Wi-Fi lock

Types of Electric Locks

Whether you’re digging around for your keys while you’re bringing in groceries, or you’re sick of putting an extra key under the mat for your forgetful children, chances are electric door locks will make life easier. Smart door locks give you more freedom and flexibility when it comes to who to let inside your house, and when. But not all electric door locks are the same. It’s important to know the different types of smart door locks, and which one will work best with your lifestyle. We’ll help you understand which one best fits your home’s ecosystem, and what to look for when shopping.

Electric door locks: What you need to know

Electric door locks are exactly what they sound like. While some of the devices still have a standard key as a backup, you’ll gain entry to the home through a lock powered by electricity. It works similarly to the electric lock on your car, using a motor controlled by an activated impulse. The main differences between these smart door locks are whether you open your door with a keypad, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or even your fingerprint.

Smart door locks work in a few different ways, depending upon the model you choose for your home. One thing they all have in common though—you won’t have to worry about losing your house key again.

Different types of electric door locks

When choosing the right smart door locks for your home, it’s important to think about why you’re getting one in the first place. Is it because your hands are always full when you walk up to the door? Is it because you have a lot of guests, and you’d like to give them digital keys instead of physical ones? Here are different types of electric door locks, and who might benefit most from each model.

Magnetic Door Locks

These smart door locks are rudimentary when compared with their high-tech counterparts, but they still get the job done. Each lock has a electromagnet attached to the frame of the door, and an armature plate on the door. An electric current passes through the magnet and draws the two together to lock.

Example: UHPPOTE Outswinging Indoor Electromagnetic Door Lock – These type of smart door locks use a remote to lock, and unlock the door without utilizing a traditional key. It can be controlled through an app on your phone and even has a timing and scheduling function. These type of locks are best if you’re on a budget, or you don’t want smart door locks with a ton of features. This is a simple type of lock that will get rid of the need for a physical key without too much hassle or setup.

UHPPOTE 2.4GHz WiFi Outswinging Indoor 600lbs Electromagnetic Door Lock Access Control Kit Remote and Smartphone app Controlled
  • The main feature of this kit is that it allows you to open the door simply by pressing the wireless RF remote instead of moving to the door...
  • EASY USE: Transmits data to a cloud platform through the Wi-Fi Router, which enables you to remotely control the connected appliances, via...
  • SHARE CONTROL: Share control with your family and friends. Also you can DIY set this by yourself easy handling and can be activated...
  • TIMING FUNCTION: Another feature available if to set timing schedules for the appliances, which can include countdown, scheduled on/off....
  • An exit button is included in this magnetic lock system kit, and you could exit from indoors easily by pushing it once.

Electric bolt locks

These locks are popularly used for the interior side of sliding glass doors, and they’re as strong as deadbolt locks. This adds an additional safety measure to sliding glass doors with simple installation.

Example: Tangxi Electric Bolt Lock – This model is durable and strong, with up to 500,000 uses. This electric door lock has a low power consumption design. While there aren’t many bells and whistles, it does its job if you’re looking to strengthen the security of glass doors with an inward opening.

DC 12V Electric Bolt Lock 2-Wire Normal Temperature Electric Security Door Lock for Glass Wooden Iron Door Access Control System
  • ★★★★★Made of high strength aluminum alloy lock body, it is used for long life and can be used 500,000 times.
  • ★★★★★Support anti demagnetization function, open magnetic disconnection, no external interference after locking.
  • ★★★★★Low power consumption design, moderate starting current, energy saving and environmental protection.
  • ★★★★★With power-on lock, power-off unlock design, high security to prevent man-made destruction.
  • ★★★★★Particularly suitable for glass doors that inward opening 180°.

Keypad locks

These types of smart door locks are the ones you may be most familiar with, as they are popular in many homes. While some of the models also have physical keys as a backup, these types of locks require a numerical code to enter the door. Although these are great high-tech additions to your smart home ecosystem, you’ll want to make sure to take proper precautions to stay safe from hackers.

Example: Schlage Wi-Fi Deadbolt – This model is popular because you can not only enter the keypad to get into your home, but also utilize the Wi-Fi connectivity option to allow someone to gain entry into your home even while you’re not there. This also has a built-in alarm for an extra layer of protection.

Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt with Century Trim in Satin Nickel
  • Built-in Wi-Fi allows you to lock/unlock from anywhere - no additional accessories required. Pair with the Schlage Home app or Key by Amazon...
  • Works with Alexa. Check the status of your lock and lock/unlock your door. In addition, Alexa will let you know when your battery is running...
  • Fingerprint-resistant, capacitive touchscreen with easy one-touch locking. The optional voice control offers hands-free convenience when...
  • Built-in alarm technology senses potential security breaches at the lock, while the low battery indicator offers advanced warning for...
  • Easy to install with just a screwdriver. Unique Snap ‘n Stay technology snaps the deadbolt onto the door so both hands are free during...

RFID locks

Radio Frequency Identification Locks allow you to gain entry into your home using a card or key fob that uses a radio frequency device to open the door.

Example: ETEKJOY Electronic Door Lock – These smart door locks are easy to open utilizing a key fob, remote or even a traditional key. It is simple to install, and to replace the batteries when needed.

ETEKJOY 4-in-1 Electronic Door Lock Fingerprint Password RFID Card/Tag Mechanical Key Digital Touchscreen Keypad Left/Right Lever Reversible Handle Keyless Biometric Smart Auto Lock
  • Note: 1. It needs two holes on the door to install the lock. If your door has one hole only, you need to drill one more hole. 2. Please...
  • 4 Ways to Unlock. By Fingerprint, password, RFID Card/Tag and mechanical key. Add and delete fingerprints/passwords/cards freely. You can...
  • Sturdy Mechanism & Smart Design. Aluminum-alloy frame, backlight touch sensitive keypad, hidden mechanical keyhole, 13.56MHz RFID sensor....
  • Fit Interior Doors: standard single latch door, adjustable backset 2-3/8" or 2-3/4", door thickness between 1-5/8” and 2-3/8” (40 - 60...
  • Easy to Install and Change Batteries. With drawing for Drilling. Powered by 4x AA batteries (not included). Batteries can last 10 to 15...

Bluetooth locks

These electric door locks utilize bluetooth technology to gain access to a home using either a smartphone or a device within range of the system.

Example: Kwikset Bluetooth Door Lock – Gain entry into your front door with a smartphone connected to Bluetooth technology, or using the keypad on the lock.

Kwikset 99420-001 Aura Bluetooth Programmable Keypad Door Lock Deadbolt Featuring SmartKey Security, Satin Nickel
  • Manage your Aura smart Bluetooth lock from your smart phone or mobile device when you are within Bluetooth range using the Kwikset App
  • Lock and unlock your front door lock from your smartphone using the Kwikset app within Bluetooth range of the lock
  • Keyless entry convenience at your fingertips with up to 250 programmable unique custom user codes for anytime, one time, or specific days...
  • When in Bluetooth range you can create, temporarily disable, and delete user codes from your smartphone and set schedules for customer user...
  • Receive notifications of the lock's activity or view the lock's event history on your smartphone using the Kwikset app within Bluetooth...

Installing Electronic Locks

Installing smart door locks can range anywhere from incredibly easy to more difficult. However, if you have a degree of DIY expertise, chances are you’ll be able to get one up and running regardless of the model you choose.

Some of these smart door locks can be installed directly over an existing deadbolt, which makes the process more simple and less time consuming. Other electric door locks replace the entire locking mechanism, which adds a layer of difficulty to the installation process. Most of these locks come with detailed instructions, and even customer service options to help troubleshoot.

When it comes to setup, smart door locks that have a phone app are usually a snap to get up and running, , taking you through a step-by-step process to connect the lock with your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth system.

Electric door locks: Are they right for you?

Electric door locks are ideal for people who want to increase security, and even get rid of the need for a traditional key. If you have roommates, or a larger family, this means you can assign user codes to other members of the household to allow entry. Smart door locks are also ideal for those of us who forget keys, or have frequent deliveries or house guests.

These types of locks are not ideal for people who are not comfortable with smartphone technology. Many of the most useful features work through a cell phone app, and without that capability, smart locks become less desirable.

Smart door locks: The bottom line

When it comes to choosing the right smart door locks for your home, think about important aspects like locking mechanism, technology features, and price. If you want to stay within a lower budget, you may have to forego some of the more useful features.

Smart door locks are useful if you have a high-traffic home, whether it’s roommates, pet-sitters or family members. You don’t have to worry about lost keys or making new copies. You’ll always have a way to get inside right in the palm of your hands with a smartphone. It’s also nice to not have to find your keys when you’re walking  into your house.

The bottom line is, electric door locks add another layer of security to your home, but also a ton of freedom and flexibility. If you’re comfortable with technology and smartphone apps, these will be an ideal addition to your smart home ecosystem.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.

Officer James Banta

Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.

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