The emergence of smart and electronic locks offers businesses a range of new features and levels of security. But which type of lock is best? An electronic lock, also known as an electrified lock, is a lock that uses an electric current to lock and unlock. It is typically controlled by a keypad or card reader and does not connect to the internet or other devices.
A smart lock, on the other hand, is an electronic lock that can be controlled and monitored remotely through a smartphone app, website or other devices. It usually uses Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to connect to the internet and can be integrated with other smart home devices and systems. Additionally, smart locks often have additional features such as auto-locking and unlocking, remote access control, and the ability to grant temporary access to guests.
The popularity of smart locks has increased over the years. According to a report, the global smart lock market was valued at USD 1.64 billion in 2021 and is anticipated to register a CAGR of 19.5% from 2022 to 2030.
Smart locks offer convenience and a high level of security. In contrast, electronic locks provide flexibility and a range of features. Let’s understand both types of locks in detail.
What is a smart lock?
A smart lock is a keyless lock that gives you control of access to your property via a smartphone app. You can lock or unlock the door, receive notifications when the door is accessed, and manage guest access for added security. The technology behind smart locks allows you to control the door from your smartphone remotely. It often includes features like access logs, remote unlocking, and geofencing. Smart locks operate on various frequencies and are available in keyed and keyless entry versions. Keyless models offer convenience and flexibility, while keyed models offer a higher level of security.
Benefits of smart locks
The convenience factor for many businesses is the biggest advantage of selecting smart locks. They can control and monitor guest access, lock and unlock doors, and track who enters and exits. It can significantly reduce the time spent managing the entry and egress of employees and customers. Here are the benefits of installing smart locks:
- Convenience: You can lock and unlock your door using your smartphone, eliminating the need for keys.
- Remote access: You can grant temporary access to friends, family, or service providers without having to be physically present.
- Increased security: Smart locks have advanced security features, such as encrypted codes, biometric authentication, and tamper alarms, that can help keep your home safe.
- Peace of mind: You can check the status of your lock and receive notifications when someone enters or exits your home, giving you peace of mind when you’re away.
- Flexibility: You can set schedules and customize access codes for different people, giving you control over who has access to your home and when.
- Compatibility: Smart locks can be integrated with other smart home devices, such as security cameras and lights, for a more comprehensive and connected home.
- Keyless design: No more worrying about lost or stolen keys. With a smart lock, you can change the access code at any time, so you’re always in control of who has access to your home.
- Energy Efficiency: Some smart locks are equipped with features that allow you to control your energy usage, such as automatically locking or unlocking when you enter or leave the house, or controlling the temperature in your home based on your schedule.
- Easy installation: Most smart locks are designed to be easy to install, with minimal modifications required to your existing lock or door.
- Cost-effective: Smart locks are often more cost-effective than re-keying or changing locks, and some models can be used as a retrofit solution for your existing deadbolt.
- Eco-friendly: By eliminating the need for physical keys, smart locks can help reduce waste and have a positive impact on the environment.
- Improved rental management: For landlords, smart locks can simplify the process of managing rental properties, making it easier to grant and revoke access for tenants.
- Enhanced accessibility: For individuals with disabilities or mobility issues, smart locks can provide a more convenient and accessible way to enter and exit their homes, without the need to struggle with traditional locks and keys.
Drawbacks of smart locks
While many smart locks offer added security features, not all systems are equal. Before selecting a system, ensure it meets your needs and provides a high level of security. Furthermore, as technology evolves, you may have to replace/upgrade your smart lock. Additionally, smart locks are often best suited for businesses with minimal entry and exit activity. While most offer a digital keypad for keyless entry, not all include this feature. Here are some other drawbacks of having a smart lock:
- Dependence on technology: Smart locks rely on technology, which means that they may not work during a power outage or if your internet connection is down.
- Vulnerability to hacking: As with any connected device, smart locks are vulnerable to hacking and cyberattacks. While the best smart locks have strong security measures in place, there is always a risk that your lock could be hacked.
- Battery life: Some smart locks run on batteries, which will eventually need to be replaced. This can be a hassle, especially if the batteries die when you’re not home and you can’t access your property.
- Compatibility issues: Smart locks are not compatible with all types of doors and locks, so it’s important to make sure that the lock you choose is compatible with your door and existing lock mechanism before you buy.
- Cost: While smart locks can be more cost-effective than changing locks, they can still be expensive, especially when compared to traditional locks.
- Difficulty in troubleshooting: If you experience problems with your smart lock, it can be difficult to troubleshoot and fix the issue, especially if you’re not tech-savvy.
- Limited features: Some smart locks may have limited features, such as the inability to grant access to multiple people at once, or the lack of integration with other smart home devices.
- Technical support: If you encounter problems with your smart lock, you may need to rely on the manufacturer’s technical support, which may not be available 24/7.
What is an electronic lock?
An electronic lock, also known as an electric lock, is a type of locking system that uses electricity to control access to a building or room. Instead of a traditional mechanical key or combination, electronic locks are opened using a code, keycard, biometric identifier, or a smartphone app. These locks come in a variety of designs and are commonly used for home security, commercial buildings, and institutions such as schools and hospitals.
It is a locking mechanism that’s controlled by a central computer system. Central locking systems can also be installed to control connected locks. Most electronic locks operate on a radio frequency, such as Z-Wave or WiFi. Remote control and monitoring of the locks can be done via computer or smartphone app. This allows you to manage guest access and track who enters and exits your premises. Many electronic locks have integrated alarm systems, keyless entry, and smart home compatibility.
Benefits of electronic locks
The most significant advantage of selecting an electronic lock is its added flexibility. Whereas smart locks generally only offer keyless entry, many electronic locks offer a range of features and options. This can include keyed entry, remote control, and integrated alarm systems. A central locking system also provides added flexibility, allowing you to control and manage connected locks from a central location. A central locking system can be a powerful tool to help manage the access of employees and customers.
There are other benefits of an electronic lock:
- Increased security: Electronic locks can be programmed with unique codes for each user, making it easier to track who has entered the building and when. Additionally, electronic locks can be fitted with additional security features, such as biometric recognition and audit trails.
- Convenience: Electronic locks can be programmed to automatically lock and unlock at specific times, eliminating the need for manual lock-and-key operations.
- Keyless entry: Electronic locks eliminate the need for physical keys, reducing the risk of lost or stolen keys and making it easier for users to access the building.
- Remote control: Electronic locks can be controlled and monitored remotely, allowing for the granting of temporary access to guests or employees, even when you are not physically present.
- Energy efficiency: Electronic locks can be integrated with energy management systems, allowing you to control and monitor energy usage, and potentially lower energy costs.
- Easy maintenance: Electronic locks typically have a longer lifespan than traditional mechanical locks and are easier to maintain, as they do not have moving parts that can wear out over time.
Drawbacks of electronic locks
The biggest drawback of electronic locks is the added cost of installing and managing them. Additionally, some systems may require a computer and internet connection, limiting their usefulness in emergencies. A system that only uses a remote control may be a better option where computer and internet access is restricted.
- Power dependence: Electronic locks typically rely on battery power or AC power. In the event of a power outage or failure, electronic locks may not work.
- Vulnerable to hacking: Electronic locks can be vulnerable to hacking and tampering, particularly if they are connected to a network or the internet.
- Technical failures: Electronic locks may experience technical failures or malfunctions that prevent them from opening or locking properly.
- Cost: Electronic locks are often more expensive than traditional mechanical locks.
- Complexity: Electronic locks can be complex to install and operate, and may require technical expertise to repair or troubleshoot.
- Limited durability: Electronic locks can wear out faster than traditional mechanical locks, which can increase maintenance and replacement costs.
- Limited compatibility: Electronic locks may not be compatible with all door types, hinges, or hardware, which can limit their use in certain applications.
- Limited manual override: Electronic locks may not have a manual override mechanism in the event of a power failure or technical issue, which can make it difficult or impossible to gain access to a property.
- Limited accessibility: Electronic locks may not be accessible to individuals with disabilities, as they may require manual dexterity or the ability to see and use a touch screen or keypad.
- Battery life: Electronic locks may require frequent battery changes, which can be a hassle and increase maintenance costs.
- Interference: Electronic locks may be vulnerable to interference from other electronic devices, such as smartphones, Wi-Fi routers, or other electronic locks in close proximity.
- Limited backup options: Electronic locks may not have backup options in the event of a technical failure or power outage, which can make it difficult to gain access to a property.
- Cost of replacement: If an electronic lock fails, it may be expensive to replace, particularly if it requires specialized skills to install and program.
- Limited key management: Electronic locks may not have the same level of key management as traditional mechanical locks, which can make it more difficult to track and manage keys and access rights.
Comparing smart locks and electronic locks
Electronic locks and smart locks are both types of access control solutions that provide a more advanced level of security and convenience compared to traditional mechanical locks. However, smart locks offer several advantages over electronic locks.
Here are some key differences between the two:
- Connectivity: Electronic locks are typically not connected to the internet, and do not provide remote access or monitoring capabilities. Smart locks, on the other hand, are connected to the internet and allow remote control and monitoring via a mobile app or web interface.
- Mobile app control: Electronic locks typically do not offer mobile app control, and are instead operated using a keypad, card reader, or other physical input. Smart locks, on the other hand, are often controlled using a mobile app, which provides an easy-to-use interface for granting and revoking access, monitoring lock activity, and managing settings.
- Advanced features: Electronic locks may not offer the same level of advanced features as smart locks, such as biometric authentication, encrypted access, or tamper alerts. Smart locks are designed to provide a more comprehensive solution for controlling and monitoring access to a property.
- Integrations: Electronic locks may not be compatible with other smart home devices and systems, and do not provide the same level of integrations as smart locks. Smart locks can be integrated with other smart home devices and systems, such as home security systems, video doorbells, and home automation systems, to provide a more comprehensive solution for controlling and monitoring access to a property.
- Power source: Electronic locks may require an external power source, such as a battery or electrical outlet, to operate. Smart locks typically also require a power source, but may also have backup batteries to ensure continued operation in the event of a power failure.
- Installation and setup: Electronic locks may require more specialized skills and knowledge to install and set up, compared to smart locks, which often have a more user-friendly installation process.
- Cost: Electronic locks may be less expensive than smart locks, as they may not have the same level of advanced features and functionality. However, the cost of smart locks can vary greatly depending on the specific model and its features.
Smart locks and electronic locks are two of the most popular options for securing your home or office. While both are designed to provide an extra layer of security, they both offer unique benefits and drawbacks. When selecting a smart lock or electronic lock, ensure the system operates on the same frequencies as other systems in your business. When choosing between the two, you should consider your security needs and priorities, as well as your budget and technical know-how.