When planning your new home design, safety and security are likely some of your top priorities. Door locks are the first line of defense against any trespasser looking to invade your abode. The constantly growing market of electronically enabled security devices provides a wide range of options and seemingly no easily accessible guide on how to compare. This poses a challenge when ultimately deciding which type of lock will fit your individual needs. To keep things simple, we can break the vast market down into four categories: conventional deadbolts, electronic locks with a keypad, smart locks, and retrofit smart locks.
Each of these categories presents unique pros and cons, but it is important to note that any lock is only as strong as its connected door and frame. If the door is structurally lightweight, hollow, or worn down with age, a heavy-duty lock will add little deterrent when a burglar could easily break in by damaging the door frame. Check the sturdiness and durability of your door frame prior to choosing the best lock and make adjustments as necessary.
A robust door frame with a sturdy door and tight hinge will work seamlessly alongside a trusty lock to ensure your home is safe and secured. To find the best lock for your door, it is helpful to begin with a list of your desired security features and then drill down in your search. Once you have compiled your list, you can find a match in no time. As previously mentioned, you will find the breakdown of the four types of locks below:
A favorite among homeowners, the conventional deadbolt is a reliable standard in the hardware industry. Usually single cylinder, these models typically function with the use of a key on the outside and a thumb turn on the inside. They may not come with the fancy features of their electronic counterparts, but they fit the basic bill. If you are looking for a traditional, mechanical option that does the trick without any complicated configurations, this is your first stop. A few models offer the option for easy assembly and re-keying options that do not require a professional locksmith.
There are quite a few options available, but I suggest a satin chrome set if you are looking for a sleek, trim option that provides satisfactory security — without the hefty price tag. For homeowners who seek a certain coordination or design that matches your exterior door, consider a colored option such as matte black or antique bronze.
Electronic Locks With Keypad
A step up in technology from the simple mechanics of the average deadbolt, the electronic lock model includes a keypad that provides added convenience features. First, keyless entry allows access to your home without having to rummage through a purse or backpack for the correct key. Personalized access codes can be given to family members, service workers, dog walkers and babysitters, and can be easily cancelled or switched without a need to professionally re-key. Some locks even have the capability to keep access logs, and most models offer a backlight when trying to punch in the code after dark. These locks come in handy if you frequently rent your property, such as in the case of vacation homes or guest houses.
Smartlocks offer a number of additional features but come at a higher cost for these fancy add-ons. They may include capabilities such as voice command, remote control access, geofencing, access logs, among other features. Some models may have biometric capabilities to unlock by fingerprint, and set dates and times for particular individual access. Others may include a real-time access log and an automatic lock/unlock feature when you leave or return home. If you are prone to worry about whether the door locked when you left for work in the morning, consider the peace of mind that may come with one of these models.
While they offer the convenience of remote access, smart locks offer little to no additional protection in comparison to a standard deadbolt set. The additional expense will compensate for your peace of mind while away, but typically do not make the door any more durable. Also, most of these features are only accessible if paired with a WiFi adapter, which adds to the cost.
Retrofit Smart Locks
With a nifty design, these specific smart locks can be placed on the interior side of your existing deadbolt in lieu of replacing your complete set. If you have a certain aesthetic or design to your exterior door, it will not be diminished with the installation of a retrofit smart lock. Homeowners are still able to keep their original keys and deadbolt, while enjoying the perks and additional features that a smart lock provides.
While the retrofit smart lock feels like the best of both worlds, its consistency is reliant upon several external factors. Your smartphone must be accessible, charged, and have adequate wireless connection to be able to utilize all the smart features of the door lock. Additionally, the physical strength of this lock is only as foolproof as your existing deadbolt. If the deadbolt is worn or can be easily broken, this model offers no additional protection to bar entry.
Lock In Your Best Fit
At the end of the day, any homeowner’s dream is to return from work to a secure, worry-free house, completely ready to relax and enjoy their space. Take some time to determine which security features you want and need for your home. Once the hard part is done, finding your perfect match in a door lock will be a cinch!
Melanie Theriault is a writer, counselor, and lifelong learner. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Southwestern University, where she discovered her passion for fostering human connection through storytelling.