The smart home revolution is changing the way Americans use their homes. Among the many smart devices now on the market are smart locks. These are electronic locks with built-in features for automation and remote access. Best of all, you can access a smart lock without a key.
Imagine coming home late at night and not having to fumble with your keys. Or better yet, imagine coming home with arms full of groceries. Not having to use your key is a godsend. Install a smart lock and you will eventually wonder how you ever got along without it.
Vivint Smart Home published a great piece in July 2021 detailing everything you need to know about smart locks. In their piece, they mentioned five different ways smart locks are accessed – think locked and unlocked – without keys. Note that smart locks do have keys, just in case other access methods fail.
1. PIN Code
The first way to access a smart lock without a key is with a built-in keypad. You program the lock with a 4- or 6-digit PIN. When you want to unlock the door, just enter the number. As for locking, you can set the lock to activate automatically whenever the door closes. Alternatively, you can manually lock the door from the inside – much the same with a deadbolt.
Fingerprint access isn’t the most popular means right now, but it is gaining ground. This method works just as its name implies. You place your finger on a small screen, the lock reads your print and, if it matches the print on file, the door is unlocked. Yes, it is every bit the sci-fi experience you would expect. The one downside is that the technology is not always reliable.
3. Voice Command
If you already utilize voice control with your smart home system, you might be able to tie a smart lock into it. For example, you can already command your smart speaker to turn on the lights in a given room. You might use it to turn on the TV or change channels. The same technology can be applied to your locks.
Voice command from the outside of your home would require that the lock have an on-board audio system. It would also have to be tied into your home automation controller. Inside your home, voice-activating your locks could involve speaking to them or using your smart speaker. It just depends on how your system is set up.
4. Smart Home Hub
Assuming locks are part of a broader smart home system, you should be able to access them through your hub. This obviously doesn’t help you outside the home unless you access your hub via your smartphone. More on that in a minute.
Inside your home, you can use the hub to lock and unlock the doors as you see fit. Lock them from the hub before going to bed at night. When your parents arrive for a visit, unlock them from the hub rather than going directly to the door.
5. Smart Phone
Finally, almost all modern smart locks come with companion mobile apps. With the swipe of a finger, you can unlock and lock your doors. This is handy for letting out-of-town guests into your home while you’re at work. You can also unlock your door before you get out of the car. The next morning, swipe your phone to lock it as you are pulling out of the driveway.
Having so many options makes it possible to never have to use your keys again. Wouldn’t that be nice?