Please share your thoughts on locks - keypad vs no keypad


(Jim Archer) #1

H Everyone!

It’s time for me to think about locks, and for the purpose of this discussion I’m thinking of dividing them into two broad categories: Those with a numeric keypad, and those without a numeric keypad. The primary issue is ease of opening it for others / providing access to others.

Things like the DanaLock are very cool. I like the idea that with BLE it will detect my phone and open when I arrive home. Apparently there is a new model due out soon with many fixes, and the ability to talk Zigby to something like the ST hub. So I can control it remotely. All very nice.

DanaLock and similar concepts say we can send one time keys to other people via text. Well okay. They don’t say this but it seems like the person receiving that one time or recurring key needs to install the DanaLock app.

There are many choices of locks with keypads, so of course that makes it easy to grant access. But it seems these features don’t just detect your phone and unlock. And, the coolness factor is much lower. I suppose I could use a presence sensor to have ST open the lock for me.

One final, unrelated consideration is that all the units I have seen can be opened from the inside without a key. One of my doors is right next to a window, so none of those can go on that door. This is for the door from the garage. I normally leave that door unlocked and really don’t like to.

So what do you all think?

Thanks!

UPDATE: I did see a DanaLock type lock that has an available keypad, but wow, very pricy!


#2

As always, different things work for different people

At my house, we have a lot of people coming and going. Health aides, who don’t always have a smart phone. Friends of my housemates, who probably wouldn’t want to install an app and Who I definitely don’t want to have access to most things in the house. One of my housemates is hardly ever here, but the other one is a serious gamer and does not hear the doorbell or answer his texts when he’s gaming.

So for us, the keypad works great. We can set codes which are only good for certain times of day or which we can give out and then revoke after a one time visit. I could have the aides let themselves in in the morning when I may not have gotten out of bed yet. And of course the keypad works even if your phone is dead or missing.

But other people really don’t like the look of the keypad lock on the front door, and for them, The ones that only have an interior pieces are better choice.

Choice is good. :sunglasses:


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #3

I definitely prefer a keypad.

Nothing beats the convenience of being able to give the dog sitter or contactor or delivery personal a code to open the door by just leaving them a voicemail or text message.

In my opinion, smart locks without keypads are just gimmicks and have dropped the ball on their most valuable feature. Other features like Bluetooth or presence or fingerprint unlocking are just bonuses.


#4

Keypads that are not the button kind (gelly type, I don’t know how to call 'em!) are what I would suggest. Two of the buttons on my monoprice lock fell out after less than a year.


(Eric Brown) #5

I think the keypad option is great for those that are technologically challenged since some may struggle with an app on their phone that has to be open or running in the background to unlock the door. The optional keypad add on is a nice idea since you can have the best of both worlds, but now you have 2 pieces to keep fresh batteries in. August also offers an optional keypad at a more reasonable price (~$80), but it still suffers from the problem of providing an easy twist to unlock on the inside which is a problem next to a window or a door with a large window in it.

More recently my tune has changed on the need to avoid lever locks on the inside since about 2 years ago my home was broken into. The door was locked so they went through a window that had an AC in it (now that AC is much more secure). Maybe they would have gone out that back door if they could unlock the door without a key, but that didn’t stop them from getting in. Locks keep honest people out, since someone trying to get in could just go through that window. That’s is where adding an alarm/siren and glass break sensors (if there were any available) to your SmartThings setup could negate the need for a theft-deterring interior key lock.


(Jim Archer) #6

Thanks everyone, very good thoughts.

One other consideration I have is that I like having one key for the entire house. The DanaLock type things use your existing cylinder, but I think my locks are Kiwi, so I could probably use this:

And key it to my existing keys.

If a lock is under the control of a hub and the hub fails, it’s good to have a key.

When the hub is working, what controls access codes? When a code is a one use or limited by time constraints, is this done in the ST hub or in the lock?


(Brian Diehl) #7

I have a Kwikset 914 with keypad and love it.
I do use an 8 digit passcode so good luck guessing it (supports passcodes from 4 to 8 digits).

I don’t have it auto-unlock when I arrive home (just in case something on ST’s side goes crazy and changes presence on me like the hub reboots used to do).

The nicest part of the keypad for me is the lock button. I like being able to just pull the door closed and hit the lock button and know it’s locked behind me.

I do have it set to auto-lock 1 minute after the door closes so when I come home, I don’t have to worry about locking it behind me once I’m in (usually my hands are full when I come home, even from work).

I do still use my key to unlock sometimes, but I do have a widget set up on my phone to unlock so I can do it before I get out of the car (while my hands are still empty).

I re-keyed mine to the existing key (since I live in an apartment complex, easier for my maintenance guy this way).

To answer some questions @helios, you can have access codes programmed directly to the lock without ST, or you can have an app in ST program them and push them to the lock. These smart locks work without being connected to any hub if you just wanted a keypad (in fact they make keypad ones that do just that).

Here’s the lock code manager I use and it has a pretty good description and FAQ section that should give you more info:


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #8

While the options may be enhanced by the particular brand of lock and/or the choice of SmartThings Device Type Handler, the basic functionality (which is good!) of a keypad smart lock is built into the lock.

Usually that means the ability to store and delete a set of codes (programmed at the lock using an admin code). Some might have auto expiring or one-time use codes. Many have auto lock after timeout. No hub needed.

A basic lock DTH will just report which code slot was used to open the lock (along with manual lock and unlock events). SmartApp to auto lock is common.

A good lock manager DTH and SmartApp will let you add/remove codes from SmartThings along with scheduling (reference @rboy).

Folks have also used specific lock codes as an option to trigger SmartThings presence.


(Jim Archer) #9

Oaky great, so it sounds as if I don’t need to worry about tons of features in the lock itself, as long as it holds a bunch of codes the ST hub can program it. I suppose if a lock was really dumb a smart app could manage the codes by adding them and removing them at proper times to simulate them expiring in the lock.

There are lots of locks! I’m reading about them all…

I’m leaning toward the keypad lock. The cool factor is lower but the utility factor is much higher.


(www.rboyapps.com - Make your home your butler!) #10

SmartApps make dumb locks look great!


(Jim Archer) #11

How long do batteries last? I realize it probably depends on how frequently the lock moves, but most probably move at least twice a day or more…


#12

It’s typically stored in the lock so that even if your hub is offline, the code still works.

In most cases, codes can be set in either a smartapp or via the keypad.


(Jim Archer) #13

Thanks everyone…

I see that, at least with the Kwikset locks, I have to choose Z-Wave or ZigBee. Everything I have currently is Z-Wave and the ST hub will be at the opposite end of the house. I think ZigBee is good for about 150 feet. I think that should work.

If ZigBee battery life better? Then again, I suspect the bg battery drain here is moving the lock.


(www.rboyapps.com - Make your home your butler!) #14

Check this out, battery life can very from a few months to a year or more depending upon use and configured settings and lock models:


(Jim Archer) #15

Thats a great chart, thanks! From looking at it, it seems to lump all the locks from a given brand into one bucket. Does that mean that all the Kwikset locks, for example, have the same features electronically? I see that the keypads are different.


#16

Zigbee does generally have better battery life, but shorter range than zwave.

More importantly, strong Wi-Fi can drown out zigbee. (This is not a problem with Zwave.) since the lock is in a fixed location and you want it to work every time, people generally prefer Z wave for locks.


(Don) #17

I have the schlage keypad lock. It is by far the favorite thing I have done smartthings wise. It is very convenient to just push a code to get in, and 1 button to lock it. This and turning on lights upon arrival is my wife and daughters favorite thing.

I am not counting on it to stop anyone. Just keep semi honest people honest.


(Jim Archer) #18

Well this is funny… Turns out my locks are Schlage, not Kwikset. Good thing I didn’t order a lock today! :wink:


(Jim Archer) #19

I just ordered one of these:

Amazon has a used like new one for $141 so that seemed like a great deal. It has the touch pad as someone recommended, it can be keyed with my existing house key and its supported by the @RBoy device driver. I just hope I can press one button to lock it when I go, because the door knob will no longer have a lock in it. Getting my daughter to lock the house may be a challenge. Damn college kids! :wink:


#20

I’m too tired this morning to check the specifics on that model, but most smart locks these days have an auto lock feature which works great. We didn’t add a smart lock until autolock was available. You can set the lock so that it always locks itself 30 seconds after it was opened.

Most Schlage locks also have a feature where you can enter a code on the lock to temporarily suspend autolock, which is good for when you’re loading up the car or something. Then the next time you manually turn the bolt, autolock is reengaged.

But in general, no one should have to remember to relock the lock, it will do it itself automatically. :sunglasses: