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5 reasons to get a smart lock already

It's time to upgrade your deadbolt with a smarter model.

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The Nest x Yale smart lock works with Google Assistant and the Nest Hello smart doorbell. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Smart locks are one of the smart home's star performers when it comes to combining style and automation. Locks designed to work with voice assistants, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth come in all shapes and sizes. No matter your doorstep dilemma, there's likely a smart lock out there for you. Here are just a few ways smartening your front door can make life simpler. 

Added convenience

The entire idea of a smart lock (and every smart-home device, really) is to add convenience to your life. For smart locks, that includes features like remote access, voice control and scenes. With Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa, you can set up scenes like "OK Google, goodnight" that dim the lights, adjust the thermostat and lock your front door. 

You can control your smart lock remotely when it is connected to a Wi-Fi network. More often than not, that means purchasing a small, plug-in Wi-Fi bridge to connect the lock to your network. Once you've connected it to your Wi-Fi, you'll be able to lock or unlock your door from anywhere you have an internet connection. Forgot to lock the door when you left for that business trip this morning? A connected lock will alert you when your door is left open or unlocked. 

A style for everyone

Smart locks don't have to be clunky or oddly shaped. In fact, they can even masquerade as a regular lock. Take the Kwikset Kevo, for example. From even a short distance, it looks just like a standard, dumb deadbolt. Approach it with the Kevo app open, though and you can tap with one finger to unlock the door. Retrofit locks like the August Smart Lock, August Smart Lock Pro, Kwikset Convert or Sesame Lock make your front door look normal, without revealing the smarts inside. Since these locks attach to the inside latch of your deadbolt, your door's exterior is left unaltered. 

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The second generation Kwikset Kevo unlocks with the tap of a finger within Bluetooth range. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

If you are looking for an update to your deadbolt hardware, Schlage, Kwikset and Yale make stylish locks featuring both keypads and traditional deadbolt design. Whether you're in the market for modern or classic, you'll likely be able to find a smart lock to fit your style.

Keep your old keys

Just because you've upgraded to a smart lock doesn't necessarily mean you need to replace your key. Since retrofit models like August's line of locks attach to the interior side of your door, you'll be able to keep your existing deadbolt, use your old keys and save yourself some installation time in the process.

Streamline guest access

If you're a vacation rental owner, a customer of cleaning or dog-walking services, or someone who has friends and family popping in often, a smart lock can make life easier for everyone.

No more making key copies or hiding a spare set. Instead, you can give out digital keys using the lock's accompanying app and even restrict what times someone is allowed to enter your home. For instance, you can allow specific users to enter only on Monday through Friday between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

There's also the option to allow roommates and family members unlimited access, so the system works for the entire household. 

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Amazon Key aims to eliminate the porch problem by letting delivery people put packages inside your front door.

Amazon

If in-home delivery is on your mind, Amazon Key is compatible with several smart lock brands. A delivery person receives a one-time access code and places your package just inside the door of your home. Some people might find in-home delivery a bit uncomfortable, but with proper surveillance (an Amazon Key kit includes a smart camera), you can keep an eye on everyone who enters. If you own an August smart lock, August Access offers in-home delivery for certain retailers.   

Granting access in a pinch is easy, too. Let's say someone you know and trust needs to enter your home on short notice. If your lock is connected to a Wi-Fi module, you can let them in from anywhere with just the tap of a button. 

Secure your smart home

Yes, smart locks are connected to networks, and anyone with a smart lock should absolutely keep their apps updated, passwords secure and use a PIN for unlocking via voice assistants. However, smart locks do eliminate the risk of someone swiping the key from underneath your doormat.

Without the need to make key copies or have a spare, you'll have fewer methods of entry to your home floating around in the form of physical keys. You can even set some smart locks to automatically lock the door after a set amount of time, or when your cell phone has left the immediate area. 

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The bottom line

Smart locks aren't right for everyone, and you should consider your specific needs before investing in any piece of smart-home technology. Smart locks aren't perfect, either. We've seen manufacturers work out issues like connectivity and even durability. Still, with built-in protections like emergency battery nodes, PIN requirements and decoy codes for keypads, it is possible to safely and responsibly upgrade your door. If you're looking for a stylish, smart way to make your daily life a little bit simpler, smart locks can play a helpful role.