Things to Consider when Choosing a Smart Lock
Not all smart locks are the same. Here are several ways that smart locks can be different.
First and foremost: quality. Many consumer grade smart locks are not built well. That may be disappointing to hear when the price tag can be well over $100. If a lock breaks it will more than likely be at the worst time resulting in not being able to get into your home and needing to call a locksmith. Many smart lock users get accustomed to not having a key and can’t use the key override.
Top commercial grade electronic access systems use key overrides. That should tell you how important it is. Technology is not infallible. Having a key override can help you get access to your home if the electronic system fails. You may carry a key or have a loved one or friend you can call. This will prevent you from having to call a locksmith if you are locked out.
Many people who ask us about different types of electronic deadbolts not knowing that there are electronic knobs and lever handles. Depending on your situation you may want the knob, the deadbolt or the knob and deadbolt to be smart locks. Additionally, if you opt for a smart deadbolt, you may want to replace the knob with a hallway knob that doesn’t lock. If the knob is a regular keyed entry knob and the thumb-turn gets inadvertently flipped you may find yourself locked out even though you have a smart lock and the code to get in.
Electronic deadbolts use a motor to drive the bolt in and out. If that bolt binds or catches on the edge of where the bolt goes into, called the strike plate, it can cause stress on the motor or it may not even work correctly. Many of these locks have a sensor that detects added resistance and won’t operate if the path isn’t clear. The alignment of the latch and strike plate are essential. Additionally, the cross bore and the lock body bore need to be in alignment. If they aren’t, it can significantly effect the way the lock works and reduce the life of the lock.
People often don’t realize that smart locks are not a set it and forget it type of appliance. They do use batteries which need to be replaced. We actually receive a significant number of lockouts for batteries that die while people are away. They return without a key and can’t get inside. The apps also often need to be updated to work properly. A routine maintenance schedule is recommended for your smart lock.