Unlocking the Debate: Choosing Between a New Smart Lock or Retrofitting Your Existing Deadbolt

Schlage Encode Plus smart lock mounted on a wooden door leading to a living area.

Regarding smart locks, all variations essentially fall into two groups. The initial group will be recognizable to most individuals since these are classic smart locks created to substitute your current deadbolt. This implies you will receive a new set of keys for your main entrance, along with equipment that introduces intelligent features to your residence.

The second type of smart lock is a retrofit smart lock. These unique devices are fashioned to fit over your existing hardware — permitting you to continue using your old keys while integrating intelligent features. Both types of smart locks are excellent methods to enhance your main entrance, but which is ideal for your home? Here’s an in-depth look to assist you in determining whether to switch your traditional deadbolt with a smart lock or set up a retrofit smart lock instead.

Assess your DIY abilities

The Lockly Flex Touch smart lock.

One of the major distinctions between a classic smart lock and a retrofit smart lock is the installation process. Most buyers should be able to install both types of products, although retrofit smart locks are unquestionably simpler. This is due to the fact that you do not have to worry about aligning a new deadbolt properly with your door, as you will just be utilizing your existing hardware. Instead, all you truly need to do is slip the new smart lock on top of the existing unit. Once that is completed, your installation is finished.

For classic smart locks, you are essentially installing an entire new deadbolt system. Depending on your product and the design of your current hardware, this may necessitate the use of power tools to realign plates or carve out areas of the doorframe for a better fit. Once again, this is typically a relatively straightforward procedure, but it is undoubtedly more detailed than with retrofit smart locks.

Given this, retrofit smart locks are more suitable for individuals concerned about their DIY abilities, as they are much simpler to set up and activate.

Explore all the models on the market

The Yale Assure Lock 2 Smart Lock Deadbolt keypad being used by someone.

Retrofit and classic smart locks are available in various shapes and sizes. Nonetheless, most smart locks currently accessible are of the “classic” type. This makes classic locks the preferred choice for discerning shoppers, as there is a high likelihood you will discover something that meets all your criteria.

For example, the Yale Assure Lock 2 is a traditional smart lock that can be customized in numerous ways, allowing you to select options such as keyed, key-free, Wi-Fi support, Bluetooth support, or fingerprint scanner support. Others, like the Lockly Vision, come with solar panels to passively charge the unit and are filled with unique safety features.

Retrofit smart locks are rather limited in comparison, offering restricted functionality and fewer available models. Some, such as the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, do not even come with a keypad, providing access via either a physical key or their mobile companion application. This indicates you will likely need to settle for a retrofit smart lock with fewer intelligent features or one that does not perfectly align with your needs and desires.

Intelligent connectivity

A person unlocking the Aqara U100 smart lock with their phone.

Irrespective of the smart lock you opt for, it is likely to offer a plethora of connectivity options. Most smart locks come with mobile companion applications, enabling you to personalize their functionality or access them remotely. Certain models utilize Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, while others may provide support for Matter or Z-Wave for enhanced functionality. Fortunately, this type of connectivity is available in both retrofit and classic smart locks, so it should not play a significant role in your decision-making process.

Both are superb upgrades

Including any smart lock to your main entrance is usually a prudent investment. These gadgets make it simpler than ever to grant access to your residence to visitors and family members while ensuring it remains secure from strangers.

Buyers looking for a robust smart lock with a multitude of features will likely find classic smart locks to be the preferable choice, whereas retrofit smart locks are more suitable for individuals seeking a speedy installation process. Retrofit smart locks may also be a good choice for tenants since they do not necessitate new deadbolts or keys. You should confirm with your landlord, but there is a strong possibility they will be permitted according to your lease agreement.

Valentina Rogers

Valentina is a tech-savvy wordsmith, blending her expertise in digital trends with a talent for crafting compelling stories that resonate with readers of all backgrounds.

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