You don’t have to own your home to want to keep it safe. A rented home is still a home, still the most important place in your life. If you’re searching for a way to increase the security of your home, digital smart locks are a great place to start.
However, you can’t just go out and buy any smart lock on the market. There are many popular models that require the user to replace the existing hardware on their door. Anything that requires renovation is going to be a tough sell for renters, especially because it means that the landlord will have to go through the trouble of making new keys.
Before going down that road, there are a few door-saving smart lock models that renters should try.
The absolute best smart lock that renters can buy is the August Smart Lock Pro. These are the flagship models in the smart security market, but for those on a tighter budget, there is also the Friday smart lock. And if you’re overseas, the European market offers the Nuki smart lock, which is also highly rated.
All of these smart locks were chosen because they do not require any hardware replacement on your door, keeping landlords happy. But each one still comes with different features and advantages, so the search isn’t over quite yet.
Last update on 2021-01-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
August Smart Lock Pro
The August Smart Lock Pro is one of the most popular smart locks on the market today, and it’s easy to see why.
For renters, the easy installation is perhaps the greatest thing this model has to offer.
No professionals are needed here. As long as you have a screwdriver and a couple of hands, you can be sure that you have everything you need to add this device to your home.
Because August Smart Lock Pro is compatible with almost all single-cylinder deadbolts, you and your landlord can keep all of your existing keys to the property.
The steps to install this smart lock are simple.
Simply tape down the keyed side of the lock on the outside of the door to keep it in place while you remove the thumb latch on the inside of the door. Keep the thumb latch to reinstall later if you want to move.
Now that the thumb latch is gone, prepare the mounting plate by adjusting the screw holes and inserting the screws from the thumb latch into the holes.
Attach your mounting plate where the thumb latch used to be, and choose one of the three included adapters to attach. The adapter you need will vary, so try each one until you find one that fits.
Then, open the wing latches on either side of the August Smart Lock Pro and attach it to the mounting plate.
Clamp down the side wing latches to secure the lock and press the August logo to detach the faceplate and remove the battery tab.
Replace the faceplate, connect the lock to your August app, and you’re ready to go!
You don’t have to be a contractor to upgrade the security of your home.
Aside from the simple installation, you’ll enjoy being able to lock and unlock your door from your phone.
Bluetooth technology will sense your phone as you approach your front door, unlocking it for you and locking it again when you leave automatically.
Additionally, if you purchase the August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge along with your Smart Lock Pro, you’ll be able to control your lock from anywhere.
Receive alerts about the status of your door, control who has access to your home, and even connect the lock to other smart home devices so you can manage your lock using voice control.
Kwikset Kevo Convert
The August Smart Lock Pro can be a breaking point for a lot of budgets.
For those biting their nails about the price of the August Smart Lock, the Kwikset Kevo Convert can be the perfect low-budget solution at a low price on Amazon.
Kwikset has been a trusted lock manufacturer for over 70 years, and they continue to remain relevant by keeping up with modern security trends like digital smart locks.
They have put out several digital models, but the best one for renters by far is the Kwikset Kevo Convert because, like the August Smart Lock, it does not require the exterior hardware of your door to be replaced.
However, most renters will discover that a discounted price means increased labor on their part, and the Kwikset Kevo Convert is no exception, though you still shouldn’t need more than a screwdriver and perhaps a ruler to get the job done.
Before you buy anything, make sure that your existing deadbolt is compatible.
Only deadbolts that have a thumb latch mounted separately from the handle will be compatible, which means if you have a rim lock, mortise lock, or an integrated interior attaching the thumb latch and the handle, your door will not be compatible and will require separate hardware.
Additionally, the Kevo Convert can only handle certain door thicknesses, so be sure that yours falls within 1 ⅜” and 1 ¾”.
If everything on your door is compatible, you can use the Kevo Convert.
Compared to the August Smart Lock, there are a few more steps to install it, and those steps are slightly more complicated, so I’ll just go through a condensed, simplified version of the setup process here so you can get an idea of whether or not you’d like to tackle this job yourself.
As with the August Smart Lock, you’ll start by removing all the parts in your existing thumb latch on the inside of your door.
From there, you’ll need to look closely at the interior hardware of your door to determine which parts you’ll need.
The installation pack comes with three separate kits with different adapters and screws depending on the kind of lock you’re dealing with.
Once you’ve selected the right kit, you’ll use the provided parts to attach the mounting plate to the place where the thumb latch used to be.
Kwikset recommends that you test the lock with your existing key at this point to make sure that the mounting plate doesn’t prevent the bolt from fully extending.
If the bolt gets stuck, you’ve either installed the mounting plate incorrectly or used the wrong kit to attach it.
If it extends without hindrance, you’ve installed the mounting plate correctly and can move on to attaching the interior assembly of the lock.
This is by far the most complicated part, taking up a few pages in the installation manual.
I won’t go into depth with the interior assembly, but it involves choosing and attaching adapters, removing batteries, and doing some special things if you have a Schlage deadbolt.
Once attached to your door, you’ll need to insert the batteries into the battery pack and test the LED lights on the Kevo Convert.
Then, you can attach the outer cover, connect it to your app, and begin using it.
If a complicated installation doesn’t bother you, then the Kwikset Kevo Convert is a good value option that still provides a lot of bells and whistles, not to mention peace of mind.
Friday Smart Lock
The August Smart Lock Pro can be a breaking point for a lot of budgets.
At the same time, you can’t get a decent smart lock without shelling out a decent amount of cash.
For those biting their nails about the price of the August Smart Lock, the Friday Smart Lock can be the perfect price compromise.
The Friday Smart Lock will also preserve your door’s hardware, but for more labor depending on your door.
For this installation, you will need a screwdriver and possibly a hacksaw, making it a little bit less user-friendly than the August Smart Lock.
First, you’ll start by removing the thumb latch, just like you would with the August model.
Here’s where the hacksaw may come in.
Most locks include what is called a “tailpiece.” Without getting into the entire anatomy and function of a lock, the tailpiece is what’s going to stick out when you remove the thumb latch on your door.
Depending on the size of your tailpiece, it may need to be shortened to fit the Friday Smart Lock.
After using the hacksaw to adjust the length of your tailpiece, you can rotate the Friday Lock until you find the red and green holes.
Attach the Friday Smart Lock to your door by screwing through the red and green holes, and then rotate the lock to determine the open and closed orientations.
You may need to use the included Door Adapter Plate if the hole left by your thumb latch is larger than the Friday Smart Lock.
Install the tailpiece adapter and insert the battery. Lastly, attach the outer shell.
The installation might be a little rougher than the August Smart Lock Pro, but Friday still has some benefits to bring to the table.
Like August, Friday has an app through which you can control the lock and receive alerts.
In contrast to August, Friday’s Scandinavian design is much subtler. It’s actually the smallest digital smart lock with Bluetooth technology on the market, so if you’re into minimal designs, Friday might be the lock for you.
You can also purchase different shells for Friday, changing the design of the lock whenever you feel like it.
Nuki Smart Lock 2.0
Lastly, we have the Nuki Smart Lock.
Again, this model is only available in Europe, but if you’re living on the eastern side of the world, you may want to give this device a try.
The Nuki model is unique from the other smart lock models in that it actually uses your key to turn the lock automatically.
If anything, this just decreases the impact the lock’s structure will have your door.
There are two different options for installing the Nuki Smart Lock onto your door, and it all depends on the amount of overhang your cylinder has.
For cylinders with less than 3 millimeters of overhang, you’ll need to take mounting plate A from the packaging and screw it to the door using the included wrench.
Then, with your key inserted into the lock, attach the Nuki Smart Lock to the mounting plate.
If you have a cylinder with more than 3 millimeters of overhang, the installation is even simpler.
Peeling off the protective backing, take mounting plate B and attach the adhesive side to the door.
Now, put your key into the lock and attach the Nuki Smart Lock to the mounting plate.
Of all three of the locks, this may be the easiest one to install in your home.
Like the other two, this device also comes with an app through which you can manage the lock and get alerts.
Following in the steps of August, Nuki also offers a Bridge device that connects your lock to Wi-Fi, enabling voice control through a variety of smart home devices.
This smart lock model goes for €, or if you pair it with the Bridge device in a special bundle, you can pay €.
What is the best lock for an Airbnb?
We voted the Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt as the best smart lock for Airbnb in 2021. Close behind were the August Smart Lock and the Lockly Bluetooth Keyless Entry Door Smart Lock (PGD728).
Check out our recommendation of the Best Smart Lock For Airbnb
Which smart locks work with Amazon Alexa?
Some of the smart locks that work with Amazon Alexa are the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect, Schlage Z-Wave Connect, Kwikset SmartCode, Yale Assure Lock SL with Z-Wave Plus, and Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt.
What is the best smart lock on the market?
August Smart Lock and August Smart Lock Pro are the best rated digital smart locks and are often found at the top of smart lock lists.