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.
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.
Generally, there are two types of smart locks: deadbolt replacements and deadbolt adapters. The former replaces your entire deadbolt, while the latter requires you to only swap out the part of your deadbolt that's inside your house. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, which we cover in our "what to look for when buying a smart lock" section.
Some companies also offer lever-style smart locks, but these should only be used on interior doors, as they are less secure than deadbolts.
Yale released two new versions of the Assure Lock 2: The Yale Assure Lock 2 Touch will have a fingerprint reader, with the ability to store up to 20 different fingerprints. It's available as a keyed or key-free touchscreen model for $199.99 (Bluetooth and Apple HomeKit Only) and $279.99 (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Apple HomeKit). The Yale Assure Lock 2 Plus supports Apple home keys, so you can tap your iPhone or Apple Watch on the lock to unlock your door. It's available as a key-free touchscreen model for $209.99 (Bluetooth and Apple HomeKit Only) and $289.99 (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Apple HomeKit). Stay tuned for our review.
The quick list
Our top pick is simple to install, lets you use the original keys to your door, and is remarkably easy to use. Plus, you can get accessories such as a remote keypad to give you more options to get in your door.
This model is a bit bulkier than August's other lock and lacks built-in Wi-Fi, but is otherwise just as simple to use — and a lot cheaper. You'll have to spend a little more to control it remotely, though.
Best for Apple Watch owners
Best for Apple Watch owners
Hands filled with groceries? No worries — just tap your Apple Watch against the Schlage Encode Plus to unlock your door. (You can also tap your iPhone against the lock, too).
Works with everything
Works with everything
This elegant-looking lock works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Home, so it'll fit into just about any smart home. And, it supports Matter, too.
An invisible smart lock
An invisible smart lock
If you don't want anyone to know you have a smart lock, the Level Bolt is for you. It fits entirely inside your door, hidden from view. However, you'll need a smart home hub to control it remotely.
The best smart locks you can buy today
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The best smart lock overall
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.
The best smart lock value
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.
The best smart lock for Apple Watch owners
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.
A smart lock that works with everything
The support for multiple smart home standards make the Yale Assure Lock 2 one of the best smart locks available. It works with Alexa, Google Home, HomeKit and SmartThings, and will also support Matter in 2023. 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. However, you need to swap out an internal module if you want to switch from Bluetooth to, say Wi-Fi or Zigbee.
Like its predecessor, the Assure SL, the Assure Lock 2 is an attractive, well-designed lock that is easy to install. There is no manual key option, though: it’s a keycode (unlimited!), 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.
Our biggest gripe is that you have to press the Yale logo before you can input the keycode. It's an extra step, and one that visitors might not understand. Also, there's no brass finish option this time around, but that's more of a quibble than anything.
Read our full Yale Assure Lock 2 review.
The best invisible smart lock
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.
Best smart lock with fingerprint reader
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.
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. Still you may find that they suit your needs perfectly.
The Kwikset Halo 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 lock is available in four finishes, and you can get it with a touchscreen or with a physical, backlit keypad.
Read our full Kwikset Halo review.
This small, discreet smart lock only reveals its true nature by a small circle underneath the lock itself. It can store up to 99 fingerprints, but also works with a traditional key. We liked the Flex Touch's unobtrusive design — from the outside, at least — and found it easy to install and use.
If you want to control it remotely, you'll need to spend an extra $80 on a Wi-Fi bridge. And, you'll have to supply your own batteries.
Read our full Lockly Flex Touch review.
The Schlage Encode will blare out an earsplitting siren in the attempt of a break-in, and is a great combination of a manual, keycode and remote-controlled lock.
The lock supports Alexa and Google Assistant, but not HomeKit. For that, you'll have to upgrade to the Schlage Encode Plus.
Read our full Schlage Encode smart lock review.
What to look for when buying a smart lock
What type of smart lock should I get?
The majority of smart locks are designed to work with your deadbolt; most are deadbolt replacements — that is, in order to install the smart lock, you must completely remove your deadbolt first. A few others (most notably the August smart locks) are deadbolt adapters, which requires you only to remove the part of your deadbolt that's inside your house.
There are pros and cons to each; a deadbolt adapter is generally easier to install and lets you use the keys you already have, but if you want to be able to open your door using a keypad, you'll have to purchase and install that separately.
A deadbolt replacement, on the other hand, will take longer to install, but typically has a keypad, fingerprint reader, or some other entry mechanism built into it.
Lever smart locks are also becoming more common; however, we recommend these only for use on interior doors, such as the door leading from an attached garage into your house.
Other things to consider when shopping for a smart lock:
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.) 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. To that end, we've spent hundreds of hours with smart locks installed in our homes, using them day in and day out to see how they perform in all sorts of conditions.
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. We time how long it takes to install a smart lock, and how difficult the entire process was — which also includes pairing it with a smartphone app.
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.
While you can use smart locks without connecting them to your home Wi-Fi network, doing so allows you to monitor and operate the lock remotely, and connect it to other smart home devices. We also see how easy it is to set up this aspect of the lock, and determine how well it plays with other smart home gadgets. 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.
More smart home picks from Tom's Guide
Smart locks are just one component of a smart home. Read on for our top picks in a number of other categories.