Keep Your Home Secure With the Best Smart Locks | IGN

It’s time to take control of your home security with a smart lock. Traditional deadbolts may do a decent job of discouraging would-be home invaders, but in this day and age adding some digital smarts can make them even better. Smart home device technology has brought to the table, for example, live streaming smart home security cameras and much cost-effective home security systems.

Smart locks are another excellent innovation. They offer a whole new set of features that traditional door locks never did, as well as save you money and a lot of grief. More importantly for budget-minded consumers, they’re much more economical than getting a professional home security system installed – potentially saving you up to $50 a month and a few hundred dollars in up-front costs. And, with that in mind, these are our top picks for the best smart locks.

TL;DR – These are the Best Smart Locks:

1. August Smart Lock Pro

Best Smart Lock

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When it comes to smart locks, August’s most advanced offering might just be king. The August Smart Lock Pro comes with an excellent feature set, is effortless to use, and is surprisingly easy to install. So much so you can install it within minutes without needing professional help. It even works with most existing deadbolts, which saves you some money.

This smart lock is rich in features designed to make your life a whole lot easier. Using the August app, you can lock and unlock your door from your phone, set the auto lock and unlock function, track the comings and goings, and even securely let people in from wherever you are in the world. What’s more, you can create and schedule temporary keys for expected visitors, whether it’s your regular housekeeper or some relatives coming to house sit for a week.

Z-Wave users will be happy to know that this is a certified Z-Wave Plus device. It also works with top smart assistants via Connect Wi-Fi Bridge, which the company sells with the smart lock as a package. And, if you’re worried about access during power failure, don’t be. Not only is the August Smart Lock Pro powered by four AA batteries, but it also keeps the front half of your deadbolt in place for manual key access.

2. August Smart Lock

Best Budget Smart Lock

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While it isn’t the most expensive one on this list, the August Smart Lock Pro’s price tag is still understandably a bit out of some people’s range. Luckily, its little-ish sister – and by little-ish, we mean a shorter stack of features – will save you quite a bit of cash. The August Smart Lock isn’t just one of the cheapest ones of this list, but it’s also heavily discounted on Amazon.

The best part is that it boasts most of the features and capabilities that the Pro offers, with and without the Connect Wi-Fi Bridge. Without the bridge, this smart lock has the auto Bluetooth lock and unlock function, lets you create and schedule temporary keys for expected visitors, and lets you use your phone as your key.

With the bridge, it allows remote access and delivers activity notifications. Really, the only two things missing from the Pro are the Z-Wave Plus certification and HomeKit compatibility. Then again, its price also jumps considerably when you get the bridge. If you don’t need remote access and notifications, this is the best option for your limited budget.

3. Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt

Best Smart Lock for Alexa

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While August Smart Lock Pro may win the best all-around pick, the Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt may just be the best value pick. That is, if you’ve got a bit more money to shell out, and you’re an Amazon Prime member and Amazon Alexa user. Versatile and feature-rich, this smart lock allows four different types of access: through your phone via the Schlage Home or Key by Amazon app, by voice via Alexa, via access codes, and with a key. And, that’s all without any additional accessories, adapters, or even hubs.

Using the apps, you can lock/unlock your door remotely, set up the auto lock function, create up to 100 lock codes that can be permanent, temporary or recurring, and track the smart lock’s activity. In addition, thanks to Key by Amazon, you’ll never lose a package again as it allows Amazon couriers to put your packages safely inside your home.

As for the keypad access, the Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt boasts a capacitive touchscreen that offers convenient one-touch locking. Another feature worth mentioning is the low battery indicator, which serves as your advance warning. Perhaps most important of all, however, is its own built-in forced entry alarm, which notifies you if someone’s trying to break into your home.

4. Nest x Yale Lock

Best Foolproof Smart Lock

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If you’re more of a Google Assistant fan, then the Nest x Yale Lock is for you. This smart lock is intelligent inside and out, with that elegant, minimalist design and clever features that make it foolproof. If you’re one to lose your key constantly or forget to change batteries on your electronic devices often, this is a match made in heaven.

The Nest x Yale Lock is keyless so you won’t have to worry about losing those keys or getting them copied without your permission ever again. It does have three ways for access – via the Nest app, with a passcode, and through voice control (only for locking). It’s also tamper-resistant – that is, you will immediately get alerted as soon as someone tries to get in without the right access code.

Finally, if you ignore the battery low and battery critical warnings, and end up with a dead device, you can actually hold a 9V alkaline battery to the terminals at the bottom to quickly charge the device with a 9V battery to unlock it. It’s a temporary fix, but one that will get you inside to do a proper battery change.

Our only gripes about this smart lock are that it only works with Google Assistant, and it needs Nest Connect or Nest Guard for remote access through the Nest app. However, if you’re already invested in Nest devices or Google Home, then it’s the perfect smart lock for you.

5. Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt

Best Smart Lock for Apple HomeKit

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If you’re invested in Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem, then Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt might be a better option for you. Not only does it work with your smartphone within Bluetooth range, but if you want to access the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt remotely, you can easily do so through the Schlage Home App on your iPhone. Setting up your lock with HomeKit is easy as well, making this a perfect addition to any Apple-centric Smart Home. All you need is a Home Hub such as Apple TV, HomePod or iPad within bluetooth range of the lock to access it remotely.

Not that this smart lock is only good for Apple and HomeKit users. You can also buy the Schlage Sense WiFi Adapter separately for remote access from just about any smartphone, regardless of whether it’s iOS or Android. Don’t worry; setting up the adapter using Schlage’s app is just as easy as using HomeKit. The only downside is that you have to shell out $60 more to buy the adapter, making this no cheaper than the adapter-less Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt. However, if you prefer Siri to Alexa, then the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt is the way to go.

Beyond its remote capabilities, the Deadbolt has as much functionality as their other smart deadbolts, allowing you to program up to 30 unique codes and email them to your family, not to mention a whole host of other features, such as auto-lock and alarm warnings.

6. Lockly Secure Plus Smart Lock

Best Smart Lock with a Fingerprint Reader

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Fingerprint login and access are all the rage these days, with more and more laptops offering the capability, which we must admit is a pretty nifty one. If you’re looking for the same feature for your front door or your office, make sure to take a look at Lockly Secure Plus Smart Lock first. Not only is it among the most highly rated fingerprint smart locks out there, but it’s also among the best smart locks (period).

It boasts many of the bells and whistles that the other top smart locks feature, including locking/unlocking through your phone, access alerts, one-touch lock, and access codes that work even when the device is not connected to your Wifi. At the same time, it brings a few of its own extras to the table: namely, a high-quality capacitive fingerprint sensor that can store up to 99 unique fingerprints, and the At Home Safe Mode that lets you disable the touchscreen from the inside so no one else can come in.

If you want remote access, bear in mind that you will need the Secure Link Wi-Fi Hub, and it isn’t cheap at $80. That on top of the cost of the smart lock might burn a whole in your pocket if you’re on a budget. Fingerprint readers don’t exactly come cheap, at least not right now, so that’s to be expected.

7. Yale Assure Lock SL

Best Minimalist Smart Lock

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You can count on Yale to make svelte smart locks, so if the Nest x Yale Lock is a bit out of your budget, the Yale Assure Lock SL with Z-Wave can save you a few bucks. You get the same smart, minimalist look at a much cheaper price as well as even more versatility when it comes to smart home integration.

This keyless smart lock will easily connect with most top smart home systems like Samsung SmartThings, Alexa, Wink and Ring Alarm. Without smart home integration, you simply use its backlit touchscreen keypad for entry, One-Touch Locking and the Auto Relock to secure the door from intruders, and create as well as manage up to 250 unique access codes for family and friends. With a hub, you can lock and unlock your door remotely, and receive activity notifications. Finally, this smart lock also allows you to use a 9V battery for temporary access if you ever get locked out due to dead batteries.

Basically, you get many of the best features of its more expensive counterpart without the high price tag.

8. Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro

Most Versatile Smart Lock

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When it comes to versatile access, the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro Bluetooth Smart Deadbolt is unrivaled. It boasts six ways of access: through your phone via the U-Tec app, with Auto Unlock, using the Anti-Peep keypad, with your fingerprint, by shaking your phone, and with a mechanical key. That’s a lot of flexibility in terms of giving people access.

It’s tamper-proof, with its Anti-Peep keypad that allows you to punch in a random number of digits with your correct passcode embedded, as well as dual data encryption for the fingerprint ID. It’s foolproof, with an external battery you can use when you’re locked out. And, it also has IFTTT integration, which syncs it to your other smart home devices.

Of course, it also has all the features that its rivals have, including the ability to create temporary access codes, send activity logs and notifications, and remote access. All those features for less than $200 – you’re certainly getting a bargain.

How to choose the best smart lock for you

Although the best smart locks generally have the same fundamental features like a keypad and some level of smart home integration, they somewhat differ in extra features and how they do certain things. For example, while most smart locks on this list only offer the auto lock function when you’re leaving the house, only a couple offer the auto unlock.

Choosing the best smart lock for you, therefore, not only depends on how robust, reliable and secure it is. You must also consider its feature set and make sure that it’s right for your needs.


Smart locks are always going to be more expensive than traditional locks. However, some of these smart locks are cheaper than others without compromising on features and performance. In fact, some of the most feature-rich locks on this list are actually surprisingly affordable.

Consider the cost of installation as well. Most smart locks are easy enough to install yourself, and they come with tutorial videos on how to do it. However, there might be some that are trickier to install, and you might need a bit of professional help, which will only increase the cost.

In addition, check whether or not you need a bridge or a hub to connect it to your existing smart home system and to have remote access. You may have to pay a bit more for that benefit.

Battery power

Most smart locks use four AA batteries, which makes them easy to replace. You must, however, consider how long those batteries last. Some smart locks promise up to 19 months of battery life, while others consume those batteries within three months. It just depends on how power efficient the smart lock is designed.

Power failure backup
Many people think that smart locks stop working when there’s power or network outage. The truth is smart locks can function independently without smart home integration and WiFi connection. As long as you’re within Bluetooth range, these smart locks will let you have access. Smart home integration is mostly just for convenience and remote access – so you can tell Alexa to lock the door because you don’t want to get out of bed, for example, or so that you can open the door for a friend from your phone while you’re at work.

They are also battery-powered so they’re not reliant on your home electricity. However, it’s when those batteries run out of juice before you get a chance to replace them that’s a common cause for concern. The keyless smart locks often let you use an external battery (whether that’s a 9V battery or a USB power bank) to give them enough juice for you to unlock them, go inside and replace the battery. Others still have the manual key access available in case of emergency.

Smart home integration

While smart locks do offer smart home integration, there’s quite a few of them that don’t exactly make it easy. Typically, you can’t just pair them with your Amazon Echo directly without the need for an additional step or accessory. Some don’t, but many others will require a hub or a bridge.

In addition, they might not even be compatible with the smart home ecosystem you’re using. There are quite a few, for example, that aren’t compatible with Apple’s HomeKit. Others are not compatible with the Z-Wave system. On the other hand, a handful of smart locks work particularly best with HomeKit, IFTTT or SmartThings.

If smart home integration is very important to you, you must do your research to make sure that the smart lock you pick is compatible with your existing smart home system.

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Michelle Rae Uy is a freelance tech and travel writer, part-time production editor, and a full-time traveler from Los Angeles, California. She currently splits her time between Los Angeles, London and the rest of the world. Follow her on Instagram @straywithRae.
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