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Best smart locks to shop in 2020

Your smart home can be easier to navigate — and protect — with a smart lock. Here’s what to know.
Human hand uses mobile phone to sense room door
With smart locks, you can remotely control your door locks, set up automatic locking and unlocking and create specific codes for guests or family to get in and out of the house more easily. zhihao / Getty Images

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Ever have that nagging feeling you forgot to lock the front door, just as your head hits the pillow so you’re forced to get up and check? As you work to equip and expand your smart home, a smart lock can help: Not only can you check its status from anywhere on your phone, but some will even automatically lock and unlock themselves as you come and go from the house — that means you can more easily pop the door open while holding onto groceries, kids, pets or whatever else has your hands full at any given moment. This last feature can be especially useful on nights when the last thing you want is to drop your keys and look for them under dim lighting. Other smart locks may come with a keypad that allows temporary codes for guests or a touch-to-unlock system — and after years of reviewing consumer electronics, including smart locks, I’ve found it hard to live without them.

In this article

  1. Best all-around smart lock
  2. Best keyless smart lock
  3. Best smart lock for renters
  4. Best Wi-Fi compatible smart lock
  5. Best smart lock Kwikset alternative

How to shop for smart locks

Most smart locks can be installed with a simple screwdriver and a few minutes of your time, but there are some things to keep in mind as you shop for the best smart lock for your space.

Identify your keyway

Most smart locks are designed for one of a few different smart locks keyways, which determines what kind of key you can use with them. There’s a good chance your home already uses either the Kwikset-branded locks’ KW1 or Schlage-branded locks’ SC1.

Unless you want to replace all the locks in your house, you may want to stick with the keyway your locks already use so you can keep using one key for the entire house. (That is, if your smart lock uses physical keys at all.)

Choose a smart lock with wireless compatibility

Most smart locks don’t have Wi-Fi built-in. Instead, they use something like Z-Wave, which communicates with a nearby hub. Or they rely on Bluetooth, which can communicate with a hub or directly with your phone directly. If you want to be able to check your lock from afar, or use it with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, you’ll need one that connects to Wi-Fi, either through the lock itself or through a Bluetooth or Z-Wave hub. If you use an iPhone, you may also want to look for HomeKit compatibility for Siri.

Smart lock security levels

As with any lock, you want something that can’t easily be picked. And as with any tech, you want something from a brand you can trust to keep your software updated against hackers. Having said that, if we’re being honest, thieves aren’t likely going to waste time hacking your Bluetooth signal — if someone wants to get into your house, they’ll probably just break a window.

Which smart lock you buy will depend on a combination of these many factors, so be sure to research your current setup to make sure the lock you buy is compatible. That said, here are a few of the best options that should fit a variety of scenarios.

The all-around best smart lock: Ultraloq

1. Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro

The Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro allows six different ways for you to get into your house: a traditional Schlage key, a fingerprint sensor, a numerical keypad, your smartphone, automation that unlocks when you arrive and — most uniquely — the ability to shake your phone while standing on the front stoop. You can also lock or unlock the door inside using a voice assistant if you have the Wi-Fi bridge (which comes bundled with the lock), though it isn’t compatible with Apple’s HomeKit.

Best keyless smart lock: Yale

2. Yale Assure Lock SL

If you’re ready to get rid of your keys altogether, the Yale Assure Lock SL sticks a touch screen keypad on your door. You can enter a code, set it to automatically unlock as you arrive home or use your voice assistant of choice.

Best smart lock for renters: August

3. August’s Retrofitted Smart Lock

If you aren’t allowed to remove your existing deadbolt, August’s retrofitted Smart Lock allows you to control the lock that’s already on your door by replacing only the internal hardware. You’ll probably want the version with the Connect Wi-Fi bridge, which allows you to lock the door from afar and use voice assistants like Amazon Alexa. It’s not as feature-filled as other smart locks, though August’s Smart Lock Pro does offer a few more smart home integration features like Apple’s HomeKit or compatibility with Z-Wave hubs. Regardless, for renters, it’s certainly a step up from a traditional lock.

Best Wi-Fi-compatible smart lock: Schlage

4. Schlage Encode

Having a separate hub, or bridge, to enable Wi-Fi can be a bit of a hassle. For a smart lock that has Wi-Fi completely built-in — and uses the Schlage keyway — the Schlage Encode is a great option. It doesn’t have some of the more widespread support you get from Ultraloq, Yale or August, but it works with the Amazon Alexa and Google Home voice assistants and is otherwise simple to set up.

Best Kwikset alternative: Kwikset

5. Kwikset Halo

If you like the idea of a Wi-Fi smart lock but the rest of your house uses a KW1 keyway, check out the Kwikset Halo. It doesn’t need a hub, allows for a keypad with custom codes and you can easily re-key it to your existing Kwikset keys without the need for a locksmith.

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