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Important Things to Consider Before Buying Smart Locks

Important Things to Consider Before Buying Smart Locks

Smart homes and home security intersect with devices that combine principles of both. Take the smart lock. It is a home automation device in the sense that it can be controlled remotely and without the need for analog keys. But it is a security device in that it offers the same reliable protection as a standard deadbolt lock.

Needless to say that smart locks differ from one make and model to the next. They are not all the same. They come at a variety of price points, as well. So the big question for homeowners is what they want to accomplish by installing smart locks. Answer that question and you will be well on your way to figuring out the best make and model for your situation.

Here are some important things to consider before buying smart locks:

1. Your Home Automation Plans

First up is your plan for home automation in general. Will smart locks be your first entry into the space? And if not, what other home automation devices do you currently own? The reason for considering this lies in building a complete home automation system in which all devices are compatible.

Having a complete, fully integrated system that covers everything from lighting to temperature control and home security requires compatibility among each and every device. That is not a problem if you start with an out-of-the-box system from a company like Vivint Smart Home, followed by purchasing all future devices through the same provider. It can be a problem if you choose to build your system piecemeal.

2. Connection Protocols

Next up are connection protocols. As a Vivint explains in their guide to purchasing smart locks, the three most popular protocols are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Z-Wave. Each one has its pros and cons. Most people will choose a Wi-Fi device because the protocol offers superior functionality.

Bluetooth is easier to set up than Wi-Fi, but you lose remote access. As for Z-Wave, you need a separate hub that provides a gateway between the smart lock and your Wi-Fi network.

3. Entry Methods

You may not realize it but there are multiple ways to access smart locks. The most common is probably the keypad. You program a PIN code which then becomes your access code for entry. Most smart locks with this feature allow programming multiple codes simultaneously.

Other entry methods include mobile apps, fingerprint scanners, wireless fobs, key cards, and even voice control. The tried-and-true keypad is arguably the safest and most reliable entry method.

4. Locking Mechanism

Although smart locks are technically electronic devices, they still rely on a mechanical mechanism for actual locking purposes. This is mentioned as a reminder that it’s always a good idea to buy a lock that utilizes a deadbolt mechanism. Deadbolts are by far the most secure type of locking mechanism on the market.

You should be looking for a lock that combines a standard deadbolt with the smart electronic features you are after. A deadbolt reduces the chances that an unwanted visitor will break in when the door is locked.

5. System Integration

Finally, do you want a smart lock that fully integrates with the rest of your home automation system? Integration opens the door to things like automation routines and taking advantage of geolocation capabilities.

A smart lock makes a fantastic option as a first smart home device. But even if you have been into home automation for a while, switching out your traditional locks for smart alternatives will only make your system better. Do the research before you buy and you should be able to find something you like.

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