- Home Improvement
Which is the Best Keyless Door Lock? Four RFID & Keypad Picks
Keypad / RFID Lock Options Reviewed
I hate keys. They scratch up my phone and I just hate fiddling through them all. Fortunately, the day is nearing that keys won't be a significant part of our lives anymore. Did you know that there are actually a bunch of keyless door locks for your home already available?
Once the domain of high end apartment buildings, keyless entry door locks are now becoming a big deal. The best keypad and RFID door locks are actually stronger and more secure than their manual, keyed counterparts, and they give you a lot more versatility and peace of mind to boot.
There are a whole jumble of them online these days, and it's a tough thing to sift through. Fortunately for you, I spent half a year researching the best RFID and keypad door locks for a business I worked for, so I've already done the legwork for you! This article will outline five amazing products, and I'll go over what makes each one unique and why it was chosen for this review. Let's get started.
What the heck is an RFID?
RFID stands for radio frequency identification. Each tag contains a set of data, that transmit data to the interrogating device. Some of them require batteries, but many do not (they can gain power from the device's field).
The advantage of an RFID tag is that it can be embedded in plastic. That means you can carry a handy card or tag around with you, and it'll stay safe. Just pass it in front of the scanner at the door, and it will open.
RFID, biometric, keypad? What technology should I use?
If you've done any amount of searching online already, you know that when searching for the best keyless door locks you'll be bombarded by choice. There are a handful of viable technologies all vying for your dollar, and they all have their individual pros and cons. I'll go over them here.
Biometric: A biometric keyless door lock system uses one of your genetic hallmarks as a means to open and lock a door. 99 times out of 100, this means a fingerprint scan system. Fingerprint door locks are amazing, and I've actually written an article exclusively on them. They're just one viable option among many, however.
Keypad: This system is a little bit older, but it's tried, tested and true. An electronic keypad is programmed with a number of codes for entry. Type in the right code and you gain access. Simple and elegant.
RFID: This is closer to a traditional key system, in that you need a FOB or card in order to open the door. Scan your card at the reader, and the lock opens like magic. These are a lot less fiddly than a traditional lock.
Kevo: One of the first (and best) iPhone / Android deadbolts.
There are a number of smartphone compatible keyless door locks and deadbolts about to hit the market, but one of the first to hit was the Kevo. It's a very slick and smart system that does away with the need for both keys, codes and RFID tags.
The Kevo uses your iPhone as a virtual keychain, and lets you open and close your front door lock with the press of a button, from anywhere in the world.
In fact, you don't even have to scan anything or press a button when you're heading home. The Kevo uses advanced Bluetooth technology to detect your iPhone's presence, and automatically unlocks the door when you're within a short range. Think about that!
If you don't have an iPhone, or if not everyone in your household does, that's not a problem! The Kevo makes use of RFID technology and will open the lock at the wave of a card. And beyond that, there's a traditional key in the center as well, so you can get in no matter what technology you prefer to use.
You can make use of the Kevo App to open or close the lock from anywhere in the world with internet access. It's really powerful that way. The system also works with iPod Touch 5 and iPad 3. They hope to soon include other smartphones and devices too.
It installs in a traditional door lock without a ton of jury rigging and modification. Runs on four AA batteries. This is definitely one of the best keyless home door locks around, and I'd give it hard look if you own an iPhone.
Samsung EZON: A good RFID / keypad door lock for any home
Samsung is probably better known for the television sets, but they are a huge company with a vast array of products, including a significant foray into home security. Their EZON series of locks, door handles and deadbolts has really made an impression on me. Not only is it sleek, sophisticated and secure, it's also really cool and user friendly.
This particular model is a deadbolt with a digital keypad attached to it, but it's also programmed to accept input from RFID tags, so you can use an appropriate FOB or card to gain access if you don't feel like punching in numbers.
Technically speaking, this is a sophisticated device. The screen is backlit, and when it's not in use the screen goes black so the keys aren't always visible (also saving you battery life). Yes, they are battery operated, but they last a long time.
There are some security advances here that set the EZON system apart from many competitors. For example, there is a built-in system that will unlock the door in the event of a fire, and there is an emergency unlock procedure. The system is resistant to unauthorized entry: it will lock the user out for 3 minutes if they attempt a code 5 times without success.
One of my favorite features on this powerful little keypad door lock is the code anonymity feature: it requires you to enter two random numbers before you enter your code. That prevents someone from finding fingerprints on the pad to break in.
It comes with four RFID cards standard, and you can order more. It's a bit complicated to install, so I'd suggest hiring a contractor to do it for you. It's also a self-contained unit, so don't expect it to wire up to an existing security system.
Schlage Touchscreen: One of the top keypad door locks with Nexia compatibility
Schlage is well known in the lock and security industry, and they have a full-featured lineup of powerful electronic door locks, including keyless entry and RFID offerings. I wanted to display this particular lock because it's really versatile and has a lot to offer.
The locking mechanism itself is top notch. It's strong and built with reinforced components, and it's rated Grade 1 on the ANSI hardware standards system, so it's about the strongest you'll find for a residential application.
This lock is loaded with neat features. The motorized deadbolt will re-lock after being left open for 30 seconds. You can disable this feature, but it's nice to have if you tend to be forgetful. The unit also has three built-in alarm sensors, that let you know when the door opens, or when forcible entry occurs. It's a deterrent and a warning system all in one.
The lock also happens to be Nexia compatible, which is an online system for entry management. It means that you can open the door remotely using your Nexia portal, you can monitor comings and goings online, and you can allow certain codes to work at certain times (for the housekeeper, for example). You can effectively open the lock with your smartphone this way, but it requires a paid Nexia account.
It's a feature rich keyless door lock for your home, and if it had RFID functionality as well it'd be at the top of my list.
Anviz L100: A biometric / RFID doorhandle & lock for fingerprint access
I wanted to offer an example of a full-featured, biometric door handle. This high tech handle and lock system from Anviz features just about everything you could want.
The brushed chrome exterior looks great, but beyond that it's one of the most secure handles around, with a reinforced steel frame and a lock body that's built to withstand forcible entry attempts.
The system is RFID compatible, meaning that with a key card you can simply hold your tag near the unit and the mechanical lock will automatically disengage. It's really handy if your hands are full of groceries and you can't be fiddling with a key.
The crown jewel of this unit is of course the biometric capability. There is a small fingerprint scanner just above the door handle, on the outside. To gain entry, simply press your finger flat against the scanner, and the lock will open in about 1 second.
You can program in up to 200 unique fingerprints, and there is a proprietary system that lets you manage the fingerprints in the database, adding and deleting them down the road if need be. It's battery powered, but they last for months. In the event of power failure, you can use a 9v battery to gain access again, or use the emergency backup key.
I should mention, this keyless door lock should be compatible with most traditional doors, and it won't require a ton of wiring or renovation. If you aren't handy do call in a contractor to get it done right, but it's a fantastic system; you won't believe you lived without it all this time.
Arrg! Technological Confusion! Which one do I choose?
When you're hunting around trying to get the best keypad or RFID door lock for your money, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the choices and options, especially in light of the fact that technology is continually changing and there's bound to be brand new companies hitting the street soon.
The best way to go is to analyze your habits, and choose the lock that fits your lifestyle.
- Do you have an iPhone or smartphone, and would you like to use it to manage your locks? If yes, then consider the Kevo, or other products on the way like the August Smart Lock and the Lockitron.
- Do you want keyless access for lots of people? A keypad deadbolt might be the best option, since you can share the codes easily over the phone.
- Is ease of entry important to you? RFID deadbolts are pretty easy to use with a single swipe, but the Kevo offers truly hands free unlocking if you own an iPhone or Apple device.
If you're still unsure, please feel free to post a comment and I'll try to help you narrow it down further. Thanks for reading!