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Best smart door lock you can buy in 2023

Aug 17, 2023

By Jennifer Pattison Tuohy, a smart home reviewer who's been testing connected gadgets since 2013. Previously a writer for Wirecutter, Wired, and BBC Science Focus.

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A smart lock is an easy solution to some common problems. Locked yourself out? Forgot your cleaning service is coming today? Your latchkey kid lost their key? Does your other half always forget to lock the door? Hands are full, and it’s raining cats and dogs? A smart lock solves all of these problems and more.

By giving you remote control over your front door from anywhere and easy, key-free ways to unlock and lock your door, a smart lock is one of the best smart home upgrades you can make. A lock without a traditional keyway is more secure than a standard lock, and any smart lock is more secure than leaving a spare key under a flowerpot.

One of my favorite features of a smart lock is integrating it into a smart home routine so that my doors lock every night at 9PM and my lights dim. Or, when I say “good night” to a smart assistant, it shuts the lights off, confirms the doors are locked, and adjusts my thermostat to Sleep mode.

If this is something you want, then it’s worth considering a lock that will work with Matter. Matter is a new smart home standard that means your lock can work with any smart home platform that supports Matter, including Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Home, and Samsung SmartThings. It also means it can be controlled by multiple platforms at once — so you can use your voice assistant of choice and your housemates, theirs.

Currently, Matter support for locks is a bit, well, messy (see Best Matter-compatible smart lock and the FAQ for more on this). But buying a lock that works with Matter today (or has a pathway to upgrade to Matter) can help future-proof your purchase. While you might be okay swapping out your light bulbs in a couple years, a smart door lock is a bigger investment.

At least three ways to unlock gives you flexibility in case one method fails. Options include: keypad, fingerprint, key, app control, as well as Apple Home Key, auto-unlock, and voice control. My favorites are fingerprint and keypad. Home Key is awesome, but you have to have an iPhone.

The ability to control your lock when you’re away from home — either by issuing a code or remotely unlocking it. My preferred option is remote control as sometimes, it’s just easier to unlock the door for someone and then lock it when they leave, even if you’re 2,000 miles away.

Connectivity that doesn’t require a dedicated hub. Many door locks use power-hungry Wi-Fi to connect, which drains their batteries. To circumnavigate this, they use a hub or bridge as an intermediary. This is fiddly and annoying (especially if someone unplugs it accidentally). I prefer locks with built-in Wi-Fi or that can connect to a multi-purpose hub or bridge — such as an Apple Home Hub, an Echo smart speaker, or a Thread border router.

Most smart locks use Wi-Fi and have a battery life of under six months, which is a pain. Those that use Bluetooth last longer but need that extra hub or bridge for out-of-home control. Thread is a new connectivity option that promises longer battery life but also requires a second device (a Thread border router).

The option to assign “virtual keys” or unique codes to other household members, service people or a neighbor looking in on your dog. The lock should have a log / alerts that let you know who accessed your door and when and should be easily revoked or have the option to assign only for specific times.

A good smart lock should have compatibility with at least some of the major platforms, so you can set up home automation routines that can do things like lock your door and turn out your lights when you tell your voice assistant good night.

This sleek Bluetooth smart lock supports Apple Home and will auto-unlock for you as you approach your door. Wi-Fi and Z-Wave modules add more smart home support for $80 each. A Matter module is in the works, and you can choose to have a keyed lock, too.

Connectivity: Bluetooth (can add Wi-Fi, Thread, Z-Wave) / Access options: Key, keypad, app, voice / Auto-unlock: Yes / Battery type: Four AA alkaline batteries / Battery life: Six months to a year / Guest codes: Yes / Works with: Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, Matter (coming soon, with additional hardware)

The Yale Assure Lock 2 is an inexpensive, good-looking keypad lock that works with every smart home platform. The slimline design (both front and back), wide smart home compatibility, easy-to-use app, and good selection of unlocking options make it my top pick by a long shot. Yale has promised Matter support through a swappable module, but that’s been delayed until early next year.

The Assure Lock 2 comes in touchscreen or keypad versions, with or without a keyway. The touchscreen is super discreet, especially the version without the keyhole, but my household had some trouble with it. I recommend the keypad for most people.

The lock supports Bluetooth out of the box and works with the Yale Access app and Apple Home (but not Home Key). It has auto-unlocking and an included door sensor to tell you if the door is open or closed. It can also be controlled by your Apple Watch. Auto-unlock is a decent alternative to a fingerprint unlock, although sometimes I had to wait at the door for a second or two before it worked. Still, it’s faster than fumbling through a purse for keys when your hands are full.

Support for other platforms comes through Yale’s ingenious swappable networking modules, which cost around $80 each. There’s a Wi-Fi module to add support for Alexa and Google Home and a Z-Wave module to add compatibility with SmartThings hubs, Ring Alarm, and other Z-Wave hubs.

I tested the Wi-Fi module, which worked well with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, allowing me to add it to Alexa Routines and lock and unlock it with my voice. The downside is that control over Wi-Fi is considerably slower than over Bluetooth and drains the battery more quickly. Yale estimates up to a year on Bluetooth only, compared to six months over Wi-Fi. I got about four months before needing to replace them.

If you plan to use the Assure Lock 2 with Alexa or Google Assistant, I’d consider waiting for Yale’s Matter-over-Thread module to arrive instead of paying for the Wi-Fi version now. That module should be a faster, more battery-efficient way to add Alexa and Google support to the Yale Assure 2.

If you want a Yale lock that works with Matter today, the Yale Assure SL with Matter Module is available for $230. I don’t recommend it however. Not because it's the older model Assure lock, which has a slightly chunkier profile (you can see comparison photos in my review), but because currently it’s very limited.

I haven’t tested it yet, but according to Yale, the SL doesn’t work with the Yale app because the SL’s Matter module is Thread only, no Bluetooth. This means there’s no auto-unlock and you can’t use any of the Yale app’s features. This includes the ability to program PIN codes. So you may have to manually program your PIN codes. The only Matter platform that supports PINs currently is SmartThings, for which you would need a SmartThings hub. The SL also doesn’t work with Alexa because Alexa doesn’t support Thread locks yet. (See the FAQ for more on this.)

The Aqara is a fully-featured smart lock with Matter support, long battery life, and multiple ways to unlock (including Home Key). However, it needs a hub for most of its features, which bumps up the price and complexity.

Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Zigbee (through a hub) / Access options: Key, app, voice, fingerprint, keypad, key fob, Home Key / Auto-unlock: No / Battery type: Four AA batteries / Battery life: Eight months / Guest codes: Yes / Works with: Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Matter with a hub.

The inexpensive Aqara Smart Lock U100 is the best option today for a Matter-compatible smart lock. It’s cheaper than the $229 Yale Assure SL and works Apple’s HomeKit and Home Key. It also works with Alexa when paired with an Aqara hub, so it isn’t hampered by Amazon’s current lack of support for Matter locks.

However, the Matter lock landscape is still spotty, and unless you are in immediate need of a Matter-compatible smart lock, I would wait for more options to arrive. The Aqara ticks a lot of boxes and has every conceivable way to unlock your door (other than auto-unlock), plus the promise of long battery life. Aqara says up to 8 months, and I’ve barely made a dent in the battery with 6 weeks of use.

But it works better outside of Matter right now, and its plasticky-looking build, too-modern design, and digital keypad are letdowns. It also requires a hub to unlock many of its features and Aqara’s messy app makes it complicated to set up and control.

Unless you are in immediate need of a Matter-compatible smart lock, I would wait for more options to arrive.

A full replacement deadbolt lock, the Aqara can be unlocked by key (two are included), Aqara’s NFC key fobs, through an app, keypad, fingerprint, voice control, or Apple Home Key. It has an auto-lock setting, but that’s been buggy in my testing — locking itself immediately even while the door is open.

In the Aqara app, you can share access to the lock and have everyone in your household add multiple fingerprints and a code (annoyingly, it has to be six digits). The app also lets you add temporary users and send one-time codes.

Fingerprint unlocking is the easiest option and worked instantly. Home Key is the second best entry method and if you have an Apple Watch is really simple. Aqara’s keypad is finicky, though, as it’s entirely digital and sometimes doesn’t recognize presses the first time. The key option is hidden under a slide-down panel, and the lock can’t be re-keyed.

The Aqara lock is the cheapest Home Key lock by more than $100, so if you want Home Key and don’t want to spend over $300, it’s a good option. But both Level and Schlage’s Home Key locks feel more durable, look nicer, and have better build quality (more on these locks later). They also have simpler apps.

Aqara’s app is fully-featured, but complicated and with a steep learning curve. If you can figure it out, you can have your smart home adapt based on which person unlocks the door (but only if you use all Aqara devices).

The U100 works over Bluetooth and Zigbee. Out of the box it’s compatible with Aqara’s app via a local Bluetooth connection to your phone. The keypad, keyfobs, fingerprint reader, and app control will all work if you are by the door, but if you want to control it remotely, you’ll need to pair it to Apple Home through an Apple Home Hub (like a HomePod or Apple TV). This also adds Home Key.

Another option for remote control is an Aqara Zigbee hub, which start at $30 and add remote unlocking and integrations with Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT, as well as other Aqara devices (including its G4 video doorbell so you can unlock the door from a live view). Three Aqara hubs also support Matter: the M2, E1, and M1S, letting you add the lock to Apple Home (minus Home Key) and Google Home, but not to SmartThings or Alexa, neither of which support bridges in Matter yet. (The Aqara lock is bridged to Matter through the hub — more on this in my FAQ).

I tested the lock in Apple Home and Google Home through Matter. It worked well in Apple Home, where I had it working simultaneously through HomeKit and through Matter. Confusingly, it showed as two separate locks, but both updated when the other was controlled. I could also see the lock in Google Home through Matter, but I couldn’t unlock it without a PIN code, which I could find no way of setting up.

Locks in Matter still have some bugs to work out and need broader support. But, unlike the other Matter lock — the Yale Assure SL — the Aqara lock can be controlled outside of Matter, making it the best option while you wait for the standard to catch up to its promises.

Expensive but with a premium feel, this smart lock is reliable, feels good in your hand, and doesn’t require switching out your entire deadbolt. You can keep your existing key, and it will auto-unlock as you arrive home. But beware of the poor battery life and prepare to stockpile those CR123 batteries.

Connectivity: Wi-Fi / Access options: Existing key, app, voice (keypad sold separately) / Auto-unlock: Yes / Battery type: Two CR123 batteries / Battery life: Up to three months / Guest codes: Yes / Works with: Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, Google Home

The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is an elegant retrofit door lock that replaces just the thumb turn. This is a better option than the Yale Assure if you want to keep your existing deadbolt, key cylinder, and lock exterior.

Unlike the Yale, it has Wi-Fi built in, so there’s no need for an extra hub, bridge, or module. Like the Yale, it has auto-unlock technology (Yale and August are sister companies now owned by Fortune Brands), so it can be set to unlock itself when you walk up to your door. Similarly, this wasn’t 100 percent reliable in my testing, and I had to whip out my phone a couple of times to unlock it since there’s no built-in keypad. (I stopped carrying keys years ago — but you can unlock it with a key).

August sells a compatible Bluetooth keypad, which is discounted when you buy it with the lock, but it’s black and kind of chunky, meaning it will stand out on your door frame — negating the whole “my entryway still looks the same” reason for buying this lock.

The August lock is pricey for a retrofit lock, but it feels premium thanks to an all-metal design. With its compact size, it doesn’t stick out too much on the inside of your door, and it’s attractive enough not to be an eyesore. It’s also very quiet when it operates, in contrast to many models I’ve tested.

The August works with either the August app or the Yale Access app for remote control, assigning guest keys, and viewing an activity log of when your door was locked or unlocked and by whom (if a code was used). The apps are essentially identical, and you can control August and Yale locks from the Yale app (but not vice versa). The August lock also works with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Home for smart home control, including voice control. I like being able to raise my Apple watch and say, “Hey Siri, unlock the front door” as I walk up the path.

The biggest disadvantage of the August Wi-Fi is battery life. Most Wi-Fi locks use four AA batteries that last around six months. To achieve its small form factor, the August Wi-Fi uses two CR123 batteries, which are smaller and more expensive than AAs — around $15 for a six-pack — and need to be replaced every two to three months, based on my testing.

This inexpensive smart door lock has a lightning-fast fingerprint reader plus an easy-to-use, backlit keypad. It’s Bluetooth-only (unless you also buy its compatible video doorbell to act as a Wi-Fi bridge) so the battery lasts over a year. At under $80, it’s the best budget lock we tested.

Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 / Access options: Fingerprint, keypad, app / Auto-unlock: No / Battery type: Four AA / Battery life: One year / Guest codes: Yes / Works with: N/A

If you don’t care about smart home integration or actually prefer a lock without it, the Wyze Lock Bolt is an excellent value. It’s not sleek or stylish; it’s just a big hunk of black plastic (there’s also a satin nickel version). It doesn’t connect to Wi-Fi out of the box or integrate with any smart home systems, but it does have an easy-to-use backlit keypad and a lightning-fast fingerprint reader. It’ll auto-lock if you want, and it’s half the price of the Yale Assure Lock 2.

In addition to the fingerprint reader and keypad, the Wyze Lock Bolt can be controlled over Bluetooth, and its range is very good. I could lock the door from my bedroom at the other end of the house using the Wyze app. That’s important, as there’s no way to lock the door on a schedule (although you can enable auto-lock).

The Bolt doesn’t integrate with any smart home platforms such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home, but if you don’t need to control your lock with your voice or plan to add it to any smart home routines, you won’t really miss those features. It also delivers up to a year of battery life on four AAs. And that’s conservative. I’ve had it installed since September, and it’s still showing 76 percent.

The Wyze doesn’t connect to Wi-Fi or integrate with any smart home systems

But without Wi-Fi, I couldn’t check on it or control it when I was away from home, so turning on the auto-lock option is a must. If I wanted to let someone in while I was gone, I couldn’t unlock the door remotely, but I could generate an offline code in the Wyze app and share that. This uses similar technology to two-factor authentication codes and worked perfectly in my testing.

Since I tested the lock, Wyze has introduced an integration with its Wyze Video Doorbell Pro that lets you unlock the Bolt remotely when paired with the doorbell. You can buy the two together for $180; that’s cheaper than almost any other lock in this guide. I’ve not been able to test this, and while unlocking remotely is very useful, it does seem odd that you can’t also lock it. Of course, if you enable auto-lock this is less of an issue.

A traditional door lock style with a touchscreen keypad and built-in Wi-Fi, the Encode will match your existing Schlage hardware — contemporary or classic — while connecting your door to smart home platforms like Amazon Alexa, Amazon Key, and Ring.

Connectivity: Wi-Fi / Access options: Key, keypad, app, voice / Auto-unlock: No / Battery type: Four AA batteries / Battery life: Six months / Guest codes: Yes / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Ring, and Google Home

The Schlage Encode WiFi lock is chunkier and noisier than most of the locks on this list, and its app is inelegant and slow. But its design will match a Schlage door set — which is important for some people.

It’s also the best option for Amazon Alexa and Ring video doorbell households. It integrates with Amazon Key home delivery service, and you can lock and unlock the Encode from within the Ring app while viewing a live feed from your Ring doorbell. It can be unlocked with Alexa voice commands and works with Google Home, too.

If you have a Ring video doorbell, this is the lock to get

With Wi-Fi on board, the Schlage is simple to install and an excellent choice for someone who wants a basic smart lock that will fit with their existing door hardware. All the standard features are here: remote unlocking, keyed access, voice control, auto-locking, and shareable access codes. It does have a sizable rear housing, though, and is noisy as all get out.

I first reviewed the Schlage in 2019 when it came out, and not much has changed since then. There’s no door-sensing integration or auto-unlock option, but you have three reliable ways to get in: a key, a PIN, and the app. It also lasts at least six months on one set of four AAs. If you have a Ring video doorbell, this is definitely the best lock to get.

The Encode Plus is identical to the Encode Wifi with the addition of Apple Home and Home Key compatibility. It also has a Thread radio on board, but Schlage has said it won’t be upgraded to support Matter.

Connectivity: Wi-Fi or Thread / Access options: Key, keypad, app, voice, Apple Home Key / Auto-unlock: No / Battery type: Four AA batteries / Battery life: Up to six months / Guest codes: Yes / Works with: Apple Home (Home Key), Amazon Alexa, Ring, and Google Home

The Schlage Encode Plus is one of three locks in the US that work with Apple Home Key (the Level Touch Plus and Aqara U100 are the other two). It has all the same capabilities and features as the Schlage Encode WiFi, plus compatibility with Apple Home and Apple’s Home Key. It also has a Thread radio, but it won’t be updated to support Matter.

Home Key lets you unlock your door with your iPhone or Apple Watch using a digital key stored in Apple Wallet. Simply tap your device against the keypad and wait a moment for a green light. There are no apps to open, no buttons to press, and no need to unlock your phone (although you can add that step as an extra security layer). “The whole process is similar to, but even simpler than, buying something with Apple Pay,” wrote The Verge’s Dan Seifert in his review of the Encode Plus.

Adding the lock to the Home app also automatically adds the Home Key card to your Wallet as well as that of anyone else you have added to your app. That’s much easier than getting household members to download a whole new app for the door lock. I should know — I try regularly.

To allow someone not in your household to control the lock, you’ll have to give them a standard PIN, which you can do in the Apple Home app or the Schlage Encode app. Unlike the Yale Assure Lock 2, you can set this lock up entirely in the Home app and never have to use the manufacturer’s app.

Apple Home support means the Schlage can work over Thread when paired with a Thread-capable Apple Home Hub (a HomePod or some Apple TV models). Thread is a mesh network, so if your front door is far from your Wi-Fi router, you can extend connectivity with other Thread devices. Thread also should help improve battery life. On testing over Wi-Fi, we saw around four to five months of battery life.

A retrofit smart lock that doesn’t require removing any part of your existing lock, the SwitchBot is a unique solution. It can work with many different lock styles, and you can even use two on the same door if you have two locks. It can also turn a key, so it works for double-cylinder locks.

Connectivity: Bluetooth / Access options: Key, app, voice (fingerprint, keypad sold separately) / Auto-unlock: No / Battery type: Two CR123 batteries / Battery life: Six months / Guest codes: Yes / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant (with SwitchBot Hub), Matter coming soon (with SwitchBot Hub)

This funky-looking retrofit smart lock is for anyone who can’t or doesn’t want to mess with their existing door lock in any way, shape, or form.

Essentially a tiny robot hand that unlocks your door for you, the $99 SwitchBot Lock goes over a deadbolt’s existing thumb turn and sticks to the door with super-strength double-sided tape. You can then lock or unlock it over Bluetooth from a phone or Apple Watch or use the existing key. It is not an elegant solution, but it works, and it’s the easiest smart lock I’ve installed; it took me under five minutes to get it set up.

A $40 SwitchBot Hub lets you connect with smart home systems like Amazon Alexa and Google Home (no Apple Home) over Wi-Fi. The SwitchBot Hub 2 is scheduled to add Matter support by late June 2023, bringing Apple Home integration. Either hub also adds remote control when you’re away from home, voice lock and unlock (with a PIN), and the option to add the lock to smart home routines. It also enables notifications that tell you if the door has been left unlocked or ajar. (The lock comes with a door sensor.)

In my testing, all of these integrations worked well and were fast enough, though the auto-lock feature was unreliable, meaning you have to get your phone out to lock it if you don’t carry a key. Battery life is promised at six months, which is low for a Bluetooth lock, but it uses two CR123 batteries, which take up less room but don’t last as long as AAs.

The SwitchBot is a tiny robot hand that unlocks your door

Because it’s a retrofit lock, the only way to unlock it from the outside is with a phone or Apple Watch or key. This isn’t ideal, so I strongly recommend getting one of SwitchBot’s Bluetooth keypads — the version with a fingerprint reader is the best. Keypads are handy for visitors and service people and add the option of pressing a button on the keypad to lock the door when you leave.

All of these extras add up, though. The keypad with a fingerprint reader, a hub, and the lock costs $170 altogether. But that’s still a good price for a fully featured — if somewhat strange-looking — smart lock.

A sleek, fingerprint-only lock that sacrifices some conveniences but looks much less techie on your front door. It works with Alexa and Google Home.

Connectivity: Bluetooth / Access options: Key, app, voice, fingerprint / Auto-unlock: No / Battery type: Four AA batteries / Battery life: Six months / Guest codes: No (Guest access through app or fingerprint) / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

The Kwikset Halo Touch is a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi fingerprint lock with a traditional keyway. As it doesn’t have a keypad, it looks more like a standard lock with the bonus of easy access. The lack of a keypad is more limiting when it comes to sharing access to your door, but it’s a good solution for anyone who wants a simple key-free way into their home and knows they won’t need to share lots of digital keys.

The Kwikset doesn’t let you share temporary access to the lock remotely; anyone you give access to has to create an account and download an app and then program their fingerprint into the lock rather than just receive a code. You can remotely lock and unlock the lock if you do want to let someone in temporarily.

Of course, you can still share physical keys, and I like this lock a lot as a more discreet option. As with Schlage, Kwikset has lots of matching door hardware, so this can blend in nicely. Plus, it comes in three colors, satin nickel, matte black, and bronze, and two styles, contemporary and traditional.

The new Kwikset app is straightforward and easy to use (unlike its predecessor). The app is where you set up fingerprints and create access restrictions for visitors. There’s an auto-lock option, a log of who accessed the door, and integrations with Alexa and Google Home for voice control and adding to home automation routines.

The biggest downside is that Kwikset smart locks are very noisy when locking and unlocking. They also have much larger rear housings compared to Yale’s or Schlage’s newer models. However, you can re-key this lock, which is a nice feature and makes it easy to retrofit to your home.

The $250 Lockly Access Touch Pro is the main competitor here but is more expensive and uglier than the Halo. I’ve not tested the Access yet, but I have tested the previous version — the Lockly Flex Touch. It’s cheaper and works fine but does require a plug-in Wi-Fi dongle for out-of-home control and is a less-elegant solution all around.

The U-Bolt Pro WiFi is a solid-feeling lock that packs a lot of features into a compact design. Control it with your fingerprint, key, keypad, voice with Alexa or Google, or an app on your phone or Apple Watch.

Connectivity: Bluetooth & Wi-Fi (Z-Wave version also available) / Access options: Key, fingerprint, keypad, app, voice / Auto-unlock: Yes / Battery type: Four AA alkaline batteries / Battery life: Up to one year / Guest codes: Yes / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings

My favorite way to unlock a door is with my fingerprint. It’s the fastest, most reliable, and easiest option. It’s also impossible for my children to forget their fingers. But fingerprint unlocking alone doesn’t give you good options for visitors, which is why I like the U-Bolt Pro WiFi.

In addition to the fingerprint reader, the U-Bolt Pro WiFi has a keypad and — if you really want — a hidden keyed lock. It also has auto-unlock using a smartphone, but this didn’t work in my testing. It has built-in Wi-Fi so that it can connect to Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Samsung SmartThings for voice control and smart home automations, but it doesn’t support Apple Home.

The U-Bolt Pro is much more compact than other keypad locks with fingerprint readers. The Eufy Smart Lock Touch & Wi-Fi has a keyhole, a keypad, and a fingerprint reader, but it’s bigger than an iPhone 14 Pro Max. The U-Bolt Pro is compact and relatively discreet on my front door. It does — like most smart locks — insist on branding your door, but the logo isn’t super prominent.

The fingerprint unlocking is fast, and there’s an auto-lock option, which — when paired with the included door sensor — won’t try to lock if the door is open. I also like the option to add two fingerprints per user and that the pad is right in the middle of the lock, making it easy to access.

It’s impossible for my children to forget their fingers

The backlit keypad is circular and goes around the fingerprint pad. It’s an easy-to-use design, if somewhat unconventional. To use the keyhole, you have to physically unhook the keypad, which is attached on a hinge, and reattaching it does take a bit of brute force.

The U-Tech app isn’t the most exciting experience, but it gets the job done for setting up fingerprint codes, PINs, and the auto-unlock feature, which works using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to determine your phone’s location. The Wi-Fi connection for the app is quite slow, which could explain why I had trouble getting auto-unlock to work, but that feature isn’t as necessary when you have a fingerprint reader. (There’s a Z-Wave version available, which should offer better battery life and faster response times for people who already have a Z-Wave hub.)

The Level line packs all the smarts and power into the deadbolt itself, leaving the rest of your lock looking like a normal lock. It works with Apple Home and Ring, and should get updated to support Matter — bringing compatibility with other platforms. But currently, you need a third-party bridge or hub for remote access.

Connectivity: Bluetooth / Access options: Key, touch, app, voice, keypad (sold separately), Apple Home Key (certain models) / Auto-unlock: Yes / Battery type: One CR2 battery / Battery life: One year / Guest codes: Yes / Works with: Apple Home, Ring (with additional hardware), Matter (coming soon)

Want a smart lock that doesn’t look like a smart lock? Level packs all the technology inside the deadbolt — including the single CR2 battery that gets up to a year of battery life.

There are four options: the Level Bolt, the Level Lock, the Level Lock Touch, and the Level Lock Plus (with Apple Home Key). The Level Bolt is completely invisible. It fits entirely within the existing deadbolt, so you can keep the interior and exterior hardware you already have.

The Level Lock, Lock Touch, and Lock Plus replace the whole deadbolt but still look like traditional door locks with keyholes. There is no branding at all — this is the only smart lock I’ve tested that isn’t a tiny advertisement on my front door.

All four are Bluetooth-only, with no Wi-Fi connectivity. You have to connect to Apple Home or Amazon’s Sidewalk network for out-of-home control, some extra features, and smart home integration (there’s no Alexa or Google Home support).

This means you need a supported Ring sidewalk bridge (such as the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2) or an Apple Home hub like a HomePod Mini to control the lock remotely. This is a major limitation and the main reason this isn’t my top pick overall (that and it’s very expensive).

Level has said all its locks will be firmware-updated to support Matter-over-Thread, so all you would need is a Thread border router and a Matter controller in your home — of which there are many more to choose from. There’s no timeline for the update, but if / when it arrives, it will bring compatibility with all major smart home platforms.

All Level locks also work with the Level Home app, which has had a makeover since I first tested the lock and is more responsive and easier to use. They also all work with Level’s auto-unlock feature.

This is the only smart lock that isn’t a tiny advertisement on my front door

I tested the Level Touch and the Level Plus for this guide, both of which add a touch-to-open capability that’s as easy to use as a fingerprint reader (though it lacks the biometric authentication). The Level Plus adds Apple Home Key, which lets you unlock your door with your iPhone or Apple Watch by tapping it on the lock. It works very well, but I still prefer the Schlage Encode Plus (below) for Home Key since it comes with a keypad built in. (Level sells a separate keypad for $79, or $59 when purchased with a lock.)

To use Home Key, touch-to-unlock, or auto-unlock on a Level lock, you have to have a phone or Apple Watch on you. So it’s not a good fit for households with residents who don’t have phones unless you buy Level’s keypad or use its NFC keycards (two of which are included with the lock).

There are some quirks with some of Level’s unlocking features. You must choose between auto-unlock and touch-to-unlock (on the touch models); you can’t have both. And neither works unless you leave the geofence area and come back. So if you leave the house, lock the door, get in your car, remember you forgot something, and go back to your door, it won’t unlock automatically for you. The Touch also doesn’t work well with older doors, based on my testing on two doors. I would only consider installing the Touch if you have a door that lines up perfectly with the strike plate.

Level locks are also very expensive, starting at $199 and going up to $329 for the Plus. But for an invisible smart lock that works well, it’s the way to go.

A full deadbolt replacement lock with a doorbell and camera crammed in, this lock does a lot. Unlock it with your finger, a PIN, app or voice, or a regular key. You can see and talk to visitors through the 1080p camera, and Matter support has been promised.

Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (with included bridge) / Access options: Key, fingerprint, keypad, app, voice / Auto-unlock: No / Battery type: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (two included), solar power / Battery life: Six months / Guest codes: Yes / Works with: Amazon Alexa and Google Home

The Lockly Vision Elite is a smart lock with a video doorbell. It’s a very good smart lock, but its video doorbell capabilities are compromised by being crammed inside a lock. Motion detection is spotty, and it lacks people or package detection, but it does a better job of seeing who is at your door than any other lock on this list.

So this is the lock to buy if you don’t have the space, setup, or patience to install two separate devices. Lockly has said it will get upgraded to support Matter (just the lock part, as Matter doesn’t support cameras yet).

As a lock, it is excellent, with a keypad, fingerprint reader, keyhole, and app and voice control options for locking and unlocking. It’s the only lock in this guide that uses rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Plus, it comes with a replacement battery pack and an incorporated solar panel for trickle charging. And while it requires a bridge to connect it to Wi-Fi (and to store video from the doorbell camera), that’s included — making the $500 price tag a tad more palatable.

It’s a great lock function-wise, but it’s a bit too big and techie-looking for my personal taste (a problem the Eufy Video Smart Lock shares). And, while it works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, there’s no Apple Home support.

Bosma Aegis is an inexpensive retrofit lock that works well and costs just $120. It is remarkably similar to the August Wifi lock in terms of function and installation but not build quality (it’s very plasticky). It even has a very similar-looking Bluetooth keypad option (with a fingerprint reader). But it is giant, like hulking huge. It’s also very loud and requires a separate bridge, which is why I prefer the August Wi-Fi as a retrofit option. But if you’re on a budget and like the features of the August but not the price, this could be a good fit.

The Yale Assure Lock SL (without Matter) is the previous model of my top pick, the Yale Assure 2. Since it comes with a Wi-Fi module included, it’s more expensive. It also has a larger rear housing and a more prominent keypad, especially if you get the physical keypad version. It's a fine lock, and when Yale’s standalone Matter module is released, it will work in it. But the newer Assure has a nicer look overall and costs less. (Note, the Yale Assure SL with Matter mentioned earlier comes with the module, but you can’t buy it separately yet.)

The Eufy Smart Lock Touch is a very good lock in terms of function — an easy-to-use fingerprint reader, a nice big touchscreen keypad, the option of a key, and Wi-Fi built-in. But it is just too big and techie-looking for most people’s front doors. I do like the removable 10,000mAh battery, and I went eight months before needing to recharge (with a USB-A cable). But that’s also why this lock is so big. The new Eufy Video Smart Lock is similarly huge. Although cheaper than the Lockly Vision Elite video doorbell / lock combo, it’s still expensive and is more of an eyesore. Eufy has not committed to Matter support, and recent security vulnerabilities around Eufy’s video storage might give you pause before purchasing this lock.

Matter is a new standard designed to make the smart home more interoperable, reliable, secure, and easier to use. With Matter, your smart locks, lights, thermostat, and other devices will all work together locally in your home. The major smart home platforms are on board — Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Samsung SmartThings — along with most of the major (and minor) manufacturers. The Matter logo on a product means it will work with any other Matter-compatible gadget in your home.

The benefit of a Matter smart lock now is more around future-proofing. Today, it doesn’t add much that most locks can’t already do (and in some cases, less). But with Matter on board today, a lock should work with all the big smart home platforms and then some in the future.

Matter also means your lock will work with any Matter-compatible device, such as smart plugs and smart lights, for home automation routines (for example, to shut off all your lights when you lock your door).

Matter also means you can share the lock across platforms without needing to download additional apps, set up accounts, or link services through the cloud. This lets you use the same lock in Apple Home and Google Home, should you want, as well as control it with both voice assistants.

As of today, two locks work with Matter: the Yale Assure SL and the Aqara U100. But Yale, Lockly, Level, and SwitchBot have all committed to upgrading their existing locks (some with the help of additional hardware, such as a hub). Schlage and August have said they will make Matter-compatible locks at some point.

Samsung SmartThings, Apple Home, and Google Home support Matter locks, although Apple Home and Google Home do not support setting up PIN codes, so you will need to use the manufacturer’s app. Apple has said it's adding support for PIN codes in iOS 17.

Amazon Alexa does not support smart locks yet. Spokesperson Connor Rice told The Verge in mid-June 2023 that Amazon is adding lock support “soon.”

Smart locks that work with bridges, such as the Aqara U100, the SwitchBot Lock and the Lockly line, are added to Matter through their bridge. Currently, only Apple Home and Google Home support bridges in Matter, so those locks will not work with SmartThings or Amazon Alexa via Matter until those platforms add bridges.

Matter also doesn’t support Home Key, although Apple has said it will be coming to the new smart home standard with iOS 17 later this year.

If a lock works over Wi-Fi or through a bridge, you will need a Matter controller from the platform you want to use the lock in — a HomePod or Apple TV for Apple Home, a Nest hub or smart speaker for Google Home.

If the lock uses Thread, you will need a Matter controller and a Thread border router. These can be the same thing — a HomePod is both a Nest Hub Max is both. But the Thread border router doesn’t need to be platform specific. So, for example, if you have an Apple TV or an Eero Wi-Fi router that supports Thread, and a smart speaker from Nest that’s a Matter controller — you could use a Thread lock over Matter in Google Home.

Photography by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

Updated, Thursday, June 22nd, 10AM: Added new categories for Matter locks and fingerprint-only locks and updated details throughout.

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