Electronic locks, digital locks – however you’d like to refer to them, these locks provide “access control,” meaning you control who enters your home/property and when. These locks are increasingly popular for those interested in security, not getting locked out, and home automation enthusiasts. We often get questions about how these locks hold up to real world conditions. People may think that locksmiths have a financial incentive to steer people away from these DIY digital locks. Really, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Unfortunately, these locks often times generate more revenue for us than traditional locks. Consider these topics if you are asking totally if you sound get an electronic lock for your home.
Good bad consideration
1) They’re generally easy to install if you followed by the instructions and are comfortable using basic tools.
2) They just work (hopefully). Once installed typically they just need 5-10 minutes to set up.
3) Some locks offer app integration which allows users to unlock their door from their phone or give people one time pass codes such is useful for cleanin crews or friends. Many of these locks often integrate with other home automation / smart home products
4) They look sleek and modern.
1) You may research online or have a friend that tells you they’ve had a great experience with these locks. That’s one person’s experience and may be a very valid experience. However, locksmiths see hundreds on different locks and often when they fail. The failure rates on some locks are shockingly high.
2) The quality is often lacking. Commercial electronic locks typically start at around $350. These residential grade locks sometimes have very cheap parts that break or malfunction.
3) People so use smart locks often have a tendency to ditch their house key. Perhaps to reduce bulk in their purse or pocket or to feel free from keys. Either way, if the lock fails people often don’t have a key to override the lock. Some electronic locks don’t even have a key override, something we strongly recommend against.
3) The cost of failure is high – it means being locked out. Being locked out of your house isn’t fun. If the lock has a key override a locksmith can get you in your home. If there is no key override and no other entrance the only option may need to drill the lock. A $150 lock is toast and now you need a $150 replacement lock plus the cost of having a locksmith come out.
4) App integration is cool but comes with risks. Technology is not fail proof. If an electronic device like a simple printer fails it’s frustrating but you can manage. A lock failing means that you can’t get into your home or business or your tenants are calling you last at night saying that your smart lock isn’t working.
Multiple failure points:
- The physical lock
- The electronic components of the lock
- The door is sagging or the door sells because of heat
- The battery dies
- The internet goes out
- There is a firmware issue
- The provider has a technical issue (their internet, hardware, software)
5) App integration. The smart home industry is releasing products and systems at an incredible rate. Not all products are compatible.