Many people want to upgrade their sliding door with some awesome smart lock technology but aren’t sure if that type of product even exists.
Due to the large variance in sliding door design, there is no commercial smart lock solution to sliding doors. Unlike traditional deadbolts, every glass door is different in the way that it locks and unlocks. This variance makes it very difficult for companies to manufacture a door lock that would fit a large portion of consumers.
There a few more reasons why companies haven’t developed a product in this market, and I would love to talk about why. There are even some other solutions if you are willing to do some heavy modifications.
Why companies haven’t made smart locks for sliding doors
Many people already have a smart lock on their front door and the fall in love with the concept.
Smart locks are so cool, and if you have one you know what it is like to have the power and peace of mind that comes with a smart lock. Whether you are looking to add on to your current smart home solutions or install your first smart lock on your sliding door, there is a lot of appeal in having a smart lock installed on a sliding door.
Many people tend to leave their sliding doors unlocked, yet that is a major security threat. It would be great if you could install a smart lock to add a lot of security to your home. Much of the appeal that smart locks have is the idea that you can sit in bed and lock up your entire home with the touch of a button, but without a smart lock on your sliding glass door, you really can’t know that.
So why hasn’t anybody made a smart lock for glass doors if there is such high demand for such a device?
It is actually quite simple
With most smart locks, they are a “one size fits all” model. Almost any smart lock can be installed on any door because deadbolts are pretty simple and have many standards that the entire industry follows. Almost every non-electronic deadbolt is basically indistinguishable from its competition.
This industry standard for deadbolts makes it really easy to engineer a smart lock that works with the current system to secure your home. These smart locks sometimes even use the deadbolt that is already in place, and simply piggyback on top of the existing hardware to make things even more seamless.
The issue with sliding doors is that they have a ton of variance in how they are created and designed. Although it is really great for home design, it really hurts the chances of there being any sort of smart lock solution.
Put yourself in the shoes of any sort of smart lock company. Although they may have a lot of different models, most of the difference between each of the models is look. They all have basically the same design and hardware.
Schlage, for example, has a plethora of smart locks, but almost all of them are deadbolt based with a keypad on the outside. Schlage makes really great locks because they stick to what works best.
If they were to start manufacturing locks for sliding doors, they would need to seriously alter the design for each and every different brand of doors. Some doors have a similar deadbolt system but instead, they use a hook. Although making a smart lock for these sliding doors might be relatively straightforward, the potential market is relatively small when compared to their normal deadbolt market.
Everybody has a deadbolt, but only some have sliding doors
Every single homeowner has a deadbolt of some kind. Most people even have multiple deadbolts due to the need for back doors. This means that the market for smart locks is huge, and therefore demands a lot of research and development from large companies. They develop their smart locks because there a large number of people demanding them.
Although there are still a lot of sliding doors in the world that are potential customers, no smart lock company has decided that it is worth it to start research and development on a lock that fits on a sliding door.
Hopefully, there is some sort of deal worked out in the future where sliding door companies make their locking mechanism more consistent so our favorite smart lock manufacturers can get us some kind of solution.
What if I just want to know if my sliding door is locked?
Many of you love your smart locks because they tell you whether or not your door is locked. That added security helps some people sleep better at night. I totally understand that.
Several solutions are available, but my personal favorite is buying a simple Wifi camera that you can put in a place that has a good view of your sliding door. This would let you view your door and see if it is at the very least closed, but if you have the type of sliding door with a very obvious locking mechanism you will be able to tell if it is locked.
I realize that this is not the best solution, but it at least will give you more peace of mind if you are far away and just need to know if everything is locked up. If you absolutely cannot get to your door to lock it then you can call a trusted neighbor, and with the added security of a wifi camera, you can even make sure that your neighbor is doing anything they are not supposed to!
One more thing that might work to know if your door is locked
So, many companies sell these very small sensors that only tell you if a door is closed, but what if I told you there was a way to rig it so that you would know if your door is locked?
May I present the Nest Detect.
I love this device. It is so cool. The way I could see this being used on your door is by attaching the nest detect to your sliding door, and then attaching the corresponding sensor piece to the locking mechanism in a way that puts it close to the nest detect when the door is locked.
See how cool this could be?
It is a pretty simple solution to that problem, and although it may not be able to lock your door, it will be able to do plenty of other things that smart locks generally don’t do such as motion sensing and other handy tools. This tool is made by google, so check it out on the google store and see for yourself.
Home Grown Solutions
I do not recommend using smart locks for anything but their intended purpose, but if you are dead set on installing some sort of locking mechanism, and are willing to do some heavy modifications to do it, I have some ideas for you.
1: Don’t bother messing with the locking mechanism itself.
Your first reaction is going to be to find a way to rig a deadbolt smart lock to work on a sliding door lock, and that simply will not happen.
The best thing to do is to install your own locking mechanism at the bottom of the door somewhere along the sliding track. All you need to do is have a mechanism that will place and remove something that will block the door from moving into the open position. Whether you rig a deadbolt lock on the floor to slide into place or you have some sort of system to lock an arm into position is up to you.
2: Buy a cheap smart lock to pull apart.
Building something from scratch may sound like fun, but it is going to take a lot of work. The best thing to do is find some sort of smart device that you can jerry-rig into places it shouldn’t be. My recommendation is to get a cheap deadbolt lock and find out a way that you can use the deadbolt motion to stop your door from moving back and forth.
3: Try not to make it look ugly.
Nobody wants some ugly wires and metal pieces sticking out everywhere. Try and make your lock discreet and borderline unnoticeable.
If you are going to try this, I wish you luck. It is going to be more of a project than you intend it to be.
Can I install a smart lock on a garage door? There are plenty of smart locks for garage doors as well as doors with just a handle lock. Although expensive, they are easy to install and have many if not all of the standard smart lock features.
Do all smart locks require a hub? Many smart locks do not require a hub to function, but in order to have any features outside of using a smartphone as a Bluetooth key, a hub is required.