THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BUYING SMART LOCKS

Fri Oct 29 2021

Written by: Odafe David

Smart Locks

Let’s paint you a picture; 

You live in Ajah, your office is at TBS (Tafawa Balewa Square). You have to struggle to get a bus to go home so you can beat the traffic rush. While on the bus, you are pressed. You get to your bus stop after 2 hours in traffic and take a bike home. Now you are at your door, more pressed than before. You then have to fumble your keys to open the door and you just can't easily find the right key. You know how the bladder can act like a superhero in traffic but when you get to your door, it seems like it can't hold the urine anymore. Frustrating right? LOL. I have been there before. 

Fumbling for the appropriate key to unlock the door may appear to be a minor inconvenience, but it is extremely annoying. There are many other inconveniences that you could experience, like losing your keys, when you don't use a smart lock.  

 

Smart locks, like the locks on modern car models, allow you to unlock doors using an app, your face, fingerprint, a button, or simply being close to the door.

This week, I will provide a THOROUGH guide to smart locks. Knowing the different types of smart locks will assist you in deciding which option is ideal for you. Most smart locks come with a master key in the event of a battery or technical failure. Several of the locks also offer a combination of technologies, allowing you to unlock the door without a key if you lose your key or forget your pin code.

Here are some things to consider when buying a smart lock;

CONNECTIVITY

The functionality of your smart locks will be dependent on the connectivity you have or want to install in your home. Your smart locks will, in most situations, need to be able to connect with other smart home devices as well as your phone. Here are the options available;

Bluetooth

Bluetooth smart locks come with a variety of locking options. It can detect when you're within a certain distance and automatically unlock the door as you approach. The lock can be unlocked by tapping your phone. Bluetooth operates at a low energy level, allowing for extended battery life.

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Biometric

 Fingerprints are all unique and very difficult to fake or alter. And, a fingerprint enabled lock can’t be lost or misplaced which makes them a good security option. Fingerprint entry can be highly useful, especially for Small and Medium businesses, to guarantee that only authorized staff have access to locations containing sensitive information or goods. They're simple to set up and can generally store 10-100 fingerprints.

 

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RFID

This method is most commonly seen in the workplace. It lets you unlock doors using a card. The card must be pressed against the RFID reader in most cases, but some can be unlocked at a distance between 1 metre and 2 metres.

Keypad

To unlock the door, keypads require pin codes. They're simple to set up and can store many pin codes for various users, as well as modify the pin code at any moment, making them ideal for landlords of shortlet apartments. You can simply update the pin code to a new one for the next renter when the current renter's stay expires. Most of these types of locks use touch screen keypads, although a few will still have physical keys to press.

 

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Wi-Fi

Some smart locks can be connected to a hub to provide Wi-Fi connectivity and additional functions. You can easily trace who is opening and closing the door when they are doing so, and even remotely lock and unlock the door from anywhere in the world. Smart right?

 

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You should however note that some locks may have a combination of biometric (fingerprint), keypad, master key etc. In the short video below I show an example of this type of lock.

TYPES OF DOORS TO SECURE

The second thing you should think about before purchasing smart locks is which doors you want them placed on. This will determine the types of locks you'll need, how many you'll need, and how much they'll cost in total.

Smart locks can be used on any door, inside or out, and are not just for front doors.

 Front Doors

Most smart locks can be used for the front door and back door. However, there are left-handed and right-handed lever handles, so that's something to consider when purchasing a smart door lock. Furthermore, when purchasing smart locks for an outdoor door, ensure that they are designed to be used outside and are not labelled for use just on internal doors.

Bedroom Doors

Bedroom and bathroom smart locks function similarly to other smart door locks. The main difference is that you'll need to look for smart door locks that are branded "for interior doors" when shopping. These are also available in a variety of colours and finishes, making them compatible with a wide range of existing hardware and interior decors.

Sliding Glass Doors

Because they are so easy to break into, a sliding glass door is one of your home's most susceptible doors. Unfortunately, there are no smart locks available for sliding glass doors as of this writing. For sliding glass doors, there are a couple of 2-way keyless locks, but that's it.

FEATURES

The third thing you should think about before purchasing smart locks is what features you want them to provide. Smart locks today provide a wide range of capabilities. Some include;

Home Automation

To give you home automation control (remote or otherwise), most smart home gadgets require a hub or other mechanism of transmitting commands. IFTTT, Zigbee, Alexa, and other centralized home automation systems are examples of these approaches or gadgets. Learn more about Home Automation here.

Compatibility with Smartphones

Smartphone compatibility is another crucial aspect because most smart home features use an app to provide you access to their systems and products, as well as monitor and control them. You'll be able to access your smart lock's history, receive mobile alerts, and more using an app. As a result, double-check that the smart locks you choose are compatible with your mobile device, whether it's an Android or an iPhone.

Remote Control

Most smart home systems bundles have remote access, but this isn't necessarily the case with stand-alone smart locks. If this is a feature you desire, make sure it comes with an app so you can limit guest access remotely, and be notified when your kids return home from school, among other things. Consider DL30Z

One-Touch Unlock

There are various varieties of smart locks, with many of them being referred to as one-touch locks. As long as you have the correct keychain fob (Bluetooth) or one that is paired with your smartphone, all you have to do is walk up to the lock and touch it to open it. So, if you want this useful function, make sure your installation includes a one-touch lock.

Please keep in mind that some of these locks, particularly the newer ones, can be quite costly. Furthermore, some businesses will charge you a price each time you want to share full access with someone else. ZKTeco doesn’t do this. Once purchased, there are no recurring fees.

Integration of Security Systems

An integrated security system works in conjunction with and is connected to your current security system. An integrated system combines numerous pieces of security equipment, which may be of the same or different manufacturers (if they are compatible), into a single solution. Each piece of equipment will be able to be operated from a single location, such as a mobile app.

What is the significance of this?

You could assume that integration isn't something you need to be concerned with at first. However, as you begin to build out your security system and as it grows, you will want to be able to control everything from a single location. This saves you the trouble of having to open and monitor different applications every time you want to know who's at the door or who's on your property.

The last thing you want is to get a notification and then have to figure out which piece of equipment sent it and which app you need to open just to see what's going on. That's a lot of time you could have spent protecting your family and/or contacting authorities instead. That is why integration is crucial.

However, how do you connect your existing home security system to your new smart lock system?

If your home security system is outdated, you may not have a choice except to replace it entirely. If the present system is relatively new in terms of technology, however, there are numerous smart home hubs and applications available to bridge the gap between the two systems. You may, for example, look into IFTTT, Alexa, Google Assistant, and other similar services to see if any of them are compatible with what you have and/or want to acquire. And if they aren't, keep looking because there's bound to be something else that is.

Smart locks will make life much easier and more convenient for you. They'll add an extra layer of protection to your home, assuring you that you'll know when your kids return home from school and that you'll be able to allow them in if they forget their codes or keys.

Purchasing a smart lock does not have to be difficult; all you need to do is spend some time learning the fundamentals so you can make an informed decision about which smart lock would best suit your demands and budget.

CONCLUSION

Smart locks not only make life easier for you, but they also offer security. With app-controlled locks, you'll know when your kids return home from school, and they'll be able to get in safely even if they forget their key. If you're a business owner, the RFID-enabled locks will come in handy for keeping sensitive areas secure while also supplying RFID cards for entrance. In the event of a break-in, you'll also be able to see who entered the business and when. One of the greatest methods to keep your entire house secure is to keep your doors secure, and our instructions above will assist you in making the best option.