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Sleeping peacefully at the end of the day is the ultimate daily goal for most people, but fulfilling it depends on a lot of things. Worries, food, exams, health, fights, money, anything that was going on during the day can have a negative impact on our sleep, or keep us wide awake. Besides leaving all the problems behind, there is also one more common thing, which we often forget about, and that is safety.
What is the first thing we all do when we come home? We lock the door. It is such a routine daily thing that it may seem insignificant at first, but those few seconds and that satisfying sound of a key turning in the lock, contribute much more to our inner peace than we assume. Whether you live in a house or an apartment, alone or with family, safety should be the number one priority. One of the first steps and something that we can all do to protect us and our possessions is to lock the door. But, as the burglars improved their techniques of breaking in, the locks and alarm systems have also improved. Hence, today, we have such high-tech locks, and we do not even need to use traditional keys. The so-called smart locks are now an inevitable part of many households, and they are pretty easy to find and purchase. Since they became so popular, there are a lot of different types of them currently on the market, which is why today we will represent you some of the best smart locks.
What are Smart Locks and How They Work?
Unfortunately, even though we live in the 21st century, we still have to deal with some problems that we cannot control or prevent, such as burglars and thieves. So to enhance the safety of their home and family, people tend to do a lot of different things. Most people invest in doors, multiple locks, alarm systems, surveillance cameras, or they build high walls, but sometimes all that is not enough. Nowadays burglars are so skilled and well-prepared for all kinds of situations and obstacles, that almost nothing can stop them. But fortunately, smart locks appear to be too smart for them, and that is why they represent the highest level of safety. Technology entered the doors of our homes a long time ago, but lately, we could notice that the term smart home appears more often, and that is because more and more functions in our house are now accessible and manageable through different apps and devices.
How Does it Work?
Smart locks were invented to ease our everyday life. They allow us to open or close the front door from a remote distance with just one click, but that is not all. If you are on vacation miles away or attending a dinner party at a restaurant nearby, you can enjoy your time and be carefree, because most smart locks can be connected to smartphones, so if there is anything suspicious, you will be alerted on time. These programmable or smart-enabled locks are electronic locks which use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to connect and sync with other devices in our home or with our smartphone. It is very easy to use them because it is possible to program and schedule everything through a smartphone. We know how annoying it is to search for keys because they are so small and easy to stuck, but with the smart lock, you can forget about spending an extra few minutes in front of your door every day while looking for the keys in your bag, because the interior of your home is just one click away.
The system can be controlled with voice commands, and it uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections for remote controls. The best part is that even if you forget to lock it, the system will remind you to do it, and it will notify you if the slightest change occurs. When it comes to integrated voice commands, which come with some pricier models, you can use them with the help of Google, Amazon Alexa, or Apple Homekit. The device can be connected to other smart appliances in your home and control their on and off functions. For example, if you want to lock your door, turn off the lights or adjust the temperature in your home, you can use the assistance of verbal commanding software to do those tasks, or you can connect them to the smart lock, and those other devices will be in sync. Most of these devices run on batteries, but they have a long lifespan and will serve you well for at least a year before you will have to charge them or change them.
One of the convenient features is that you can enable access to whomever you trust with transitory pins, which will give them access to your home at a scheduled time. This is one of the favorite features of people who travel a lot because a friend can easily drop by and water a plant or feed the cat. It works in a way that they will get a message from you with a temporary pin, go inside do whatever they need to do, and after they leave, the password will be disabled.
Like most handy gadgets, these are not cheap, and it is difficult to find a smart lock under $100. The more features they have, the higher their price. However, considering what you are getting with them, and that is safety, feeling secure and carefree, they are not that expensive since it is after all a one-time investment.
Currently, there are two types of smart locks on the market, the ones that can be used through Bluetooth and the ones with Wi-Fi. Some models also have both options, but they are more expensive. Although both options are great, they come with some small drawbacks. Smart locks with Bluetooth are considered safer because they do not require an internet connection and depend on the verification of the individual lock and your phone. However, these types of locks have some limitations in terms of features, and it often happens that they lag or the phone cannot connect. On the other side, smart locks with Wi-Fi are more advanced and have a wide range of features, and the most convenient one is probably the ability to unlock your door with your phone from a remote distance. But this also has its disadvantages because due to the internet connection, this system is more vulnerable and easier to attack or hack.
So there have been a few cases in which the smart locks were the ones to blame for aggravating the safety, which is why it is essential to prepare and find some of the best models so that you can be sure that your home is safe, whether you are away or in it. In today’s post, we will represent you some of the best models, and share a few tips on how to choose the right one for your home.
Counting Sheep’s 5 Best Smart Locks
Schlage Smart Lock Connect
- Best built-in alarm system
- Functions well with Amazon Alexa, wink, Iris and Samsung SmartThings
- Deadbolt type
- Fingerprint-resistant screen and colorful digital display
- Connects with Z-wave technology
- 1-year warranty
If you are into aesthetics and want even the smallest details in your house to make sense and fit the harmony, Schlage offers a highly customizable device which comes in 3 designs and 7 different shades. With such variety, there are no chances that this smart lock is not going to match your house exterior. This smart gadget works using the Z-wave connections, which implies that you will need to have the Z-wave hub also, in order to connect it with your internet network.
Schlage locks are best known for their highly functional alarm system. The system comes with activity logs, tampering, or force entry settings, which means that when someone is getting near your door or entering your home without your permission, the system will automatically alert you. A sounding alarm will be heard on your smartphone to notify you when danger is near. In light of this, you can sleep without worrying too much about burglars or thieves. With its advanced system, it will automatically verbally sync or conduct daily reports internally and externally. Also, through a yellow-colored power indicator, you can immediately tell when the battery is getting low.
You can create up to 30 different permission pins, which you can send to anyone you want. In addition, since it has a fingerprint-resistant screen, burglars or thieves cannot replicate security codes. To enjoy the features of Schlage Smart Lock Connect, you will need to download the Schlage app, through which you can also use for remote locking and unlocking.
August Smart Door Lock (Third Generation)
- Works through Bluetooth connection
- Works with Amazon Alexa
- 1-year warranty
- Deadbolt type
The August Smart Door Lock 3rd generation comes with a fit-over deadbolt design. This way, you can alter it with the regular deadbolt you are utilizing at home and keep your old keys.
This device is easy to mount and install, after only 15 minutes of your time, you can already enjoy its benefits. Through a downloadable August app, you can create a digital key to enable access to your loved ones or to anyone you want, within a specific time framework. You can monitor the activities and who is entering or exiting with the permission pins you have created. While you are away, it is easy to arrange for someone to feed your pet because sending access is as easy as 123, and completely secure because you will be notified about everything that is going on.
As you get near your door, they will automatically open if you have your smartphone with you. Plus, its sensor will automatically lock the door when it sensed that the door is closed for a certain amount of time, depending on how you program it. This smart device is among frequently chosen on the market, and although it lacks some functionality because it only uses Bluetooth, it is still a solid choice, especially when you are looking for quality and a low price.
August Pro Connect (Third Generation)
- Works with Amazon Alexa, iOs, Android, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant
- 1-year warranty
- Supports all three types of connections
- Comes with four AA batteries
This third generation August smart lock provides everything you are looking for in a high-tech lock. With a deadbolt design, the August Pro is the easiest to install, and all it takes is 15 minutes of your time to set it and enjoy its features. Plus, since it is a fit-over deadbolt type, you can keep your regular keys, and you still utilize them with this fantastic smart lock.
The August Pro is a smart Wi-Fi lock. Thus, you will need an app to be able to control it even if you are far away from home. Through their app, you can easily program the time your house should be locked or unlocked. In addition, its digital features will notify you on your smartphone when someone is approaching the front door, when was the last time someone locked or unlocked the door, who and when, etc.
With the capacity to function well with Alexa and Google Assistant, you can use your voice to open or close the door. Anyone can also use its features as long as you permitted them to have access to it. Through received pins or passwords, they can use their smartphone to enter the house within a specific timetable or as you have scheduled it.
Among the smart locks, the August Pro Connect 3rd generation is one of the best in terms of compatibility. You can connect it with Bluetooth, Z-wave, or a Wi-Fi network, and it will give you several options on how you can maximize your digital lock.
Kwikset Kevo (Second Generation)
- Functions with Amazon Alexa, Nest and Honeywell Heat Regulator, IFTTT, Doorbell, and Android
- Fit-over Deadbolt Design
- Bluetooth connection
- Available in shades of silver, bronze, and gold
- Warranty: 1 year
At first glance, the Kwikset Kevo 2nd generation may look the same as the regular deadbolt lock, because it’s illuminating blue ring circle around the keyhole does not stick out too much; hence, it does not seem so evident to intruders that this is a smart device.
One of Kwikset’s main advantages is the ability that the moment it detects your other android, smartwatch, Samsung or iOs gadgets, it automatically prepares itself to unlock. However, this does not work when you are on the doorway or when you are already outside, and your phone is still inside the house, the smartphone has to be with you.
Once you download Kwikset’s app, you will be able to send temporary keys to people who you trust and want to grant permission to enter the house. The app will monitor and be on track of the activities of entering and exiting. Utilizing the same app, you can designate different roles like “Anytime,” “Guest,” or “Scheduled” and track their times. Although this smart lock functions only with a Bluetooth connection, you can purchase a separate Wi-Fi hub to connect it with the internet. Since Kwikset works well with other smart devices like smart heat regulators, it is still an excellent choice and a good investment.
Schlage Deadbolt Smart Lock
- Works with Apple HomeKit and also Amazon Alexa
- Fit-over deadbolt style and sleek digital screen
- Works through Bluetooth Connection
- Warranty: 3 years
- Available in shades of black and silver
The Schlage Deadbolt Smart Lock is one of the top-selling door locks on the market. Since it is a Bluetooth-connected lock, it is not vulnerable to malware or hacking threats, and you can be sure of its longevity and functioning.
This kind of digital lock is an excellent choice for Apple or Android users. But, upon using it, the device has to undergo a configuration process in associating it with an internet connection. This way, you can send temporary pins to anyone you want to enter the house or use the voice command system of Amazon Alexa. Apple users who already have some other Apple home devices can set this lock to use their home Wi-Fi. Those people who are using an Android system can buy a separate Wi-Fi hub or adapter to enjoy the same set of features.
After downloading the Schlage app, you can program, send temporary pins, and change the device settings. Through the app, you will get notifications of the status of your house or when there is a potential threat. It will also provide limited access to anyone who has the security pins to ensure safety and privacy concerns. With a three-year warranty, you can make use of the functionality of Schlage without any regrets.
Smart Locks Buying Guide
With such various offer of locks, the process of choosing the right one can be long and frustrating, especially if you are not into technology. Since this is not something you often shop because once you purchase it, you expect it to last for many years, many customers can be confused by different features and prices, because even the “cheapest” models are not so cheap, and it is indeed an investment in your safety. Here are some of the things on which you should pay attention while opting for the right one.
- Lock types. There are two main types – lever and deadbolt. A lever comes with a door set which includes keyhole, handle, and keypad, all in one device. On the other hand, deadbolt comes only with a keypad or a keyhole. The deadbolt is easy to mount and use since you will only have to change the mechanism in your door.
- Connection. Smart locks come with either Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Z-wave connectivity. The models with Wi-Fi are usually the most expensive ones since they offer some other features as well, but they require a stable Wi-Fi connection in order to function, so if you want to control the lock remotely you will need an internet connection. Bluetooth models are the cheapest, but they do not have many additional options. Z-wave connects you to your home Wi-Fi through a hub, and almost have the same benefits and features as the Wi-Fi models.
- Access. Another smart thing about these devices is that they have the option of permission pins. With this, you can allow and control who walks into your home while you are away, it could be your dog walker or a friend who came to pick up something, and the best part is that you can monitor what is going on through your device. These digital keys or pins can be scheduled, enabled, or disabled on your demand.
- Keys or no keys. Although there are smart locks with traditional keys, it seems that the ones without them are more popular at the moment. You can avoid using keys by purchasing touchpads. Touchpads can be pretty handy if you do not have your phone around or you want to grant access with a digital pin to someone who does not have a smartphone.
Smart Locks and Sleep
The birth of smart-enabled devices has been a significant leap in technological development in the 21st century. They have been a great help in ensuring the privacy and security among the households. Besides safety you are also investing in peaceful sleep, because you will sleep more soundly and relaxed knowing that you and your loved ones are well protected, so apparently there is much more than investing in a mattress, which can contribute to the quality of sleep.
Many households have family members who are recovering from injuries, operations, rehabilitation, or cardiovascular attacks, so to avoid the fear of accidents when no one is around, technology helps us monitoring our loved ones. Smart watches, locks, and all other devices that function with an internet connection are one way to stay in touch with our loved ones even when we are away from home. However, these devices cannot be altered with personal health care, but they can at least bring peace of mind and fewer worries. Smart locks can assure your family’s safety because, with this fantastic appliances, you can pre-program or schedule the time the door is locked or unlocked. So, if you have a family member who has dementia, it may at least reduce the risk of them wandering outside the vicinity.
Health-Related Pros and Cons
For most people, electronic or digital gadgets like these locks may not be on their top list when it comes to alleviating health-related problems. But, surprisingly, studies have shown that they can help not only with security measures but also in providing you a healthier home.
- Smart home technology provides peace of mind and fewer worries – stress is one of the reasons why people acquire insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Although nothing can replace the intimate care of health professionals or a loved one, tech gadgets can be very beneficial for stress reduction. For the families with young kids and ill-patients, this can be pretty convenient since you can monitor them through your smartphone.
- Smart home locks optimize sleep – Since there will be no need to get out of the bed to ensure the doors are locked, these devices will not disrupt your rest. Plus, you will not have to worry about potential risks like intruders or accidental fire because several smart locks can connect to smoke and monoxide alarms and notify you with the same ringing alarm.
- Smart devices like smart locks can make people lazy – the birth of high-tech home devices provided a more comfortable living for consumers during this modern and fast-paced time. However, relying too much on these devices, and always depending on their functionality is a no-no. They are helpful tools that should reduce your stress, and allow you to spend more time with your family while ensuring safety.
Tips & Tricks
All smart devices seem pretty simple to use, and mostly they are, but if you are not into technology, or you think that you bought it and that it is, it will work on its own, that is not entirely the case. Although they come with instructions, somehow we always tend to avoid reading them, or we only read the things that seem important to us. So, here are a few tips and tricks, or do’s and don’ts, which will help you use these devices like a pro.
- Make sure to create a strong pin lock, most preferably something longer than 10 digits, that contains numbers and letters.
- If you are using only words, make sure to use words that are not related to your personal information, such as your last name, children names, etc. However, don’t go for too complicated letter combinations that you can easily forget.
- If you prefer using a pattern, do not create one that is too simple, and keep your screen clean.
- Pre-program the setting of your smart lock deliberately.
- Choose a GPS wise, smart lock system.
- Choose a lock type with a fingerprint sensor.
- When using an Android system, make sure to have a backup android manager in case you lose your phone.
- Secure only one smart lock app.
- Integrate it with smart doorbells, surveillance cams, smartphone, or alarms if you have these devices in your home.
- Do not change your pin or password often.
- If you are using a Bluetooth-connected smart lock, avoid connecting it with too many gadgets. Make sure that the devices connected are on the list of your trusted devices.
- Make sure to pre-program its security settings to notify or alert you when potential burglars or thieves are getting their way inside the house.
- Do not forget to occasionally check the status of your smart lock and all other smart devices so that you will know if it still functions well.
- Never forget to turn your security system on.
- Do not forget to upgrade the system of your lock to get the latest protection and security advancements.
To avoid harm and unexpected incidents while you are far away from home, you need to:
- Ensure that your smart lock works well and that everything is locked before you leave.
- Connect it with other smart devices that can trigger an alarm when danger is near.
- Secure locks not only on your front door but also in your garages and windows.
- Never leave apparent signs that the house is empty or that you are alone as it will only encourage criminals to rob or enter your home recklessly.
In case there are signs of forced entry or exit:
- Seek help from the police or neighbors.
- Do not enter or confront the intruder.
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Michael is a professional writer based in Boston and someone who has always been fascinated with the mysteries of sleep. When he’s not reading about new sleep studies and working on our news section, you can find him playing video games or visiting local comic book stores.