What electronic deadbolts are available to choose from? When choosing one is price the best indication of quality?Do electronic deadbolts increase your home security, or are they just for convenience? Do any of these ultra convenient locks fail to provide adequate resistance to forced entry? We will look past the lower end of the market, and focus on the “higher end” locks. $99.00 and up. There is no sure winner, but there are different locks to match different priorities.
Kwikset – The fluke. One sure loser.
Lets hit the worst first. In our opinion, as locksmiths, we have one clear loser here. Kwikset markets it’s Smartkey technology as extra secure. On Kwikset’s website they boast “advanced smart key technology – enhanced protection against lock-picking and lock-bumping.” Kwikset Smartkey lock cylinders operate differently then traditional lock cylinders, so for that reason Kwikset is using misleading marketing tactics. They are hard to pick and bump because those techniques are for traditional lock cylinders. When I show up to unlock a home with a Smartkey lock, I force them open with ease. Kwikset Smartkey cylinders can be forcibly rotated from locked to unlock with brute force and a small amount of knowledge. All of Kwikset’s electronic deadbolts use the flawed smartkey technology, so for that reason we have to disqualify them all from the race today. If you have a Smart key lock on your home we encourage you to replace it.
I prefer any deadbolt in working order above a Kwikset Smartkey lock including Kwikset’s basic $12.00 Deadbolt. Smartkey technology is innovative, and whoever designed that ought to be proud. Unfortunately for consumers Kwikset has to use weak materials to afford to manufacture such a complicated lock at such a low price. It’s really a shame so many people have these on there homes. I think they should be sold on the same shelf as shake-weights, & sauna pants.
Schlage – The real smart lock.
Schlage is the next big box store competitor, and for the money they are a great value. I know first hand the push button locks are great. They cost around $100, and are available at most hardware stores. My push button Schlage lever seems very durable, & the 9 volt battery it uses has probably served 3.5 years now but needs replacement. Schlage has a touch screen model which starts around $120 it certainly looks nice, but I am not sure if it is as reliable as the push button.
Added convenience, but for the money we say hide a key. No added security in comparison to a standard Schlage Deadbolt.
Schlage has a interesting lock at the starting at the $150.00 mark, and it becomes a powerful tool when combined with other smart home technologies. Look for Schlage’s z-wave/connect technology. One example, when combined with a $100/yr “nexia”account you can see who is coming and going, and eliminate or allow access from your phone. I can see parents appreciating the features smart home technology creates. The access control you gain is a powerful security improvement. As a stand alone unit without additional smart home technology we still say hide a key.
If you are interested in other smart home technology in addition to an electronic deadbolt Schlage will likely be a clear winner.
Schlage locks are now more difficult to pick and bump because of added security pins within the lock cylinder. Schlage locks come with quality security strike plates, but normally people neglect to install them. If you purchase a Schlage deadbolt we encourage you to have the security strike plate properly installed.
The Arrow “Revolution V2” – Sleek & Simple – Assa Abloy
Arrow has a nice looking touchscreen electronic deadbolt, but it lacks the smart home integration features of Schlage’s model at the same price point. If your looking for a sleek little electronic deadbolt you may like the Arrow revolution. At $200 its a still a decent value. It has a few unique features but they are geared towards light commercial use. The extra electronic features it has are not very applicable in residential setting. I have a feeling it is probably the easiest to program.
The Revolution v2 can store 24 user codes, the ability to remove specific user codes makes access control convenient if you have access to the lock. Arrow has been around for a long time, and has a reputation for producing quality hardware.
Yale- Real Living Touchscreen- Basically the Arrow V2 – Assa Abloy
Yale, like Arrow above are both owned by Assa Abloy, a monolithic lock company that has bought up more than its fair share of small lock companies. To me it looks like they Assa reserved the Arrow version to lockmiths, and the Yale to big box stores. Yale is just a different brand. I imagine they are extremely similar. The Yale Real Living Touch Screen sits around $140. At that price its a great value assuming you don’t want to integrate it with smart home products. I haven’t seen the Arrow and Yale next to each other, so I can’t say for sure if one is built better.
Yale and Arrow are both owned by Assa Abloy. The two deadbolts appear nearly identical. Yale would come in cheaper than arrow making it the better choice.
Emtec products- Assa Abloy with style
Assa Abloy also has a line of electronic deadbolts that tend to be more basic in function, but offer a variety of styles. From traditional to modern I think anyone could find something they like. Definitely worth a look. These sit between $150-$200.
Pretty strait forward again from Assa Abloy, simple locks with many different styles, the Emtec line of products has more styles to choose from with less available options. No additional security added just the convenience of a key-less entry.
Baldwin- High-end. High Fashion.
Enter the Baldwin (starting model) Entry Single Cylinder Electronic Deadbolt. At $300 I think it is over priced. The Baldwin lock lacks advanced features. They have a quite few different models, you may consider looking through them. Normally Baldwin offers plenty of style options. Baldwin makes higher-end door hardware with a strong focus on style. They produce some of the most beautiful hardware available, but if you want to go Baldwin you don’t see the payoff until you get into their highest end hardware $500 to $1000. Baldwin is very much form over function. The lock cylinders that come standard with Baldwin hardware are reliable, but nothing special. For the money the locks could be nicer. Order your Balwin hardware from us, we sell it, and install it. Most Baldwin hardware will accept high security cylinder upgrades for those who demand form AND function.
Baldwin has very attractive key-less hardware & key-less handle-sets, Baldwin is a industry leader who focuses on high fashion. Call us for pricing on Baldwin hardware, and ask about incorporating high security locks.
Master Lock – Night Watch Deadbolt -No Go
Master lock is branching into residential locks with some success. I recently had a conversation with a local Master Lock sales rep and he mentioned they had hired a few former Schlage employees. Master Lock is growing into residential sector well, but I don’t see the product quality dialed in just yet. Last year they made a grade 1 deadbolt that was a pain to install due to a design oversight which has since been remedied. They are moving into the residential market nicely today, but this deadbolt is from a previous era. From looking at owner reviews the Night Latch lock isn’t very reliable. One lockout and your investment is a bust. This lock is fighting out of its weight class a little bit, but Master has had years to put up a competitive model and haven’t. I think the night watch sells because it’s the cheapest name brand electric deadbolt on the market.
I don’t want to bash Master Lock too much, but they have some work to do to compete with Schlage and Assa Abloy Products. I would be surprised if they didn’t introduce something new to compete soon. Master Lock has been showing an effort to provide quality affordable residential locks. They just don’t have a great electronic deadbolt yet.
You decide if they are worth the money. If your not impressed you still have a few options…
We have yet to touch on “smart locks” they tend to have no key, built specifically to operate as stand-alone units that communicate with your smart phone right out of the box. You can expect a post on Smart locks to come soon.
We suggest you also consider high security deadbolts before committing to a push button deadbolt or smart lock. A high security deadbolt offers maximum resistance to forced entry, it offers decades of reliable use, many models offer total key control by restricting the key blanks, and they are virtually impossible to pick or bump. A post on High Security locks will be added soon.