Smart Lock Installation: What You Should Know Before Upgrading to a Keyless Entry System

Thinking about upgrading to a keypad door lock or smart lock for your home or business? Before you dive into the world of keyless entry, it’s essential to understand what you’re getting into and what you might be giving up. Keypad door locks offer convenience and security, but they also come with their own set of pros and cons.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know before installing a keypad door lock. We’ll discuss the differences between electronic and mechanical keypad locks, common installation difficulties, the advantages, and disadvantages of keyless entry systems, and offer expert advice to help you make an informed decision.

Electronic vs. Mechanical Keypad Door Locks

Before you embark on your smart lock installation journey, you need to decide whether you want an electronic or a mechanical keypad door lock. The choice depends on your specific needs and preferences, with each type offering distinct advantages:

Electronic Keypad Door Locks

Electronic keypad locks require a power source, such as batteries or a wired connection. They offer the convenience of easily changing access codes, making them ideal for scenarios where multiple people need access to a specific area. Electronic locks can also be reprogrammed quickly and support multiple codes simultaneously.

However, electronic locks may be more susceptible to wear and connectivity issues over time, much like touchscreen technology. The buttons on electronic locks can wear out or lose their connections, potentially requiring maintenance or replacement.

Mechanical Keypad Door Locks

Mechanical keypad door locks operate without electricity, functioning similarly to traditional door locks. They are energy-independent and known for their durability and longevity. Mechanical locks are perfect for harsh weather conditions and repetitive use, making them a reliable choice.

If you prefer a lock that remains functional under challenging circumstances, such as extreme weather, mechanical keypad locks are an excellent option. They are less prone to wear and tear, making them a long-lasting choice, much like a mechanical watch.

Key Takeaways:

  • Electronic keypad locks require a power source.
  • Mechanical keypad locks function independently of electricity.
  • Electronic locks offer convenience for code changes.
  • Mechanical locks provide longevity and robustness.

Difficulties Installing Keypad Door Locks

Most smart lock installations are relatively straightforward, especially for residential homes. However, some challenges may arise during the installation process, so it’s essential to be aware of potential issues. Here are some difficulties you might encounter when installing a keypad door lock:

Motorized Actuators

Some smart locks feature keypads but lack a handle or knob. Instead, they rely on motorized actuators to move the bolt once the correct code is entered. These locks can be tricky to install correctly, as improper installation may cause motor wear or result in an actuator that’s not strong enough to operate the lock effectively. Pay close attention to bolt alignment and tolerances during the installation process.

Door Alignment and Fit

Misaligned doors can lead to problems with keypad door locks. If the metal bolt grinds against the door or doesn’t align with the strike hole, the lock won’t function correctly. In some cases, door adjustments or handle rotation may be necessary to ensure a proper fit. Additionally, programming a new code can sometimes pose challenges.

If you encounter difficulties during the installation process, consider seeking assistance from a residential locksmith to ensure that your keypad door lock functions correctly.

Commercial Grade Locks

For commercial keypad door locks, installation may be more complex, as these locks often require a hardwired power supply. Even mechanical commercial keypad locks might need professional installation due to the complexity of re-coding and other factors.

Key Takeaways:

  • Motorized actuators can lead to wear and misalignment issues.
  • Misaligned doors, incorrect fit, and programming problems are common concerns.
  • Commercial-grade locks may require professional installation.

Pros of Installing Keypad Door Locks

Now that we’ve discussed the installation process and potential challenges, let’s delve into the advantages of installing keypad door locks:

1. Changing Access

Keypad door locks make changing access a breeze. Whether you need to grant or revoke access to service technicians or tenants, keyless entry eliminates the need for rekeying or lock replacements. All the necessary tools for changing access are integrated into the lock itself. You can also program multiple locks to work with the same code, providing exceptional convenience.

Changing codes with electronic locks is a straightforward process, and it’s even possible to make multiple locks respond to a single code. This level of flexibility is unmatched when compared to traditional locks. For mechanical locks, you might need a locksmith’s assistance for code changes, given the disassembly and reassembly required.

2. Keyless Options

Keypad door locks eliminate the need for physical keys, reducing the hassle of cutting new keys, distributing them, and managing them. With keys, there’s always a risk of loss, breakage, or the need to retrieve keys when access changes occur. Keyless entry systems eradicate these issues.

Moreover, keyless locks enhance security by eliminating the possibility of unauthorized key duplication. Even if keys are stamped with “DO NOT DUPLICATE,” self-serve key machines can’t enforce the restriction. With keypad door locks, you can change codes whenever necessary, ensuring that only authorized individuals have access.

Additionally, keyless locks are exceptionally secure, as they don’t have keyways that can be picked or manipulated. The absence of a keyway is a significant advantage for those seeking unpickable locks.

3. Access Control

Keypad door locks offer superior access control, especially when they support multiple codes simultaneously. This functionality allows you to create an access hierarchy similar to a master key system, enabling different levels of access for various users.

You can restrict access to sensitive areas by limiting the number of individuals with access codes. This approach ensures that only authorized personnel can enter high-security zones. Whether you’re using electronic or mechanical keypad locks, you can enhance your access control by using multiple codes for different doors, depending on your specific needs.

Even if your locks don’t support simultaneous codes, you can still structure access by assigning different codes to various locks. This approach simplifies management, and people only need to remember the codes relevant to their areas.

Cons of Installing Keypad Door Locks

While keypad door locks offer numerous benefits, it’s essential to be aware of potential drawbacks before installation:

1. Energy Dependence

One of the main downsides of electronic keypad door locks is their dependence on a power source. In the case of battery-powered locks, you risk losing access when the batteries run out. If the lock is hardwired into a power source, power outages can lead to similar issues.

The lock’s behavior during a power loss depends on whether it is fail-secure or fail-safe. Most keypad door locks are fail-secure, meaning they remain locked without electrical power, unless there’s a key override. This can result in lockouts if you don’t have a key or a backup method to operate the lock.

2. Security Concerns

Keyless entry systems introduce the risk of code exposure. Once someone gains access to a code, they essentially have a key to your property. Unlike traditional locks, where a physical key can’t be transmitted instantly, sharing a code can lead to unauthorized access without your knowledge.

There’s also no way to determine if your keypad door lock has been compromised if someone enters the correct code. This lack of visibility makes it challenging to identify potential security breaches.

Mechanical keypad door locks are not exempt from security concerns, as some of them can be decoded easily. While decoding methods vary by product, low-security locks may not require any tools to decipher the combination, making them vulnerable to unauthorized access.

3. Mechanical Complexity

The more moving parts a lock has, the higher the risk of component failure. Electronic locks are inherently more delicate than mechanical locks due to the reliance on electronic components. Mechanical keypad door locks are sturdier and better equipped to handle wear and tear.

Keypad door locks can wear down over time with repeated code inputs, which can impact their durability. For electronic locks, the risk of becoming outdated due to rapid technological advancements is a concern. Replacing electronic locks can be costly, considering their higher price point compared to standard locks.

Key Takeaways:

  • Electronic locks may lose functionality during power outages.
  • Security concerns arise from the potential exposure of access codes.
  • Mechanical keypad locks may be vulnerable to decoding methods.
  • Mechanical complexity can affect the longevity of keypad door locks.

Final Thoughts

Deciding whether to install a keypad door lock ultimately comes down to a careful evaluation of the benefits and potential trade-offs. Consider your specific needs, security concerns, and the advantages discussed in this guide. You can also explore products designed to address potential issues associated with keypad door lock installations and maximize the advantages of keyless entry systems. For professional advice and assistance with your smart lock installation, don’t hesitate to reach out to 1st Choice Locksmith. We’re here to help you make an informed decision and enhance the security of your property.


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