Smart locks offer an attractive, convenient way to handle your home security.
With a smart lock, unlocking your door can be as simple as tapping the lock, hitting a phone button, using your voice, or even just approaching the perimeter with your phone in your pocket.
But all that convenience often comes with a hefty price tag.
Here are 10 reasons why smart locks are so expensive:
- Cost of installation
- Geofencing technology
- Voice activation software
- Alarm systems
- Touchpad technology
- Large memory
- Remote control
- Presence sensors
- Cryptography and encryption
- Need for specialized phone apps
Read on to learn more about why smart locks are so expensive, along with product recommendations and a detailed analysis of the different technologies that influence the cost of a smart lock.
1. Cost of Installation
One reason why smart locks are so expensive is the cost of installation. Each lock needs to be installed by a professional or a consumer with a lot of know-how.
The installation process involves physically putting a smart lock into place and connecting it with your smart home network.
The whole process takes about 90 minutes to complete, according to the Best Buy Geek Squad.
If you want to save money by installing a smart lock yourself, make sure that you do your research to install the lock correctly.
You need to make sure that all the parts connect the right way: the inner circuitry, the keypad, the lock, and the batteries.
Because smart locks contain so many complex parts, most consumers hire a professional to help instead of doing it themselves.
If a smart lock is incorrectly installed, it may fail to connect to power and therefore not work.
2. Geofencing Technology
Some smart locks come with geofencing technology, which increases the complexity of the device and, therefore, the cost.
Geofencing technology uses GPS data to detect when the user enters the perimeter surrounding the home, allowing you to automatically connect to the lock just by being in proximity to it.
An example smart lock with geofencing built-in is the August Smart Lock Pro (available on Amazon.com).
You can control and monitor your door from anywhere using this device, plus this is compatible with Zwave, Homekit, and Alexa smart home systems.
Geofencing typically involves tracking your movement once you’re within a wide perimeter and then unlocking the door automatically when you get within close distance to the front door.
Geofencing does drain battery power, so be prepared to pay more for batteries if you have your lock in an active state for prolonged periods, as is necessary for geofencing.
3. Voice Activation Software
Some smart locks come with voice activation technology, which increases the complexity of the device and, therefore, the expense.
For some people, voice activation technology is worth the cost due to increased convenience and accessibility.
If you’re carrying something heavy into the home, for example, it’d be a benefit to have a voice-activated lock rather than needing to use a key.
And, if you have a smart home system, you can integrate your lock into broader scene-setting; for example, you can set a “goodnight” voice command that locks the door, turns off the lights, and adjusts the thermostat at the same time.
However, voice activation software can be inaccurate.
Some people prefer a system that more closely resembles a manual lock and key rather than trust home security to voice commands.
You may also wonder: Can you use Alexa Show as a security camera?
4. Alarm Systems
This lock alerts you to any security breaches with a built-in alarm that makes loud noises and alerts your phone when anyone tries to tamper with your lock.
This lock also has a feature that allows you to let delivery drivers access your home through the Amazon Key App, leaving packages inside instead of out in front of your door.
5. Touchpad Technology
Some smart locks, such as the Ultraloq Smart Lock (available on Amazon.com), use fingerprint identification technology to allow you to unlock your door with just a touch.
This lock, in particular, keeps a log of who’s used the lock based on fingerprints, noting who’s entering and exiting your home.
Although fingerprint identification technology is cheaper than other forms of biometric identification, it still requires added software that puts it a step above other smart locks.
Different kinds of touchpad sensors vary in cost and security. The options include the following:
- Capacitive scanners: use pixel arrays of capacitors to create images of fingerprints; difficult to forge, more expensive
- Ultrasound sensors: use high-frequency sound waves to read fingerprint patterns; works well with dirty fingers, unlike capacitive scanners
- Thermal line sensors: requires a finger to move over the scanner; recognizes the ridges and valleys of a fingerprint based on temperature
6. Large Memory
Some smart locks have a large amount of internal memory to support different keycodes and fingerprints such as the Sifely Smart Door Lock (available on Amazon.com).
This product supports over 200 different fingerprints and 150 different passcodes.
This lock also allows you to create five different kinds of passcodes: permanent, one-time, timed, cyclic, and custom.
This makes it an ideal choice for people who rent out their property, like through Airbnb.
However, the more internal memory a lock needs to have, the more expensive it’ll be to build and maintain.
These locks come with more complicated apps and memory storage systems.
7. Remote Control
Remote control technology for smart locks costs extra money, regardless of whether you use Bluetooth or WiFi to enable it.
The Ultraloq Smart Lock will work alone by giving you a passcode for the door sent to your phone or through a fingerprint reader.
But if you add an adapter such as the Ultraloq Bridge Wi-Fi Adapter (available on Amazon.com), you can lock or unlock your Ultralock Smart Lock from anywhere via programs and controls using your phone.
Remote control technology makes locks more expensive because it requires more sophisticated software than other smart locks.
WiFi and Bluetooth-enabled remote control technologies are comparable in cost, although there are benefits to each.
For example, using Bluetooth will drain your phone battery more quickly, although it also can be used when the power goes out.
In the event of an electrical outage, WiFi-enabled smart locks often quit working and refuse to open.
8. Presence Sensors
Some smart locks come with presence sensors that keep track of whether the door is open or closed and locked or unlocked.
Presence sensors make smart locks more expensive because they’re more complicated to install.
They need to be able to register the current state of the door using sophisticated technology.
9. Cryptography and Encryption
One of the most expensive smart locks on the market is Otto, a system that uses a strong example of cybersecurity.
This lock has asymmetric cryptography and PKI encryption, and it has never been successfully hacked.
Asymmetric cryptography involves a pair of key values, a public, and a private key.
The private key is encrypted and readable by the public key according to some algorithm.
The use of asymmetric cryptography to secure a smart lock requires advanced computer programming that takes an investment of time, technology, and skill.
10. Need for Specialized Phone Apps
Although many smart locks can be paired with existing smart home apps, some require specialized apps just for the lock.
That means that these apps needed to be developed especially for these locks, increasing the cost of production and the cost of the lock for the consumer.