High-tech locks such as fingerprint scanners, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi enable systems are transforming the way you enter your home, threatening to make house keys as obsolete as vintage rotary phones.
But do these easy-access locks actually make your home more secure? Do they add resale value? Or will they be passé?
Keyless locks are great for tech-savvy homeowners, but the latest isn’t the greatest for someone who struggles to keep up with each “smart” technology that comes along. If you’re unable to handle a smartphone, keyless locks probably aren’t for you.
The lock needs to fit the user.
The Latest Locks
Biometric: Locks that recognize your fingerprints and open with a swipe of your finger. ($280-$340)
Key fob (proximity lock): Carry a fob in your pocket, and these locks open automatically or with a simple tap; or press the fob button and unlock the door as soon as you pull into the driveway. ($220)
Smartphone-controlled: Your smartphone syncs with your lock via Bluetooth, enabling you to control it remotely keep track of who comes and goes. Some locks recognize your phone and open automatically as you approach. ($200)
Surveillance lock: Combines easy access with surveillance footage and takes a picture of whoever opens your door. You can program codes for specific people. ($280)
Does Keyless Locks Adds Marketability?
“It’s a sales tool,” says Robert Siciliano, a security expert for Schlage locks. Siciliano’s home is outfitted with a touchpad lock that glows blue and can be activated via cellphone.
“The first thing people see when they walk to my door is that touchpad, and they want to know all about it,” Siciliano says. “It’s an attention-getter.”
Does it Make Your House More Secure?
Not much, as burglars mostly enter your home through an unlocked door or by forcing open a window or door. In fact, security systems with camera surveillance are the biggest dererrent against burglaries.
A biometric deadbolt lock, which scans fingerprints can cost $300 and be less than secure than a Medeco Maxum 11WC60L, a regular keyed lock that costs $190. In Consumer Reports tests, the Medeco Maxum defied forced entry — the most common type of home break-in — better than the high-tech locks tested.
It’s a fact that smart locks are more convenient, but not any stronger than regular locks. In fact, some smart locks are easier to defeat and can be more annoying to use than the traditional ones.
Top Securty Tips
1. Replace hollow-core wood exterior doors with solid wood or steel doors.
2. Reinforce wood door jambs with additional steel plates, which makes it harder to kick in.
3. Install strike plates made of heavy-duty metal, and secure them with 3-inch screws.
4. Replace sidelight glass with shatter-resitatnt polycarbonate.
5. Lock the doors whenever you leave the house, regardless of how long or how short you’re out. In fact, lock doors and windows when you’re home.