Smart locks have become some of the most popular home tech products in the United States, along with other connected devices like security systems and home-access controls.
NextMarket Research predicts that the smart lock market alone will grow to a worldwide value of $3.6 billion by 2019. Considering how many Americans maintain busy schedules that keep them away from home, it’s not hard to understand why this technology is becoming so popular.
However, even though smart locks have flooded the market, that doesn’t guarantee they are the most practical or safest home security choice.
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with smart locks.
Advantage: They Work With Smartphones
For many people, one of the best things about smart locks is smartphone integration. Once a person has downloaded the app that works with a smart lock, they can lock and unlock the door from afar.
That means if they embark on a road trip and don’t remember that they left the front door unlocked until an hour into the journey, there’s no reason to turn around and go home. They can just launch the app and secure their home with a phone.
Smart locks from August, a leading brand, even let you use an app to verify whether the door’s locked or not.
Instead of wracking your brain to try and remember the steps you went through just before leaving the house, you can simply depend on the app to verify whether you completed what’s arguably the most important task in securing your home.
Advantage: You Can Authorize Access For Multiple People Simultaneously
Maybe you’re about to go out of town on a European backpacking trip for three months and have various people lined up to water your plants, pick up the mail, and petsit during your absence. Smart locks make it possible to provide unique access codes for each person.
If you were using a traditional key-based system, you’d have to go to a key-cutting shop and get physical keys made for the authorized parties or (possibly worse) leave your key in a secret spot outside where anyone could access it.
Disadvantage: The Technology Sometimes Fails
The convenience of smart locks all sounds great until you realize that some smart locks are pretty easy to hack.
People will understandably wonder, if smart locks are already known as being potentially easy to break into, what’s to stop hackers from staying ahead of the game and up to date about security patches? There have been similar concerns about other connected devices, from connected cars to connected coffee makers and smart light bulbs, so it’s not just a fault found in the smart lock market (Case in point: the massive distributed denial of service attack last fall brought about by millions of compromised smart home devices.) However, this is a valid concern that you shouldn’t brush off lightly.
People often wisely admit that technology is fantastic when it works properly. When things go wrong, however, they’re often left wondering why they didn’t just stick with tried-and-true methods. Some individuals feel that way after installing smart locks, especially after discovering limitations.
For example, some smart locks only work with deadbolts. Reports have also warned that unless the door is firmly closed, the smart lock may not secure the deadbolt as expected. And even with that issue aside, some homeowners might also not enjoy the fact that most smart locks are only capable of controlling one of your door’s locks, not all of them.
So, if you’re a double door-locker like me, this may not be a piece of tech that’s worth the money.
Folks are sometimes resistant to adopting new technology, and when it comes to something as important as locking down a home, it’s no wonder they balk.
If you’re thinking about equipping your home with a smart lock, make sure to carefully read a wide range of reviews to get a good idea of which ones are most likely to fulfill your expectations.
Advantage: Some Locks Enhance Security Camera Functionality
As mentioned earlier, camera-based home security systems have also become popular. If you already have one installed, there may be a smart lock that diversifies the security system’s features.
For example, current technology allows you to see who’s at the door and grant access to your home simply by tapping a button in a smartphone app. This capability would be helpful for someone who is elderly or ill and may not be able to reach the door quickly when someone knocks.
As you can see from this overview, although smart locks have some definite perks, you should only install them after grasping their potential drawbacks.