Have you ever been worried about an intruder when you were not at home? If yes, smart locks and door answering machines are the answer to your problem. While a smart lock provides you with a couple of alternatives to unlocking your door along with the option of a physical key for emergencies, a door answering machine allows you to answer your doorbell from anywhere in the world using your smartphone.
Sometimes, an electronic lock may come as a part of the door answering machine kit. In this article, we look at these separately to understand the features and the market options.
The first thing that should be decided while buying a smart lock is whether to completely replace the existing lock or simply retrofit it. In case the existing lock is to be retrofitted with the new one, ensure that both are compatible with each other. Though a completely new installation consumes more time, it offers more flexibility.
The choice of your smart lock depends on where you want to use it. If the hinges of your door are on the right side, use a right-handed door set; whereas if they are on the left side, use a left-handed door set. Most people install it on the front door; although, a smart lock can be used anywhere except sliding glass doors.
Most smart locks are easy to install and do not require professional help. In case you already have a smart home environment, check whether the lock is compatible with your centralised home automation system. Otherwise, you can integrate with any of the available options for that lock, such as Amazon Alexa, IFTTT and so on. Here are some more features to help you make a decision.
A smart lock usually depends on a battery for a constant source of power. Power rating and battery life are two of the most important specifications that need to be compared while buying a lock. An indication is also provided to notify when power becomes low or a replacement is required. Some high-end smart locks not only provide the key but also emergency power in case the battery is dead.
Remote connectivity enables you to know about the current state of the lock anytime you want. To communicate with your phone and other equipment, a smart lock may use different types of technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Wi-Fi enables you to lock/unlock the door from anywhere in the world. Smartphone applications that are used to control a smart lock are easy to use.
Apart from the physical aspect, strong network security is essential to prevent hacking.
It is possible to use multiple techniques for a single lock; options include Bluetooth, biometrics and Wi-Fi. Along with wireless unlocking techniques, many smart locks offer alternative entry options, such as radio frequency identification (RFID), pin codes or physical keys to ensure reliability.
There are a number of options available depending on your need and budget. We will discuss a few of these here to give you an idea. Prices mentioned may vary on different e-commerce websites.
Eecoo smart lock
It offers an inductive power supply as well as dual authentication through an advanced fingerprint algorithm. Its user capacity of 300 groups strengthens security. The fingerprint sensor is an optical sensor that should be charged from time to time, and the keyboard has capacitive touch keys.
It is powered by four 1.5V alkaline dry batteries that ensure low energy consumption, allowing continuous working for one year. Alternate ways to access the door include password, smart card and remote control (that can be combined with other methods to ease your work). Installation is simple and works for frameless/framed glass doors, single/double doors and left/right doors.
Other functions include low power protection and voltage warning. It is priced at ₹ 8999.
It offers multiple ways to access the door, including pin code, RFID card and mechanical key override. You can register up to thirty RFID cards and 78 pin codes. A warning is provided in case of low battery and/or an emergency, and you can unlock the door using a 9V battery or a mechanical key. The lock is automatically unlocked from the inside with the lever handle to strengthen security. Installation is suitable for 35mm to 55mm wooden doors. It is priced at ₹ 9999 online.
It offers a smart touch keypad and a capacity of eight passwords. An indication is provided in case of low battery and/or an emergency, and you can use the provided power system. The door is automatically unlocked whenever the inner lever handle is used.
The lock can be turned to security (master) mode so that the master can delete each registered user, while normal mode can control all users at one time to strengthen the security for a multi-user environment.
Other features include alarm and anti-panic egress in case of an emergency. It is priced at ₹ 7990.
Door answering machines
Installation of a smart lock is not enough when it comes to security. The lock will tell you if someone’s near your home but a door answering machine will tell you who it is. A smart doorbell can be operated remotely from anywhere, while a video door phone achieves two-way hands-free intercom through a screen installed inside your home.
Some important features are described below.
As a door answering machine is to be installed at the door, you should make sure that the equipment can withstand different weather conditions. Most doorbells are waterproof to ensure that these do not become defective during rainy season.
To function remotely, smart doorbells are compatible with different smart home environments such as Amazon Alexa and Samsung SmartThings. Ensure to check compatibility before installation.
The main function of a smart doorbell is to know who is outside. A standard resolution camera and night vision is essential for security in both day and night times. Features like two-way audio and video-conferencing enable you to talk to the visitor remotely from anywhere.
Power consumption should be low for a longer battery life. Most doorbells use batteries that have a voltage of 3.7V and capacity between 1800mAh and 3500mAh. These are lithium-ion rechargeable batteries.
With the rapid growth of home automation, there are a variety of choices available in the market. Some of these are discussed here. Prices mentioned may vary on different e-commerce websites.
It is a smart Wi-Fi video doorbell by Vicom that comes with a music box. It has a 1.3MP HD camera and two-way audio. Bluetooth ensures fast, efficient and stable connection. The device is waterproof and suited for low power consumption. It comes with a rechargeable battery. It supports night vision and is compatible with Amazon Alexa.
Other options include voicemail, group chat and free cloud storage for thirty days. Some models have a remote unlocking function as well. It is available for ₹ 5990.
CP-PVK-70H video door phone
It allows monitoring of two outdoor stations with up to four indoor monitors. It has a complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) HD camera and an infrared (IR) colour camera. It supports night vision and has a weather/vandal-proof outdoor unit. Installation is simple and you can call between the extension units.
Other features include hands-free visitor calling, video intercom and unlock monitor. It is priced at ₹ 5125.
It is a smart wireless Wi-Fi video doorbell by LeTouch. It has an HD camera with a wide view angle and two-way audio. It is waterproof and is suited for ultra-low power consumption. It supports night vision and 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection.
Other features include passive IR (PIR) motion detection, remote active wakeup and automatic switching between day and night. It is available for ₹ 2669.