Tech

Comparison: secure smartlocks for the front door

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Electronic door locks, remote control for the front door, app control for the locking cylinder: the offers are diverse. We researched what to look for.

Open mail carriers from a distance, unlock guests for your own home using a smartphone: There are countless retrofit locks with a smart connection. The solutions differ primarily in terms of price and workload when retrofitting. You should plan between 100 and 500 euros. We show which solutions are particularly easy to install.

Smart locks are not necessarily smart locking cylinders. There are, and in many cases they make sense. The mechanical authorization check – usually the scanning of different recesses in the key – is replaced or supplemented by an electronic check. Instead of keys, for example, NFC tags are used, radio remote controls, radio-connected numeric keypads or fingerprint scanners. Once the authorization has been successfully checked, the battery-operated locking cylinders engage the outer rotary knob; the lock can now be opened by hand by turning it.

Alternatively, there are key-turning boxes that are placed on the inside of the existing locking cylinder and key. They are also battery operated and mostly radio controlled. If you open the opening with a remote control, for example, an electric motor inside turns the key until the door is open.

The fingerprint scanners, code keyboards and RFID readers, which are traded for little money on Ebay and Amazon, are ideal for controlling an existing electronic door opener – for example at the garden gate or at the front door of an apartment building. Such solutions are also significantly more expensive and of higher quality, for example from e-Key, but one problem remains: the door is not locked by default – and in the event of a break-in, the insurance does not pay for an apartment door.

Motor locks or self-locking locks with a motor case are a solution. Retrofitting is expensive and time-consuming, depending on the model, cables may even be required in the door leaf; there are also self-locking retrofit solutions that replace electric strikes.

The easiest way is to exchange the locking cylinder for a digital variant. There is a knob on the inside and outside of the door, the inside usually works, the outside turns empty – until you have identified yourself by code, remote control, fingerprint or NFC. Then the outer knob engages and the door can be unlocked and unlocked. Of course, the coolness factor here is somewhat lower than with a door that opens itself at the push of a button, and you have to lock it the same way by hand. But there is proven technology here, a variety of query technology, online and offline access and so on.


The SecuEntry replaces the locking cylinder. The emergency key can be seen in the foreground.