Gone are the days of worrying over a lost house key. The terror, panic, and strife you experience when you first realize your key – or god forbid, keys – are missing, is unfathomable. Lose a key, and you’ll truly understand what it’s like to have a panic or heart attack.
Where did it go? Who has it? Do they know where you live and will they try to gain access? Will they make copies? Are you going to have a stalker now that sneaks into your house in the middle of the night to smell your panties or socks?
Okay, realistically, some of those fears are a little much. Even if the key is found by a stranger, they have to figure out what home – out of millions – it belongs to. That doesn’t change the fact that losing a key sucks.
But you know what else sucks? When you lend someone a key, or give someone access to your home and they take advantage of your hospitality. It makes you want to snatch the key back immediately. Problem is, you’re still dealing with them on their terms. You’ll only truly get the key back when they’re ready to hand it over. And in the wrong hands, that’s never a good thing.
There is a way to solve pretty much all of these problems, however. Modern technology is the answer, or more specifically smart home tech in the form of Wi-Fi door locks.
What Is A Smart Wi-Fi Door Lock or Smart Lock?
Smart Wi-Fi door locks, sometimes referred to as smart locks, are a new form of technology meant to replace your, well, dumb old locks. Most of the time, they come as a connected deadbolt, replacing the existing lock mechanism on your front or side door.
The point, is that they can be wirelessly unlocked using a smartphone or key fob. Through a connected mobile app, for example, you can unlock your door when you pull in your driveway, and walk directly into your home. There’s no need to fumble with a key, in the dark, while bugs eat your skin.
This also opens up a new opportunity, the option to provide temporary keys for friends, family, household help, and more. If you want the UPS guy to drop your expensive package just inside the door, for example, you can unlock your home, and lock it back up after he’s dumped the bundle.
You could even let kids, family, or friends into your home that have misplaced their own key. And the best part? You don’t even have to be home or near your local area to make this happen. You could be miles and miles away on a cruise, or sipping adult beverages on a beach somewhere.
How Do I Install It?
You’re forgiven for thinking it would take a rocket scientist or uber-techie to install something like this. It does seem complicated, but in reality, it’s not at all. The only requirement is that you have a few of the hand tools necessary – like a screwdriver – and that you can read the instruction manual. No matter what type of lock you choose, and there are dozens of smart locks out there, they all come with a relatively easy to follow instruction manual. They also come with all the screws, mounting brackets, batteries, and wires you’ll need to get up and running.
You can always opt to have a professional install the lock too, if it proves too daunting.
Are Smart Locks Even Reliable and Safe?
What happens when someone wants access that shouldn’t have it? Can’t they just hack the lock or program it to open? What if your Wi-Fi is down? How are you even supposed to get in your house? All of it can be boiled down to one simple question: Are smart locks reliable and safe?
The short answer is YES! If anything they’re safer than traditional keys.
Only those assigned a passcode by an administrator can enter your home. Even if you grant temporary access, you can revoke it nearly instantly. Just open the mobile app for your lock, disable or delete an access key, and your neighbor can no longer steal your favorite potato chips.
Seeing as you can also lock and unlock your door remotely, from a smartphone, you can cover your tracks if you have a bad day. Think you forgot to lock the door on your way out this morning? Just pulled into work and out of time to turn around and check? No problem. Just open up the app on your phone, take a quick glance, and see if your door is locked. If it’s not, you can lock it with the simple press of a button or touch of the screen.
Have someone coming to your home when you’re not there but can’t meet up to lend them a key? The more common way to handle this is to place a key – hidden presumably – somewhere on your property. Problem is, anyone could enter your home if they find it.
With a smart lock you can issue a temporary key to your guest’s smartphone, or you can simply wait until they’re at the door and unlock it for them.
Have children? Worried they got home okay? Want to make sure they’re where they should be, or worse, that they didn’t sneak out? You can see who unlocked and locked the door, allowing you to track the comings and goings of your family. Just dish out unique keys to your family members and label them appropriately. Easy as pie.
Yes, they can be hacked, but the probability of that happening is not as high as you might think. The real thing to consider is whether the benefits outweigh the risks, and in this case, they most certainly do. In the end, you’re the best judge of that for your own home, however.
What About an Internet Outage?
No need to fret here. All smart locks will continue to work even if the internet is down. They may or may not go about this the same way, but there’s always an option. The Schlage Camelot Touch, for example, still takes a physical key, but also employs a digital touchpad. You can enter a numeric code to unlock the door if the Wi-Fi is down, or just do it the old fashioned way and use a key.
Other locks use NFC or Bluetooth to provide access through various devices like a smartphone or key fob. Rest assured, you won’t be locked out of your home completely if and when there’s an outage.
Furthermore, smart locks run on batteries which means they’re separate from your main power source. If the power goes out, there’s no reason why your lock would stop functioning.
What Else Can Smart Locks Do?
Smart locks alone work great, but if you pair them with other smart home technology, such as a smart video doorbell, the possibilities open up even more. A smart video doorbell, for instance, lets you see who’s at the door, and even answer it, remotely.
If you’re not home you can interact or communicate with them to find out what they want, or take the necessary action. With the UPS example we already gave, for example, you could communicate with the delivery driver and tell them to drop the package inside for you.
Smart Locks Sound Expensive, Are They?
Thankfully, are not as expensive as you might initially guess. If you’re looking at purchasing one, they run anywhere from $30 to over $200 depending on the model you choose.
Do yourself a favor, take a look at some of the more popular locks on the market and consider installing one in your home. You won’t regret it. Then again, don’t just take our word for it, why not listen to someone that has owned and used a lock for over a year now?