You may think that digital locks are a new trend, but they have existed for decades. They used to be seen only in movies, but many homes and offices prefer digital door locks nowadays. And just like any other technological product in the market, digital door locks come in different brands and models to the point that picking the right one for your needs can be a bit mind-boggling.
Here at The Lock Shop, we have a variety of the latest brands and models of digital locks. And because we love you, our customers, we have crafted this guide to help you choose the perfect digital lock for your unique needs.
What’s a Digital Lock?
A digital lock, also known as an electric lock, is an electronic (sometimes battery-operated) lock that does not require using a conventional key. It is an alternative to the mechanical lock and has automated features that take security to another level.
Like any type of lock, digital locks use a bolt or latch to prevent access to the doorway where they are installed.
That said, digital locks may have more than one unlocking method, depending on their type, brand, and model. While a traditional lock is accessed via a physical key and works mechanically, a digital lock is accessed either via fingerprints (biometrics), RIFDs, NFC cards, or a PIN.
Some models of digital locks support traditional keys, but the addition of digital unlocking methods is what makes digital locks truly unique.
Besides not requiring a physical key, digital locks are also often more secure than conventional locks. It’s a misconception that digital locks are easier targets for thieves since they can be hacked. In reality, the opposite is true.
Choosing a Lock
Before you browse our page and shop for a Lockwood digital lock or a Gainsborough digital lock, there’s one thing you need to understand first: doors and locks are not always compatible.
You can’t just purchase a digital door lock from our collection and expect it to work the way you expect it. Unless you are buying a new lock along with a new door, you first have to identify what type of door you’re going to use the digital lock for.
Does your door have a Mortise lock? Are you shopping for a rim latch lock? Perhaps it’s a deadbolt lock that you need?
How about gate locks? For gates, you will need digital gate locks explicitly designed for gates. Unlike door locks, gate locks are designed so you can’t easily unlock them even if you can reach the other side.
What Locking Methods Do You Prefer?
Ultimately, choosing a digital door lock all comes down to which unlocking method works for you. There are different types of unlocking methods for digital locks, and you’d want to opt for one that is most convenient for you and makes you feel the most secure.
Biometric Fingerprint Identification
Biometric Fingerprint Identification is the easiest unlocking method for a digital lock. It’s also considered the best since it doesn’t require that you remember a PIN code or have a card or key. In addition, the fact that it requires a unique set of fingerprints (your fingerprints) makes it highly secure.
In any case, it’s still important to choose a reliable brand and model, considering that not all digital locks with fingerprint readers are created equal.
As much as possible, you’d want to get a lock where the fingerprint reader is found on the handle. That way, scanning your fingers and opening the latch requires only a single movement. The McGrath Digital Bluetooth Lock (MLNX5) carries such a feature, as does our Schlage digital lock (Schlage Ease™ Smart Deadbolt and Entry Lock).
If you don’t like PIN codes, a lock requiring an RFID or NFC keycard should be a good alternative. RFID and NFC have similar functions, although NFC is more advanced. You will find NFC in mobile access control systems, wherein smart tags that have been activated on smartphones serve as receiver and transmitter at the same time. The only difference is that RFID has a better range.
Pin Codes are not as great as the first two we’ve covered, but they are still good options since they also require no keys. The only downside of pin codes is that they are less secure since all that a thief has to do is learn your PIN, and they’ll have access to your property. PIN codes are also easy to forget, which is another cause of issue. If you wish to get a lock with PIN codes as its unlocking method, be sure to find one with an efficient way of masking your PIN.
The whole idea of getting a digital lock is to go keyless. However, it’s still good to have a backup option. For example, what will you do if your smart lock runs out of batteries or something happens and the only way for you to unlock the door is to use a physical key? That said, many digital locks come with a mechanical override that allows you to use a physical key in case of an emergency.
What Other Features Are You After?
There are many other factors to consider besides unlocking methods and overall design when choosing a smart lock.
We’ve already mentioned the importance of having an emergency key. A manual override allows you to operate your lock in case the circuit board gets damaged, or the battery dies.
Fully automatic or semi-automatic
Fully-automatic means operating the lock requires fewer steps — the motor does all the job driving the locksets. Semi-automatic means your lock’s battery life is longer. The manual actions required also make it easier to transition from using a conventional lock.
Battery life and battery warnings
Most digital locks have batteries that last very long, so this is not a crucial consideration. Still, you’d want to prefer a lock with batteries that last more than a year and one that notifies you when it’s starting to lose charge.
Lock security covers both mechanical and digital aspects of the lock. Is the lock easy to pick? How secure is it from hackers? For mechanical security, ensure that the lock has a solid and heavy-duty design. For digital security, find a lock with damage sensors and electromagnetic protection at the least.
Smart features are not critical, but they do add to your digital lock’s convenience. Great smart features include the ability to get phone notifications when the door is unlocked, remotely locking and unlocking the device, and automation with other smart home features.
Digital door locks make life easier and more convenient. But, more importantly, they provide the peace of mind that you and your loved ones are safe and secure at all times. The key (no pun intended) to choosing a digital lock is to find a brand and model that has undergone rigorous testing and has established an excellent reputation in the security industry.
Here at The Lock Shop, we have a wide range of quality digital door locks you can trust.
Whether it’s a Carbine digital lock, Gainsborough digital lock, or Borg digital lock you are looking for, you can guarantee that we have what you exactly need!