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Everything around the home has been getting the ‘smart’ treatment. From smart light bulbs that change color to smart TVs that can be controlled with your voice, the home is continually evolving to make our lives easier. While there’s a lot of focus on what’s inside of the home, one area that’s sometimes overlooked is the front door.
That’s when a smart lock comes in handy, and considering how they’re increasingly becoming more affordable, it’s no surprise more people are gobbling them up. Functionally, everyone knows that smart locks can be remotely opened or closed using an app, but there’s so much more to them than just that simple function. In fact, you’ll be astounded by some of the advanced capabilities they offer.
Before you make your purchase, we’ll explore some of the unique things you didn’t know smart locks could do.
1. Unlock Themselves With the Help of Geofencing
Sure, it’s swell you could unlock your smart lock through an app, but it’s better if it could sense when you’re close and automatically unlock itself. This is actually achieved with the help of geofencing, a feature that relies on your phone’s GPS to approximate how close you are to your home — thus, unlocking it when you’re near.
The August WiFi Smart Lock offers this exact feature, so you don’t have to take your phone out of your pocket. Instead, once you get close to your home, it’ll automatically sense you’re within the geo-fenced boundary and unlocks.
2. See Who’s Knocking at the Door
This one is a new feature that’s actually still quite uncommon. Needless to say, video doorbells help to let you know who’s at the front door, but there’s a smart lock that actually doubles as a video doorbell.
Why buy a separate video doorbell or outdoor security camera when you can get a smart lock with an integrated camera? The Lockly Vision can let you see whoever is knocking at the door. And if they’re a welcome guest, the smart lock can unlock itself while you lounge on the sofa. No need to get up to see who’s there or open the door since you can do it all through the Lockly app.
3. Turn on the Lights Automatically
Thanks to automation, you can actually have the smart lights in your home turn on the moment your smart lock is unlocked — so you’ll never have to enter a dark home ever again. It’s just one of the many useful automations that can be toggled through your respective smart home ecosystem.
For instance, Apple users who have the HomeKit supported Kwikset 99190-004 smart lock can toggle on this simple feature directly through Apple’s Home app. If they’ve already connected their smart lights to HomeKit, the toggle will allow them to set the routine to turn on the moment the smart lock is unlocked.
4. Use Voice Commands To Lock or Unlock
Now that smart speakers are such a common household item, you can lock or unlock your door with a simple voice command. For example, you can use the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) with Clock to tell Alexa to unlock the Wyze Lock at your front door. Once you’ve connected your Amazon account in the Wyze app for mobile, you can simply say “Alexa, unlock the front door.” You’ll never need to stop what you’re doing to open the front door.
5. Set Up Temporary Key Codes for Visitors
It’s only natural to expect everyone living inside of a home to have access to the smart lock, but what about situations that involve visitors? If you’re away on vacation or something, you may need the pet sitter to swing by to check up on your furry family members.
Today’s smart locks take this specific scenario into consideration, as many of them can be set up for temporary key codes. These can be given to visitors and expire after a given time. The Eufy Smart Lock Touch can do exactly this, as well as being able to set time frames when these temporary codes can be used to unlock it.
6. Access With a Fob
Instead of using your phone or having to carry around a physical key, there are some smart locks that can be accessed with the help of a fob. The Sifely Keyless Entry Door Lock is one of the options that uses fobs as another way to access the lock. They can be attached to your keychain and provide the simple convenience of smart lock access for visitors.
7. They Can Look Like Traditional Locks
You’re probably scratching your head right about now, but hear us out on this one. Smart locks are easily identifiable with their boxy contraptions over the deadbolt and keypads on the outside of the door. Anyone can quickly identify homes with smart locks by just looking at a door, but don’t worry because we bet you didn’t know smart locks could, well, look like ordinary locks.
Take Level’s line of smart locks as an example of smart tech without the techy design. All three models maintain the look of your door’s decor, while also diverting unwanted attention away from your home because they look like your standard lock.
Level Lock Bolt Edition
The Level Bolt Smart Lock is the most affordable of the bunch, but it’s also one of the most versatile because we feel it’s like the Chromecast of smart locks. Simply, it converts any existing lock into a smart lock — so you even get to keep your existing set of keys!
Level Lock Smart Lock
Alternatively, there’s the middle option with the Level Lock Smart Lock. It replaces your existing deadbolt lock, but still features a minimalist design that makes it look like an ordinary lock.
Level Lock Touch Edition
And finally, the Level Lock Touch Edition features the same minimalist design but adds the neat feature of locking/unlocking by simply tapping the lock with your finger. There are also NFC key cards included that let you ditch the physical key or your smartphone. Simply place it near the lock and it’ll automatically open!