Best smart door locks 2021 to keep your home secure

Leave your keys at the door – these smart locks can be opened with keycodes, fingerprints, smartphones and more

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By Pete Wise 04 February 2021 A

smart lock is a door access mechanism that uses a technology more sophisticated than the humble key. This could mean any of a number of methods is used to unlock the door, including smartphone, fingerprint, fob, card or keycode entry. Many smart locks can be opened with several of these inputs.

Choosing a smart lock is largely a question of finding one that’s compatible with the door you intend to install it in. Each smart lock will only work with certain doors, based on factors such as the type of lock already installed in the door, and the door’s thickness and material. Always check the product listing to ensure the lock is compatible with your door, before you buy.

Another important consideration for many buyers is the method of operation. Some smart locks are relatively straightforward, with just a few unlocking methods such as fingerprint and keycode. Others add the capability to unlock the door remotely, or up close via Bluetooth, using a smartphone. This advanced category of smart locks can make it particularly easy to give people access to a property while you’re away.

If you plan on installing your own smart lock, be aware that you may require a cordless drill to make the necessary holes in your door. Installing a lock can be a fairly involved DIY task, so we would advise watching an installation tutorial video for the relevant lock on YouTube, before you commit to doing the job yourself. Or, for an easier life, look up a smart lock installer in your area.

Ultraloq UL3-BT-SN Fingerprint and Touchscreen Smart Lever Lock

The Ultraloq UL3 Series Smart Lock provides advanced security in an impressively accessible package. There are a fair few steps to follow, but these are well explained in the lock’s installation guide. An especially helpful feature was the drill template, which you can simply fold around the door and drill through.

Perhaps the best thing about this lock is the wide range of secure ways it gives you to open the door, with fingerprint, code, smartphone and knock-to-open all supported, along with old-fashioned key entry. This generous mix of access methods can all be accessed via the lock’s connected app, which associates certain codes and fingerprints with the individuals you assign them to. This could come in very handy if you have lots of people coming and going from your property.

We were impressed with the aesthetic of the UL3 Series. The two satin nickel handles (internal and external) are heavy and smooth, and the lock’s keypad looks sharp too.

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£257 | homeloft

Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock

You know what? Enough of keys and their nonsense. Enough of their getting lost down sofas and on public transport. The Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock does away with old-fashioned keys altogether, relying instead upon access via pin code, key card, remote fob, or a smartphone connected to Amazon Alexa or Samsung SmartThings.

This lock has some really impressive security features, including a rather unpleasant-sounding tamper alarm and encryption designed to ward off hackers. It’s pretty easy to install, provided you have a 60mm nightlatch (if not, you can buy one separately).

We think this lock looks really smart on both the interior and the exterior of the door. The capability to top up the lock’s power by holding a 9V battery underneath the front body of the lock could be a lifesaver in cases of the battery running out while you’re away from home.

£90.64 | Amazon

Nuki Combi 2.0 (Nuki Smart Lock 2.0 and Nuki Bridge)

Here’s a smart lock with a difference. The Nuki Smart Lock 2.0 lives on the inside of your door, and uses your smartphone as a key when you’re nearby, outside the house.

This unique system makes the Nuki Smart Lock 2.0 a great option for users who wish to keep a traditional handle on the front of their door. The Smart Lock itself looks really stylish on the back of the door, too.

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To get the best out of a Nuki Smart Lock 2.0, we recommend using it with a Nuki Bridge – a device which plugs into your power socket and enables the lock to be operated remotely via smartphone. This makes it easy to open the door for delivery drivers, contractors and other callers while you’re away from home.

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Nuki Smart Lock 2.0 - £193.13 | Amazon Nuki Bridge - £89 | Amazon

Yale Conexis L1 Keyless Smart Door Lock

One of the first things that strikes you when you get this lock out of the box is its heft. Tough, heavy and equipped with security measures including an incorrect pin code feature and an in-built tamper alarm, this is a lock not to be messed with. It’s also the biggest lock we’ve encountered – a real style statement for the entrance to your property.

Using the instruction manual alone, installing this lock proved a little tricky. We recommend following along with Yale’s excellent tutorial video on YouTube instead. There are three fixing packs with components designed to suit doors of various thicknesses, from 44mm to 70mm.

From £189 | Amazon

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Master Lock Outdoor Bluetooth Padlock

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If you’re looking for a smart lock to secure your shed or outbuilding, Masterlock’s outdoor padlock could be an interesting alternative option to explore. This clever device can be opened via a connected smartphone app, providing easy, secure access to the owner, or whoever they choose to share access with. Its boron-carbide shackle seems really tough.

The Master Lock Vault Home app used to operate the padlock is a great improvement on previous Master Lock apps we’ve tested. We found it really easy to add a new padlock and set up access codes within the app.

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£76.29 | Amazon

HAIFUAN 304 Smart Digital Door Lock HFA-5300-35

This snazzy stainless steel lock from Chinese brand HAIFUAN is among the most stylish smart locks we’ve encountered. We particularly like the blue numbers on the digital display and the slender profile of the main body and handle of the external lock. Besides the odd inclusion of the word ‘INTELLIGENCE’ just under the keypad, we think it looks perfect.

The HAIFUAN 304 is a pleasure to use, either by card or passcode. The lack of smartphone compatibility may be off-putting to some users, but we tend to find the mix of card and code access is perfectly sufficient.

One downside to the 304 is that its installation instructions are particularly difficult to follow. We recommend watching a tutorial video on YouTube instead.

£139 | Amazon

Samsung Digital Door Lock

This option from Samsung is a remarkably neat, discreet digital lock that will only enhance the appearance of your door. In terms of operability, the lock is relatively straightforward, since the only two options to unlock are via KeyTag (of which, six are included) and passcode. For added security, both passcode and KeyTag can be required together to open the door.

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We rate this smart door lock as one of the most accessible on the market. The lock is compatible with an impressive range of door thicknesses, from 35mm to 50mm, and added features such as the option to control the keypad volume set the product apart.

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£129.99 | Amazon

ZKTeco PL10DB Fingerprint Door Lock with Bluetooth (Indoor)

The ZKTeco PL10DB is a highly effective indoor lock with a pleasingly ‘cyber’ aesthetic. We think it could prove a great option for securing spaces such as rooms in shared houses or storage areas within business premises. Operation is via fingerprint, app passcode or key – a mix of options that essentially guarantees you’ll always have a secure way to unlock the door.

This lock has some really nifty features that go beyond most of its competitors. For example, the handle is reversible: you can fit it to face either left or right, depending on your preference. On the downside, the PL10DB can’t really be used on an external door, as it is not suitable for operation in below-freezing temperatures.

£129.99 | Amazon

Verdict

Thanks to its combination of accessible setup, versatile 5-in-1 operability and smart digital display, we’re naming the Ultraloq UL3 BT our ES Best Top Pick. If you’d prefer an alternative that lives on the inside of your door only, the Nuki Smart Lock 2.0 would be a great choice.

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Post time: Jun-02-2021