If you are in the market for a smart lock, it is important to know what type of power they need to function.
So do smart locks need power? Yes, Smart locks are powered by a set of batteries that last up to a year depending on the type of lock. Most smart locks use Bluetooth or WiFi, with Bluetooth being more energy efficient. Smart locks using WiFi will last an average of 1-4 months. No commercial smart lock uses a wall outlet.
Smart locks are of course an awesome option for your home, but the concern of replacing batteries is a justified one.
Power in a Smart Lock
The issue with having smart devices around your home is that they can end up being more work than they warrant. 20 years ago, somebody would scoff at the idea that you need to replace the batteries in your door!
Think of how often you replace the batteries in your smoke alarms, and that is about how often you will be replacing the batteries in your Smart Lock. They are really low power if you have them set up in the right configuration, and generally, don’t even have the option to plug it into a wall outlet even if you wanted to.
If you are barely looking into smart locks, then you might be relieved or bummed to hear that they use batteries. You might be in the camp that was worried about running a cable across your door, or you might be the type that hates worrying about normal AA batteries.
I am sure that eventually homes will be built with a door that has built-in power, and save us the hassle. Unfortunately, if you are adding a smart lock into your door you are stuck with batteries.
If you are using a smart lock that uses Bluetooth, you can expect your batteries to last a year or so. If your smart lock is one that uses WiFi, then mileage may vary.
People with smart locks that connect to WiFi report their smart locks lasting anywhere between one and four months. I don’t know about you, but I that is way too much for me. I absolutely hate the hassle of maintaining things like that. I can handle changing batteries once a year, but any more than that and a smart lock begins to lose its value.
From what I have said, Bluetooth may seem the obvious option. If the batteries last longer, then why wouldn’t you want to go with that? Well, it’s not that simple. There are plenty of other factors to consider when choosing a smart lock other than just how long something lasts.
Let’s say you are in France, and the person you have coming by to water your houseplants does not have a key. The issue with a Bluetooth lock is that you need to be within a fairly close distance in order to access the lock, and France is not close enough. With a wifi based lock, you could unlock your home remotely from France over the internet. As you can see, battery life isn’t as simple as it gets.
The extra features presented by having a WiFi lock are great, but they drain your battery quickly. Fortunately, there is another option called Z-Wave. Z-Wave acts like Bluetooth but instead of linking to your phone it links to a hub that is installed in your home. That hub is connected to a power outlet as well as your internet. Meaning the hub does all the power-heavy lifting, which allows your lock to have a lifespan of over a year!
Z-Wave locks are the perfect combination of low maintenance and features. The added cost and hassle that is required to have the Z-Wave hub that is placed in your outlet may deter some from using it, which is understandable.
Extending Battery Life
Obviously, there are ways to extend battery life past the normal year or so.
Most people buy simple AA batteries at the store, and those will work fine for most people. If you are like me, however, and you want to worry about things as little as possible, there is a simple solution that could double your locks battery life.
They are Lithium Batteries.
I know you have probably already thought of that, but trust me these guys are worth every penny. My Father is an avid hunter and he uses these batteries in his cameras that he hangs up in the woods for the whole year. His cameras run out of storage space well before they run out of juice. If you are looking into getting a smart lock, it is a good idea to invest in some of these awesome little batteries.
Best case scenario, if you are using batteries, is to have a Z-Wave smart lock with Lithium-Ion batteries. That type of lock has all the functionality as well as massive battery life to make maintenance a breeze. The entire point of decking your house out with this type of fancy gear is to make your life easier rather than harder right?
Having batteries that do a better job is great and all, but what if I told you we could eliminate the batteries altogether?
This nifty device turns any battery powered device into a wall powered device. How cool is that? I personally prefer this type of thing in my devices rather than worry about batteries all the time, but many people hate cords in places they shouldn’t be.
Depending on how invested you are into your project, you might find some way to disguise the skinny cord inside of your door or something. The sky is the limit!
The Smart Locks that Last the Longest
The Schlage Century
|Schlage Z-Wave Connect Century Touchscreen Deadbolt with Built-In Alarm, Works with Alexa via...||from $179.00||Buy on Amazon|
Last update on 2020-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
My first pick would have to be the Schlage Century. This bad boy hits all of the really important features that I value, and with Lithium batteries, you could expect this guy to last between 18-24 months.
The Schlage Century uses Z-Wave technology to give you access to your door lock from anywhere in the world as well as preserve that precious battery usage.
Since it is a Z-Wave product, you need to find a compatible hub for your device, which is a little bit more out of pocket, unfortunately. I really think that the benefits are great, and if you are in the market to upgrade your home with devices such as this, you are probably going to want a Z-Wave receiver anyway. My brother uses Z-Wave for his thermostat as well as his door lock and he is in love.
Make the investment, you won’t regret it.
August Smart Lock Pro Connect
|August Smart Lock Pro + Connect Wi-Fi Bridge, 3rd gen technology - Silver, works with Alexa, HomeKit...||from $178.99||Buy on Amazon|
Last update on 2020-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
My second pick is the August Smart Lock Pro Connect. I personally love having a keypad as the Schlage has, but this lock will do in a pinch. The great thing about it is that it is installed on top of your current deadbolt! I really hate having to fix things that are not broken, so this type of thing that just adds to the user experience really helps. It comes with a Z-Wave hub that looks really clean cut when plugged into the wall, and advertises Alexa and google assistant capabilities.
There is nothing better than having a product that is so streamlined that it really feels like a burden is being lifted off of your back. Products that require a lot of set up take a while to earn their way into the “worth it” category. With the August Smart Lock line, you can get things going rather quickly, and enjoy the full capabilities of an automated deadbolt.
August has a really thorough app layout, meaning you can track who is coming in and out using your lock as well as adding and removing permissions for different people. Cool right?
It is Only Going to Get Better
Smart lock technology is progressing constantly along with the entire field of home automation and security. There is so much potential for improvements that anybody can get excited!
Smoke alarms are an excellent example of what might be coming down the road. Older generation smoke alarms require a battery replacement every year, while the newer ones are Carbon monoxide detectors as well as smoke detectors and have a battery in them that lasts ten years. That is really amazing.
Hopefully one day we will have Smart Locks that will last 5+ years without needing new batteries, and by that point, you can just upgrade to the newest model that will last 10+ years and so on.
If the power situation for smart locks isn’t satisfactory for you my suggestion is to wait a little while. Give the market some time to develop something more akin to what you are looking for. Who knows, they might surprise you with exactly what you are looking for.
These locks are awesome and in my opinion changing batteries once a year is a small price to pay for the amazing convenience remote access to your home. Really what they are providing is a peace of mind, and that is priceless.
What happens when a smart lock runs out of power? If a smart lock runs out of power it becomes unusable. Most smart locks have a manual keyhole for this reason, but those that are just a keypad will no longer open. Generally, smart locks will notify the user well before they lose electricity.
Are there rechargeable smart locks? Many smart locks feature a rechargeable battery that is removed, charged, and then replaced. This mode of power is common in smart locks with extremely power heavy features such as a camera, intercom, and wifi connectivity.