Digital locks, or smart locks, are electronic locks that function without physical keys and enhances security as a result. If you’ve been locked out of your house before or looking to enhance home security, read on for a complete low-down on what you should know about digital locks before getting one. We have written this Digital locks buying guide to give you an overview of the pros and cons of a digital lock.
Image 1: Digital Locks, courtesy of Starke Digital Locks
Types of digital locks
Whether you’re looking for one that best suits your home, office space, or a brick-and-mortar business, here are 4 types of digital locks to consider.
By far the most common mode of entry, even basic digital locks require you to punch in passcodes for access. It is easy to set up and you can change your password anytime you want to amp up your security.
2. RFID card
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) card leverages on electromagnetic fields to send signals to a reader for decoding. Each digital lock is installed with a reader and responds by locking or unlocking doors. Such contactless entry is commonly found in commercial buildings and hotels since frequent changes of access are required for a large influx of people.
3. Biometric — fingerprint scanners
Biometric digital locks work the same way as passcodes except that you can enjoy instant access without wasting time keying in a set of digits. Most digital locks can register up to a 100 unique fingerprints.
4. Mobile App — wireless connection
Digital apps now rely on a wireless connection to operate as well. Whether is it via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Z-Wave (a form of wireless connection that requires a suitable hut to translate signals to a router), all you need is a slight tap of a finger to unlock/lock a door.
Buying process — important things to look out for
1. Installation fees & services
Before you commit to a purchase, here are 3 important questions to ask regarding installation:
- Is my door/gate suitable for installation?
Unfortunately, not all types of doors or gates are fitted for digital locks. For example, Samsung’s digital locks can only be installed if your door has an automatic door closer or has a minimum distance of 70mm between the door and the gate handle (if any). Make sure to check before you purchase a digital lock.
- Do I have to pay for installation fees?
The average cost of installing a digital lock ranges from $100 to $400. However, budget-savvy homeowners will be thrilled to know that brands, such as Starke Digital Lock, offer installation for free with no hidden cost.
Alternatively, you can also choose to self-install if you’re confident. Do note that if there’re any glitches or mishaps during the installation, you might not qualify for warranty claims.
- Can I install a digital lock without removing my existing deadbolt?
There are typically 2 ways to install your locks — replacing a deadbolt with a digital lock or fitting a digital lock over your existing deadbolt. Depending on the type of digital locks available, you’ll have to check beforehand with the brand you bought from.
2. Opt for multiple entry options
It is advisable to opt for digital locks with multiple modes of entry in the case of battery failure or a system glitch. Save yourself the hassle of getting stuck outside with back-up access. Such digital locks are a godsend too should you forget your passcode or RFID card.
3. Risk-free purchases
Since digital locks are often big-ticket items, it can be risky to commit to buying without prior testing — and that’s where risk-free purchases come in. Should your digital locks end up faulty, rest assured that you’ll be entitled to a full refund.
4. Battery lifespan
Powered by batteries, digital locks with short batteries’ lifespan can be a huge hassle to deal with. Not only do you have to regularly switch out the batteries, but you risk getting stranded outside of your own home. Instead, keep your eyes peeled for digital locks with at least 2 years’ worth of battery life. Bonus point if it comes with a built-in battery alert system or a backup battery.
Image 2: Black Colour digital lock, Courtesy of Starke Digital locks
Why should you get a digital lock?
1. Convenience — fast and easy sharing access
Gone are the days when you waste time fumbling for keys or resort to hiding spare keys underneath mats and potted plants. With a digital lock, enter your homes with either a tap of your fingerprint, RFID card, or passcode in a jiffy.
That’s not all — sharing access can also be easily changed if you’re opening your doors to visitors into your homes. All you have to do is share a temporary passcode or register their fingerprints for easy entry.
2. Added security
Singapore may have outdone itself in ensuring low crime rates, but we should never take home security for granted. Most digital locks are now armed with intrusion alarms and anti-hacking firewalls to prevent security breaches — 2 technological feature that a deadbolt lacks.
3. Sustainable in the long-term
Bid goodbye to unsightly rust. Most digital locks are now protected with a layer of lacquer or are made of rust-free materials to withstand Singapore’s humid weather. With an array of designs and colours, digital locks are the finishing look flat owners need for a smart home too.
Buying a digital lock
Before you hop on the bandwagon and invest in a smart lock, consider narrowing down your options on your preferred methods of access, security features, and a comfortable budget to work with. With these insider tips and things to know, getting your desired digital lock is no longer a daunting task.
When you are doing your renovation or interior design works, you can also take the opportunity to upgrade your lock to a digital lock. Do note that not all locks can be easily installed on your existing door, so do check with your Interior design firm and/or your digital door lock specialist. In case you have not started on your Interior design selection, you can choose a renovation and Interior design firm here and let them give you quotes, or simply wrap up a Renovation loan if you already have an interior design firm.