Mechanical deadbolt vs. smart lock: How to choose
Friday, September 4, 2020
We’ve weighed the pros and cons of mechanical and smart locks to help you choose the best deadbolt for your home.
Look for locks that are graded for your security needs. The Builder’s Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) rates locks for security, finish and durability. A grade of A is considered “Best,” while a C is “Good.” Nearly all of Schlage locks, both mechanical and smart, are rated AAA, so you can have peace of mind that your home is safe with Schlage.
If we had to give an edge to one of them, however, it would probably go to our smart locks. The Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt and Schlage Sense™ Smart Deadbolt both come with built-in alarms, so you’ll be alerted when there’s a disturbance at the door. And when you’ve enabled your smart lock for remote capability, you’ll get that alarm notification on your phone, even when you’re not home.
If you live an active lifestyle, keys can be a drag. It's a pain to walk the dog or go for a run with keys bouncing in your pocket. And good luck trying to find a secure place to hide the key until you return. For all those times you come home with your hands full – controlling the dog on his leash, after grocery shopping, carrying the kids – you certainly don’t want to be fumbling around to unlock your door.
Unique access codes for your smart lock allow you to enjoy a simpler way to access your home. With the touchscreen or keypad, which are either illuminated or back-lit so there’s no guessing in the dark, you can stop the balancing act. This head-to-head win goes to smart locks.
If you have a housekeeper, friend or other service personnel who needs access to your home when you're not around, how will you make that happen? With a mechanical deadbolt, you’ll need to either hide a spare key or make an extra for them to keep. Unfortunately, this means they’ll have access to your home at any time of day or night. And don’t even get us started on how easy it is for a potential intruder to find the spare under a fake rock.
For better control over who has access to your home and when, choose an electronic lock. All you need to do is program a unique access code for each trusted person and decide if you want their code to work all the time, only at certain times of the day or only until a certain date. This is useful for a babysitter who may come to your home frequently but should only be there after school or when you’re asking a neighbor to walk the dog while you’re on vacation.
One more feature that gives the edge to smart locks in the realm of access control: The Schlage Home app. Use the app to see when codes are used and to track the access codes you’ve assigned to friends and family. It’s just one of several secure ways to store your codes.
Not getting locked out
How many times have you shut the door on your wait out only to realize that you left your keys inside? And there’s probably more than one story about your kid losing or forgetting their key, forcing them to wait alone on the porch. To avoid an expensive call to the locksmith or finding a creative – and unsafe – way into the house, choose a smart lock.
We’ve already talked about keyless convenience and access codes, but when your smart lock has remote capability, you can also use your smart phone to lock or unlock the door for trusted visitors. A few taps in the app and you can let your kids in the front door even while you’re still at work.
Don’t worry about getting locked out because of battery failure on your smart lock, either. Schlage smart locks will alert you – on the lock itself, in the Schlage Home app or both – when your battery is running low. You’ll have plenty of advance notice to make the switch.
Both mechanical and smart locks are available at a range of price points, but mechanical deadbolts do tend to be less expensive. Most electronic locks are priced anywhere from $100-$300 depending on the number of features and level of security they offer. If budget is a concern but you still want to go high-tech, consider an electronic deadbolt that does not have home automation capabilities, like the Schlage Touch™ Keyless Touchscreen Deadbolt.
Whichever type of lock you choose, remember to factor in those BHMA security grades before you buy. A cheap lock could be more likely to wear down, causing you to spend more in the long run on repairs and replacements. A cheaper, lower quality lock could also work less effectively in the first place, putting the things you care about at risk.
Easy to install
The only clear winner when it comes to installation is you. Installing a Schlage lock – both mechanical and smart – is simple. All you need is a screwdriver and a few minutes’ time. Our deadbolts are also designed to fit on all standard door preps, so there’s no drilling or resizing required to put them in place.
Don’t let the words “electronic” and “smart” scare you, either. Our locks are battery-powered, no hardwiring required, so you can install Schlage smart locks on your own. Save the call to your local handyman or electrician for a tougher job.
Our How-To Center has step-by-step tutorials and videos to show you how simple installation can be.
Mechanical locks and front door handlesets generally feature a wider range of styles and finishes. On the other hand, electronic locks often come in sleek designs but are limited to just a handful of finishes. If creating a cohesive look from the front door, throughout your home’s interior and to the back patio is a high priority, you’ll find more options with mechanical door hardware.
Our Style Selector can help you choose a look for your deadbolt and handleset combo as well as interior door knobs and levers.
Smart home compatibility
Clearly, this one goes to smart locks. When home automation is important to you – for the energy savings, additional convenience, extra security or just plain fun – you want a smart lock. A mechanical deadbolt would be like trying to use a curling iron to turn on the radio. It simply won’t work. Pay attention to which smart locks work with which technology to make sure it’s compatible with your existing smart home hubs and devices.
Now that you’ve weighed your options and decided which priorities are most important to you, visit Schlage.com to see all our mechanical and electronic products and find a retailer near you. That’s where you’ll also find our Get Help Deciding Tool that will help you choose the right smart lock for your home.