Are Keyless Door Locks a Good Idea?

C.E. Larusso
Written by C.E. Larusso
Updated April 14, 2022
Son unlocks smart lock on door as family looks on
Photo: Maskot / Maskot via Getty Images

While they offer a tech-forward solution to a classic device, keyless locks don’t necessarily mean you won’t get locked out, or that you’ve fully safe-guarded your home

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If you’ve left your keys at work one too many times or you are tired of opening the front door late at night for a forgetful teenager, you might be considering a keyless door lock system for your home. On the other hand, that Bluetooth device that never connects and the latest major data breach have you wondering if you can trust contemporary digital technology to keep your home safe. Read through our pros and cons of keyless door locks to ensure you make an informed purchase before you toss away your set of spare keys.

What Is a Keyless Door Lock?

Also called a smart or electronic lock, a keyless door lock is a lock that doesn’t require a key. Simple, right? Keyless door locks can use facial recognition, finger prints, fobs, or combination codes to lock and unlock doors. One of the most common types of keyless locks use a pin code.

Pros of a Keyless Entry System

No Key Needed

An obvious benefit, the idea of not having to carry a key around is alluring to many, especially those of us who tend to misplace things often. It’s one less thing to schlep, one less thing to worry about, and one less call to a local locksmith.

Allows Others Access

Woman using keyless door lock
Photo: Johner Images / Getty Images

At work late and need your sister to stop at the house to feed the dogs? With a keyless lock, you don’t need to worry about making keys for extended family or neighbors, and won’t need to keep track of who has one and who doesn’t. Everyone who has the code can get in when they need to without much fuss. In addition, you won’t need to worry about hiding a key under a plant or a rock and worry about someone finding it and breaking in.

Helpful for Household Members With Mobility Issues

If someone in your home has mobility issues, a smart lock (often paired with and controlled by a smartphone) can offer them to say something as simple as “Hey Google, open the front door” to access the home. In addition, some people with disabilities such as severe arthritis may find even seemingly simple tasks, like turning a key in a door, painful to do, in which case a keyless lock can be of great benefit.

Cons of a Keyless Entry System 

Can Be Hacked

The code to your lock is a password, just like the one you use you access your bank account at an ATM. Tech-savvy predators can hack—or even guess—this code. In addition, someone walking by might be able to peek over your shoulder and see the code you’ve entered to gain unwanted access later.

Tip: If you opt for a keyless lock, we recommend making your password difficult to guess. ‘1234’ just doesn’t cut it in today’s digital world.

They’re Expensive

An old-fashioned deadbolt costs between $20 and $50, but a keyless lock runs anywhere from $150 to $250, and the installation can also come with a hefty price tag as they’re much more complicated to install. In addition, you need to make sure the keyless lock’s orientation matches your door; some only lock left or right.

Security Is Not Guaranteed

A lot of people think a keyless door lock offers greater security, but there are still many ways an expert burglar can enter your home. They can do this by either picking the keyless lock (some models offer the option for you to use a key, so the break-in method would be the same with a regular lock), or breaking in through a window. Check your lock options’ security grades and see whether the keyless lock rates higher than your regular deadbolt; a grade 1 is the highest grading, usually used for commercial or industrial buildings.

You Might Forget the Code

If you can barely remember your spouse’s birthday, a lock with a code might not be a good idea— especially since you should change your keyless lock’s code often to prevent the number keys from wearing out and making your code obvious to intruders.

Risk of a Power Failure

As with all technology, if there’s a power failure, you might be stuck without a connection and, subsequently, no way to get inside your home. Some keyless locks do have a backup power system built into them but they usually don’t have a very long life.

Can Be Unattractive

Most of the more basic keyless locks on the market are not built with design in mind. They’re essentially metal boxes, jutting out from your door, and some people prefer the classic look of a deadbolt.

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