Choosing the right smart lock: a comprehensive guide

Amber Chen  |  Mar 04, 2024
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A smart lock is one of the most cost-effective ways to enhance the security of commercial and residential doors. As more and more people and businesses recognize its advantages, experts believe the smart lock technology market will continue to grow in the coming years.

If you’re planning to buy one, our guide can help you choose the right smart lock for your needs.

Overview

1. Understanding smart lock technology

2. Factors to consider when choosing a smart lock

3. Additional considerations and tips

4. Summing it all up

Understanding smart lock technology

In short, smart locks allow homeowners to remotely lock and unlock doors using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, voice commands, or a simple tap of a finger. Some high-quality smart door locks can give (or revoke) virtual keys to family members, friends, and other trusted individuals.

The standard smart lock consists of different components and features. All of these components offer users convenience, flexibility, and security.

Smart door lock basic components:

  • The physical lock.
  • The keyless entry method (e.g., a digital key and a PIN code).
  • A secure connection (which can be Bluetooth or Wi-Fi).
  • A mobile management app or software.
  • Battery power source.

Connectivity options

Most smart lock products depend on three wireless connections to enable remote access and control. These are:

1. Bluetooth

Most smart lock products depend on three wireless connections to enable remote access and control. These are:

2. Wi-Fi

Unlike Bluetooth smart locks, Wi-Fi-enabled smart locks allow you to control your door remotely using the accompanying app. These devices also offer real-time alerts, which is a great way to monitor what’s happening at your property. One major drawback of this type of smart lock is that there’s a risk of it being hacked.

3. Z-Wave

You’ll find Z-Wave technology in most smart home devices because it's reliable and consumes less energy. It works on a different radio frequency, so it shouldn’t interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. However, Z-Wave smart door locks require an additional hub to communicate with your Wi-Fi network.

Smart door locks can use multiple connections to operate. SwitchBot Lock, for instance, offers seven options: Apple Watch, Bluetooth, NFC tags, a physical key, a remote connection, smartphone widgets, and voice control.

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Power source and backup

Most smart locks use standard batteries as a power source. Depending on usage and power consumption, batteries could last for months or even years. Some smart locks provide low-battery notifications, so you'll know exactly when you need to replace the batteries.

So, when buying a smart lock, make sure to consider the power source and your backup options.

Factors to consider when choosing a smart lock

Before you rush into buying a smart door lock, there are several things you need to consider to avoid wasting your time and money. Here are some of them:

Security features

The first thing you need to think about is the level of security you need. If possible, look for smart door locks that provide the highest level of protection, such as built-in tamper alarms, encryption, keyless entry, multi-factor authentication, and remote video monitoring.

Compatibility and installation

Make sure the smart lock you plan to buy is compatible with your door and easy to install. Check the dimensions, including the thickness of the door, the size of the current holes, and how the deadbolt turns.

If your door is special or older, you might need to make some changes to it or buy an adapter to install the smart lock correctly. Some companies, such as SwitchBot, will gladly help you if you’re unsure about your door lock type.

User interface and mobile app

Check if the lock is easy to use and understand. Similarly, check the accompanying mobile app to ensure it works well with your device and is user-friendly for a completely hassle-free experience.

Integration with smart home ecosystem

Most smart locks usually work well with the most popular smart devices and smart home assistants, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. It's important to verify that the smart lock you choose can integrate with the smart home devices or virtual assistant you already have at home, so you can easily control all of them from one place.

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Remote access and control

Before getting a smart lock, think about whether you want to be able to control it from far away. Let’s say that when you’re at the office and your brother needs to get into your home, a Bluetooth-enabled door lock isn’t exactly the best choice. You need a smart lock that you can access anywhere with the help of remote access capabilities.

Additional considerations and tips

With a bit of consistent effort and research, you can ensure your smart door lock will keep working well for a long time. So, here are four easy maintenance tips for you:

1. Battery replacement:

The best time to replace batteries is based on what the manufacturer recommends. This could range anywhere between six and eight months. As much as possible, don’t wait for the low-battery indicator to come on before doing this to prevent lockout situations.

2. Regular cleaning and lubrication:

The rule of thumb is to thoroughly clean your smart door lock every six or eight months. Some recommend using WD-40 for this purpose. However, to be on the safe side, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, especially when it comes to using lubricants.

3. Software updates:

The schedule for software updates will depend on the manufacturer and model. Make sure to regularly check for these updates, unless it's already set to automatically update. This will ensure that the lock remains well protected from potential hacking attacks.

Summing it all up

We couldn't emphasize enough the importance of taking your time to thoroughly research the smart lock you plan to buy. Read customer reviews and this comprehensive guide to help you make a more informed decision. Ultimately, finding a smart door lock that fits your specific requirements is crucial for making your home more secure and convenient.

Check SwitchBot Lock compatibility before buying >

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