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The best smart lock… for most people

It depends in part if you own or rent your home.

© by Wirecutter

By Jon Chase | After spending more than three months researching and testing eight leading models in both side-by-side tests and real-world everyday use, we feel that the Kwikset Kevo with the optional Kevo Plus module is the best choice for most homeowners. It’s the most versatile lock we tested—you can control it via a standard key, a wireless key fob, or a smartphone (at close range or remotely, over the Internet). It consistently had the fastest unlock/lock response times of all the locks we tested, and the mechanical whir of its moving parts was among the quietest.

smartlocks
The smart locks we tested, ready for installation.

Smart locks bring a level of convenience and flexibility to day-to-day life, by allowing you to no longer carry house keys and letting you keep tabs on who comes and goes at home while you’re away. Among other cool benefits, some smart locks even allow you to use your smartphone to instantaneously send a virtual key to a houseguest.

All of this potential comes with a price, naturally, and though not stratospheric, the investment may give some homeowners pause. If spending nearly three hundred bucks on a door lock isn’t personally justifiable, you may be just as satisfied dropping a couple bucks for extra keys and one of those hollow fake rocks to stash them in.

testing smartlocks
In appraising these locks, we took a close look at the ease or difficulty of installation.

We installed each smart lock on an exterior door with an existing deadbolt, removing that deadbolt for models that included their own lock hardware. For devices that rely on a dedicated companion app, we installed apps on both iOS and Android smartphones (when apps for both platforms were available). For devices requiring use of a third-party hub and without their own dedicated apps for remote use, we used a Wink HUB with the companion Wink app.

After installation, we triggered the locks up close using our local Wi-Fi network and remotely from smartphones connected over 4G LTE. Where possible, we tested the various settings and preferences found in the lock’s companion app and also shared lock access with others. We then did several mock entrances, attempting to use the lock as we might in everyday life.

These devices have varying capabilities, so apples-to-apples (or even apples-to-oranges) comparisons weren’t always possible. Nonetheless, comparisons quickly boiled down to a question of if key features were available and if they were, did the “smart” features make the devices more convenient or functional than a standard lock.

Our pick

Aside from its lighted status indicator, Kwikset Kevo's exterior is indistinguishable from a standard lock.
Aside from its lighted status indicator, Kwikset Kevo’s exterior is indistinguishable from a standard lock.

If you want a smart lock that’s easy to install, lets you unlock the door with a simple tap of your finger, and allows for remote monitoring and operation from anywhere in the world via an Internet gateway, the Kwikset Kevo with Kevo Plus is your pick. In our extensive tests of eight different smart locks, no other model offered the same effortlessly simple operation.

Kwikset, the Kevo’s maker, is a respected lock company with 60 years of experience. The Kevo is sturdily built and can be controlled with its equally polished companion app. This lock also has a lot of great features. Its touch-based trigger makes locking and unlocking a door notably faster than using a key or keypad and more secure than models that depend on geofencing to automatically unlock when you get near home. And as with any lock, the Kevo’s most important feature is that it properly secures a door as well as a standard “dumb” deadbolt lock of the same grade would.

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer’s guide to the best technology. Read the full article here.

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