Are Automated Door Locks the Key to Your Smart Home?

Following leaders Schlage, Kwikset, Black & Decker and Yale, numerous start-ups introduced automated door locks at CES 2013. Here's the round-up.


Schlage Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt with Alarm debuted at CES 2013 in the Nexia/Ingersoll Rand booth. It was one of several new “smart locks” at the show.

It’s clear that one of the big themes at CES 2013 was DIY home automation. But one slice of that smart home, automated door locks, seemingly came from nowhere, challenging the big three: Schlage, Kwikset/Black & Decker/Baldwin and Yale (Assa Abloy)

Most of the newcomers claim to be the first to offer completely retrofittable deadbolts—rather dubious since all of the newbies say it.

I easily replaced my own existing deadbolt with an electronic lock from Kwikset, and I could just have easily done the same with products from Schlage or Yale. Then again, I had a standard door and lock, like most of us do.

What makes the new products “completely retrofittable” is that they can replace virtually any deadbolt—even those found on non-standard doors—without the need for drilling holes, chiseling wood or otherwise hassling with the installation.

That’s because, unlike the original products, you only replace one side of the existing lock, the inside. You keep the outside hardware, meaning you use the same key as always to unlock the door.

The bummer is that you lose the keypad features provided by the big three—Schlage, Kwikset and Yale (and newcomer RemoteLock)—which require that the internal and external hardware be replaced.

The beauty of these “two-sided” products (besides the fact they’re gorgeous and available in a variety of finishes) is that they offer access via a number of different options including keypad, RFID, near field communication (NFC) and biometrics. You don’t have to pull out a key to lock or unlock a door.

Which Lock is Right for You?

When evaluating an electronic door lock, remember that some are much smarter than others. Does it simply enable users to lock and unlock the door with an RF keyfob, or does it allow full integration with a control system so that, for instance, if the last person leaves the house and the door is unlocked … an email or text message might alert the homeowner and offer the option of locking remotely.

• Does it offer keyless access control options such as keypad, RFID, NFC, keyfob or biometrics? (Keypads are a wonderful thing—perfect for when you’re locked out or going for a jog—or if you need to grant access to someone who doesn’t have a smart phone.)
• Can it be integrated into a whole-house control system via Z-Wave, ZigBee, WiFi or some other protocol?
• Is it retrofittable for standard locks and bolts?
• Is it retrofittable for non-standard locks and bolts?
• Can you assign temporary access codes to other users?
• Can you lock/unlock the door and track access via the Web?
• Does it look good, whether from inside or out?
• Will it hold up in your weather conditions?
• Is it available in both deadbolt and lever models?
• Are there tamper features?
• Is there a low-battery warning?
• Will it work from both inside and out if the power goes out?

Note that there is a difference between electronic and “smart” door locks, but we cover them all here. Their options vary for keyless entry, remote monitoring, automation, and more.

In the slideshow, you’ll find a number of product introductions and announcements from CES 2013, as well as a handful of new automated (and electronic and ‘smart’) door locks from some companies that weren’t at this show.

Of the big ones, only Schlage introduced a major new product at CES 2013, the Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt with Alarm.


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