What to Look For in a Digital Door Lock
Originally posted on 11 October 2017
More and more people are upgrading their home security system by switching to digital door locks, and it’s easy to see why. They combine a high level of security – protecting you from traditional lockpicking techniques – with a level of convenience, stylistic options, features and customized settings that you can’t get out of a regular lock. It’s a great addition to your home security.
There are a wide variety of digital door locks available on the market – plenty of manufacturers and models to choose from. All that variety can be confusing at first – but here are some things you should look for when picking your digital lock.
A High ANSI/BHMA Rating
Features and gadgets are neat, but a lock’s first and most important function is security. ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and BHMA (Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association) grades set minimum acceptable standards for operation, key torque cycles, pull strength, impact resistance and so forth. The better the grade (with Grade 1 being the best), the more security your lock provides. Grade 2 is probably sufficient for most residential areas – Grade 3 locks end up being fairly basic, and if you’re going through the trouble of upgrading your locks, you may as well get a higher level of quality. Grade 1 is the best residential lock rating available.
Low Battery Indicators
Unlike a traditional lock, a digital lock can run out of power. Most of them have emergency backup battery slots, but you don’t want to drain those. Good digital locks will come with some sort of messages – beeps, lights or even a voice message – that will let you know when your batteries are getting low, preferably several weeks before they need to be changed.
Many digital door locks can include built-in alarms for added security. With traditional alarms, a burglar would have to gain access to your home before they triggered. A digital alarm, however, can be set off when a burglar enters an incorrect code or otherwise tampers with it, setting off alarms before your space is invaded. You want to avoid locks that are controlled with a wi-fi network; those can be easily hacked. You want locks integrated with a monitored alarm system for reliability and safety.
PIN pads are useful because they allow you to set unique codes for everyone to enter your home – everyone can have their own unique code, giving them and them alone access. That lets you control who has access to your home and tell who has been entering and exiting. You can also set up temporary passwords for services – home cleaners, realtors, nannies and the like. When they no longer need access, you can simply remove their codes – much safer than giving them a spare key.