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How to replace your dumb deadbolt with a smart lock

A smart lock is a key piece of the modern smart home. Here's how to upgrade to one.

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Brian Bennett
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1 of 18 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

It's time for a smart lock

Ready to swap your old locks for something smarter? We'll show you step by step how to install a new smart deadbolt.

These instructions will cover most smart locks, but there might be some variation based on the exact lock you purchase.

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Off with the back plate

Start by removing the old lock's turn piece mounting plate on the inside of your door. 

With that gone, you can get at the deadbolt and lock cylinder. In our case, we had to unscrew a pair of screws first (joined plate to deadbolt).

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Unscrew the deadbolt screws

Next loosen the screws holding the deadbolt and its side plate in place.                        

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Remove the old cylinder

Now that its mounting screws are gone, gently pull the keyed cylinder out of the door.

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Good bye old deadbolt

Just like the lock cylinder, with its screws gone you can push the old deadbolt out of the door.

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Match up your new deadbolt

Before inserting your new deadbolt into the door, check if its D-shaped hole lines up with the center of the door hole.

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Extend the deadbolt

Before inserting the deadbolt into the door, extend its plunger fully. Do this with the help of a Phillips-head screwdriver. Place the driver tip into the bolt's D-shaped hole, then turn it clockwise.

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In goes your deadbolt

Next, slide the new deadbolt into the door. The bolt's face should rest flush against the door's side.

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A keypad facelift

This new lock, the Quickset Obsidian, has a touchscreen keypad that offers keyless entry. Place it on the front of the door. Make sure to slide its data cable into the door hole underneath the deadbolt latch.

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Attach the mounting plate

While holding the keypad in place, put the back mounting plate into position.

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Fix the plate in place

Insert screws through the plate and tighten to affix the plate, deadbolt and keypad to the door.

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Test for smooth operation

With the basic lock hardware installed, test the new deadbolt. Insert a screwdriver into the lock spindle and rotate. You're looking for smooth, easy rotation as the deadbolt extends and retracts.

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Lineup the internal assembly

Now it's time to attach the interior part of the lock to the door. Be sure to connect the data cable to the assembly first. Then lineup the turnpiece shaft to the deadbolt spindle. 

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Mount the assembly

With the internal lock assembly lined up, secure it inside the mounting bracket.

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Drop on the cover

Assuming you've added fresh batteries, the final step is to install the assembly cover. Slide it over the interior lock assembly, and screw in any mounting screws.

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That's a sweet looking lock

This lock isn't just easy on the eyes, it's smart too. The Wi-Fi enabled Quickset Obsidian supports Amazon's Alexa voice assistant and the Smartthings platform. 

Most smart locks can connect to Google Assistant or Alexa, which allow you to lock or unlock the door with a voice command.

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Now Alexa sees your lock

When you connect this smart deadbolt with Alexa, you'll be able to both lock and unlock it with voice commands or in the lock's dedicated app.

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Control your lock through Smartthings

You can link many locks to Samsung's Smartthings platform of connected home products, too. 

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