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Best smart locks for 2023

We help you choose a smart lock that fits your door and needs

In this article: We'll look at some different types of smart locks and talk about the advanced features that some of them offer. Then I'll share a few favorites to help you choose the one that's best for you...

  1. Best smart home integration — Nest x Yale Lock with Nest Connect
  2. Best keypad/touchscreen lock — Yale Real Living Assure Keypad Deadbolt with Wi-Fi
  3. Best smart deadbolt — August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
  4. Best smart lever lock — Yale Real Living Assure Lever Keypad Lock

...and we'll look at Z-wave locks that let you expand your smart home control without muddying your Wi-Fi network.

My aunt has a vacation house in South Florida that she generously shares with her extended family. For years she's had a smart lock on the front door that makes it easy for everyone to come and go.

You don't have to carry, copy, hide, or lose keys anymore. And no more getting locked out. But you can do more with smart locks than just get keyless freedom.

Are smart locks worth it?

Mechanically, smart locks are every bit as secure as key locks. Some even include traditional keys in addition to their smart features.

For most people, the biggest benefit is key-free convenience. If you've got a house with a lot of people coming and going, a smart lock just makes it so much easier to allow and keep track of access.

What can a smart lock do?

You can set unique codes for different people. That makes it easy to have a code for family access, and other codes for dog-walkers, contractors, or other people who might need temporary access to your house. If you've got a property that you let via Airbnb or a similar rental arrangement, a smart lock can really streamline access for your guests — and you.

Some smart locks integrate with other smart home gear like video doorbells, smart lights, and voice assistants. You can do things like set your lights to fade off five minutes after you lock the door on your way out. Or tell your voice assistant to unlock the door so you can let your friends in without getting off the couch.

If you want, you can get one that uses Bluetooth or a network connection to automatically unlock your door when you (and your smartphone) arrive home, and unlock it when you leave.

Can smart locks be hacked?

Like any other password-protected device, a smart lock can theoretically be hacked. But if you're mindful when you set it up, a successful hack is highly unlikely. A key "hidden" under your front door mat might be a more likely invitation to burglary than an encrypted password and security codes that you can change at any time.

Smart locks come with app control

With some thoughtful naming and organization during setup, you can get the most out of your lock's smart features.

Use these tips to help keep your smart lock and home network secure:

  • Name your Wi-Fi network something that doesn’t give away personal details (don’t use your address or name)
  • Use a strong encryption method, like WPA2 when you set up your network
  • Password-protect your home network and change your Wi-Fi password every month or so
  • Use strong, unique passwords for your devices, and change their default names
  • Change your router’s default password (often printed on a sticker on the router)
  • Create a guest network if your router has the option
  • Make sure the software stays up to date on all your devices
  • Check the default security and privacy settings when you add new devices — they are likely skewed to benefit the manufacturer rather than the user
  • Make sure you're buying trusted brands

And I know we all wince when we see a long "read and sign" manufacturer/developer terms and conditions. At least skim it. If you value your privacy, you might be interested to know if and how they share all your personal data.

How do smart locks get power?

Most smart locks run on batteries. They can last up to a year, but check the specs for whichever model you're considering.

Do smart locks work without Wi-Fi?

Our most affordable smart locks are keypad or touchscreen models that don't need Wi-Fi or any kind of wireless connection. But they also allow you to access expanded features when you add optional Wi-Fi, Z-wave, or other network control. You can also buy a lock with network connectivity built in or a kit with an external network module.

Can I install a smart lock myself?

Most smart locks come with everything you need but a screwdriver to install them. If you're not a DIY person, locksmiths do this all the time — call one.

Your existing hardware — lever lock or deadbolt — will narrow your choices if you're retrofitting. And whichever you've got, you can choose a lock with a built-in or optional keypad or touchscreen.

Our top smart lock picks

The best lock for you depends on what kind of lock you already have. It also depends on how much smart control you'd like. I've picked our best smart locks for a few different scenarios.

Yale lock with Nest integration

Best smart home integration — Nest x Yale Lock with Nest Connect

The Next x Yale Lock with Nest Connect works with other Google Nest devices. That means it integrates with some of the best and most widely used smart home gear. It connects to your home's Wi-Fi® network through the included Nest Connect hub.

Use the free Nest app for Apple® and Android™ devices to enable or disable guest access. And lock, unlock, and check the status of your door from anywhere — as long as you and your lock are connected to the internet.

Within the app, you can generate one-time access codes. You can also create scheduled windows of time to allow a specific access code. That means your babysitter, handyman, or whoever will have secure access anytime you want them to, and no access when you don't.

It can work with the Nest Thermostat's Home/Away Assist feature to automatically lock itself when no one's home. Or integrate with the Nest Secure alarm system so that when you unlock your front door, the alarm system automatically disarms itself. You can even lock your door and check its status with using a Google voice assistant, though for security reasons, you can't unlock it with voice control.

The lock runs on four AA batteries that last about a year. If it loses power, it's got a quick-touch 9-volt battery receptacle to unlock the door. It has an adjustable deadbolt to fit nearly any door and frame, and it comes with everything you need to install it.

Details:

  • smart home integration with Google Nest app and devices like alarm systems, security cameras, video doorbells, and more
  • create up to 20 unique access codes with specific access time windows if desired
  • auto lock/unlock
  • works with Google Assistant and Google Home voice assistants to lock and check door status

Yale Real Living deadbolt

Best keypad/touchscreen lock — Yale Real Living Assure Keypad Deadbolt with Wi-Fi

The Yale Real Living Assure Keypad Deadbolt with Wi-Fi lets you control your lock automatically or via keypad, app, or old-school key — it comes with two.

The included August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge and network module give this lock powerful features that you control with the app. In addition to locking and unlocking the door using the app, you can add up to 250 unique entry codes that can be created or removed at any time.

You can also keep track of who's coming and going — and when — with the 24/7 activity feed. And thanks to the included DoorSense™ unit, you can even use the app to see if your door is open or closed.

It also works with all the major voice assistants so you can lock, unlock, or check the lock status with your choice of Siri, Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa. Using your voice assistant to unlock the door may require you to speak your PIN code, so be careful of who might be listening.

Details:

  • includes August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge and DoorSense contact sensor for detailed door status info
  • create up to 250 unique access codes with specific access time windows if desired
  • auto lock/unlock
  • works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple's Siri voice assistants

August wi-fi smart lock

Best smart deadbolt — August Wi-Fi Smart Lock

The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is the latest, smallest version of their easily recognizable round-design locks. This version has Wi-Fi built-in, so it doesn't require a separate Connect Bridge to enable some powerful smart features. And to install it, you simply fit it onto your existing single-cylinder deadbolt hardware. That means you can still use your existing keys.

With geofencing enabled, you can simply approach the door with your smartphone on your person, and it will automatically unlock. You can also set it to automatically lock as you leave.

If you prefer less-automated methods, you can lock and unlock the door — from wherever you are — using the August app on your phone or Apple Watch. Or use your voice assistant — it works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple's Siri. But again, you might have to call out a PIN code, so keep it discreet so the wrong person doesn't overhear you.

You use the app to create invitations for your family members or guests to download the app so they can gain access. You can schedule access for each guest. And you can keep track of who comes and goes (and when) with the August app's activity feed.

If you want to be able to see and communicate with guests, pick up a video doorbell.

Details:

  • built-in Wi-Fi requires no external bridge
  • works with your existing keys
  • up to 250 unique access codes with specific access time windows if desired
  • auto-lock/unlock
  • works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple's Siri voice assistants

Lever lock

Best smart lever lock — Yale Real Living Assure Lever Keypad Lock

Yale's Real Living Assure Lever Keypad Lock is designed specifically for "single-hole" doors, or doors without deadbolts. Maybe you've got one on your side or basement entrance, or on an interior door.

This lock doesn't require any network connection at all. You create and edit entry codes (4-8 digits) using the backlit keypad. It up lets you program up to 25 unique codes, but you can have up to 250 and get expanded app control if you add the August Connect Wi-Fi bridge. Or you could grab this kit that includes the bridge and more.

You can also get app control for this lock if you use a Z-wave network, which I'll talk about in the next section.

Details:

  • for "single-hole" (non-deadbolt) locks found on many basement, side, or interior doors
  • doesn't require internet or network control
  • create up to 25 unique access codes, or get up to 250 and expanded features if you add optional network control

Z-wave control

Z-wave is a proven smart home automation protocol that operates as a mesh network on much lower frequencies than Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, and others. Using it to control smart devices can reduce congestion on your Wi-Fi network. It's also low-energy, which means you can often get much better battery life on Z-wave devices that have them.

To get started with Z-wave, you'll need a hub (sold separately). If you've got a Ring Alarm system, you already have a Z-wave hub built into its base station.

Lock with Z-wave

Locks with Z-wave control require a hub, but work on their own low-frequency mesh network that won't interfere with your Wi-Fi.

Z-Wave locks have all of the smart features as their Wi-Fi counterparts, but they connect to the internet using Z-wave. You can still access it from anywhere (as long as you're connected to the internet).

Z-wave's range is from as much as 300 feet in open air to 30 feet in enclosed space, like your house. So make sure you place your hub — or another Z-wave device on your network — within range of your lock. That's because when you have other Z-wave devices, each acts as a signal repeater, strengthening and extending its mesh network.

We can help you choose

Have questions about how to choose the right smart lock? Our expert Advisors know smart home gear inside and out. Contact us for quick answers to all your shopping questions. Don't forget: free lifetime tech support is included with your Crutchfield purchase.

Popular questions customers ask

Yes, if you want key-free convenience. And many smart locks give you other helpful features, like multiple codes for different users and an activity log. So, if you've got a house with a lot of people coming and going, a smart lock makes it much easier to allow and keep track of access.

You can set unique codes and access windows for different people. That makes it easy to have a code for family members, and other codes for dog-walkers, contractors, or other people who only need temporary access to your house. Some smart locks integrate with other smart home gear like video doorbells, smart lights, and voice assistants. Some also allow “geofencing,” which means that they automatically lock and unlock when you (and your smartphone) come and go.

Like any other password-protected device, a smart lock can theoretically be hacked. But if you're mindful when you set it up, a successful hack is highly unlikely. A key "hidden" under your front door mat might be a more likely invitation to burglary than an encrypted password and security codes that you can change at any time.

Our most affordable smart locks are keypad or touchscreen models that don't need Wi-Fi or any kind of wireless connection. But they also allow you to access expanded features when you add optional Wi-Fi, Z-wave, or other network control. You can also buy a lock with network connectivity built in or a kit with an external network module.

Most smart locks come with all the hardware you need to install them, whether your door has a deadbolt or lever lock. But if you're not a DIY person, you might want to call a locksmith.

Last updated 11/17/2022
  • Tom from Quogue, NY

    Posted on 11/12/2022

    I need help with smart locks. I wanted a level lock but they told me my current installation is not compatible. I have a fancy hardware plate that extends up to the deadbolt. I am told it's made by emtek. Emtek can't retrofit. Any hope for me?

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