The Best Smart Lock for Key-Free Entry to your HomeThe Best Smart Lock for Key-Free Entry to your Home

The Best Smart Lock

Or how to not waste time searching for your keys each morning.
Sarah Idle
Words by 
Sarah Idle
Updated 
Mar 24, 2021
Category -> 
Living
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At a glance

You might have thought growing up that The Jetsons was just a bit of entertainment. Team, we’re kind of there. Sure, flying cars might not quite be a reality but the rest of it has arrived. Sort of. No robot housekeepers, but we have robot vacuums. And our homes are getting smarter. This includes the humble door lock. Welcome to the world of smart door locks, which are a good companion to a video doorbell.

If you’re ready to wave goodbye to fumbling with your keys, read on for our guide to the best smart locks in Australia. It’s been compiled from hours of research, including international insights and real Aussie consumer opinions, bringing everything you need to know into 1 handy place.

Best for most

Yale Assure SL Lock

The Yale Assure SL Lock has a clear, easy to use touchscreen keypad which can handle up to 25 unique pin codes. 100% key free, it has additional Network Modules to create a fully connected smart home. It’s highly rated internationally but doesn’t yet have any Aussie consumer reviews.

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Yale Assure SL Lock
Top
Pick

How we picked

Not easily. Normally we begin by looking into expert testing, like CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group. But with the use of smart home tech still a rising area in Australia, they hadn’t reviewed smart door locks. We tried Consumer instead, the Kiwi equivalent. Although they too hadn’t tested any smart locks, they did have a first-hand account of using a smart lock, by one of their technical writers. Which was a start. 

We then tried the US-based Consumer Reports (yep, the US equivalent of CHOICE). They had reviewed them! Which was great. But further digging revealed that the models they reviewed weren’t available in Australia. Sigh. 

Our next tactic was to try ProductReview.com.au to read about Aussies’ experiences with smart locks. You’ve guessed it – there were barely any reviews. So we did some virtual window shopping instead, trying to hunt down Australia's most popular smart door locks. We looked for features like whether they were keyed or keyless, whether they fit over the existing lock, how they're operated and compatibility with smart home systems. Digging through hundreds of reviews, we found what we think are the best smart locks currently available in Australia.

How we picked

Not easily. Normally we begin by looking into expert testing, like CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group. But with the use of smart home tech still a rising area in Australia, they hadn’t reviewed smart door locks. We tried Consumer instead, the Kiwi equivalent. Although they too hadn’t tested any smart locks, they did have a first-hand account of using a smart lock, by one of their technical writers. Which was a start. 

We then tried the US-based Consumer Reports (yep, the US equivalent of CHOICE). They had reviewed them! Which was great. But further digging revealed that the models they reviewed weren’t available in Australia. Sigh. 

Our next tactic was to try ProductReview.com.au to read about Aussies’ experiences with smart locks. You’ve guessed it – there were barely any reviews. So we did some virtual window shopping instead, trying to hunt down Australia's most popular smart door locks. We looked for features like whether they were keyed or keyless, whether they fit over the existing lock, how they're operated and compatibility with smart home systems. Digging through hundreds of reviews, we found what we think are the best smart locks currently available in Australia.

Best for most -> Yale Assure SL Lock

Yale Assure SL Lock

The Yale Assure SL Lock has a clear, easy to use touchscreen keypad which can handle up to 25 unique pin codes. 100% key free, it has additional Network Modules to create a fully connected smart home. It’s highly rated internationally but doesn’t yet have any Aussie consumer reviews.

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Sleek, modern and unobtrusive, the Yale Assure SL Lock is the perfect fit for every smart home. It’s 100% key free. Instead, you open your front door by entering your pin code via the touchscreen keypad. Tap the keypad to lock up.

You can create up to 25 unique pin codes for sharing with friends and family. These can be restricted or deleted, as needed. This is handy if you’re running an Airbnb or have someone who regularly accesses your home, like a cleaner. It has a 9V battery backup if the batteries die. It’ll warn you when the batteries are running low too.

What we really like about the Yale Assure SL Lock is the option to upgrade it to create a fully connected smart home. Standalone, it’s a great simple smart door lock. But pay around $90 for a Network Module and you can control your door lock from your smartphone or tablet. 

There are 3 versions which are compatible with a range of home automation hubs, including Apple HomeKit. This includes opening and locking your door, wherever you are. It’ll also send you notifications when someone uses a pin code. The Apple HomeKit compatible network module (that’s the Yale iM1) allows you to create ‘dynamic scenes’. This means you can set up routines of daily activities, like going to bed. When you trigger that routine, your Apple HomeKit will lock your door and trigger other connected devices by turning lights off and lowering the thermostat. 

Although it doesn’t currently have any reviews on ProductReview.com.au, a Consumer NZ Technical Writer has put one through its paces and enjoyed the experience. Plus, it’s the number 1 pick of both Consumer Reports (the US equivalent of CHOICE) and The Wirecutter (a US product review site). These expert backings give us confidence that currently, the Yale Assure SL Lock is the best smart door lock in Australia.

Related: The Best Security Camera

Why buy the Yale Assure SL Lock

Multiple pin codes

You can create up to 25 unique pin codes which you can restrict or delete as needed.

Clear keyboard

The touchscreen keypad is easy to read and use.

Simple

With a smartphone not necessary to operate it, it’s suitable for all family members, including the non-smartphone using ones. 

100% key free

No more carrying keys about and wondering where the heck you left them.

Low battery warning

So hopefully the batteries won’t die, resulting in you getting locked out of your home.

9V battery backup

More protection against dead batteries.

Smart upgrade

It works well standalone but opt for the additional Network Module and you can create a fully connected smart home, with your door operated from the comfort of your device.

Good looks

It’s sleek, modern and unobtrusive, making it ideal for every home.

Loved by international pros

US-based Consumer Reports and The Wirecutter rate it, which gives you some confidence about how well it performs. 

The not-so-good bits

100% key free

Sure, it has 9V battery backup and a low battery alert but if it’s tipping with rain and the batteries have died, with no key lock you better hope there’s another door you can get in via.   

No ProductReview.com reviews

With no reviews, we don’t know how it performs in Aussie homes.

No CHOICE review

We also don’t know what the Australian pros think of it.

In summary 

If you’re looking for a simple and modern smart door lock, we reckon the Yale Assure SL Lock is your best bet. A clear, easy to use touchscreen keypad makes getting into your home simple. Tap it to lock up as you leave. You can create up to 25 unique pin codes, making it ideal for anyone who has guests or frequent tradies popping in. These can easily be restricted or deleted. 100% key free, it has a low battery warning and 9V battery backup to hopefully avoid getting locked out of your home. We like the additional Network Modules you can buy to create a fully connected smart home. It’s highly rated internationally but doesn’t yet have any Aussie consumer reviews. 

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The competition

Currently, there aren’t that many smart locks available on the Australian market. These are the other ones we reckon are worth considering.

Schlage Encode

There’s a lot to love about the Schlage Encode. Let’s start with the built-in wifi that connects to your existing home network. This means you don’t need to buy additional hubs or accessories. As long as your wifi’s working, your smart door lock is working.

It’s got multiple access options. As well as a keypad for codes, you can use a smartphone app or a key. You’ve got a choice of the Schlage Home app or the Key by Amazon app. Both apps will lock or unlock your door remotely and manage access. You can create up to 100 access codes that allow recurring, temporary or permanent access. For those days when your hands are too full, it can be voice controlled by Alexa and Google Assistant (although you will need accessories for that).

To make sure you’re never stuck, it’s got a low battery warning. It’s the only smart lock we reviewed that has a built-in alarm. If it senses a security breach, it sounds a loud alarm to scare off would-be burglars. 

Schlage reckons it’s easy to install too, with just a screwdriver needed. We’ve read a lot of consumer reviews that back that up. 

Choose this if…

You want a smart door lock with built-in wifi and a built-in alarm.

Lockly Secure Plus

The Lockly Secure Plus is packing some smart tech. Like Lockly’s patented PIN Genie technology. This ensures that the digital keypad display is unique to every single person that arrives at your door. It’s also got a ‘capacitive’ (nope, no idea) fingerprint reader that stores up to 99 fingerprints. Lockly reckons this helps prevent lifted prints and delivers better speed and improved accuracy. If you’re really stuck and your code or fingerprint won’t work, there’s a hidden mechanical key. 

It’s controlled remotely via Bluetooth and the smartphone app gives you great control. This includes creating up to 8 access codes at once, temporary eKeys and one-time access codes. You can set custom durations for all these. You also get access to all entry and exit logs so you know who’s coming and going. Real-time alerts let you know when someone opens or unlocks your door. 

We really like the offline access code that allows you to send a one-off code remotely and let people into your home, even when you or they don’t have any internet connection. You can also activate privacy mode. This disables keypad access and allows only authorised users to enter. If you frequently forget to lock the door before bed, it’s got an auto-lock which locks your door at the time you tell it to. 

Lockly says install takes around 10 minutes and there’s a deadbolt and latch version to fit most doors. Lockly has been featured in some of the world’s biggest tech publications, delighting the pros with its smart tech.

Choose this if…

You want the media darling of the smart lock world, including ‘hack-proof’ PIN Genie tech.

Kwikset Kevo Contemporary Smart Lock (2nd Gen)

The Kwikset Kevo has been reviewed on ProductReview.com.au, where it gets a reasonable 3 stars. It features touch to unlock technology. It communicates with the app on your smartphone to open and lock the door for you. This means there are no pin codes to enter, it works via eKeys instead. Through your connected device, you can quickly and easily set up, remove and customise access for everyone who enters your home, from wherever you are. These eKeys can be assigned different types and you can set specific time periods for when they can be used, i.e. only for the 1-hour period the cleaner will be at your home. You can also open and lock your door through the app.

The app’s lock history monitors all your eKey activity. This includes sending and accepting the keys and any locking and unlocking of your door. It even sends you notifications when the door is locked and unlocked so you can keep track of who’s at home (or not).  

The Kwikset Kevo Contemporary Smart Lock (2nd Gen) is smart home compatible. It works with smart watches and a range of products, including thermostats, the Ring Video Doorbell and Amazon Alexa, although this requires Kevo Plus Hub which is sold separately. 

Forgotten your phone? It has a backup key lock too. 

Choose this if...

You don’t want to remember pin codes, would rather use your smartphone to unlock your door and want an app that allows you to create and customise eKeys and monitor all comings and goings through your door.

August Smart Lock

The August Smart Lock transforms your smartphone into your home key. But it’s also a hybrid lock. It fits over your existing deadbolt which means you can use your existing keys, if needed. This also makes it quick and easy to install, unlike most smart locks.

The app lets you lock and unlock your door, grant guest access for minutes, hours or days, either for a one-off event or for regular access, and see when your door is unlocked or locked - all from your smartphone. Opt for the additional Connect Wi-Fi Bridge and you can also let anyone into your home, wherever you are. This additional Bridge (around $150) also lets you pair it with other smart home tech, including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This means you can voice control your front door. 

We like the auto lock feature, which gives you extra security if you’re not sure you remembered to lock the door. It also has an auto unlock feature which recognises you as you arrive and unlocks the door for you – no more fumbling for keys when your hands are full. 

Safety.com has the August Smart Lock as their #1 pick. Currently, it doesn’t have any reviews on ProductReview.com.au.

Choose this if...

You want a hybrid smart lock that fits into your existing deadbolt, with your existing keys as backup, and gives you great control over your door from your smartphone. Up its smartness by buying the separate Connect Wi-Fi Bridge.

Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro

For something that looks straight out of Star Trek, consider the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro. It offers 6 ways to unlock your door, with or without your smartphone: smartphone app, fingerprint, passcode, proximity unlock, magic shake and mechanical key. So even if you forget the passcode or your phone, you should still be able to get in your door. 

If you’ve got guests, you can create temporary codes and eKeys. The app lets you manage users and view a log record of who entered, and when. It also has auto lock and auto unlock. It’s the only smart lock we reviewed that offers the high-end feature of fingerprint ID unlock. 

There’s a low battery alarm plus a micro-USB slot for emergency power. You need to buy the additional Bridge WiFi Adaptor to unlock more functionality, including unlocking your door from wherever you are and receiving instant alerts when someone unlocks your door. It works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT.

All this is going to set you back around $400, with the Bridge an additional cost. That makes the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro the most expensive smart door lock we reviewed. The Wirecutter rates it; it’s their runner-up pick. There are no Australian consumer reviews currently.

Choose this if...

You want a smart door lock that has fingerprint ID unlock and are happy to spend around $400+ for it.

Important features to consider

Most smart locks are packing similar features. Here’s what to look for.

Installation

Some smart locks, like the August Smart Lock, work with your existing door deadbolt. This makes installation quick and easy. Others require you to replace all your door hardware and possibly wire it in. Pay attention to the installation to get an idea of how long it’ll take you and how expensive it might be if you need to hire an electrician.

Keypad

Not all smart locks have a keypad. Two of our picks, the Kwikset Kevo and the August Smart Lock, don’t. Using a keypad is easy and works well for people who don’t have smartphones – think your grandma or your kids. But in a global pandemic when we’re all worried about bugs lingering on surfaces, you might not want to have to regularly clean your smart door lock.

Non-keypad smart locks tend to look cleaner and more modern. But they do need you to have a connected smartphone, and a reliable connection, to open your door.

Smart home integration

If you want to create a fully smart home, look for a smart door lock that integrates with other smart home products, like smart light bulbs or smart plugs. Locks that integrate with voice-controlled tech like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant are great too. It means you can create routines, like ‘going to bed’. Say that voice command and your front door might lock, the lights and any music might go off and your thermostat might lower. 

Security

For smart locks that connect to your smartphone, check out the encryption it uses. As your lock will be transmitting data over the internet to wherever you are, you’ll want to make sure it’s got rock solid encryption. Look online to see if the manufacturer has ever experienced data breaches.

Choosing a 100% key-free smart door lock means there’s no lock to pick, which ups the security of your home. Also consider if it has any resistance to forced entry or tampering, or if it uses a hardcore deadbolt. Some smart locks have in-built alarms too that go off when they detect tampering. 

Backup power

Because smart door locks need a constant power source, they run on batteries. Rechargeable batteries are ideal, as it saves dead ones being sent to landfill. Look for a smart lock with a low battery indicator so you know it’s time to charge or change it. Some have a backup battery slot or charging point, in case the battery runs out. 

Keyless and keyed

If you’re getting a smart door lock because you don’t want to mess around with keys, getting one with a key might seem pointless. But it’s a good backup in case the batteries or Bluetooth fail, and you have no way of getting inside your home. If you choose 100% key-free, make sure there’s another door you can enter through.

Operation

Ensure you know how to open your smart door lock. Some offer a keypad, others a fingerprint scanner. Some can be opened simply by your smartphone being nearby, some need an eKey.

What you get if you spend more

If you want a really smart, smart door lock, you need to pay more. Here’s what some extra dollars gets you.

Alarm

This isn't an expensive feature, but it is an unusual one - not many smart door locks have an audible alarm. If your door is forcibly opened, some smart locks will emit a loud alarm, hopefully scaring off any would-be burglars.

Fingerprint ID

Some smart door locks, like the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro, use a fingerprint scanner to open the lock. You can normally programme multiple fingerprints so loved ones can access your home too. 

There are security concerns about fingerprint unlocks with the risk being someone could ‘steal’ your fingerprint using some high-tech wizardry most often seen in movies. We reckon if someone really wants to get into your home, they’re going to crowbar the door, not repurpose some clingfilm to steal your fingerprint.

Remote access

Most smart locks offer additional wi-fi bridges or network modules. These give you control of your door, from wherever you are via an app on your device. This normally includes being able to unlock and lock your door remotely, as well as receiving alerts every time someone locks or unlocks your door.

The bottom line

We’re moving steadily towards homes of the future, getting greater control of them through our smartphones and voice commands. A smart door lock is a solid part of a fully connected smart home. No more fumbling with keys, you can lock and unlock it with your smartphone (plus other ways). Ideal for people who rent their home out or who have regular tradies / deliveries / cleaners popping in, you can easily create and share eKeys, including setting time limits on their use. Bye spare keys floating around. A smart lock allows you to monitor who’s entering and leaving your home, making it an ideal companion to a video doorbell.  In short, a smart door lock gives you more control and security over your door. 

We think the Yale Assure SL Lock is Australia’s best smart lock. It’s simple and modern with a clear, easy to use touchscreen keypad. You can create up to 25 unique pin codes, which can be easily restricted or deleted. It’s 100% key free so ensure you have another way in, just in case. Buy the additional Network Modules to create a fully connected smart home. Although it’s highly rated internationally, it doesn’t have any Aussie consumer reviews.

Cover image from Yale.

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