Everybody wants to ensure their home is safe and secure, especially around the holiday period. You want to make sure you can keep the new gifts safe from thieving hands or prying eyes. Fortunately, lock technology continues to work apace to bring innovations to the world of security.
This article will enlighten you on exactly what has finished development this year. Also, we will show you what has gained popularity in preparation for the holiday season in the world of lock technology. With a little luck, you will find a few new devices at the peak of security advancement which you can use to defend your home and property.
Home Lock Technology
The concept of shoving a deadbolt through a hole in your door is not something that looks to be going away any time soon. Still, how you go about the act of doing that continues to be up for grabs.
With physical locks, one of the most recent developments has been the introduction of SmartKey locks and other tools. These allow you to change the key you use in your lock without needing to get a whole new lock system installed.
Following a simple process of unlocking the door and going through a re-setting system, you can set a new set of keys to work instead. This is perfect in-case you lose your keys, or someone steals them. It is especially useful if you have the same key for multiple locks and will save you a great deal of money long-term.
Aside from this, however, the world of mechanical locks has remained stagnant for a long time. There have been no significant changes in how the basic concept of turning a key in a lock has worked in over four thousand years. Excepting, of course, the SmartKey system above and a few overhauls of the shapes
When it comes to non-mechanical locks, however, that is a whole different situation.
Non-Mechanical Lock Technology
While the majority of electronic lock advancement has been in smart locks, there is one other area where locks have improved recently. Over the past few years, electromagnetic locks have become more popular in many gated communities.
While offices and other secure buildings have made regular use of these, they have gained popularity in the home for one specific reason.
Electromagnetic locks work by running an electric current through a system to produce a magnetic field. This holds a door’s metal plate tight against it. This means the stronger the electrical force, the stronger the lock.
It also, however, means that it is more secure for the people inside the building in the case of an emergency. Should there be a power cut, the electromagnet will stop functioning, allowing those inside an easy exit without needing to find a key.
This level of personal safety means those who can afford electromagnetic locks have made use of them. There is an understanding that they can allow exit to a building in case of fire, flood, or other situations. The inclusion of a simple breaker in the same room as the door also means it is easy to shut off the door’s lock by hand should you need to.
These locks have also gained immense popularity outdoors. This is where rust, ice, and other environmental effects could damage a mechanical lock. You do not need oil to maintain an electromagnetic lock. So long as the installer has correctly encased the wiring, there should be no problem whatsoever in the case of strong weather.
In the physical lock world, one of the leading brands for a while has been Medeco’s Maxum series. Engineers have designed this deadbolt to provide the maximum security they can in a physical lock.
The system makes use of several solid steel inserts within the lock to prevent criminals from drilling it. Also, the design of the keys themselves has received a patent. Locksmiths must register copies upon creation so the owner always knows how many exist.
The Medeco Maxum has gained various accolades, including a UL 437 security rating. This is from a group known as the “Underwriters Laboratories”, who provide a standard for security locks. The Medeco Maxum passes its tests for being attack-resistant and providing a robust locking system.
The biggest downside of the Medeco Maxum may be its weight and size. This is a thick lock, weighing almost one and a half kilos. It may therefore be obvious to some people that you have invested in security for your building.
Then again, a solid lock will turn away any opportunity criminal seeing that you have secured your building with a heavy attempt at security.
The Medeco Maxum is well-known for its ability to stop solid kicks and attempts to completely break the lock. It even comes with a strike plate, which is a must for any security-focused individual. The door frame itself should be the last thing you need to worry about, and this allows you to have that assurance.
The latest in Kwikset’s line is a contemporary key system perfect for any outdoor lock. It is a standard deadbolt with a keyhole on both sides to allow easy access. You can also screw it in from the inside of the building or home to prevent would-be thieves from attempting to access the lock with a screwdriver.
One of the advanced features of the Kwikset 985, however, is the SmartKey system. As mentioned above, this mechanism allows you to “change the locks” without actually changing any locks.
Should you lose one of your keys or if someone has access you do not wish to, you can follow a process to adjust the tumblers in the lock. You do this via a Smartkey tool and by following instructions available online. When you have re-set it, your lock will no longer accept the old keys, and whichever key you have chosen to replace it with will work instead.
Unlike the Madeco Maxum, the Kwikset 985 does not come with a strike plate. While this is a strike against it (no pun intended), strike plates are not particularly expensive. Should you desire one, you can always go and get one yourself with minimal hassle.
All in all, the Kwikset 985 is an inexpensive, secure lock that will fit in perfectly with many modern doors. We would recommend investigating your options with it too by talking to a local professional, as it comes in a range of styles. It even allows one side of the lock to be a latch as an option, allowing easy opening from inside the building.
Further on than the realm of physical locks, we come into what many modern home-owners are pandering for. Smart locks fit in with our modern, connected lifestyle. They allow us a lot more control, transparency, and freedom so long as all of the parts are working.
As we have seen recently, however, sometimes all of these parts do not work as intended or are a security issue themselves. While internet outages do not seriously hamper your ability to stay secure that loss of control is still troubling. As smart locks do not look like they are going away, you should make yourself aware of these potential vulnerabilities.
Still, when they do work, smart locks can add many features to our life we did not know we needed. Doorbells that sync to our tablets and let us see who is there, for example, or locks that you can control from your phone. All sorts of other capabilities are within your grasp.
“Alexa, unlock the front door.”
A lot of people worry smart locks are not strong enough to stand up to such construction as the Medeco Maxum and similar. The Schlage Encode proves this is not the case. This lock offers quality protection while not skimping on extra features and Schlage has made it of firm metal.
While it does have a physical tumbler lock as part of the panel, the intent is that this is only as a backup. The main section of the front of this lock is a large numbered keypad that offers you access to your home once you type in the correct code.
This code is settable fast via a tablet or phone, letting you keep something memorable as your PIN. If someone finds out the code, you can also change it at the push of a button.
One of the features which is a serious boon to disabled users is connectivity. It can work alongside not only Schlage’s own app, but Amazon Key, Ring, or even Alexa. This means that someone who cannot get up from their chair can allow entry to their friends and family without moving.
Combined with a suitable camera, the Schlage Encode means one does not need to move ever again to allow someone entry.
Finally, you can have visibility of when people come and go from your home via a smartphone app. You need not only have one code for entering your house, as with up to one hundred different access codes you can ensure some only work a portion of the time. If you have a cleaner, for example, you could permit entry only at certain times of the day and see if they try to enter at other times.
August Wifi Smart Lock
The biggest obvious change to this lock has been its size. The new August Wifi Smart Lock is about two thirds the size of its predecessor, and much lighter.
This lock boasts its simple installation, and they are not incorrect. With the removal of a couple of screws from existing deadbolts, you can retrofit this lock straight onto your door with little hassle. The faceplate even sits on the unit itself via magnets, avoiding awkward fiddling with parts.
After installing the device itself, it should connect to your wifi and you can then control it via a smartphone app. A well-designed UI and easy process let you set up additional people who can open the door, and even set up geofences. This means you can have it lock by itself once you leave the house past a few meters, but make sure you do not accidentally lock someone in.
The only major problem we found with the August Wifi, however, was its battery life. It is a lot better than some options out there, the Schlage Encode felt like it was draining power uncomfortable fast too. Luckily for us, a set of rechargeable batteries made this less of a concern, especially as they were simple to replace.
Finally, one thing we are quite happy with is simply how beautiful this device is. Its sleek, circular design and minimalistic exterior have made this a favorite smart lock. We have even started showing it off to our neighbors when they pop round for a chat.
Closing It off
While there have been various advances in locks over the years, it is easy to see that lock technology is driving ahead. Old technology is mainly existing as a backup, such as in the Schlage Encode’s physical lock. Instead, sleek and advanced designs such as the August Wifi Smart Lock have started to press their advantage.
Of course, for the best advice on the locks you should get in your area you should remember to call a locksmith. Get in contact with us for the best deals, to handle emergencies or just to stay up-to-date on the latest news. We know how to keep your home and family secure.
We can even consult on complicated or unique issues, such as wall safes or peephole installation, so do not be afraid to ask if you have questions.