Published March 4th, 2024

Smart vs Traditional Door Locks

Written by Level Home Staff | Fact Checked by Eric Schoneberger

Smart door locks vs traditional locks

While conventional locks have existed for over 6,000 years and do a fine job securing front doors, smart locks are a much-needed upgrade to the traditional home security system.

There are several differences between smart locks and traditional locks, with further differences between brands and types of smart locks. It is important to find the best lock for your unique needs, so we outlined the key differences between smart locks and conventional ones below.

What’s the difference between a regular lock and a smart lock?

Traditional door locks are not automated and must be locked and unlocked manually. Typically, each door lock has its own key that, when inserted, pushes driver pins within the lock upward based on the pins on the key. Once the driver pins and key pins align, you can turn the key to unlock or lock the mechanism. The misalignment of pins with the wrong key would block the key from turning.

This lock structure usually remains the same for both smart and traditional locks, but the major difference is that homeowners gain additional forms of access control with smart locks.

Key differences

FeaturesSmart Door LocksTraditional Door Locks
Secure against break insxx
Keyed entry (physical key)SomeX
Keyless entry (keypad, key fob, smart phone or watch, etc.)X
Manual operationSomeX
Remote operationX
Notifications and usage trackingX
Access controlXOnly with physical keys
Easy to installSomeX

Frequently asked questions about smart locks vs regular locks

Are smart locks better than regular locks?

The type of door lock that’s best for you will depend on what features you’re looking for. If you want to remotely operate your lock, then a smart door lock would be a better option. If you would prefer only a physical key and manual operation, then a regular lock would be better.

What are the disadvantages of smart locks?

The biggest drawback of a smart lock, like any smart home device, is the need for a network connection. Most smart door locks rely on bluetooth (and/or wifi) to operate, plus they require a power source, like batteries that will need to be changed periodically.

Do smart locks affect insurance?

Smart locks typically have no impact on home insurance. However, if your smart lock is part of a home security system you may be eligible to save on home insurance. It’s best to check with your insurance provider for more information on your policy, premiums, and potential discounts.

What happens if a smart lock fails?

It depends on your lock and what the “failure” is. For example, if the battery dies in a smart lock and you have the ability to manually operate it, then that just means you will have a regular lock until you replace the battery. If the failure has to do with door alignment, then you may need to simply shut the door fully to realign the lock with where it latches in the door frame.

Why are smart locks so expensive?

Smart locks are more expensive than regular locks because they have more advanced features and cost more to produce. Generally, smart lock users find the convenience and enhanced features to be a worthwhile investment.