How a Smart Front Door Lock Works

smart front door lock

How a Smart Front Door Lock Works

A smart front door lock eliminates the need for traditional keys, giving homeowners the ability to monitor and control entry remotely. Some even connect to other home automation devices for added security and convenience.

Some smart locks go out of their way to show off their gadgetry with light-up touchscreens and techy designs, while others aim to blend in seamlessly with existing doors. To help you choose the best smart lock for your home, consider the following factors:

Keyless Entry

A good smart lock lets you grant temporary access to guests through the app without having to hand them a key. It’s also helpful for anyone who gets home at a different time from when they normally arrive and want to let in their kids after school.

Typical digital keys can take the form of a paired smartphone (to activate a code in the lock’s app), or a Bluetooth-enabled key fob that connects to the lock and opens it when within range. Some locks offer more options, such as a fingerprint scanner or keypad that allows entry with physical buttons or code.

If you’re looking for a retrofit smart lock that fits over your existing deadbolt and doesn’t require any major changes to your door, look no further than the Kwikset Kevo Bluetooth deadbolt. It works with the big three smart home platforms, and its sleek design and easy-to-use app make it a top pick among our reviewers.

Another great option is the pricier August Wi-Fi Smart Lock and Connect bundle, which works with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit. This upgrade to your existing lock adds a Wi-Fi bridge and gives you remote control through your smart home platform of choice, plus the ability to set up schedules or geofencing. You can also add up to 50 rekeyable user accounts in the app, giving permanent and temporary access to friends, family, and neighbors. The only drawback is that it doesn’t have a keypad, which some people prefer for convenience.

Control from Anywhere

A smart lock lets you remotely unlock and close your door from a mobile app, or by using voice control with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. You can also integrate these locks into smart home systems like Apple HomeKit or Ring security to manage them with other smart devices and security features.

To make your smart lock truly intelligent, it should connect to your home Wi-Fi and work with your other smart devices. That requires the lock to support your router’s wireless protocols, such as ZigBee or Z-Wave, as well as to be compatible with your smartphone platform. We look for smart front door lock these compatibilities when evaluating smart locks, and we also consider whether a lock is easy to set up and use.

Many smart locks offer extra convenience features, such as the ability to create digital keys for family members and trusted service professionals and revoke those access rights as needed. That can help ease worries about guests who are staying in your vacation rental home, or even if your rambunctious teenagers forget to lock the front door before leaving for school.

Our top pick for a smart lock, the Schlage Encode, uses Bluetooth initially to pair with your phone and then connects to your home Wi-Fi without the need for a separate hub or bridge. Setup was a breeze, and our reviewers found the app interface clean and intuitive.

Virtual Keys

The best smart locks (or smart deadbolts) streamline your daily routine by streamlining access and automating key functions. They also quell anxiety while you’re away by sending status updates and letting you view the lock log remotely to make sure no one is lurking inside your home.

Some smart locks offer the flexibility to grant virtual keys, allowing you to give temporary access to trusted friends and family, or even service professionals like dog walkers, tradespeople, or house cleaners. These virtual keys can be quickly revoked in the app, keeping you in control over who enters your home.

For those who prefer to skip the gyroscope and opt for a simpler Bluetooth-only option, the Defiant Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt is our value pick. It’s easy to install on an existing door without replacing the cylinder or key, making it great for homeowners and renters alike. You can use the app, key code or physical keys to unlock, and it offers an optional gateway that enables remote management features, like locking on voice command and open-door detection.

Many smart locks require you to connect them to your home’s Wi-Fi network, enabling monitoring features, like access notifications and integration with smart devices like security cameras and smart lights. I look for smart front door lock a model that requires a minimum of this, but also has built-in support for Alexa or Google Assistant so you can use voice commands to lock and check the lock’s status.


Smart technology has made its way into a variety of appliances and devices around the home, but the smart front door lock is a newer addition. As a result, some consumers are confused about how these locks work and what features are best for them.

Essentially, smart locks replace your existing deadbolt and control your home through unique access codes that you assign to those you trust. You can then use an app to lock or unlock your doors remotely. That means no more fumbling in your bag for keys or hiding spares under the flowerpot. Plus, you’ll receive visitor and status notifications through your smartphone or touch-screen base station (like the Vivint Smart Hub) whenever someone comes to your home or checks in at your door.

You can also enhance your security with a compatible smart camera and the ability to synchronize your cameras and door locks with one another, so you can check in on your kids or pets while you’re at work. Some smart locks, like the Array by Hampton Connected Door Lock, also have solar-powered battery backup and can be locked automatically after you arm your connected home security system.

If you’re concerned about how your smart lock is physically secure, look for ANSI/BHMA ratings. These ratings measure how well a lock holds up to forced entry and other physical tests.

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