Smart door locks vs. traditional deadbolts: how to choose
Tuesday, July 11, 2023
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 ‘C’ is good, ‘B’ is better, and ‘A’ is best. Nearly all Schlage locks, both mechanical and smart, are rated AAA, so you can have peace of mind that your home is protected with long lasting strength and durability when you choose Schlage.
If we had to give an edge to mechanical deadbolts or smart locks for the security category, it would probably go to our smart locks. All Schlage smart locks have the same security and durability features as our single cylinder mechanical deadbolts, but also provide additional safety and convenience features. For example, the Schlage Encode™ family of locks each come with a built-in alarms, so you’ll be alerted if 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. And for a premium keyless experience, the Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt works with Apple® home keys, so you can simply tap to lock and unlock with your Apple Watch or iPhone using the digital key stored in your Apple Wallet®. This head-to-head win goes to smart locks.
If you have housekeepers, friends or other service personnel who need 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 during a specific time window or when you’re asking a neighbor to walk the dog while you’re on vacation and want to give them a code that is only active for a week.
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 so you can have confidence to know who has access to your home at what times.
Not getting locked out
How many times have you shut the door on your way 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 until you get home. To avoid an expensive call to the locksmith or the risk of your child problem-solving with a creative – yet likely unsafe – entry point 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 when your battery is running low with an indicator on the lock itself and a notification in the Schlage Home app. You’ll have plenty of advance notice to swap in fresh batteries.
Before considering cost value, it is important to take stock of your lifestyle and the lock features that will best support your needs. Electronic locks are generally more expensive on the outset but provide time savings and ease of access that can reduce costs and hassle in the long term. Features like remote locking and unlocking, timed access codes, built-in alarms and real-time activity logs are worth the investment if you are constantly on the go or can’t always run home from work when the need arises. Most electronic locks are priced anywhere from $100-400 depending on the number of features and level of security they offer – make sure to choose the features that will add value to your routines and provide you with the best peace of mind. 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.
Traditional mechanical locks are also available at a range of price points and are typically less expensive than electronic locks. While they may not have a slew of advanced smart features, traditional locks can be a dependable and stylish option for protecting your home. When deciding how much to spend on a traditional lock, consider how frequently you are coming and going – you want to choose a lock that will look good and give you peace of mind for years to come. Schlage mechanical locks are made with premium materials and supported by a limited lifetime warranty and customer care, so you can have confidence that they will protect what matters most – today, tomorrow and beyond.
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 towards repairs and replacements. A cheaper, lower quality lock could also work less effectively in the first place, putting the people and things in your home at risk.
Easy to install
The only clear winner when it comes to installation is you. Installing a Schlage lock – whether mechanical or smart – is simple. All you need is a screwdriver and a few minutes’ time. Our How-To Center has step-by-step tutorials and videos to walk you through a quick and hassle-free installation.
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. And if you’re not tech-savvy and the words “electronic” and “smart” make you nervous, not to worry. 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.
Mechanical locks and front door handlesets generally feature a wider range of styles and finishes than their electronic counterparts. That being said, Schlage electronic locks do come in a variety of sleek designs to fit any home’s style– whether modern, transitional or traditional. And with a nice selection of finish options, Schlage electronic locks are easy to suite with the rest of the hardware throughout your home.
For the broadest selection of styles and finishes to creatively express your personal aesthetic, Schlage mechanical door hardware is your best bet. Ranging from ornate vintage designs to streamlined, minimal looks – all available in a wide spread of finishes, Schlage mechanical door hardware is sure to add the value of premium style to any home.
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 to seamlessly integrate into your home automation system. Be sure to pay attention to which smart locks work with which technology, making sure your selection is compatible with your existing smart home hubs and devices. Check out our works with page to learn more about our technology integration partners and to see which smart locks are compatible with your smart home.
Now that you’ve weighed your options and decided which priorities are most important to you, visit Schlage.com to see all our traditional 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 door lock for your home.