At Banham, we stake our ninety-year reputation on our range of high quality door locks, and we have always kept a close eye on the latest technological developments to sweep the industry. The most significant one in recent years has been the rising popularity of smart locks—home security systems which can be controlled by mobile devices. Whilst these have captured the imaginations of many consumers, we have viewed this development with some apprehension.
When choosing a front door lock, consumers should ask themselves the same crucial question that they would about any home security measure—namely, just how safe it is. It is important to note that smart locks are, on principle, an extremely good idea; however, until the technology evolves, traditional locks are going to be a safer, smarter option than any computerised locking system hooked up to the Internet Of Things. In this article, Banham will explain why traditional locks should not be discounted as a security investment and offer advice on how to choose the best front door lock.
What you should know before buying a door lock
Buying a door lock should be a fairly straightforward process, but with an increasingly competitive marketplace, it has become trickier to determine the correct lock for your door. Whether you're replacing a single lock or remodelling your home, here’s what you need to know to choose the right lock.
1. Certain types of lock suit certain types of doors
For anyone having to choose a front door lock, the most important thing to bear in mind is your door itself. The different types of door lock are suited to different materials, frames, and even whether they open inward or outward. For example, compared with a mortice lock, which is fitted inside a door, a rim lock is maybe better suited for older properties, as less damage will be done to the door during installation.
Read more: What Are The Different Types of Door Lock?
2. Be mindful of industry standards and insurance compliance
The “smartest” lock you can get for your home is one which not only keeps your home safe, but will lower your insurance premium. The majority of the locks we offer are compliant with the British Standard 3621 for security, and are accredited from the Police’s “Secured By Design” campaign. This initiative is spearheading security devices with a high-quality design which will also work as an effective deterrent against intruders or burglary.
3. When to replace a lock
Upgrading your front door locks may seem like something reserved for moving house, but there are plenty of other circumstances in which a new set of locks is needed; losing your keys, for example, or in the event that a housemate or partner has moved out of your property. If you haven’t changed your locks for several years, sheer age may even necessitate them being replaced altogether.
Read more: The Importance of Changing Front Door Locks
4. Make sure your keys are as unique as possible
It is worth investigating how easy it is to have copies of your keys cut. Unlike the majority of security companies, the keys for our unique door locks can only be copied with the permission of the registered owner. This adds an additional layer of security even beyond the physical protection offered by high quality door locks.
Read more: Unique Door Locks: Are Yours One of a Kind?
Are smart locks secure enough to rival traditional door locks?
Not yet. According to tests completed by Lifehacker, there have been few advances in preventing smart locks from being hacked in the last five years, meaning they may be prone to malicious break-in and hacking attempts. They also note that, to break a traditional lock, a burglar needs to be present onsite—not an issue for anyone hacking a smart lock system remotely.
A smart lock should not be your primary mode of door security
Firstly, it is important to note that, whilst we offer a range of insurance approved alarm systems and locks, there are, no smart locks currently on the market which have any impact on insurance policies. As TechRadar notes, “the more we rely on digital companies for the running of our home, the more vulnerable we are when those companies fail”. If you do opt for a smart lock, you should at least ensure that the primary door lock is a traditional lock, manufactured by an established company with a solid reputation and long history in the industry.
You have to manually manage access for others
Certain smart locks can allow many people access to your home via bespoke codes, not unlike having many keys cut for the same door. Should the code or key fall into the wrong hands, the security of your home has been compromised, and you will be left with the possibility of intrusion. The latter scenario emphasises why you should change your locks after a housemate has moved out, a tried and tested method of guaranteeing your home security.
Augmenting your existing security
Ultimately, if you do decide to install a smart lock for your property, it should augment your existing security, rather than replace your locks altogether. A smart security system should serve as something of a plan b, with high-quality traditional locks being the main means of your front door security.