such door locks it is better to get acquainted with. The weaknesses of these smart home elements include:
- Possibility of burglary. Causes – negligence of the owners, mistakes of the manufacturer or the programmer, who was involved in setting up the lock.
- Unlocking by intruders, if the phone was lost or stolen. In this case, the property will be easily accessible. It is possible to prevent intrusion – it is enough to set several levels of locking on the smartphone.
- The need for power. As a rule, locks work on batteries or rechargeable batteries, which have to be replaced regularly. However, the life of the cells is quite long – locks can work without changing for a year or more. There are models with dual power, and those to which a PowerBank can be connected for emergency opening.
The high price of smart models is also one of their disadvantages. Simple locks cost several hundred. Quality “intellectuals” can deprive buyers of tens of thousands.
Types of locks
All smart aides and protectors are divided into 2 large groups: overhead and mortise locks.
Overhead devices – external locks, which are mounted on the door leaf. They are distinguished by a lower price.
Inserted devices. They are mortised into the door, so it is required to replace the entire face. This model is more difficult to install, it is more expensive. It is believed that this type is more durable and reliable.
Depending on the method of opening, the locks may be biometric (fingerprint, retina), code (password input), card recognition, or smartphone signal. There are also combination devices, which can open the door in several ways. This is useful if one of the modes of communication is unavailable. This category also includes locks equipped with a face for the usual physical key. Such an addition has a separate panel.
Top 5 best smart front door locks
The ranking of the best smart locks embedded in your front door includes:
- Xiaomi Vima Only Code Lock Cylinder;
- Dismac S31;
- VOCOlinc Tguard Smart Bluetooth Door Lock;
- Xiaomi Aqara Smart Door Lock S2;
- Danalock Bluetooth + Z-Wave;
Let’s dwell on each of the devices, tell you about their main characteristics and features. Listing the advantages and disadvantages, let’s turn to the real reviews of users who managed to assess the designs on their merits. Enjoy reading and have a good shopping experience for your home!
Xiaomi Vima Only Code Lock Cylinder
Inexpensive quality device has an elegant design. A large part of the panel is occupied by a touch keypad, with its help you set personal codes for visitors and home visitors. It is difficult to find fault with the quality of the lock, it is unlikely that you can easily rip the product out of the door, and it is almost unbreakable to intruders. You may ask for an expert to install the lock. The power of the lock is provided by four AA batteries.
- several ways to close and open the lock;
- alarm in case of burglary;
- ease of installation;
- high quality of materials used.
- were not found.
Reliable biometric electronic lock equipped with a handle, double bolt made of high quality and durable laminated steel. The lock opens by fingerprint, card and code. You choose the method yourself, in the process of operation you change according to your own preferences and desires. The lock is powered by regular “finger” batteries. You will never miss the moment of their replacement due to a special indicator.
- an unlimited number of prints;
- The device is made of quality and reliable materials;
- availability of a replaceable battery;
- electronic advanced mechanism.
- Not sold everywhere.
VOCOlinc Tguard Smart Bluetooth Door Lock
A smart solution to protect your office and home premises. With the lock you will protect exterior and interior doors. The outside of the lock is protected from the weather by silicone padding. The lock is quite compact and can be used for any door. The device is controlled by a mobile app. In addition, it is possible to open the door with a physical key.
- compatibility with iOS;
- connection via bluetooth system;
- ease of use;
- the strength of design.
- no self-installation.
Xiaomi Aqara Smart Door Lock S2
The lock opens with an advanced fingerprint scanner, using a variety of other smart technologies, tied to the Xiaomi app. The lock is fully protected from electromagnetic interference, it has 7 security sensors. They reliably protect homes, office space and instill confidence in the user. In the installation and operation of the device as simple as possible, but it is recommended to contact an experienced specialist for installation. The scanner is not as simple as it seems – it accurately recognizes non-living prints and the most sophisticated forgeries through the use of algorithms to recognize the image and character traits.
- unique scanner;
- comprehensive protection against intruders;
- stylish design;
- notifications in case of anomalies are received in the application and on the security desk.
- lack of spare parts.
Danalock Bluetooth + Z-Wave
The lock is controlled through a separate application. Do not be lazy and install it, because through electronic resources is much easier to control the state of the device, adjust the degree of protection, change passwords and information. The installation will take no more than 15 minutes, in the end you will get an excellent option, fully justifying the cost. Installation is supposed to be done independently according to the instructions, as well as with the invitation of a specialist.
- control via the app;
- quick installation;
- user-friendly interface;
- automatic closing of the lock;
- availability of alarm in case of hacking by intruders.
- were not found.
Features of smart door locks
The devices differ in:
- The number of access methods: PIN code (temporary or permanent), fingerprint, RF- or NFC-card, smartphone app;
- support of encryption protocols when transmitting data over the wireless network: the more complex the algorithm, the stronger the protection;
- whether or not there is an additional possibility of emergency opening – a physical key and a well, with the help of Power Bank;
- the presence of additional functions and devices (sensors, sending messages);
- the maximum number of accounts that can be stored in memory;
- the possibility of integrating the device into the smart home system;
- Presence of keyboard – mechanical or sensor;
- Power supply: batteries, rechargeable batteries (AA, AAA);
- the possibility of differentiation of access rights;
- type of wireless connection;
- burglary resistance degree.
If you buy a smart door lock to connect to the “Smart Home” system, the device must support the protocol, which is used for switching (Bluetooth BLE, Thread, Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave). The communication module (Bluetooth, RF, NFC, Wi-Fi) is mandatory for remote operation.
As a rule, additional functions are possible for devices that use a digital code to work. In this case, for protection is added:
The ability to hide the identifier among a set of digits. For this purpose, a few characters are added at the beginning and end of the code that do not belong to it.
The possibility of protection by entering a few characters before entering the virtual key.
It is clear that the most secure devices always remain in the group of favorites, so it is better to give preference to such models when choosing. However, in this case, choosing the best solution depends more on where the property is located. Houses located far from “civilization” need a super reliable device.
Ways to open smart door locks
Before moving on to the choice of device, you need to get acquainted with the options for opening and closing doors. They all have both advantages and disadvantages.
This is one of the simplest devices with which the vast majority of potential buyers of smart locks are already familiar. The tiny key fob has buttons on it. When pressed, the radio signal is transmitted to the built-in receiver located on the door, and the lock opens.
Up to 30 devices can be programmed for one door. If one of them is lost, all the others will have to be reprogrammed immediately. For this operation, a hidden button is used, which is located on the lock itself. The signal reception radius is 10 m. Protection against code scanning system ensures Rolling-Code-System.
- the low cost of the gadgets;
- the ability to open the door, even without taking the keychain out of his pocket;
- convenience, as it is carried in a pocket or fixed with a carabiner on the handle of the bag.
- Possible loss of a small item, chance of leaving it at home, likelihood of code reading, need to press a button.
Control panel and PIN-code
This is the second method, well known to all. On the wall at the door or on the door leaf there is a panel with a glass surface and touch buttons. Since the element is equipped with LED backlight, there are no problems with opening the door at night. The PIN code can consist of 4-6 characters.
No additional settings are required for the device, everything works “out of the box”. Owners just need to think up, enter and remember the password.
- impossibility to pick up the code from erased buttons, as the symbols on the panels are indelible;
- absence of necessity to wear additional devices;
- attractive appearance and minimum movement.
- the need to “damage” the wall or door to mount the panel, as well as the theoretical possibility of picking the code.
Smartphone and Bluetooth
In this case, no apps will have to be installed on the phone, because the drive is paired with the gadget automatically. To confirm the opening of the door, owners need to press the OK sign on the access panel.
- maximum ease of setup;
- no need for additional devices on the door or wall.
- inability to get into the dwelling if the phone is dead; inconvenience if hands are busy.
This option theoretically has no weaknesses. This “code” can not be calculated and read, it is also impossible to lose it. The identification operation is simple: you touch the scanner with your finger. It is capable of memorizing 150 fingerprints, including those of children. The more often family members use the device, the faster it is recognized and triggered. To exclude possible mishaps (burns, cuts) during reading, it is recommended to enter the fingerprints of several fingers instead of one into the memory of the device.
claimed resistance to temperature fluctuations;
Ruggedness due to its shockproof design;
reliable, continuous operation: the scanner runs on the network;
the ability to integrate the device with other security devices;
recognition of dirty fingers and skin with minor damage.
- very high price, inability to open the door in case of a power outage and fear of owners to lose a limb.
Criteria for choosing a smart lock
The reasoning about which lock is better, more often leads to one disappointing conclusion: the optimal option is considered the usual mechanical models – simple, reliable and, in most cases, fail-safe.
However, owners who use such smart devices not the first year, have already had time to assess both the advantages and disadvantages of different models, so they have come to certain conclusions. People uninitiated better learn about some of the peculiarities of the choice.
Many believe that the smart lock with a handle is not designed for our realities. Its purpose is to work in light doors, because in metal constructions the handle becomes loose over time, and the lock together with it becomes unusable.
The fingerprint scanner is not the best choice. The recognizer constantly gets dirty, models with battery power quickly “eat” batteries, in frosty weather the devices refuse to recognize the fingers of their owners.
Wi-Fi is a connection that is ideal for hotels, but it is not the best solution for homes or apartments. The owners of such smart locks will not get any significant benefits, but will spend money on batteries.
Bluetooth locks do not guarantee complete security. During the tests, 12 out of 16 models were broken: “intruders” received access codes, and the settings of the devices got confused.
Now for the near-perfect option. Many come to the conclusion that it is a device with a touch panel and with two ways of opening – by password and key-card. In this case, the owners will have the opportunity to set the double authorization mode: it is the opening of the door with the simultaneous use of the card and the password. Another criterion is the ability to connect to the device backup (emergency) power in case the batteries suddenly run out.
What will help to make the smart door lock secure?
First of all, a smart device should be chosen “wisely”. Therefore, it is better to give preference to a manufacturer with a high rating, and before making the final choice, read reviews on the model.
To install the lock, you need to invite a master who has a license for this type of activity.
To maximize the security of the home, it is better to add to the lock the same “smart” peephole or video cameras.
The combination lock will be the most secure if the owners set a long password that is difficult to crack.
If the model has a two-level identification system function, it is highly recommended to set it up.
Regular updating of the software and frequent change of passwords will guarantee complete inviolability of the house or apartment.
Both adepts of pseudo-intelligent homes and ordinary people are increasingly paying attention to electronic devices that free you from many routine chores. One of the most important gadgets is a smart door lock. It is convenient, reliable and functional. In addition, new and improved models are regularly released, and software flaws detected are promptly eliminated by updating the firmware of the devices.
Frontpoint: The best home security system for your own hands
Frontpoint is the best home security system for do-it-yourself installation. You don’t need any technical knowledge to install the system, because all devices are already programmed. All you have to do is clear the devices, insert them in the right places and configure them via the smartphone app. The smartphone app will walk you through the entire process in 30 minutes. No need for professional installation, programming, drilling and plugging.
Frontpoint is also known for their exceptional customer service staff – if you have any issues, they will walk you through the process, which is not a big process. Frontpoint’s incredible hands-on experience makes it the perfect home security system for renters who move frequently and for people who aren’t tech-savvy.
In addition to an incredibly easy installation process, Frontpoint also offers an incredible array of products and sensors. They have a wide range of intrusion systems, environmental sensors, cameras, home automation systems, and other accessories needed to protect your home. You can choose the perfect combination of sensors and devices to build your security system.
Finally, Frontpoint doesn’t bind you with contracts. Yes, there are no contracts at all, so you can get out of membership whenever you want, but it’s worth noting that their membership costs are significantly higher than most other security systems, starting at $44.99. You do get superior features, high-quality products, exceptional customer service, and excellent smart home compatibility, but it’s up to you to decide if those benefits are worth that high price tag.
- 100% cellular connectivity : the entire system is wireless and cellular, so there are no cords that burglars can cut to disarm the system.
- Fault-tolerant backups : in case of any technical problems, they have three fault-tolerant backups to the control center, so you don’t have to worry about losing data.
- Smash-Proof : the system works great no matter how many burglars hack it.
- Battery Backup : the system has a 24-hour battery backup, so it continues to work even if the power goes out.
- Complete home protection : Frontpoint includes a wide range of sensors to protect your home from all kinds of environmental factors including flooding, freezing, carbon monoxide, fires, etc. Д.
- Unexpected Activity : Most home security systems are only triggered when something goes wrong. However, Frontpoint learns your daily schedule and sends a push notification about “unexpected activity” whenever it notices something unexpected, like opening a door at an unexpected time.
- Custom Schedule : you can set individual and advanced schedules for arming and disarming your system.
- Broadcast to TV : you can stream the channel from the CCTV camera to a large TV through Apple TV or Roku.
- Voice control : use Alexa or Google Assistant to control your security system via voice commands.
- Guest Codes : create temporary codes for guests and maids, valid only at certain times or periods.
- Smart Home Integration: You can control your entire smart home remotely through a smartphone app. You can control lights, garage doors, locks, etc. Д.
- Easy installation with your own hands : all devices are 100% programmed. All you have to do is peel off the sticker and attach it in the right places. The Frontpoint app guides you through a step-by-step setup, which takes no more than 30 minutes. That’s it!
- Risk-free trial : you can return it within 30 days and get a full refund.
- Automatic checks : the security system automatically checks all sensors once an hour to make sure they are all working properly.
- Extremely easy to install with your own hands.
- No wiring or drilling required.
- Impeccable customer service.
- Wide range of sensors for complete home protection.
- Excellent smart home integration with lights, garage doors, etc. Д.
- Intuitive smartphone app.
- No contracts.
- Professional installation not available.
- Expensive monitoring fees.
What apps and software do you have to use with the smart lock system?
In order to use your smart lock, you will need to have a few things. You will need an app, a lock, and a smartphone.
The app is needed for the system to work. The app is what connects the lock with your phone, so it can open and close your door for you. If you don’t have an app, then the smart lock won’t work with your phone.
The lock itself is needed in order to get the job done. The lock has a chip inside it that communicates with the outside world through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections. This means that when someone wants to enter your home they will need either their fingerprint or their phone’s password in order to open it up and come inside.
Finally, you’ll need a smartphone in order to use this type of system at all – without one there’s no way for anyone on the outside of your home to be able to unlock it and come inside!