Keeping thieves out of your home is one part of their job description, but smart locks are also preventive guards that can track whenever a door is opened or closed at home. Locks with fingerprint sensors can inform you if the kids came home within a designated time, while others can automatically lock themselves if you happen to forget to do it yourself. Smart locks have transformed the way we interact and safeguard our homes, offering us the same peace of mind that security cameras offer.
Smart locks use your Wi-Fi, mobile apps, and popular voice assistants. Leading smart lock designs, such as the kind found with the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, are also sleek and attractive, allowing the hardware to blend in with the natural features of your home. There are even some that are multi-functional, offering security features to protect your home beyond just locking the door. On the other end of the spectrum, smart locks are now more affordable than ever before — so owning one is only marginally more expensive than a standard lock. Best of all, you don’t need to be a professional to install them.
We’ve tested dozens of smart locks, so we have a recommendation that will work for every owner and every home that covers the range. If you’re looking to cover more of your home, you can also take a look at the latest home security discounts. Whichever you end up choosing, you might be surprised by what they’re capable of doing beyond the obvious.
Best smart locks at a glance:
The best smart lock: August Wi-Fi Smart LockAugust
Why you should buy this: This lock is sleek, secure, easy to use, and now works without a bridge.
Who it’s for: Those who want no-muss, no-fuss installation and functionality.
Why we picked the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock:
This latest iteration of the August Smart Lock breaks free from the bonds of its predecessors’ need for a bridge to operate remotely. Thanks to its built-in Wi-Fi connection, the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock connects to your home’s wireless network without the need for a bridge or other additional hardware.
Beyond that, it’s one of the simplest smart locks to install and set up. Plus, it’s able to retain your existing lock — so you don’t need new keys. What’s impressive is that the company adds in the Wi-Fi connection, while shrinking the overall size of the lock. It is 45% smaller in volume and 20% slimmer, making it a sleek little lock, and comes in either silver or matte black plastic.
In addition to using the app to remotely operate the lock, the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock supports Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri. Meaning, it integrates nicely with just about any smart home platform. There are also some advanced features that make it a premier offering, like virtual keys that work on a set schedule, and automatic lock/unlock as you approach or leave your home.
Read our in-depth August Wi-Fi Smart Lock review
The best smart lock for Google Home: Nest X Yale
Why you should buy this: You don’t have to worry about losing your house key because the Nest X Yale uses a keypad and no physical key.
Who it’s for: Those who want a smart lock that works seamlessly with Google Assistant.
Why we picked the Nest X Yale:
This attractive smart lock is a product of Nest and Yale. An elegant touchscreen keypad replaces the regular old lock and key mechanism, and the exterior surround comes in satin nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, or polished brass. The oval-shaped outside keypad is 4.59 inches tall by 2.59 inches wide, while the interior lock is 7.03 inches tall by 2.78 inches wide. Four AA batteries power the lock, and the batteries should last about one year before you have to replace them.
You choose a passcode (between four and eight digits) to unlock the door, and you can also use the app. Additionally, the Nest X Yale has an automatic locking feature that activates after a duration of time that you select, and it has a home/away feature that locks the door automatically. Google Home users can voice control the Nest X Yale. You can check the status of your lock from the road, lock your door when you’re not home, and add your lock commands to Google Routines.
The Nest X Yale is not the most feature-rich lock on the market. However, the features it has work well, and it incorporates very well into a smart home run by Google Assistant.
Read our in-depth Nest X Yale review
The best smart lock for Apple Homekit: Level Lock TouchJohn Velasco / Digital Trends
Why you should buy this: Use a keycard to unlock this smart lock.
Who it’s for: Anyone that wants to have a traditional looking lock.
Why we picked the Level Lock Touch:
There are very few smart locks that support Apple’s HomeKit. However, the best one for Apple’s smart home platform is none other than the Level Lock Touch.
First of all, it sports a very unconventional design for a smart lock. There are no bulky keypads, nor is there an equally bulky component that goes over the deadbolt on the inside of the door. Instead, the Level Lock Touch looks like an ordinary lock — one that retains the look and styling of a traditional lock. What’s also neat about it is that you can interact with the Level Lock Touch by either tapping on the keyhole housing, or use the included NFC-equipped keycards for opening and locking the lock.
Once it’s connected to HomeKit, you can ask Siri on your iOS device or HomePod speaker to unlock the door. It will also unlock itself automatically because it leverages GPS on your iPhone to set up a geofence around your home. All of these features make the Level Lock Touch the best lock for HomeKit.
Read our in-depth Level Lock Touch review
The best smart lock for Alexa: Schlage EncodeTerry Walsh/Digital Trends
Why you should buy this: Schlage is an established company with a reputation for excellent hardware.
Who it’s for: Those who want solid hardware with voice assistant compatibility
Why we picked the Schlage Encode:
Schlage has been around for quite some time — well before there was such a thing as a smart lock. But Schlage has now evolved into one of the best smart lock makers in the biz. The Schlage Encode isn’t just a beautiful piece of hardware, it’s also a device that works well with Alexa, as well as a wide range of other third-party applications, including Amazon’s Cloud Cam, Key by Amazon, and Ring security products. You can also use it with the Schlage Home app.
Read our in-depth Schlage Encode Lock review
The best smart lock for Airbnb: Lockly VisionLockly
Why you should buy this: You’ll be able to generate temporary codes for guests who are staying at your place.
Who it’s for: Anyone that frequently rents out their home to guests will appreciate the vast options for granting access to the lock.
Why we picked the Lockly Vision:
Lockly already had a phenomenal offering with the Secure Pro, but its follow-up takes it one step further. The Lockly Vision has everything that Airbnb hosts crave. From its ability to unlock via fingerprint, pin code, or even through a phone, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Guests that do plan on staying at your home or Airbnb residence can be given temporary key codes that they can punch into the touchscreen keypad when they arrive, which can also be made time-sensitive for additional security. Once their stay is complete, you can have another set of codes for the next guest.
Everything is tracked by the app, which can tell you the method that was used to unlock the lock — including if it’s the old fashion way with a key! What makes the Lockly Vision even more appealing is its integrated video camera, which allows it to act very much like a video doorbell camera.
Read our in-depth Lockly Vision review
The best smart lock for durability: Securam Touch
Why you should buy this: The design is bulletproof, and you can unlock your door a bunch of different ways, from your phone to your finger.
Who’s it for: Those that want the most secure hardware they can get their hands on.
Why we picked the Securam Touch: The Securam Touch is not afraid to show off its powerful design, which is part of why we love it. The deadlock casing is wrapped in an impenetrable milled metal shell, and the bolt itself is stainless steel. Any cat burglars looking to swipe this bad boy from your front door will be hard-pressed to pry it loose. We tried to make it budge ourselves (with tools to do so!) and had zero luck popping it free. For those concerned about hackers hacking away at your data, the Touch boasts an additional layer of armor through its AES 128-bit encryption.
Setup was a breeze with the step-by-step guide in the Securam app (available for iOS and Android), and the Touch boasts an impressive arsenal of smart lock features. Users can lock/unlock with their phone, the keypad, the sleekly housed fingerprint scanner, or with a physical set of keys (the keyhole is located underneath the deadbolt). We also love that the Securam app allows you to issue visitor codes to your guests and will log all entrances and exits through your selected door.
Hands full on the way out the door? The Securam Touch will lock once you press any button on the touchpad. If you can’t even spare one finger, that’s not a problem, either. Once you and your phone are out of range, the Touch will lock automatically.
The best smart lock for DIY install: Wyze Lock
Why you should buy this: Setup is quick and simple, and the Wyze app is loaded with features and easy to use.
Who’s it for: Those looking to add a reputable smart lock to their home without breaking the bank.
Why we picked the Wyze Lock:
There’s nothing better than quick and painless. Wyze’s entire suite of smart home products — from lightbulbs to cameras — is designed for the DIY weekend warrior … and the Wyze Lock is no exception. Setup is just a matter of retrofitting your existing deadbolt. The Wyze hardware pops right onto the inside thumb latch, and installation necessitates nothing more than a screwdriver and working Wi-Fi.
With the Wyze app, you can lock and unlock the door from pretty much anywhere. For those not looking to whip their phone out every time they return home, there’s Auto Lock/Unlock. Once configured, the Wyze Lock detects your phone when you’re approaching the door, unlocking it so you can step in and then locking it behind you once you’re inside. We also love the Simple Sharing function, which lets you grant guests access to your home and logs their entries and exits.
The Wyze Lock is now compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, which means you can lock and unlock your door from the comfort of your couch. Assistant control is also great for those of us who would rather do our on-the-go unlocking with the Alexa or Google Home app.
Read our in-depth Wyze Lock review
The best designed smart lock: Level Lock
Why you should buy this: It blends in with your door’s aesthetic.
Who it’s for: Homeowners that don’t want something that blatantly looks like a smart lock.
Why we picked the Level Lock:
Level is on a roll. After releasing its previous two smart locks, the Level Lock Bolt Edition and Touch Edition, its latest one sits right in the middle of the lineup. The Level Lock follows after the same minimalist design of its siblings while offering the same core features you’d expect in any smart lock. Unlike most smart locks, the Level Lock doesn’t have any clunky keypads outside your door for all to see — nor does it have a chunky deadbolt attached on the inside. Instead, the Level Lock looks very much like an ordinary lock you already have on your door.
This design philosophy is at the heart of every lock from Level, so it manages to maintain the décor and appearance of your door. Beyond the contemporary design, the Level Lock features geofencing for auto-unlock, temporary passes to let guests access the lock, and even an auto-lock feature if you happen to forget to lock the door behind you.
Best of all, its price is much more obtainable than theLevel Lock Touch Edition. If you want an invisible smart lock, the Level Lock is no doubt the only one on the market to achieve this.
Read our in-depth Level Lock review
The best smart lock for fingerprint access: Kwikset Halo Touch
Why you should buy this: You get instant access just by using your fingerprint.
Who’s it for: Those looking for no-frills, instant access to their smart lock
Why we picked the Kwikset Halo Touch:
Simplicity is a core fundamental quality for any gadget, but for a smart lock, nothing’s more aggregating than wasting time on unlocking it. That’s why the Kwikset Halo Touch is here to save you from that particular hassle. All you really need to unlock it is just a slight touch of your finger against its fingerprint sensor — much like what you get in today’s smartphones.
What’s impressive is that it’s spot on every time, ensuring that users have proper authorization. While some other smart locks offer features like auto-unlock that will unlock the deadbolt as you approach, they can sometimes fail. That’s why Kwikset’s approach with the Halo Touch is notable since it works every time.
The Kwikset Halo Touch is still very much advanced, offering useful features such as auto-unlock, stores up to 100 fingerprints, and a durable design.
Read our in-depth Kwikset Halo Touch review
Research and buying tips
How do smart locks work?
An old-school lock typically contains internal pins, and when you insert the proper key, it puts the exact right amount of pressure on each pin and the lock opens. Smart locks are electronic, and they work using a keypad, touchpad, or other means; and they also work with your smartphone, so you can operate them remotely via Wi-Fi. To work, they typically have electronic parts like small motors and actuators, and when you unlock the device with your smartphone or through other means, you’re sending an electrical impulse to the device, as opposed to inserting a key and physically moving pins.
Can I install a smart lock myself?
This depends on the smart lock you purchase and your DIY skills. Some locks, like the August Smart Lock, retrofit over your existing deadbolt, which makes them incredibly easy to install in about 10 minutes. Other locks require a bit more effort, but you can probably self-install if you’re handy with a screwdriver and hammer. The Kwikset Kevo Convert is an example. You’ll need a few tools, but you can get the job done in less than an hour. You just need to pop off your old deadbolt and replace it with the Kwikset Lock. On the other end of the spectrum, some smart locks, like Schlage Sense, have a more complicated installation process.
Can Alexa or Google Assistant control smart locks?
Smart locks typically have a corresponding app, which is compatible with Alexa, HomeKit, and/or one of the other voice assistants. This allows you to use voice commands like, “Alexa, lock the door,” or “Alexa, is my door locked.” To find out specific voice assistant compatibility, visit the manufacturer’s website.
Are smart locks secure?
As with any Wi-Fi-connected device, there’s always a small risk the device will be hacked if the user doesn’t take steps to protect themselves. However, there’s also a risk that someone can breach or pick a regular (non-smart) door lock.
By taking the proper precautions, like using a strong and unique password and taking advantage of two-factor authentication when available, you can help to greatly reduce the risk of a breach.
Do smart locks also work with a key?
Some smart locks work with a key and some don’t. Smart locks typically allow you to remotely control your lock via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Z-wave. So, you can operate the lock without a key, and perhaps even when you’re away from your home. Smart locks may also include a key fob, keypad, or fingerprinting system instead of (or in addition to) a standard key.
Some of the corresponding apps also allow you to issue temporary access (eKeys) to guests, neighbors, or work people who need to enter your home temporarily. This way, you don’t need to give them a tangible key and worry about them making a copy of your house key.
Can smart locks work with geofencing?
Some smart locks, like the August Smart Lock, have geofencing. If you set up the geofencing feature, it can detect when you’re nearby (or when your phone is nearby) and unlock the door when you approach. It can also detect when your phone has left a specific vicinity, and then automatically lock the door. You set this feature up in the smart lock’s app.
Do I need a smart doorbell with my smart lock?
A smart lock can help you to prevent or grant access to your home, and it acts as a barrier to entry. However, few smart locks (few good ones at least) have cameras, and a smart lock doesn’t provide the same features as a video doorbell, which acts as a sort of digital doorman.
A smart video doorbell can show you who’s at the door, so you know whether or not you want to answer for that person. A good video doorbell can also act as additional security, catching suspicious activity on video and helping to deter porch pirates.
Does a smart lock require a smart home hub?
You can get a smart lock up and running with just the device and your phone. However, some locks require an additional network module or an added subscription fee if you want to have all of the features the lock has to offer. If you want to use your compatible smart lock with Alexa or Google Assistant, you typically just need any Amazon Echo or Google Home speaker. You shouldn’t require a smart home Hub with most locks.
What’s the best platform to buy into — Ring, Nest, or another?
This depends on the features you want. Do you want a system where the products all work in tandem? Nest does a good job of making its smart products work together. For instance, when you unlock your Nest X Yale lock, this can automatically disarm your Nest Secure security system as well. Do you want to focus on affordability? Your best bet might be to go with the older models or to mix platforms. You can still set up routines and control your devices via the Alexa app. Do you want Alexa-compatible products? Ring is a solid option. Want Google Home compatibility? Nest is a good choice. Again, it all depends on your individual preferences.
How we test smart locks
For the past several years, we’ve put dozens of smart locks through the gauntlet (ok, not literally) in our test homes. We test for things like ease of installation and the quality of the product overall. We want to know whether a professional installation is necessary or if the average consumer can DIY. While having smarts is essential for a smart lock, the thing we consider first and foremost is whether the device features secure hardware that will protect us. We’ll admit it, though, we’re also on the lookout for good-looking equipment. After all, no one wants an ugly, clunky lock on their front door. We want something with a bit of aesthetic appeal, or at least options that fit various home styles.
Next, we test for functionality. We investigate whether the device works as promised. We determine whether it’s easy to use, even if you’re not a total techie. Scoping out connectivity issues is another aspect we consider. Software compatibility and restrictions (or the need for additional setup) are on our list. And, looking for battery backup or Wi-Fi outage protection factors into the evaluation equation. After all, getting locked out of your “smart” house is a huge drag.
One final thing we look for is the smart home piece, which often comes in the form of an app. We decide whether the app works the way it promises. User-friendliness is a consideration, as is the layout. Voice assistant compatibility is a helpful feature – and so is pairing with smart home hubs. We want to know whether we can unlock the door with voice commands, or if specific keycodes are required in-app.
After all of that, we take a hammer and try to hack off the lock. Ok, not really, but we let the locks weather the elements over time to make sure that they’re tamper-proof, waterproof, or whatever-proof they claim to be.Editors' Recommendations