We have written numerous articles over the last 12 years about locks, lock systems, safes, master key systems, doors, repair techniques etc.
Curiously, smart speakers like those offered by Amazon, Google and others have certainly made many of our lives significantly easier but they are found wanting too, as the above video, comediclee shows,
We posted the above video to our social networking pages and are seeing increasing views and likes from our viewers.
It does bring up a topical discussion though and one we feel is important to our readers here too.
Some of the articles we have written about new age smart locks can be seen here
In the above video, the man returns home only being unable to gain entry. Smart locks, for all their good intentions, suffer from many issues that should be considered prior to purchase.
Issues that can include:
- Poor Battery Life
- Low Security
- Hardware Failure
- Increasing Insurance Premiums
Poor Battery Life
Many of today's smart locks operate using 4 AA batteries. We suspect manufacturers decided to use these low power systems due to their extremely cheap price points.
I find repeatedly, customers often calling for locksmith services where their batteries have failed and they either do not have their mechanical over ride key available or their product has no mechanical key over ride function
It's not just digital smart locks. We are also seeing increasing calls to open safes, where battery failure is a common symptom. Often there are additional issues besides poor battery life including internal wiring not lasting or corroding that contribute to other issues where just replacing dead batteries may seem like a simple fix.
Weathering is another common pitfall that occurs repeatedly with battery operated smart locks. Often, once installed the lock will operate efficiently for sometimes 3 months before the user may need to replace batteries. But even correctly installed locks suffer from earth movements that affect the correct alignment of doors into their frames. This will often make operating the deadbolt too difficult for the motor inside the product to correctly throw the bolt. People may leave their homes expecting their door to lock behind them automatically, whereas they are often unaware that the product failed to adequately lock and secure their doors.
Other weathering issues rarely considered include, many digital smart locks are installed to external doors or prime entry doors, Sure the batteries might be on the inside but the keypad will be outside and naturally affected by changing weather. In some regions high humidity can cause internal components to attract condensation. The water can make internal electrical components to short circuit. Also, when the weather patterns change to cold conditions, the freezing air and rain etc can cause batteries to wear down faster.
Many manufacturers, to compete in the global marketplace, decided to use lightweight materials in the construction of their products. Security and access control are some of the reasons some people choose battery operated lock systems. Why anyone who cares about their families security and peace of mind, would choose to spend ~$195+ for a poor quality digital door lock, that is designed to fail within (often) 2 years, puzzles me!
Remembering that it is often all about price, how much is the security and ease of use worth to you?
Often consumers may spend hundreds of dollars on clothes and shoes or thousands of dollars on furniture, electronics or art only to secure their homes with cheap lock systems, It doesnt make any logical sense.
Like mentioned above, "the pain of poor quality lasts longer than the pleasure, cheap price provides"
"if you only want to pay peanuts expect to get monkeys"
Consulting your local trained professional locksmith before purchasing locks or other door hardware would be your best approach, in my opinion. Locksmiths have deliberately chosen to train to provide customers with quality offerings aimed at making your lives easier and secure.
You trust your mechanic to fix your car, You trust your electrician to keep your lights working. You trust your plumber to keep the water flowing. Doesnt it make perfect sense to trust your locksmith to keep your home secure?
Increasing Insurance Premiums
An often overlooked issue that many purchasers of digital door locks rarely consider is how installing a digital door lock might affect the amount of insurance you pay.
A number of companies including Walmart, Amazon and others are embarking on delivering groceries and purchases made online to homes and entering your homes to deliver, stock the fridge etc. These new services are attempts to deal with the porch theft phenomena that has resulted in recent years with the expanding delivery markets, While this practise might be considered more secure and more convenient, are you really willing to open your private abode to persons you dont know?
Insurance companies are salivating at the opportunities presented by allowing access to your private dwellings from people who "don't belong".
Also, many digital door lock users will give each user a code. How sure are you that any person is not sharing a code? How would you know if someone who is not authorized, enters your home?
Mechanical keys provide much more immediate security than digital locks because you must have and use a key to operate your lock. Besides the significantly cheaper cost of mechanical products, no requirement to replace batteries ever, even the ease to lock your door if weather affects your installation, you are better protected by using a key to access your property.
This article is primarily about digital battery operated products. Many commercial systems are significantly more expensive for good reason. They are made with higher quality components, often use stronger batteries or are hard wired to mains power. You see many commercial installations that use card/fob access control systems where you simply present your credential to a user interface. These are deliberately hard wired systems, because they last much longer and work continuously without having to maintain batteries.