The number of household items with “smart” capabilities has skyrocketed in recent years. But is smart always the “smart” option? And how much can it add to the deadbolt?
The simple answer is that smart locks are every bit as sturdy as most traditional locks and offer a range of handy benefits for home security. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
What Is A Smart Lock?
What are smart locks or electronic locks? And are electronic door locks safe? A smart lock combines the best parts of traditional locks with a so-called smart interface. The device may use either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology to communicate with your smartphone, tablet, or other smart units. The result is a locked door without a key to open it.
But Is It All That Secure?
That last question is open to interpretation. Because the traditional deadbolt has served us faithfully for generations now, and it’s not like there’s much to improve on with it. But arriving at your door with six bags of groceries in your hands and two kids fighting for you to pick them up will make anybody want to switch to a smart lock.
Then there’s the dreaded feeling of getting to the door and realizing you forgot the keys at the office. Or you don’t know where you last saw them at all! This is where smart door locks shine, allowing you to pop it open with a simple smartphone app or special fob.
Moreover, many of these locks also feature the ability to unlock with a standard key. This way, users have redundancy in case their smart devices run out of batteries.
But Are They Safe?
The truth is, when it comes to smart locks, the focus isn’t as much on increasing safety. Don’t get us wrong: most are easily as safe as your standard home lock or the best keyless deadbolt. But they don’t come much safer than their analog counterparts.
The idea with smart home locks is to focus more on convenience than on safety. They allow for more control so users can unlock the door from anywhere with an Internet connection.
This leads us to questions about this technology’s negative effects on your home safety. With more emphasis on comfort and convenience, smart lock loopholes could put you at risk if you aren’t aware of them beforehand.
A Closer Look At Your Security
Take temporary keys, for instance. With smart locks, guests in your home can receive temporary access to your lock via their smartphones. This is fair, but many aren’t comfortable traveling to strange places for example, with their digital keys.
It’s been noted, however, that the biggest threat to your smart lock’s security is the owner and their password hygiene. Because, the truth is, it’s hard to find a record of anybody with one of these locks being hacked by a stranger. These systems use privacy software on the same level as high-end VPNs and encryption, similar to what a bank uses to protect its money.
Is the smart lock more or less secure than a so-called “dumb” lock, though? For the most part, they are easily on par with each other. As technology continues to improve, we’re almost guaranteed to see much more secure iterations of this technology in years to come.
What To Look For In A Smart Lock
Of course, a smart lock is still a product; like any other product, not all locks are built the same. With their growth in popularity, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see thousands of these units in homes across America within the next few years. It’s important, therefore, to know what to expect so that you can make the best purchase for your specific needs.
- Battery life
- Safety measures
- Guest access
The best smart lock works well, installs without hassles, and keeps you secure. But you don’t want to run the risk of the batteries running out, so make sure to replace yours every half year to avoid nasty surprises.
You’ll also want to ensure the lock you’re installing fits and works with the door you’re putting it into. Because decor is important, too, make sure to check that it matches the door it goes into, as well.
Your system needs to have a failsafe as well. In the event of a power outage, the digital components of your lock may lock into place. In such a situation, you will want a mechanical key to fall back on.
As mentioned earlier, many smart locking doors can give temporary guests access to the door itself. Loaning out your key fob can be dangerous if they lose it, so unlocking the door for them alone is a popular feature.
As a final word on this matter, the question of safety should be factored into your purchase. As with any other security measure, you’ll get higher-end security if you invest in a quality lock. Look for certifications, quality components, and glowing online reviews from previous owners.
So, Are Smart Locks Safe?
The question “are smart locks safe” has a fairly straightforward answer. “Provided you buy a good one, don’t give out access to too many people; make sure never to lock yourself in during a blackout.”
Like any other security device, these locks are only as safe as you make them. They certainly aren’t unsafe, however, and the technology is getting more robust every year, which means it is getting safer every year.
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