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Smart Door Lock vs. Traditional: Which Is the Best Choice for Your Home?

Apr 10, 2023|

Homeowners around the world are looking for ways to make their homes more secure, and it all starts with their locks. A secure lock is your first line of defense against burglary and break-ins, and today, there’s a new variety on the scene: the smart door lock.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about your door lock options, including:

  • How smart door locks work
  • The pros and cons of smart door locks
  • The pros and cons of traditional door locks
  • What you need to consider as you decide what kind of lock to use

Let’s start with the key differences between these two locking systems.

Smart door lock on a front door.

Key differences between smart locks and traditional locks

Here are the key differences to note when considering smart locks vs. traditional locks:

  • Smart locks can be locked and unlocked from anywhere, while traditional locks need to be locked and unlocked with a physical key.
  • Smart home door locks need electric or battery power, whereas traditional locks don’t.
  • Some smart locks are equipped with sensors and video cameras for enhanced security, which traditional locks lack.

But those are just the broad strokes of smart locks vs. traditional locks, so let’s take a deeper dive. How does each type of lock work, and what are their pros and cons?

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Smart locks

Smart locks do not require physical keys for entry, which is why they’re sometimes called keyless door locks.

The locking mechanisms behind these are similar to those of run-of-the-mill traditional or deadbolt locks. The key difference is that a smart lock contains electronic components that allow it to connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network, Bluetooth, or Z-Wave. This allows you to operate it with your smartphone or other smart home devices.

Depending on the style of smart lock you choose, it may include one or more of the following locking methods:

  • Custom numerical codes
  • Fingerprint scanning
  • Digital key fobs
  • Voice control
  • Smartphone app control

You can even integrate your smart door lock with your home security system so that when it locks and unlocks, it engages and disengages your alarm.

Smart door locks have a lot of built-in functionality and great features like keyless entry. We’ll go over how these options can improve your home security system, as well as the downsides to smart door lock systems.

Smart door lock on a front door.


  • Convenience. Tired of wrestling with your keychain every time you come home? Smart locks are a solution that lets you unlock your home with a smartphone, your voice or fingerprint, or any number of programmed codes.
  • Remote access and control. This lets you lock or unlock your door from anywhere since you can let people in using a mobile app. Plus, never worry again about whether you locked your door on your way out — simply check your app, and you can lock it from there as needed.
  • Advanced security features. These might include extras like anti-theft capabilities to prevent tampering, intrusion alarms, two-way talk, and built-in cameras. Those are just a few improvements to look for that will keep your home even safer.
  • Know who’s coming in and out of your home. Receive notifications whenever someone unlocks your door, including which specific code or access method was used.
  • Smart home automation. Connect your lock to another smart home device, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, for more voice control functionality. You can also automate your home so that your lights or other home features turn on anytime your smart lock opens, offering you convenience and an additional intruder deterrent.
  • Voice control. Arriving home with an armful of groceries has never been easier. With voice recognition and control, all you need to do is speak and open your door.
  • Professional installation. Enjoy the peace of mind that your smart lock has been installed correctly with Vivint’s free professional installation that comes with every purchase.


  • Vulnerability to hacking. As with most smart technology, there is a potential for hacking. Smart lock developers are constantly updating technology to prevent this, but it is always a possibility.
  • Dependence on technology. Smart locks are largely dependent on technology, which may cause problems. Batteries may eventually need replacement, and the hardware of some smart locks may become obsolete someday.
  • Higher initial cost. Smart technology does come with a price tag that is higher than most traditional lock systems.

Traditional locks

For comparison, let’s look at how traditional locks work. These mechanical locks often use a pin tumbler method with short and long metal pins to hold the lock cylinder in place. When the right key is inserted, it lines up with these metal pins and moves them a set distance, unlocking the mechanism.

Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of traditional locks.


  • Lower initial cost. Traditional locks can cost as low as $40 — a fraction of the price of most smart locks.
  • Familiarity and ease of use. People have used this lock with physical keys for centuries, and old habits die hard. Getting used to not reaching for your keys as you open the door may take some time.


  • Limited security features. Manufacturers have done a lot over the years to beef up physical keys and lock cylinders. But when compared to current security technology, the lack of security features like alarm sensors, video, and remote access leaves your home vulnerable.
  • Vulnerability to lock picking and bumping. Did you know that it can take as little as a few seconds to pick a traditional lock? This scary fact shows just how vulnerable traditional locks are and how vulnerable your home is.
  • Inconvenience. With traditional locks, there’s just one way to enter: using a physical key. If you lose it, you’re locked out. You’ll also have to spend time and money getting individual keys made for anyone who needs access to your home.
  • Lack of remote access and control. Want to check the status of your lock when you’re not home? Unfortunately, you just can’t do that with traditional door locks.
  • Long-term cost. While the initial cost for a new lock is small, costs add up as you replace locks for new tenants or to regain security following a breach.
Smart lock on a front door.

Factors to consider when choosing a lock

Now that we’ve covered the basic pros and cons of each type of lock, let’s look at a few factors to determine the best and most secure option for your situation.

Home security needs and risk factors

The security features of a smart lock can set your mind at ease. This option might be for you if you:

  • Live in an area or neighborhood with a high crime rate
  • Have a lot of valuables inside your home, such as art or jewelry
  • Have a larger home layout with multiple entryways (The more there are, the easier it is to leave one unlocked.)

Budget and cost-effectiveness

Do you regularly change your locks for new tenants, or host AirBnB guests? Do your family members frequently lose their house keys?

If so, a smart lock might be the right choice. With this technology, these situations only require a few minutes to reset the code on your lock’s keypad.

Convenience and ease of use

Smart door locks are designed to make your life easier. For example, you can set your door to auto-lock after a period of inactivity to always ensure your home is locked and secure. And remote access lets you check your locks from anywhere and lock or unlock your door as needed.

Personal preferences and lifestyle

As with most choices for your home, your preferences and lifestyle play a large role in this decision.

If you struggle with technology and dread having to remember a code, then a traditional lock may be your safest bet. If, on the other hand, you thrive on technology and struggle to remember physical keys, then a smart lock system might be just what you need.

A safer front door with Vivint

Smart locks are a great addition to any home security system. When used with security cameras, lights, and your other smart home system components, it provides an extra layer of protection and convenience.

Want to know more about smart locks and compare some options? Take a look through Vivint’s smart locks and see the safety features we offer to keep you and your home safe.

Give us a call at 855.822.1220 today for a free consultation.

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