Electronic Deadbolts: Superior Security
There’s no escaping the ever-expanding world of smart technology. From cellular phones and wireless speakers to interactive refrigerators and cars with collision-avoidance systems, smart-tech devices have become an integral and, in most cases, important part of our daily lives.
And while electronic deadbolts may not be the sexiest use of smart technology, it’s certainly one of the most practical and beneficial applications. Electronic deadbolts provide the same level of security and protection against break-ins as traditional mechanical deadbolts, but are much more convenient to use and easier to operate. Plus, electronic deadbolts satisfy our undying love of gadgetry.
Before getting into any specifics, let’s take a quick look at how electronic deadbolts work, and why you should consider them for your home or apartment.
How it Works
Every major residential lock manufacturer now offers a line of electronic deadbolts, and each has its own unique design and mode of operation. However, most models are comprised of two main components: an exterior entry unit, and an interior electronics unit.
The exterior unit has a pushbutton keypad and usually a key slot, as well. The interior unit houses the electronics that operate the lock; it typically also has a thumb lever for manually throwing the bolt.
One of the key features of an electronic deadbolt is that it’s keyless. That’s right, there’s no need to find or fumble with keys to order to open your front door. Simply enter a personal pass code and the deadbolt will automatically unlock.
The electronics unit mounts on the inside of the door and has a tiny battery-powered motor. When you enter the proper code, the motor automatically retracts the bolt, unlocking the door. Upon exiting the house, there are several ways to conveniently lock the deadbolt, depending on the model chosen. You can reenter the code or press your palm against the touch screen. Other models have a one-touch locking button that allows you to lock the deadbolt by pressing a single button.
And some advanced electronic deadbolts have an auto-lock setting that greatly simplifies the locking process: Simply close the door and the deadbolt automatically locks after a predetermined amount of time of your choosing.
It’s also worth mentioning that electronic deadbolts are designed to replace traditional mechanical deadbolts. So, there’s no need to drill new holes, replace the existing lockset, or alter the door in any way. Most do-it-yourselfers can install an electronic deadbolt in less than 20 minutes using standard hand tools.
Benefits and Features
The first thing you’ll notice when shopping for electronic deadbolts is that they come in a wide variety of designs and finishes to complement any architectural style, so you’re sure to find one to match your home and personal preference.
You’ll also notice that there are two basic styles of entry pad. Some electronic deadbolts are equipped with pushbutton keypads, while others have illuminated touch pads that have smooth, flat surfaces. Both types work well, but many people prefer the sleeker, cleaner look of the touch pads.
Pass codes can be assigned for each family member, and separate temporary pass codes can be programmed for babysitters, dog walkers, contractors, and houseguests.
As mentioned earlier, most electronic deadbolts can be operated by entering a pass code or using a key. (The key is useful should the battery die, preventing electronic entry.) But newer ultra-smart models with Bluetooth connectivity allow you to operate the deadbolt remotely via your smart phone, tablet or iPod Touch. From virtually anywhere in the world, you can lock or unlock the door, change pass codes and issue new pass codes.
When shopping for electronic deadbolts, check to be sure it has a weak-battery indicator light, which will warn you when it’s time to install a fresh battery. This is an especially important feature if the deadbolt doesn’t have a key slot.
Electronic deadbolts prices vary widely, ranging from about $30 to over $250. However, a vast majority of models cost between $150 and $200, and as with most electronics, price is a good indication of quality.
And once you’ve decided on the electronic deadbolt that best suits your lifestyle, family and budget, consider installing one all exterior doors.