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How to Choose the Best Smart Lock For You

A smart lock is any electric lock that works with a separate device to wirelessly unlock and lock. As you will find out in this guide, there’s a variety of features and functionality on the market. It can be confusing, so we’ve created this guide to help you understand your options.


ULTIMATE GUIDE. How to Choose the Best Smart Lock. What is a smart lock? A smart lock is an electric lock that wirelessly unlocks and locks the deadbolt on your door.   The authorized device, usually your smart phone paired to the lock, acts as a replacement for a key.   However, that’s just the basic definition.   As you will find out in this guide, there’s a variety of features and functionality on the market.   It can be confusing, so we’ve created this guide to help you understand your options.Smart Unlocking Method – How You Interact with Your Lock. Now you know why a smart lock is best, but there’s different types of smart locks depending on how you unlock them. This has a serious impact on just how smart your lock is. Many smart locks require you to open an app on your phone and then you tell the smart lock to unlock. For obvious reasons, this can be clunky and inconvenient.  It requires your hand(s) to be free. It takes an extra step for you to retrieve the authorized device and unlock it. It wastes your time. Sometimes this app is controlled only by a smart home hub, such as Samsung’s SmartThings by using Z-Wave.   This can mean that you won’t be able to customize settings for your lock.   The best smart locks can operate with or without Z-Wave or Zigbee integration. Traditional Locks vs Smart Locks. First of all, are smart locks even worth it? Our opinion is that they are superior to other, more traditional lock types due to the problems inherent to most traditional, mechanical locks.  These problems can cause home insecurity and inconvenience. Read below for a summary about the convenience and home security issues of locks. Traditional Key Locks - Pros: Centuries of usage; Comes with the home, usually. Cons: Require use of your hand(s) when unlocking; Easy to lock pick; Easy to forget or lose keys (keys can be stolen and copied); Must make a copy to give someone else access – which can be hard to get back. Keypads - Pro: Doesn’t require a physical, separate key. Cons: Requires use of your hand(s) when unlocking; Can be difficult to create new codes for family and friends; Can be difficult to cancel codes or to revoke access; Intruders may be able to deduce code from keypad (wear and tear, or fingerprints); Code can be forgotten; Visible from the outside; Often requires replacement of current hardwareShepherd Lock communicates with your phone via Bluetooth as you approach your door.   This means that you don’t have to remove your phone from your pocket or bag to enter your home. This offers the ultimate convenience, especially when your hands are full.   Bluetooth smart locks don’t require an automation or security hub to function (though many of them can integrate). All you need is your lock and your authorized phone. Which is Best for Home Security - Auto Unlock or Simple Touch? There’s an additional consideration to be made when comparing different locks that use Bluetooth to communicate with your phone. Does it require a simple touch to unlock or auto unlock when you are close enough? If it auto unlocks, this could be a security issue because it can unlock even if you don't want it to. Alternatively, a lock that requires a simple touch (whether it be from your hand, elbow, or finger) only unlocks when you have communicated the intention for it to unlock. This is an important distinction to be aware of when looking at smart locks for your front door.Fingerprint Scanners - Pros: Eliminates need to remember a key or a code; Looks futuristic and high tech. Cons: Usually stores & keeps your fingerprint in a larger database; Can be buggy; Can be difficult to program/install; Can be difficult to allow access or revoke access to others; Not 100% accurate or always quick; Visible from the outside ;Often requires replacement of current hardware. Smart Locks - A good touch entry smart lock erases all the cons from above. Touch Entry Smart Lock Pros: Eliminates the need to use codes or keys; Removes the human error that comes along with keys; Can be the most secure option to ward off intruders.Important Home Security Features. When choosing a smart lock that’s right for you, be informed about what security features should be standard in every lock but are lacking in many available options. Intruder Alert & Notification - he inclusion of this feature makes Shepherd Lock, smart lock, double as a home security system. When someone tries to  break in, an alarm sounds which should deter most would-be intruders.  At the same time, the smart lock’s app notifies the homeowner of the break-in attempt. Auto Freeze. f an intruder is persistent in trying to tamper with the smart lock, the deadbolt will temporarily freeze locked and prevent unwanted entry. Door Position Monitoring & Lock Status - Have you ever been out of the house when you get a sudden jolt and realize you don’t remember locking your front door? Well, a good smart lock should have the ability to tell you the status of your lock - just check the mobile app. And it should be able to tell you whether the door is ajar (and by how much).Smart Home Features. Similar to the previous section, there are some connectivity and smart home integration features that make a huge difference but are not provided by all brands. Access Management - One of the handiest features a smart lock should have is the ability to manage who has access to your home.   This includes instantly granting and revoking virtual keys, scheduling access to specific timeframes, and even having a complete history of who has entered your home and when.  This can be helpful when you need a dog walker or  contractor to enter your home while you’re away. You can  also give access (scheduled and/or repeating) to friends and family so that they can come in without having to knock and wait. Compatibility - If you’re interested in a smart lock, chances are that you’re interested in making your home into a smart home.   If that’s the case, you’ll want the option of connecting your lock to home assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant.   Nothing beats controlling the safety of your home with the sound of your voice.Remote Lock and Unlock - sing the connectivity of a Wi-Fi bridge, your smart lock should have the ability to enable remote locking and unlocking.   Maybe your teenager left the door unlocked when they left for the school bus,  or you're not sure if you closed and locked your door. You’ll want to be able to see that  on your phone and lock the door remotely. How Quick & Easy is the Smart Lock to Install? There are several factors to consider when it comes to smart lock installation. How easy/quick is it to install? You don’t want to deal with all the fuss of a complicated smart lock.   You shouldn’t have to.   Pay special attention to how easy it is to install and how quick it is to set up and start using.Is it visible from the outside? Many smart locks are bulky and exist on the exterior of your door. This can alter your carefully crafted exterior aesthetic.   Additionally, it increases the likelihood that your home will be targeted for a robbery because it announces to would-be-robbers, “Hey! I’ve got valuables and wealth inside!” Therefore, we believe that an interior retrofit smart lock is best. Does it replace or fit with your  existing hardware? You purchased your existing deadbolt and handle/knob for a reason. You shouldn’t have to replace them when you buy a smart lock. Nor do you want your handle to suddenly not match the deadbolt because only one of them was replaced.   If you want to maintain your current door’s aesthetic, look for a smart lock that retrofits your existing deadbolt. This has the added benefit that you get to keep your current keys to use as an emergency backup. Only one lock has all the features that optimize security and convenience.  Shepherd Lock  Shepherd Lock was designed to make it easy to keep your home safe and secure without disrupting the way you live your life day-to-day.

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