Best Smart Locks 2024

If you’re prone to losing your house keys, a smart lock can not only provide easy and flexible ways to secure your home, but it can also control when someone can unlock your door. Based on weeks of installing, using and rating nearly a dozen smart locks in my suburban home, the best smart lock you can add to your front door is the Level Lock+ Connect. It’s easy to use, supports multiple ways to provide access and doesn’t look like a smart lock. It looks like a normal manual lock, with no branding or blinking buttons.

The best smart locks, like the Level Lock+ Connect, can be unlocked using an Apple Watch.

Illustration: Forbes : Photo: Retailer

Because the Level Lock+ Connect is expensive, you can also opt for my value pick, the Defiant Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt, a simple lock that offers most of the features you’ll need at a very affordable price. And of course, when you’re adding a smart lock, a video doorbell and home security camera can help secure your home even more. After many hours of installing locks and testing the apps and smart home systems to which they connect, here are the best smart lock available right now.



Level Lock+ Connect

Type: Single-cylinder deadbolt | Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (via included bridge) | Smart home integrations: Amazon Alexa, Apple Home (including Apple HomeKey), Google Assistant, Ring | Entry options: Physical key, touch, NFC keycards, app, keypad (optional) | Power: Lithium CR2 | Finishes: Matte Black, Satin Nickel, Satin Chrome, Polished Brass | Size: 2.4 x 2.4 x 1.1 inches (front), 2.4 x 2.4 x 1.2 inches (rear) 

Best for:

  • Adding a smart lock that doesn’t look like one
  • Users with Apple devices
  • Flexible entry options

Skip if:

  • You are on a budget

The best smart home technology fits into your home invisibly. The Level Lock+ Connect does just that, looking like a low-tech key lock while packing a lot of technology inside your door—literally. The small lithium battery fits into the door bolt, and the motors and electronics are all packed inside the lock. The hidden mechanics leave a clean, elegant and logo-free exterior with a standard keyway on the front and a thumb turn on the back.

The Level Lock+ Connect offers several smart options for unlocking a door, but you can also use a … [+] traditional metal key.

Richard Baguley For Forbes

Out of the box, the Level Lock+ supports Apple HomeKit, including HomeKeys, a feature that lets you store digital keys in your Apple wallet. The Lock Connect Wi-Fi bridge links the lock to your home network via Bluetooth, which supports Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. This small cylinder plugs into a nearby power socket and can connect multiple locks to smart home systems that don’t speak Bluetooth.

The Level Lock+ Connect was easy to install, and its components fit snugly into a standard borehole over a latch on the bolt mechanism. Older doors may require widening the borehole, though, and the lock only works with doors thicker than 1.75 inches. A screw holds the front and back of the lock together, and bolts go through the lock mechanism. Finally, the thumb turn fits on the back with a magnet.

The big benefit to the Level Lock+ Connect is its flexibility, as it offers more ways to open your lock than most competitors. The lock comes with two physical keys and two keycards (programmable through the Level mobile app) that you tap on the lock to open. Or you can use the app itself (available for iOS and Android) to unlock the door. Once authorized, you just walk up to the door, tap the outside of the lock (leaving the phone in your pocket) and the lock will open. You can even set the lock to unlock automatically when your mobile device detects you are home.

The discreet smart lock comes in different colors to match your door color.

Richard Baguley for Forbes

With your iPhone and using Apple HomeKey, granting access is simpler still, since iOS 15 and later can bypass the Level Home app and store the encrypted key in your Apple Wallet. Just walk up to the lock with your iPhone or Apple Watch (Series 4 or later) and touch the lock to open it.

Android users must use the Level Home app to receive a key, which makes granting and revoking access easy. You can also email keys to guests before they arrive so they can enter when you aren’t there. And when they are gone, you can delete the key so it can’t be used again. Level also offers an optional $79 keypad that supports key codes.

I found one issue using the Level Lock+ Connect over a longer period: the single CR2 battery only lasted for a few weeks rather than the claimed several months. Level recently issued an update to their locks that, they claimed, addressed this glitch. Since this update, I haven’t experienced any issues.

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The Home Depot

Defiant Smart Deadbolt

Type: Single-cylinder deadbolt | Connectivity: 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Smart home integrations: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, The Home Depot Hubspace | Entry options: Physical key, key codes (11), app | Power: 4 AA batteries | Finishes: Satin Nickel, Matte Black, Aged Bronze | Size: 5 x 2.6 x 0.8 inches (front), 6.2 x 2.6 x 1.1 inches (rear)

Best for:

  • Smart home owners on a budget
  • A simple, clean design that looks good on older doors

Skip if:

  • You want features like fingerprint entry
  • You already have a smart home system from Ring or Nest

If you need to keep expenses low but want the conveniences of a smart lock, the Defiant Smart Deadbolt (sold exclusively at The Home Depot) is a simple smart lock that lets you control access to your home without spending a fortune. It isn’t the fanciest or most sophisticated lock of the bunch, but at around $100, this model makes its mark as my pick for best value smart lock.

The lock looks attractive and is well designed. Its Aged Bronze color is mostly black and features bronze highlights that created a texture that worked well with my existing bronze door lever. The front part of the lock is thin; it measures less than an inch thick. If you prefer a more modern look, there is a square version as well, plus Matte Black and Satin Nickel finishes in addition to the Aged Bronze.

The Defiant Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt is a lot cost way to add smart locks to your home.

Richard Baguley For Forbes

The rear of the lock—the part that sits inside your home—is less attractive than the front. It’s big and ungainly, measuring over six inches tall and made of plastic. The only part that doesn’t feel like a visual downgrade is the thumb turn (the handle that you turn to open the lock from the inside), which shares the same stylish finish as found on the lock’s front. The top of the back slides up to reveal the battery compartment, which holds four AA batteries, a reset button and a QR code to set up the lock with the Home Depot’s Hubspace smart home system.

The Defiant was simple to install. The smaller front plate fitted easily onto the front of my door, with two bolts on the backplane (the metal plate on the back of the door) holding it in place. The larger back part of the lock clipped onto the backplane. A single cable connects the two; it feeds through a dedicated hole in the backplane so it won’t get tangled in the bolt mechanism. If you buy this lock, though, don’t forget to snag some batteries, too. They’re not included—a concession to keep the low cost.

The lock does not have Wi-Fi built in. Instead, you use the included Hubspace Smart Plug to create a gateway to the internet. This means that the plug has to be connected within about 30 feet of the lock if you want to control it remotely via the Hubspace app.

I found Hubspace’s smart home system and corresponding apps easy to use, but they lack the polish of systems like Google’s Nest or Apple’s HomeKit. The Hubspace app let me set up door codes for single-use or unlimited uses. There is no way to set codes with a time limit or invite other users to manage codes. As with other models, I could always revoke a code at will, which is useful since the Defiant has a limit of 11 codes, one master and 10 for other users. I also couldn’t give someone a digital key—it’s physical keys or key codes only.

It also integrates well with Amazon Alexa and Google Home systems. You can check the lock’s status, unlock it or lock it on command. There is no support for Apple’s HomeKit system, though.


Yale Assure Lock 2 Touch

Type: Single-cylinder deadbolt | Connectivity: 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Smart home integrations: Amazon Alexa, Apple Home, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings | Entry options: Physical key, key codes (250), fingerprints (20), app | Power: 4 AA batteries | Finishes: Satin Nickel, Bronze, Black Suede | Size: 4.9 x 2.5 x 0.8 inches (front), 4.9 x 2.7 x 1.6 inches (rear)

Best for:

  • Users who want key codes and fingerprint access
  • When buying more than one lock
  • Smart Home integration

Skip if:

  • You want an unobtrusive lock
  • You want to offer both fingerprint & Apple HomeKey
  • You want to install multiple fingerprint locks

If you need multiple ways to open a lock, the Yale Assure Lock 2 Touch provides several. You can use a conventional manual key, a fingerprint or up to 250 entry codes—the most of any lock I tested. That makes it my pick for those who want flexible access, whether it’s a key code or a fingerprint. This stylish lock has a streamlined design that looks great on old or new doors, although it does look like a high-tech device.

The outside of the Yale Assure Lock 2 Touch looks high-tech.

Richard Baguley for Forbes

I tested the touch model with the black suede finish, but a keyless design with a smaller touchpad also exists. The fingerprint and manual key version I tested includes the small plug-in Wi-Fi module that provides remote access.

Unfortunately, Yale makes you choose between fingerprints or Apple HomeKey: If you want to store digital keys in your Apple Wallet, you must buy the $290 Yale Assure Lock 2 Plus, which doesn’t include a fingerprint reader. The Yale Assure Lock 2 Touch does support Apple Home, though, so you can control the lock and monitor it from the Apple Home app.

The lock was easy to install in place of the old lock on my back door. The large back plate with the four AA batteries attaches via a cable to the exterior keypad through the hole to create the lock mechanism.

The front keypad has a clean, simple, all-black design, although it looks rather high-tech. Touch the Yale logo or tap on the panel and the touch buttons light up, ready to accept your code. The fingerprint reader is under the Yale button at the top of the keypad, a location that isn’t immediately obvious to new users. The keypad also only lights up when you tap it a couple of times, a feature intended to save battery power.

Use the keypad or your fingerprint to unlock the Yale Assure Lock 2 Touch.

Richard Baguley for Forbes

The interior part is rather large and clumsy compared to the front. It shares the same solid metal construction and attractive design, but the plastic panel over the battery compartment detracts from the look. Below that panel is a large, comfortable thumb turn and a button that stops the auto lock from activating. This is useful if you need multiple trips to carry in groceries from the car.

I found it easy to control and program the Yale Assure Lock 2 Touch with the Yale Access app (available on iOS and Android). The app can automatically generate up to 250 six-digit key codes, but you can also set your own four- to eight-digit codes.

Fingerprints are also easy to set up. You set up a user in the app and ask them to touch the fingerprint sensor under the Yale logo 12 times. The fingerprint sensor on the lock can hold up to 20 individual fingerprints, which are stored locally. Unfortunately, there is no way to share fingerprints between locks, so if you have several Assure Lock 2 Touches in your home, you must scan each fingerprint on each lock.

The Yale app also facilitates connecting to smart home systems via Wi-Fi, which worked in my tests without issues across Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. Yale’s Apple Watch version of the app can also open and close the lock from your watch. It’s not as convenient as Apple HomeKey, but it is still a nice feature to have.

Other Smart Locks I Tested

I tested a number of other smart locks. While they didn’t quite make the cut, they still have great features that are still worth your consideration.

Nest x Yale ($270 on Best Buy): If you have a Google Nest alarm and smart home system, the Nest x Yale is a great pick. It integrates with the Nest system, so it shares the connectivity of Nest devices and notifies you in the Nest app whenever someone uses the lock. That notification links to the corresponding video from your Nest Cam to see who is home. It’s a smart and simple lock, but the lack of a physical key may be off-putting for smart home novices or older users. Plus, no built-in support for Alexa or Apple HomeKit smart home systems will leave some users in the cold.

Lockly Vision Elite ($500 on Best Buy): This physically large, highly sophisticated lock combines a fingerprint, key code and physical key smart lock with a video doorbell and camera, plus a small solar panel to keep the rechargeable battery juiced up. It’s awkward to use, though. I found that most users didn’t see the doorbell, even with the included stick-on sign that directs people to the combined device. The fingerprint reader on the side was also awkward, as it was barely visible between the lock and door frame, so some visitors had trouble finding it. It’s also expensive. Ultimately, I found this model a jack-of-all-trades but master of none.

While not cheap, this smart lock has a built in HD video camera and also serves as a smart video … [+] doorbell. It also offers multiple ways to lock and unlock the door.

Best Buy

Kwikset Halo Wi-Fi Touchscreen ($199 on Amazon): This ungainly smart lock is fairly easy to install, but the touch-screen keypad often takes a couple of taps to activate. The Kwikset SmartKey system allows you to change physical keys without replacing the lock cylinder, but the smart screen security feature—which makes you tap two random numbers before your key code—confused some of my visitors. It obscures the code if someone is watching or trying to figure out the code from the touch traces on the keypad, but it is more hassle than it is worth.

August Smart Lock Pro + Connect ($200 on August): The August Smart Lock Pro takes a different approach than most of the locks here: Instead of replacing your old lock completely, it replaces the part on the back of the door, adding smarts and a motor that can open and close the lock. This is all removable, so it is a good pick for a rental apartment or planned community where you can’t replace the locks, but you can remove the back of the lock. Like many of the locks I tested, this one does not support Wi-Fi directly; you have to install and configure the included gateway device. The gateway is a small white box that plugs into a wall socket up to about 20 feet away and talks to the lock over a Bluetooth connection. The handy app alerts you when someone opens the lock.

The August Smart Lock Pro + Connect offers a contemporary design with Wi-Fi capabilities for remote … [+] access.


Yale Approach ($129 on Amazon): Like the August Connect, the Yale Approach replaces the rear part of your existing lock, replacing it with a smartphone-sized box complete with a large thumb turn. Powered by four AA batteries, this noticeable but not overly large box motorizes the lock it so you can control it from the Yale Access app, Amazon Alexa, Google home or Apple HomeKit. There is no support for Apple HomeKeys, though. In addition, a mouse-sized Yale Connect device plugs into a power socket somewhere nearby and connects the lock to your home Wi-Fi so you can control it remotely. Yale also offers the Approach in a $230 bundle with the Yale Keypad Touch, a battery-powered keypad and fingerprint reader that can open the lock. It’s a well-priced and fairly discrete solution for when you can’t (or don’t want to) replace the entire lock, but want to be able to offer fingerprint or keycode access.

Yalee Approach and Yale Keypad Touch


Level Bolt ($200 on Amazon): If you want a lock that doesn’t flaunt its smarts, Level Bolt is a good choice. The entire smart lock fits inside the door, using your existing lock’s outside and back cover. In the same way as the Level Lock+, all the smarts fit in the space previously taken up by the bolt mechanism. Even the small CR2 lithium battery fits inside the bolt itself. Unlike other locks, the Level Bolt requires the bore space measure exactly the standard 2.1 inches wide. If you have a modern door, you should be fine, but older doors might require you to widen your bore space to make it fit.

How I Tested The Best Smart Locks

For this article, I considered smart locks that work with or replace the most common single-cylinder deadbolt locks. Other types of smart locks are available, such as those that replace lever locks, but these are much less common.

To choose the best smart locks, I tested them on the front door of my standard suburban house in the Boston area. I evaluated how easy each lock was to install, then used it for some time, noting how easy it was to add different users, scan fingerprints (where applicable) and use the lock. I tested all the different access methods each lock offers, both electronic and manual.

All the locks I tested support Wi-Fi, which allows you to control and monitor the lock remotely. The level of Wi-Fi integration varies widely, though. The Level Lock Connect+, Defiant Smart Deadbolt and Yale Assure Lock 2 Touch include an intermediary device that connects the lock to Wi-Fi. All smart locks work on the 2.4 GHz frequency, which can get crowded with the many smart devices that use it, but I had no issue with this in my testing.

Many older doors have roughly cut or unevenly shaped boreholes because older locks don’t need a completely clear space. Some smart locks—particularly the Level Lock Connect+—require an evenly cut, round borehole, as they fill the entire hole. If you need to widen your borehole, you can do so with a lock installation kit that includes drill bits.

Once I installed each lock, I tested the corresponding app that manages its settings and access controls. I created entry codes and digital keys, creating users who could come and go. I also tested how easily each lock connected to my smart home system, using the respective apps from Amazon, Google and Apple to control it. I weighed all these factors to determine which lock provided the best balance of features, ease of use and flexibility.

My Expertise

I have reviewed consumer tech gear since 1992, back when 3.5-inch floppy disks were cool and laptops still weighed nine pounds. Since then, I have tested products spanning the gamut from coffee makers to Wi-Fi routers for publications like Wired, Tom’s Guide and PCWorld.

My expertise has involved creating new test guidelines for products at many different publications and building strict methodologies to make sure you’re truly purchasing the best products on the market. I’ve reviewed thousands of products over the years, and I understand how the right technology can make a difference in daily life.

How To Choose The Best Smart Locks

When choosing the best smart lock to secure your home, you’ll want to consider several features to make sure you get one that works well for you. Here’s what you should consider before investing in one.

  • Security features: Make sure you get a smart lock with robust security, including two-factor authentication, encryption and tamper alarms. Some smart locks use key pads, while others use fingerprints. Choose the type of security you prefer.
  • Connectivity options: Be sure the smart lock supports various connectivity options like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. This flexibility allows for seamless integration like your smart home (more on that below), which makes it more convenient to use.
  • Ease of installation and use: Opt for smart locks that are easy to install and come with clear instructions or installation videos. Most smart locks come with easy installation instructions, including user-friendly apps; some even come with voice command compatibility with assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri, that can help you install your smart lock.
  • Power source and battery life: Check the power source and battery life of the smart lock. Locks with long-lasting batteries and low-battery alerts ensure you’re never locked out unexpectedly. Some models also offer backup power options, like a physical key or external battery connection, for added peace of mind in case you ignore that low battery notification on your phone.
  • Smart home integration: Consider how well the smart lock integrates with your existing smart home ecosystem, whether that’s Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or another smart home assistant. Compatibility with home automation platforms, security systems and other smart devices can provide a more cohesive home security setup.

Are Smart Locks Secure?

Smart locks are as safe and secure as your old manual ones. They undergo the same testing and are compliant with same security standards, so you can install them with confidence. However, remember that any smart lock is only as secure as the keys it uses: Changing the keycode on a lock won’t stop someone coming in if they still have a physical key, or vice versa.

Do Smart Locks Work When The Power Goes Out?

Yes. All of the locks we tested here run on batteries and verify passcodes, fingerprints and key cards internally. That means that if the power goes out, you can still use them. However, you may not be able to control them remotely or add and remove users if the Internet is not available due to a power outage.

What Are Apple HomeKeys?

Apple HomeKeys is a new feature in their HomeKit smart home system. While all of the locks we tested can use a manufacturer app, Apple Home Keys takes this a step further, creating an encrypted key stored on your Apple device wallet, like a credit card. Hold the device close to the lock, and it sends the Home Key to the lock, which opens. It’s like using Apple Pay at the store, but with your house key.

It even works if your iPhone or Apple Watch is out of juice; the key can be is stored in a special circuit that works even without battery power. It works on any iPhone XS or later, and any Apple Watch Series 4 or later.

Apple Home Key is a new feature, so a lock can support the Apple Home Kit smart home system, but not Home Key Locks that support Apple Home Keys are more expensive, because the manufacturer has to pay a fee to Apple. Of the locks we tested, The Level Lock+ Connect and the Yale Assure 2 Plus (a version of the Assure Touch without a fingerprint sensor) support it, but other manufacturers will be adding support for it in future models.

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