One of the best smart locks is essential if you need to let someone into your house, but can't or don't want to come to the door. That's because you can control smart locks from your smartphone, so you can lock and unlock your front door remotely.
Another "key" feature of smart locks is that you can give others virtual keys to your door, so you don't have to worry about someone making copies of your actual keys. And, with a virtual key, you can create a schedule for when it will work, and get an alert any time it's used. So, if you have a dog walker or caregiver, you can be assured that they can only get in when you want them there.
What are the best smart locks?
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These are just some of the benefits of smart locks, but all are not created equal. That's why we've tested a number of models, evaluating them for their ease of installation, security features, compatibility with other smart home systems, and more. After all, a smart lock should be easy enough to install and use for any homeowner, and safe enough so that they'll feel secure, no matter where they are.
Smart lock deals
During the holiday season, a number of our favorite smart locks are on sale, making it a great time to pick one up and save some money at the same time. Below are some deals on a few top models.
The best smart locks you can buy today
There wasn't much to improve on August's smart lock, but the company went ahead and tweaked its original to make it smaller and easier to use. The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is 45 percent smaller than the original, so it looks less bulbous on your door, and now has Wi-Fi built in, so you don't need to install the August Connect bridge to link your lock to your home network.
Everything we liked about the August Pro is here: A simple installation process, features such as DoorSense (which lets you know if your door has been left ajar), and interoperability with a huge range of other smart home systems, from Alexa to Google Assistant to Xfinity. And, the August Wi-Fi lets you use the keys from your existing deadbolt.
Read our full August Wi-Fi Smart Lock review.
If you want to add some smarts to your home without spending too much, the August Smart Lock has most of the features you'll need, at a reasonable price. You can pick up this smart, full-featured lock for less than $100.
If you rent your home, the August Smart Lock is the best smart lock, as it’s very simple to install on top of an extant deadlock without replacing the cylinder or key. There’s no need to replace the cylinder; it will continue to work with your existing keys, keeping your landlord happy. And, when you move out, you can quickly and easily remove the lock and replace it with the old one, keeping your deposit safe.
Note that you will also need the August Connect module (about $60, sold separately) if you want to control and monitor the lock remotely. That module can handle multiple locks, so it’s a great low-cost pick for adding remote control to several doors at once. The only thing missing is support for Apple HomeKit.
Read our full August Smart Lock review.
Why type in a code if all you have to do is tap your phone to a smart lock to open your door? That's the biggest benefit of the Schlage Encode Plus — at least for iPhone owners. When connected with HomeKit, you simply need to touch your iPhone or your Apple Watch to the Encode Plus to lock or unlock it. It's that easy.
We also like that this lock can connect directly to Wi-Fi, and that it has a nice big number pad as well as a built-in alarm. However, it holds fewer codes — just 100 — than competing smart locks, such as the August. So, if you don't have an iPhone, this may not be the best smart lock for you.
Read our full Schlage Encode Plus review.
If you don't want to have to go through the trouble of remembering a code, why not use your fingerprint instead? The Lockly Flex Touch is a small, discreet smart lock that only reveals its true nature by a small circle underneath the lock itself. It can store up to 99 different fingerprints, but also can be unlocked with a traditional key or an eBadge via the app.
We liked the Flex Touch's unobtrusive design — from the outside, at least — and found it easy to install and use. It's relatively inexpensive, but if you want to control it while you're away from home, you'll need to spend an extra $80 on a Wi-Fi bridge. And, you'll have to supply your own batteries, as they're not included. Those inconveniences aside, this is a great minimalist smart lock.
Read our full Lockly Flex Touch review.
If someone tries you tamper with your lock, a loud alarm is a good deterrent. The Schlage Encode is our pick for the best smart lock with an alarm, as it will blare out an earsplitting siren in the attempt of a break-in.
The Encode is a great combination of a manual, keycode and remote-controlled lock. The lock supports Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can integrate it with your smart home system easily, but there is no support for Apple's HomeKit. For that, you'll have to upgrade to the Schlage Encode Plus, which lets you unlock your door with a simple tap of your Apple Watch.
Read our full Schlage Encode smart lock review.
The support for multiple smart home standards make the Yale Real Living Assure SL one of the best smart locks available. It works with Alexa, Google Home, HomeKit and SmartThings. That means you can control it from your smartphone, whether you have one of the best iPhones or best Android phones, or a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo, Google Nest Mini or Google Nest Hub Max.
The Assure SL is an attractive, well-designed lock that is easy to install. There is no manual key option, though: it’s a keycode, app or nothing. If the battery runs out, you can give it a temporary boost by touching a 9v battery to two contacts underneath the keypad.
Ed. Note: Yale has released a newer version of this lock, the Yale Assure Lock 2. We're in the middle of testing it, so stay tuned for our full review.
Read our full Yale Assure SL review.
While smart locks make it easy to unlock and lock your door using a smartphone or keypad, sometimes you just want a plain old key. But, if you have a rental property, this can be an issue if you're worried that someone has made a bunch of copies.
That's why we like the Kwikset Halo; it has a rekeyable lock, which was dead simple to use. Plus, this lock connects directly to your Wi-Fi network, is compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant, and has some good theft-deterrent features built into its touchscreen. The Kwikset Halo is available in four finishes (Iron Black, Polished Chrome, Satin Nickel, and Venetian Bronze). You can also get it with a touchscreen or with a physical, backlit keypad; the latter is less expensive by about $50.
There's also the Kwikset Halo Touch ($249 at Amazon (opens in new tab)), which has a fingerprint reader in lieu of a keypad; it comes in two finishes and designs, and connects directly to your Wi-Fi. Stay tuned for our review.
Read our full Kwikset Halo review.
The Level Bolt smart lock distinguishes itself from all other smart locks in that, once installed, its mechanism is completely hidden from sight. That's because all of its workings fit neatly inside your door. So, not only does this mean you don't have to mar the appearance of your door with a gadget, but it also means that you're not advertising to others that you have a smart lock. And, because the Level Lock uses your door's hardware, you can still continue to use your keys to lock and unlock the door.
The Level Bolt works with HomeKit, Alexa, and Ring, but does not work with Google Assistant. And, because it only has Bluetooth built in, you'll need a compatible smart home hub nearby if you want to remotely monitor and control the lock. These limitations aside, the Level Lock performed well in our tests.
Read our full Level Bolt review.
With the Lockly Secure Plus, the only key you’ll need is your finger; one touch to the fingerprint reader on the right side of the lock body opens the lock. You can also open the door by entering a code, and cleverly, the touchscreen keypad shifts the numbers around, so thieves can’t guess your code by looking at finger smudges.
Another unusual feature is that the Secure Plus is a lever lock; most smart locks are deadbolts. However, the Locky Secure Plus doesn’t support other smart home systems. For that, you'll need either a $70 Wi-Fi adapter, or to spring for the $299 Lockly Secure Pro, a separate model with built-in Wi-Fi that lets it connect to Alexa and Google Home.
Read our full Lockly Secure Plus review.
“Google, lock the front door.” If you are a Google or Nest household, you want a lock that speaks to the Google Assistant smart home system. The best smart lock that offers this feature is the Nest X Yale, a neatly designed lock that works very well with Google Assistant. We love the minimalist design of the Nest X Yale, though this is a touchpad-only design, so there's no physical key.
Locks from August and Schlage also support Google Assistant, but the Nest X Yale is the more elegant, all-in-one solution if you are invested in the Nest or Google Assistant systems. Alas, it does not work with Alexa or HomeKit.
Read our full Nest X Yale review.
While it doesn't disappear inside your door like the Level Bolt, the Level Lock Touch Edition takes an equally minimalist approach, so no one can tell just by looking that you have a smart lock on your door. Not only can you use an app on your phone to open the Touch edition, but you can also use a key fob or NFC card.
But, the neatest trick is that you can simply tap the lock with your finger to open your door (provided your phone is in range). In practice, it was a little on the slow side, but it was fairly convenient to use. And, the Level Lock can be connected to Alexa or Apple's HomeKit — provided you link this Bluetooth smart lock to one of the best smart home hubs.
Read our full Level Lock Touch Edition review.
Other smart locks to consider
We found the smart locks listed below to be good, but not quite up to the same level as the locks in the first section. While all had some redeeming qualities, there were other aspects that held them back, be it limited functionality or a feature that didn't work as well as we would have liked.
You’ll never forget your keys with this lock, because there aren’t any. The Kwikset Obsidian with Home Connect is a keycode, deadbolt lock with a smart, minimalist keypad that lights up on touch. Tap in a code (it can hold up to 30) and this best smart lock opens. A feature called SecureScreen prompts you to touch random digits before you enter your code, so others can’t guess your code by fingerprint smudges. However, in order to control or monitor the lock remotely, you’ll need a compatible Z-Wave smart home hub, such as Samsung SmartThings.
Read our full Kwikset Obsidian review.
Switchbot smart lock
If you want a smart lock, but aren't allowed to change any of the hardware on your door, the Switchbot smart lock may be your best option. This smart lock simply fits over the thumb-turn knob on the inside of your door, and rotates the lever when you control it via your phone. Easy. We found the lock worked pretty well, and we liked that it was compatible with Alexa, Google Home, and HomeKit. However, the Switchbot is very bulky. And, the method used to secure the lock to your door — double-sided tape — can peel the paint off your door if you're not careful. That's one way to lose your security deposit.
Read our full Switchbot smart lock review.
Lockly Vision Elite
This device is a smart lock, video doorbell, and security camera all in one, but while it excels at the first, it's merely adequate at the other two. The smart lock can be opened with fingerprint, keycode, eKey or even an old-school key, and the quality of the video from the camera is good, but its motion detection is basic compared to the best home security cameras, and if you have a storm door, it will obstruct the view from the camera. We also thought the doorbell button wasn't all that intuitive.
Read our full Lockly Vision Elite review.
What to look for when buying a smart lock
When shopping for a smart lock, there are a few factors to consider.
Lock Type: Smart locks come in two types: deadbolt and lever-style. The former is designed to replace your existing deadbolt, while the latter has the lock and door-opening lever in one. Deadbolts are the most popular, but lever locks are becoming more common.
Design: Your smart lock should blend in with your home decor. Most locks are available in a variety of styles and finishes, such as brass, silver, and bronze.
Security: Smart locks offer one or more means of entry, so it's up to you to decide what you prefer.
- Keys: Just like a traditional lock, some smart locks have a traditional keyhole. Some can even be re-keyed, to make it easier to transition.
- Keypads: The most common entry method; most smart locks will let you create and manage dozens, if not hundreds of keycodes.
- Virtual keys: This lets you send a virtual code to people, who can use the smart lock app on their phone to unlock your door. You can manage when these codes are active.
- Fingerprint reader: Some smart locks now have fingerprint readers, so you no longer need to remember a code or your keys; just press your finger against the reader to gain entry.
- NFC cards and tags: Some smart locks come with NFC tags or cards, which can be tapped to the lock to open it. Others have taken this a step further, and allow you to touch your Apple Watch or iPhone to the lock to activate it.
Connectivity: In order to control and monitor a smart lock remotely, you have to connect it to your home network. This can be done in one of several ways. Zigbee, Z-Wave, and Bluetooth are the most popular radios built into smart locks, as they require little power. However, these models require a hub or bridge of some kind if you wan to monitor the lock remotely. One of the best smart home hubs, such as the Samsung SmartThings, Amazon Echo, or Apple HomePod mini, will help you do this, but you should make sure the hub is compatible with the lock.
Increasingly, more and more smart locks have Wi-Fi built in, which makes connecting them to your home network easier. However, this may mean that you'll have to change their batteries more frequently.
Smart home compatibility: The better smart locks should be able to work with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit, which allows you to tie them in to other smart home devices. So, for example, if you say "Siri, Goodnight," Apple's assistant will turn off your lights and lock your doors automatically. If you have a home security system, you can also connect some locks to it, so that they'll automatically lock when you leave home.
ANSI/BHMA certification: Any smart lock worth installing in your door should have either a nANSI or BHMA certification. ANSI is the American National Standards Institute, and BHMA stands for Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association.
There are three levels of ANSI door lock grades, with Grade 3 being the least secure, and Grade 1 being the most secure. ANSI tests include a number of strength and operational tests to see how well a lock will stand up to repeated use as well as forced entry. (You can find a full explanation of ANSI tests here (opens in new tab).) Generally, you should only buy a lock that has a Grade 1 or Grade 2 rating.
How we test smart locks
The only way you can really test a smart lock is to install it on your door and see how well it works. The first thing we look at is the ease of installation. A smart lock should be simple enough for anyone with a screwdriver and a modicum of know-how to put on their front door. Most smart locks currently require a Wi-Fi bridge in order to operate them remotely, so this adds an extra layer to the setup process.
Next, we see how well the lock works in everyday operation. Can you use it as easily as a traditional door lock? How intuitive is the app? What features does it come with? The best smart locks will let you create a number of temporary "keys," which you can send to others to open the door. Ideally, you should be able to schedule for when these keys will work. For example, if you have a dog walker, you should be able to program the virtual key for that person to work only during daytime hours during the week.
We also look to see what other smart home devices are compatible with the smart lock. At a minimum it should work with Alexa and/or Google Assistant, so that you can not only lock your door by voice, but query the assistant to actually see if the door is locked. Even better is when a smart lock can work with smart lights and security systems, to create a fully automated smart home.