After reviewing a half-dozen smart locks from several well-known brands, our top pick is the Kwikset SmartCode 916 Touchscreen Electronic Deadbolt ($249), which was easy to install, has a number of safeguards (including an alarm), and can be connected to a wide range of smart home systems, such as Alexa, Google Home, and Samsung Smartthings. If you use Apple's HomeKit, you'll want the Kwikset Premis, which looks the same as the SmartCode, but works with Apple's smart home setup.
The Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt ($179) came in a close second, and is a good option for those looking to save some money. However, it only works with Alexa.
Smart Lock News & Updates
- Amazon announced a new service for Prime members, which allows them to unlock their front door remotely to let in delivery people. The Amazon Key In-Home Kit ($249; available Nov. 8) includes Amazon's new security camera, the Cloud Cam, and your choice of three smart locks: The Yale Assure, Kwikset SmartCode 914 Keypad, and the Kwikset Convert. The service will be in select areas of the country to start, and will be rolled out gradually across the U.S. You can go to the Amazon Key In-Home Kit page to see if your area is eligible.
- August has two new locks: The August Smart Lock Pro ($279) looks similar to the original, and is bundled with its Connect device, which lets you link the lock with other smart home systems, like Alexa and Google Home. The August Smart Lock (3rd generation) is just $149, and has a more traditional latch-style design.
The SmartCode's smaller size makes it less conspicuous than other locks, and allows you to use your old house keys if you want. Kwikset's SecureScreen feature — which makes you punch in two random digits before entering your code — helps ensure burglars can't guess your password by fingerprint smudges alone. And it has an alarm if someone tries to break in. The 916 lacks a standalone app, but can be connected to several smart home hubs via Z-wave or ZigBee. Overall, a great all-around lock that allows you to ease into the world of smart locks, "unlocking" its best features as you feel comfortable.
If someone tries to jimmy this lock or force their way in, this Schlage will emit a piercing siren, which will warn away any intruders. This lock also has the highest possible security rating. You can program in up to 30 codes, and the touch screen is smudge- and fingerprint-resistant. The Touchscreen Deadbolt doesn'’t have its own app, but you can connect it to a smart home hub to control it remotely.
The August, which looks like a round cylinder, replaces just the inside portion of your deadbolt, so that you can keep using your same key. It has an automatic lock and unlock feature, handy for when your arms are full. While it lacks a built-in alarm, this lock has its own app, and works with both Android and iOS devices. It's compatible with HomeKit, Nest and Xfinity, but doesn't work with other smart home hubs. August also sells an optional keypad ($79), doorbell camera ($199) and Wi-Fi bridge ($79), so that you can control and monitor your door remotely.
August introduced a new version of its lock, the Smart Lock Pro, which it's bundling with the Wi-Fi bridge for $279.
This HomeKit-compatible lock lets you use Siri to open your front door; too bad it doesn't work with other smart home hubs, like the Schlage Connect. It can be programmed with up to 30 different codes. It also has the highest possible security rating, and an alarm if someone tries to break in.
Forget your keys? No problem. In fact, the T1L doesn't even have a key slot, making it potentially more secure from burglars who might try to pick the lock. You can program up to 25 codes, and the lock's small and stylish design will blend in nicely with any décor. While it doesn't have a standalone app, the T1L can be connected to, and controlled by, several different smart home systems. If the batteries inside the lock die, you can connect a 9-volt battery to gain temporary access to your house — a nice feature.
How We Test Smart Locks
To gauge the effectiveness of all the locks, we time how long it takes to install each on a door and how easy the directions are to follow. We then evaluate them on their features, including security (alarms, tamper-resistance), the number of codes you can program into each, and smart home compatibility.
What to Look for When Buying a Smart Lock
Lock Types and Styles
At their most basic level, locks are generally divided into two categories: deadbolts and lever-style locks. A deadbolt only has a keyhole or touchpad, and requires a separate lever for you to actually open your door. A lever-style lock has the lever, the keyhole, and the keypad all contained in one unit. In most cases, a deadbolt will be the best option. As you’ll most likely be replacing a traditional deadbolt, installing a smart deadbolt will require the least amount of work.
Like their traditional counterparts, most smart locks come in a variety of finishes and styles, so you can pick the one that best matches your home's décor.
Another option you’ll want to consider is whether you want a lock with or without a traditional key, or with a keypad. For example, the Yale Real Living Assure Lock Touchscreen Deadbolt has both a keypad and a key; however, Yale also makes models that are key-free, meaning they only have a keypad. Meanwhile, the Kwikset Kevo deadbolt lacks a keypad, so you’ll either need a key or your smartphone to unlock your door. Still others, such as the August, have an optional keypad.
A keypad gives you the option of assigning codes to different people, so you don't have to hand them a physical key, or have to remember to bring a key with you when you leave your house. However, keypads take up much more space on your door, and there's the chance, however remote, that a thief can guess your code to get into your home.
Another good feature to look for is a built-in alarm that will sound when someone tries to forcibly open the lock; the better locks will have this feature, plus the ability to adjust the sensitivity of the alarm.
Smart Home Compatibility
Most smart locks—such as those that have Z-Wave or Zigbee—don't have a dedicated app, so in order to control them from your smartphone or smart home system like Alexa, you'll have to connect them to a smart home hub, such as Samsung SmartThings, Wink, or the Amazon Echo Plus. Locks that fall into this category include the Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt, and the Kwikset SmartCode 910, 912, 914 and 916 smart locks.
Smart locks that work with Apple HomeKit will use Bluetooth to communicate with Apple's smart home platform. As a side benefit, many of these locks also have their own smartphone app—usually for iPhones and Android—so even if you don't hook them up to a smart home system, you can still control them locally using your phone. Locks in this area include the August Smart Lock, the Schlage Sense Smart, Kwikset Kevo and Premis, and the Yale Real Living Assure locks—which can also be upgraded with a Z-Wave or Zigbee module.
Several smart lock makers also sell accessories to bridge the gap between their locks and your home Wi-Fi network—thus allowing you to monitor and control the locks remotely. Examples include the August Connect ($79) and the Schlage Sense Wi-Fi adapter ($69).