Since 2016, we've spent over 180 hours testing 20 smart locks, ruining a perfectly good door in the process. We tested each lock in two categories: potential to improve security and ease of use. In each category, our tests gauge performance and reliability, offering a glimpse into each lock's strengths and weaknesses. After testing, we found the Schlage Sense to be the most secure of all the locks we reviewed, and it's one of the best locks for Apple HomeKit.
Schlage Sense BE479
The Schlage Sense is the most secure lock we tested, and we like its excellent app and outstanding warranty. It doesn't work with many smart home systems, but its excellent security is worth it.
August Smart Lock (3rd Generation)
August Smart Lock's latest version is one of the least expensive smart locks. It also works with many smart home systems, provided you buy the $79 August Connect as well.
Schlage Connect BE469NX
The Schlage Connect is a capable, sturdy smart lock, though to access most of its best features it needs to be connected to a smart home system using its Z-Wave radio.
The Schlage Sense is the most secure smart lock we tested. It detects when people use codes, keys or the mobile app to unlock the door. We like that it has an ANSI/BHMA Grade 1 certification, the highest residential security rating a lock can earn.
The Sense replaces your existing deadbolt, and its encrypted Bluetooth connection means that only someone with a password can access it. When we tested the Sense, we liked how easy it was to add and remove key codes as well as how quickly the lock responded to the app, which was faster than other locks we tested, though it's not as fast as some newer locks. The app also lets you set up auto-lock, which secures the door if you forget to lock it after you come in. The app initially came out for the iPhone, but the company has since released an Android app, though it isn’t as polished as the iOS version. Despite the lock's excellent security, it's only compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Home, though you need to buy the Schlage Sense Wi-Fi Adapter to use the latter two. For remote access, you need the Wi-Fi adapter or an Apple TV. The batteries in the Schlage Sense last up to 12 months. The lock has a lifetime warranty on the mechanical components and the exterior finish, though its electronic components are covered for three years. This is the best warranty among smart locks.
The latest version of the August Smart Lock doesn't have as many features as the original, notably lacking Apple HomeKit support, though it is much cheaper, making it the best value among smart locks.
The August Smart Lock 3rd Generation looks different than August's earlier locks. This new design looks more like what you would see on many keypad locks and is slightly smaller than the original August Smart Lock. This lock comes with an innovative universal adapter plate that makes installation fast and easy. August also added a sensor to the lock that uses a magnet on or in your doorframe to tell if the door is open. No other smart lock maker has such as useful feature to boost security. August's mobile app is among the best we looked at. While August Smart Lock has some of the best smart home compatibility of the locks we tested, you need to buy the $79 August Connect before it works with a smart home system and allows remote access. Another concern we have is that August is a retrofit lock, so it's only as effective as the deadbolt you attach it to. The lock’s one-year warranty matches the industry average, but it doesn't compete with Schlage's three-year warranty.
Best Z-Wave Lock
The Schlage Connect has two advantages over most of the smart locks we tested: It's the best Z-Wave lock we looked at and the fifth-most secure smart lock.
On the security front, we like that the Connect has a unique tamper alarm that detects lock picking attempts, not just forced entry like some other smart locks. The lock replaces your current deadbolt and meets standards for ANSI/BHMA Grade 1, which is the highest level of physical security a lock can achieve. It also has an auto-lock feature that locks your door after 30 seconds, but you need to activate it since it's off by default. Because the Schlage Connect uses Z-Wave technology, you need a smart hub to unlock most of its features, including remote access and smartphone control. In our tests, we used the Wink Hub and found the Schlage Connect worked better than the other Z-Wave locks we reviewed. You can program up to 30 key codes, though you must do it by hand without a compatible smart home system. As with most smart door locks, the Connect works for up to 12 months on four AA batteries. This lock comes in six finishes, more than any other model we tested, so it can likely match your existing décor. As with Schlage's normal locks, you get a lifetime warranty on the mechanical components and exterior finish. The electronic components carry a three-year warranty, which is much longer than the average of one year.
Best Keyless Design
The Kwikset Obsidian is one of the first keyless locks we've tested, and we found it a delightful experience. The square touchpad makes it the most futuristic smart lock we've tested.
The touchpad on the Obsidian has is the only thing you see on the outside of your door, there are no distracting keyholes. It comes in two finishes: stain nickel and venetian bronze, though they serve more as an accent to the screen. This lock is secure against lockpicking and has a Grade 2 ANSI/BHMA rating. This stunning smart door lock is very easy to use with or without a smart hub, though it works best when used as part of a smart home system. We tested the Amazon Key Edition of the Kwikset Obsidian and Amazon Cloud Cam. When paired together, you can control the lock remotely with the Amazon Key app to let in guests and get notifications when someone comes in the door. While you can program codes and change some settings manually, the Kwikset Obsidian doesn't have any smartphone controls of its own, which means you need a compatible smart hub with ZigBee controls. There's also a Z-Wave version of the lock available.
Best Premium Smart Lock
The August Smart Lock Pro is the most advanced smart lock we tested. It comes with a variety of innovative features such as the ability to detect when your door is open. It's also compatible with more smart home devices than other smart lock.
Our testing revealed that this lock is easier to use than the competition, narrowly beating the other August lock in our comparison. If you choose to add the August Smart Lock Pro to your smart home, you have a variety of options such as Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Z-Wave and IFTTT, which covers every major platform. You can also connect the lock to an August Doorbell Cam Pro, which is the best combination between the two types of products we've seen. While you can buy the August Smart Lock Pro as a standalone product, you're more likely to see it bundled with the August Connect, a device that adds remote access over the internet. Because the August Smart Lock Pro is a retrofit-style smart lock, much of its physical security relies on the deadbolt to which you attach it. Considering this is already an expensive lock at $279, upgrading your deadbolt makes it even more expensive. The battery life on this smart door lock is shorter than other brands we reviewed, and the one-year warranty isn't great, but the smart home functions and easy controls help make up for that.
Latest News & Updates (January 2019)
In September 2018, Yale announced Connected by August, a module that’s compatible with the Yale Assure SL and the August Home smartphone app. The module comes with the August Connect Wi-Fi adapter and adds helpful features, such as DoorSense and compatibility with the August Doorbell Cam Pro. Ever since Assa Abloy, Yale’s parent company, acquired August Home in 2017, we’ve been waiting for news that Yale and August would be collaborating, so this is an exciting new development.
Since our last round of testing, several new smart locks have been announced or become available for purchase:
- igloohome Deadbolt 2S: This slim dead bolt has a sleek touchscreen keypad. (Released in 2018 for $249)
- Array: This Wi-Fi smart lock has an integrated solar panel with a keypad behind it. (Released in September 2018 for $249)
- Gate: This compact smart lock has an integrated video doorbell. (Released in October 2018 for $349)
- Lockly Secure Plus: This Bluetooth smart lock comes with a fingerprint sensor and a unique digital keypad that changes every time someone approaches, to protect your access code. (Released in September 2018 for $250)
- We.Lock Ai.One: This smart lock has an integrated fingerprint sensor and is compatible with voice controls from Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. (Released in December 2018 for $259)
- Altro Smart: This smart lock uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It has a built-in camera, which also gives it the functionality of a video doorbell. (Released in January 2019 for $350)
- Kwikset Halo Touchscreen: This is Kwikset’s first Wi-Fi smart lock, which allows you to use the lock remotely without a smart home hub. (Announced in January 2019)
- Kwikset AURA: This Bluetooth smart lock is similar to the Kwikset Kevo but has an integrated keypad. (Announced in January 2019)
- Schlage Encode: This is Schlage’s first Wi-Fi smart lock. It’s also the first Wi-Fi model to be compatible with Amazon Key. (Announced in January 2019)
Why Trust Us
We've tested smart locks since 2016, mostly focusing on what makes an excellent lock. To assess this, we referred to the standard from the American National Standards Institute and the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association. We looked for potential gaps in each lock's security before anything else. We also looked at convenience and design as secondary factors in choosing a smart lock.
During our research and testing phase, we emailed Keith Brandon, Kwikset vice president of residential access solutions, and asked about reasons homeowners and renters might want to buy a smart lock. He told Top Ten Reviews that "People choose smart locks and smart lock conversion kits because of the added values and convenient features like in-home delivery, remote monitoring and control, and remote access management. There are so many different smart locks and conversion kits on the market and each offers a different solution so no matter who you are, or the type of home or apartment you live in."
We also emailed Dale Pistilli, vice president of sales and marketing at August Home. When we asked how homeowners can get the most out of their smart lock purchase, he said to "Make sure the lock works with other key smart home products in the house (smart speakers, thermostats, security systems) and has the flexibility to integrate with new products as they become available."
Whatever your reason for wanting a smart lock, we understand that everyone's budget and needs are different. That's why we've worked to create a comprehensive comparison to help you decide if a smart lock right for you. We hope you'll find value in our conclusions and we’ll continue to improve this guide in the future as new locks arrive on the market.
How We Tested
Step One: Ruin a Door
When we first tested smart locks in 2016, we stopped by the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in our area to get an old door and some used deadbolts. It was a tight squeeze in a compact car to get the door to the lab.
Once in the lab, we installed braces to keep the door upright and drilled enough holes to install 12 smart locks. This has saved time since installing, testing and swapping locks on a normal front door is an arduous process. However, it had the unfortunate side effect of ruining the door, which one of our co-workers dubbed "the most secure door ever."
After customizing the door to our needs, we tested in two categories: potential to improve security and ease of use.
Potential to Improve Security
The mere presence of a smart lock won't necessarily stop a determined individual from coming through the door. However, each lock can potentially improve security around your home through alerts, activity logs, sirens, jam detection and auto-locking.
We looked at each lock's ability to send mobile alerts when the lock is in use or if someone tampers with it. We learned basic lock-picking to test if tampering had an effect, but the Schlage Connect was the only lock that reacted to us manipulating the lock.
We found that the best smart locks also log each time someone uses a key, code, app or uses the interior thumb turn. Locks that can detect these activities give you a complete record of when visitors enter your home, though some Z-Wave and ZigBee models require a smart hub to track activity.
Similarly, locks with loud sirens help stop break-ins, and signal you to notify the police. Some locks, like the Schlage Sense, will set off a siren when something hits the door, while others, like Kwikset Kevo, only sound an alarm when the lock is improperly removed from the door. Though the Schlage locks can be more sensitive to you slamming the door, we found this had a better chance of alerting you to a break-in.
Our security tests also included an evaluation of what happens when a lock jams. Upon jamming, most smart deadbolts will sound a tone or send a notification to your smartphone, so you can check that the lock is secure. August goes a step further with its locks by essentially turning them into door sensors that can tell if the door is ajar. This is a unique feature that brings extra security.
Most smart locks, except Lockitron Bolt, also have an auto-lock feature for those of use that forget to lock the door when we come in. However, manufacturers keep this feature off by default since this feature has the potential to lock you out. While auto-unlock is a nice feature; it might leave holes in your home's security.
Ease of Use
When we looked at smart door locks that use either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, we tested how well their mobile apps unlocked and locked, considering responsiveness and how easily you can control the lock by hand. We also tested each lock's ability to assign guest keys and took note of whether it offers remote access over the internet. For guest access, we also looked at whether a lock can grant temporary access based on time and date.
Our testing revealed that most smart home locks are easy to use, though the mobile apps and smart home controls distinguished the best smart door locks from those that are just good. One of the defining factors is whether a lock has a built-in keypad. A keypad lets you share guest codes without a mobile app. We liked keypad locks that let you add codes using an automation system or a mobile app, though they can be programmed by hand as well.
We also looked at how easy and how long it takes to install to get a picture of whether you should install on your own or hire a locksmith. We reviewed two kinds of smart locks. The first type is a new lock, which replaces your current deadbolt entirely. The second type is a retrofit or conversion kit, which attaches to your current deadbolt's hardware. Brandon suggests picking a conversion if you're a renter or in a homeowners association and can't swap out a deadbolt for a smart lock kit.
Our installation tests revealed that all these locks can be installed in less than 30 minutes, with some of the retrofit locks, such as the August Smart Lock, taking less than 10 minutes to install. Keypad locks without a mobile app take more time to program, but the included manuals help make this easier. Keep a list of the codes you create in a safe place so you don't erase existing ones or give out the wrong code.
How Much do Smart Locks Cost?
You can expect to spend between $100 and $300 to buy a smart lock, with most locks costing an average of $175. With regards to costs based on lock type, retrofit and new locks cost about the same. If you want Wi-Fi access with your smart lock, expect to spend an additional $70 to $100 for an adapter, though some smart locks such as August Smart Lock Pro and Nest x Yale are available in bundles with a Wi-Fi adapter.
Smart Lock Buying Tips
When to Hire a Professional
Smart locks only require a quick look through the manual and a screwdriver to install. To program the lock, you may need a smartphone or to put in codes manually. Both tasks are easy enough for most people.
However, you might want a locksmith if you need to drill a new hole in your door or rekey the lock to match existing keys. Some Kwikset locks we tested, such as the Kevo, have a SmartKey feature that lets you rekey the locks yourself, provided your existing keys are compatible.
Of the three ANSI/BHMA lock grades, Grade 1 is the most secure, since it is the most resistant to forced entry and lock picking. Grade 2 locks offer exceptional protection against residential intruders. The lowest grade locks, Grade 3, simply meet the minimum requirements for securing a door. Some generic deadbolts lack a specific rating altogether.
Retrofit-style smart locks, like August and Danalock, don't have a grade because they attach to your existing deadbolt. With this type of smart door lock, it's a good idea to invest in an excellent companion deadbolt.
Locks with smartphone apps often give you an unlimited number of guest keys, which gives them an advantage over keypad locks. Locks with keypads typically have a limited number of codes you can create, but unless you need more than 20 codes, it's not an issue.
Remote Access & Smart Home Controls
Consider buying a Wi-Fi add-on or smart hub so you can add users or key codes remotely. Smart hubs and Wi-Fi adapters cost the same on average, about $80, but a smart hub is a better investment since you can connect other devices from other brands. Wi-Fi adapters are often overpriced unless you can buy them in a bundle with your lock of choice.
Standalone smart locks usually have a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection but don't require extra equipment beyond a compatible smartphone and still have some sort of smart home compatibility.
If you plan to add a wireless door lock to your smart home, compatibility is the first thing you should look at. Most of the products we reviewed are compatible with a smart home hub or security system. If you already have a smart hub, Z-Wave- or ZigBee-compatible locks are likely your best option.
The battery life of an average smart lock is around 12 months. August and Lockitron only last about three and eight months respectively, so you might want a different lock if you don't want to replace batteries as often. As with all battery-powered devices, the less you use your lock, the longer your battery lasts.
Look for a lock with many finish options, since it makes it easier to match your home's decor and the doorknob already on your door. Some brands, such as Schlage and Kwikset, often have traditional and contemporary styles for the exterior escutcheon. Schlage, Kwikset and Yale all sell matching doorknobs as well.
Keyless locks are perhaps the most attractive of all deadbolts. For example, the Kwikset Obsidian, Nest x Yale and Yale Assure SL all have keypads without keyholes, resulting in a sleek, modern design. If the battery dies, there's a place to connect a 9-volt battery under the keypad for emergency power so you won't get locked out.
Most smart lock warranties last one year, which should give you enough to time to determine if the lock works properly and replace it if necessary. The longest smart lock warranties come from Schlage, which offers three years of coverage. Most locking mechanisms and finishes on non-retrofit models come with a lifetime warranty.
Video Doorbell Pairing
Smart doorbells, such as Ring Video Doorbell and August Doorbell Cam Pro, are one of the most useful smart home devices that you can pair with a smart lock. With both installed at your front door, you can let in guests as they arrive or have a delivery person leave a package inside your home.
Depending on the company, a doorbell might use the same app as the smart home lock or give you a quick link to the smart lock app. We discovered this when we linked the smart locks to the doorbells we were also testing. August and Nest both use the same app for their locks and doorbells, but August's app lets you unlock the door from within the call. Companies like Ring and SkyBell give you a shortcut to partner apps instead.
Using Smart Locks with Amazon Key
Like video doorbells, Amazon Key pairs a smart lock with a security camera, the Amazon Cloud Cam, so you can let people in your home while away. The main difference is that the camera watches the door from inside your home.
Amazon Key has a few catches. First, you need to buy the Key Edition of the Amazon Cloud Cam and a compatible ZigBee smart lock. Amazon sells these products together in the Amazon Key Home Kit, where you can choose from Yale and Kwikset locks, including the Kwikset Obsidian, Yale Assure SL and Kwikset SmartCode 916. These bundles are competitively priced and allow you to remotely control the lock with the Amazon Cloud Cam.
Another catch is that unattended delivery is only available to Amazon Prime members in certain geographic areas, it's not available everywhere. If you live outside the service area or don't have Amazon Prime, you can still buy the camera and lock together, which you can use like any other smart lock with remote access.
Smart Locks That Didn't Make the Top Ten
In an ideal world, we could have over a dozen smart locks in our comparison, but we wanted to share the best performers with you. Here are a few thoughts on locks we've tested that didn't make the cut.
Yale Real Living YRD220
This smart lock is functionally identical to the Yale Assure SL, though it's not a keyless model. While you can get ZigBee and Z-Wave versions, you can't buy a HomeKit module for the lock. It's an excellent lock if you can find a good price.
Kwikset SmartCode 916
We've tested the Z-Wave version of this lock in the past and liked that it comes with both Z-Wave and ZigBee built in. It also has a HomeKit version called the Kwikset Premis. However, it isn't as attractive or easy to use as the Kwikset Obsidian, which is similar.
RemoteLock has built-in Wi-Fi, but requires a $1.99 subscription to use it, making it the only smart lock with a monthly fee. This wouldn't be so bad if the lock didn't cost $250, but the August Smart Lock Pro and Nest x Yale are only around $20 more expensive, with better features and more attractive designs.
Sesame is a retrofit-style smart lock unlike any other. Instead of replacing the thumb turn and attaching directly to the deadbolt, it uses adhesive pads and goes over the thumb turn. This would be a great idea if it was used to undercut competitors in the budget category, like the Switchmate smart light switch. However, it costs $150, the same as our value pick, August Smart Lock, with minimal smart home compatibility.
That said, this lock's simple design is easy to use and install, making it an excellent choice for renters where the landlord won't allow any other kinds of smart locks.
Friday Lock has a compelling, artistic design that's compact and comes in six finishes. The lock is compatible with HomeKit but doesn't support any other smart home standards.
While it's easy to use, we had a rough time attaching it to our deadbolts. With one deadbolt, the appropriate screw holes were too small, while the other deadbolt didn't line up with the designated holes. In the end, we used a different set of holes and got the lock attached, but it was much more complicated to mount than any other lock we tested.
Hopefully Friday Labs can improve on the design in a future lock, but we prefer the easier, more affordable August Smart Lock for now.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Price||Security||Convenience||Design & Control||Potential to Improve Security||ANSI/BHMA Grade||Keypad||Auto-Lock||Ease of Use||Guest Access||Remote Access via Wi-Fi||Key Override||Auto-Unlock||Installation Type||Electronics Warranty||Estimated Battery Life||Available Finishes||Video Doorbells||Smart Home Platforms||Bluetooth|
|Schlage Sense BE479||View Deal||4.5/5||4.5||4.7||4.8||4.7||92||Grade 1||Built-in||✓||97||App, Keypad||$70 Add-on; Apple TV||✓||New Lock||3 Years||12 Months||3||*||Alexa, HomeKit, Google||✓|
|August Smart Lock 3rd Gen||View Deal||4.5/5||5||3.9||4.9||4.6||82||$79 Add-on||✓||98||App||$79 Add-on||✓||X||Retrofit||1 Year||3 Months||2||August Doorbell Cam Pro||Alexa, Google, Nest, IFTTT, Wink||✓|
|Schlage Connect BE469NX||View Deal||4.5/5||4.5||4.6||4.3||4.6||90||Grade 1||Built-in||✓||87||Keypad||Smart Hub||✓||New Lock||3 Years||12 Months||6||*||Alexa, Z-Wave||✖|
|August Smart Lock Pro AUG-SL-CON-S03||View Deal||4.5/5||4.1||4.3||4.9||4.7||90||$79 Add-on||✓||98||App||Included; Smart Hub||✓||X||Retrofit||1 Year||3 Months||2||August Doorbell Cam Pro||Alexa, HomeKit, Google, Nest, IFTTT, Z-Wave, Wink||✓|
|Nest x Yale||View Deal||4.5/5||4.1||4.6||4.7||4.5||91||Grade 2||Built-in||✓||95||App, Keypad||Included||✖||New Lock||2 Years||12 Months||3||Nest Hello||Nest, Thread||✖|
|Kwikset Obsidian||View Deal||4.5/5||4.1||4.6||4.7||4.4||91||Grade 2||Built-in||✓||94||Keypad||Smart Hub||✖||New Lock||1 Year||12 Months||2||Amazon Key||Z-Wave*, ZigBee||✖|
|Danalock V3||4.5/5||4.6||3.5||4.9||4.5||73||✓||96||App||Free App||✓||X||Retrofit||1 Year||9,000 Cycles||1||*||HomeKit, IFTTT, Z-Wave, ZigBee||✓|
|Kwikset Kevo 2nd Gen||View Deal||4.5/5||4.5||3.4||4.8||4.7||68||Grade 2||✓||95||App||$100 Add-on||✓||Touch to Open||New Lock||1 Year||12 Months||3||Ring, SkyBell||Alexa, Nest, IFTTT, Honeywell||✓|
|Lockitron Bolt||View Deal||4.5/5||5||3.6||4.2||4.5||67||Grade 2||$50 Add-on||✖||92||App||$79 Add-on||✓||X||New Lock||1 Year||8 Months||2||Ring||IFTTT||✓|
|Yale Assure SL||View Deal||4.5/5||4.1||4.2||4.5||4.5||82||Grade 2||Built-in||✓||91||Keypad||Smart Hub||✖||New Lock||1 Year||12 Months||3||Amazon Key||HomeKit, Z-Wave, ZigBee||✖|