7 best smart locks for keeping your home safe and secure

We tested these locks on outdoor doors, containers and sheds, and secured them with the biometric systems and smartphone apps (iStock/The Independent)
We tested these locks on outdoor doors, containers and sheds, and secured them with the biometric systems and smartphone apps (iStock/The Independent)

With the advent of new technology, there are now countless opportunities to add further security and safety solutions to your home. From video doorbells to cloud-based alarms, the ways we’ve monitored our homes in recent years has changed immeasurably.

One emerging technology that has gained traction of late is the access-control industry – which simply means monitoring and adjusting who gets into our homes, sheds, garages and storage units. And smart locks are a popular choice. These often connect to the internet and cloud solutions, as well as our smartphone devices, to monitor, track and determine access in a remote capacity.

The lock that’s right for you largely depends on how you’ll be using it and what you’re securing. Generally speaking, smart locks are either padlocks with smart or biometric features, or full systems that replace door locks for access and entry into your home.

In other words, they’re either deadbolts that attach to existing lock systems (and back up an alarm system, for example) or multi-point or night-latches for that bit of extra safety, replacing your existing locking system. Most are easy to set up and install, but we’d recommend obtaining professional advice if you’re looking at replacing your whole home security system.

However, some locks are self-contained and not part of a wifi system, so you can run them independently without connecting to the internet. Others can be connected to your home network – to use the voice control, tracking and monitoring systems – and some can connect remotely to smartphone apps.

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Much like video doorbells and smart alarms, these apps can provide you with alerts straight to your phone when someone enters or exits. Some even allow you to remotely provide “credits” to users such as family and friends when you’re away, which is a nice touch.

How we tested

We tested these locks on outdoor doors, containers and sheds, and secured them with the biometric systems and smartphone apps designed to lock and unlock the devices remotely. These were the ones we found easiest to use and gave us the most peace of mind.

The best smart locks for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Igloohome smart deadbolt: £199, Safe.co.uk

  • Best outdoor protection – Master Lock biometric padlock: £109.99, Screwfix.com

  • Best simple design – Lexon nomaday biometric lock: £42.86, Lexon.com

  • Best for Airbnb renters – Igloohome smart Airbnb padlock, £99, Safe.co.uk

  • Best accredited security – Yale conexis L1 smart lock: £199.99, Yalehome.co.uk

  • Best affordable Yale option – Yale keyless connected smart door lock: £81.99, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best voice-activated connected system – August smart lock pro with connect hub: £345, Onbuy.com

Igloohome smart deadbolt

Best: Overall

Rating: 9/10

  • Material: Alloy

  • Weather-resistant? Yes

  • Battery: 4 x AA batteries or 9v battery in case of battery failure

This claims to be the world’s slimmest smart deadbolt, and we thought it was an excellent smart lock that worked well and paired easily with the app. You can enter via the PIN code or the app, and the device also allows you to create entry codes for guests, too.

It uses Bluetooth 5.0, which means it’s quick and efficient, and, like the Igloohome Airbnb padlock (below), it also syncs to your Airbnb calendar, to let people who have booked your property in and out.

Buy now £199.00, Safe.co.uk

Master Lock biometric padlock

Best: Outdoor protection

Rating: 8/10

  • Material: Steel

  • Weather-resistant? Yes

  • Battery: 1 x CR2 battery

The Master Lock biometric padlock is at one of the simplest ends of the spectrum when it comes to smart locks – it simply just unlocks using your fingerprint in much the same way as your phone does. We did, however, like the fact that it can store up to ten fingerprints, and it is a very simple and easy system to use, so you’ll never really have to worry about getting multiple keys cut again.

Buy now £109.99, Screwfix.com

Lexon nomaday biometric lock

Best: Simple design

Rating: 8/10

  • Material: Zinc alloy/stainless steel

  • Weather-resistant? Yes

  • Battery: Rechargeable lithium

Another option here for a lock that provides biometric functionality at a slightly different price-point. It’s small, simple and stylish, and can unlock up to 3,000 times on a single charge. Like the Master Lock (£109.99, Screwfix.com), it also has the ability to store 10 different fingerprints, which is a particularly useful aspect of the device.

If you haven’t heard of Lexon before, they’re an internationally acclaimed design brand from France and are well worth a look for gadgets and devices that don’t fit the identikit mould.

Buy now £42.86, Lexon-design.com

igloohome smart Airbnb padlock

Best: For Airbnb renters

Rating: 9/10

  • Material: Steel

  • Weather-resistant? Yes

  • Battery: 1 x CR2 battery

With Airbnb listings, and bookings, continuing to rocket, this padlock might be a very useful addition to your property if you’re considering renting out even part of your home. It’s a smart padlock that cleverly syncs with your AirBnB calendar to create unique PIN-codes for your guests. It’s weather resistant, and can be operated using the clearly labelled numbers or a smartphone device. You can even see who has opened the padlock using the app.

Buy now £99.00, Safe.co.uk

Yale conexis L1 smart lock

Best: Accredited security

Rating: 8/10

  • Material: ‎PVC with chrome finish

  • Weather-resistant? Yes

  • Battery: 4 x AA batteries (included)

This is a bit of a different approach from trusted lock manufacturer Yale. It’s likely that most people in the country will be familiar with Yale – in fact its locking cylinders are ubiquitous – but this option allows you to control the whole door mechanism using a smartphone or other connected devices. Totally keyless and guaranteed for two years, it’s also approved by the British Standards Insitution (BSI) – the first smart lock to gain such accreditation.

We really liked the fact that you can send “virtual keys” to friends or family if you’re out (you get five for free without the need to purchase any more) and we think the colour choices look pretty good too. Most modern doors are compatible but it’s worth checking first – and if you’re worried about the installation procedure, there is also an option on the Yale website to select a professional installation if needs be.

Buy now £199.99, Yalehome.co.uk

Yale keyless connected smart door lock

Best: Affordable Yale option

Rating: 8/10

  • Material: Brass

  • Weather-resistant? Yes

  • Battery: 4 x AA batteries (included)

If you’re keen to go with a Yale solution but want something a little lighter on the wallet, then this keyless connected option might be worth a look. It is a more standard design and setup with keyless entry (with a PIN code, key card or connected smartphone app) and also features a tamper alarm and incorrect code entry features that locks intruders out after multiple wrong attempts.

Buy now £81.99, Amazon.co.uk

August smart lock pro with connect hub

Best: Voice-activated connected system

Rating: 8/10

  • Material: Alloy steel

  • Weather-resistant? Yes

  • Battery: 4 x AA batteries (included)

It may seem expensive, but this option is a fully connected system that integrates with Amazon’s Alexa infrastructure as well as with Google Assistant and Siri. We liked the fact that it simply attaches to your existing deadbolt with ease, meaning you can keep the key option installed should you wish. And we also like that it features full access monitoring to your smartphone as well as voice control – just speak to your door and it’ll lock and unlock (it also does this automatically as you leave and return to the house). It also has an optional biometric feature to enable two-step verification should you wish.

Buy now £345.00, Onbuy.com

The verdict: Smart locks

We really liked the Igloohome smart deadbolt, which would be our pick. It works totally offline, is controlled by an app that works well and can automatically provide Bluetooth keys and PIN codes for visitors, which is a good feature. In the same way as the Airbnb padlock, this option can also sync to your calendars. We think it also looks sleek and smart, and would fit into most apartment or home setups.

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If you’re looking to make more smart additions to your home, look at our review of the best video doorbells