The 8 Best Deadbolts of 2021
There is no 'one-size-fits-all' when it comes to deadbolts and the doors they lock. Look at the sizes of different locks and one-side vs. two-sides for additional protection. Models like the Prime-Line SE 15361 SEGAL (our #1 pick) are single-cylinder vs. the Brinks’ 2718-119 Double Cylinder, for example, which has protection for both sides of the door.
Some deadbolts are simple, effective locks. Others are a bit more complex; for example, the Brinks 2717-109 Single Cylinder lock, which offers a 4-way inner latch and an anti-pry shield or the tamper-resistant shutter guard on the Prime-Line U 9970. Complexity is a matter of preference and convenience. If you prefer simple but effective, going with something uncomplicated makes the most sense. However, if you're prone to losing keys and/or looking for higher security, something more complex may be a more advantageous buy.
If you're prone to losing your keys, the Kwikset Single Cylinder lock comes with a 're-keying' feature that lets you create a new key if your original gets lost. Other models, like the Schlage BE365VCAM619 Camelot, comes with a built-in keypad or the Schlage Z-Wave Connect Camelot that's fully "Smart" can be synced with a phone to lock even when you're not at home.
Deadbolts are a type of lock that use a key instead of a spring. Typically used as an additional layer of security, deadbolts use a key to either extend or retract the bolt across the strike plate.
Deadbolts are an additional bolt that goes across the strike plate on a door. Because deadbolts are so strong, they're often used to reinforce regular locks because it takes quite a bit of effort to tamper with them.
Installing a deadbolt is easy. Typically, companies will provide you with instructions and a template for how and where to assemble. You'll first make reference marks, then you'll saw and drill the deadbolt in place.
From there, if your deadbolt requires anything additional (like a touchscreen system, for example) you'll set up those codes and/or sync passwords and connection with your phone.
Austin Fracchia is a freelance writer specializing in home design, DIY projects, and technology. His work has appeared in The Drive, Best Reviews, and WikiHow, and others. Additional reporting was done by Marisa Donnelly, a writer and editor with over 12 years of experience. Her work has appeared in Huffington Post, Bustle, BossBabe, Thought Catalog, and more.
The best smart lock for a keyless home
While traditional lock-and-key systems have improved over time, the basic mechanism hasn’t really changed since the first lock was invented more than a thousand years ago: A piece of metal that is just the right shape pushes pins inside a lock into the proper position, allowing the lock mechanism to turn. As a society, it’s been tough to replace a system that has worked reasonably reliably for literally a millennium.
Updated September 1, 2021 to add a link our news story covering Yale Home's announcement that it was upgrading its Yale Assure line of smart entry locks to the Z-Wave 700-series.
Are smart locks really better?
You can thank the hospitality industry for finally pushing locks into the digital age. Hotels learned long ago that keys are easily lost, expensive to replace, and simple to bypass, as thieves can pick locks or simply make copies of a key to allow for unfettered future access. On the flipside, hotel guests have readily accepted key cards (and in some cases, smartphone-based solutions) as the primary means of getting into their room. The electronic solution is just so much simpler. Lost hotel key card? Replacing it is no big deal.
But the biggest benefit of electronic entry systems is that they are highly configurable. Digital locks can be changed at a moment’s notice (which is why that old hotel key card in your wallet isn’t good for anything), and the property owner can generate a record of when each door was opened. In a more advanced setting, different keys can be generated for the same lock, so a homeowner can tell when each member of the family came in, or when the housekeeper arrived.
Whether you have a teenager who tends to break curfew or merely want to give temporary access to houseguests, service providers, or Airbnbers, smart locks are an incredible upgrade over the old way of doing things. Ready to make the jump to smart lock technology? Here are our top picks of the market at the moment.
Best smart lock overall
Some will argue that we should have named the Level Touch our top pick in this category—it earned a higher score, after all—but Level treats iOS users better than it does Android users. Kwikset also ditches the old familiar keypad in favor of a fingerprint reader on its latest smart losck. This enabled the company to dramatically shrink the footprint the lock presents on the exterior side of your door. Kwikset also gives you the option of opening the lock with a conventional key, in the event the reader won’t recognize an authorized fingerprint (should your skin prune up after a dip in the pool, for instance).
The minimalist Level Lock - Touch Edition looks as good as it operates and is our highest-rated smart lock. The reason we’ve named it runner-up, versus best-of-the-best in this category, is that it can be remotely controlled only with an iOS device. The Android version of the Level app includes every feature the iOS app does, with that one important exception. If you can give up the convenience of touch operation, the new Level Lock costs $80 less.
Best retrofit smart lock
The August Smart Lock Pro has been deposed. Level Home’s Level Bolt is our new favorite retrofit smart lock, thanks in large measure to its ability to disappear. The smart components of the Bolt hide inside your door, where they replace the interior mechanical elements of your existing deadbolt. You re-attach your existing interior and exterior components, so that your door’s overall aesthetic doesn’t change in the least.
Weighing the convenience of Wi-Fi versus the visual appeal of the zero footprint that the Bluetooth-only Level Lock offers was tough, but Level Lock won out in the end. Hey, achieving runner-up status in TechHive’s coverage is no easy accomplishment, and if the convenience of Wi-Fi outweighs aesthetics in your mind, then this is the retrofit smart lock to buy.
Best budget smart lock
Wyze Labs has a well-earned reputation for producing bang-for-the-buck smart home products, and its new Wyze Lock deadbolt converter is certainly no exception. Fit this device to your existing deadbolt, plug in the included Wi-Fi bridge, and you’ll convert your dumb deadbolt into a modern smart home device that can be opened with your existing key, and you can’t argue with its less-than-$100 asking price.
Most innovative smart lock
The Lockly Vision reduces the number of security devices you’ll need to deploy on your porch by combining a powerful smart lock with a great video doorbell. It’s not perfect—it’s big, bulky, and not very very attractive—but there’s nothing else like it on the market.
What to consider when shopping
How do you pick a smart lock? (No pun intended.) This is a young and wildly immature space, and many products on the market are still extremely rough around the edges. Even top products can balk when dealing with old or stiff deadbolts, doors that don’t shut well, or environments where non-standard fixtures are in use. The bottom line is that it’s tough to declare that any product is universally perfect for every home. That said, here are some key considerations to take into account to help you narrow down your shopping list.
How smart is it? An important caveat to consider first: Some “smart locks” don’t work with a smartphone app or any smart home networking hubs at all; they’re really just electronic locks that use a code instead of a key to open up. One step up from that, you’ll find Bluetooth-only locks. These work with a smartphone app, but can’t be monitored remotely or via a smart home system. That’s fine if you’re looking to get rid of the keys in your pocket, but less impressive if you want to make your entrance portals a true part of your home network.
Replace or retrofit? You’re forgiven if you don’t want to replace your antique doorknob on your vintage Victorian with a metallic device that looks like it would be more at home keeping people out of a strip mall bank branch. A sizeable number of smart lock products don’t require you to replace all your existing hardware. Instead, they are installed on the inside of the door only, replacing only the interior part of the deadbolt. You can continue to use a standard key from the outside or open the lock via a smartphone app.
Smart home hub integration If you have an existing hub like the Wink Hub 2, Samsung SmartThings, or an Apple TV, you’ll want to ensure your chosen smart lock is compatible from the start. Many smart locks support Bluetooth, so they work with your phone, but lack the technology needed to connect with your home network. Some Bluetooth locks, like the Yale Assure system and the August Smart Lock, offer a radio module as an add-on to connect to your home network. If you’re using a smart home hub like the Samsung SmartThings or Wink Hub, look for a lock that supports Z-Wave or ZigBee, instead.
Alternate entry means Forgot your phone at the office? How will you get in the house? Physical key? Numeric keypad? Wait for your spouse to arrive? Myriad different approaches are available.
Power backup What do you do if the batteries inside the lock die—and you’re stuck outside? Some locks allow for emergency power to be applied should this happen. Yale’s Real Living locks feature external posts to which you can connect a 9-volt battery, giving you enough juice to get the door open. Other models retain the traditional key cylinder for backup.
Geofencing Bad about manually locking the door when you leave? A geofencing system automatically locks the door when it detects your phone has left the vicinity, and can be set to automatically open up when it finds you’ve come home.
Guest access features Most smart locks let you set up temporary keys for houseguests, which you can delete when they’ve returned home. Smarter systems even let you set time restrictions around when each access code can be used.
Our smart lock reviews
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Level’s “invisible” lock lives up to its promise, giving any deadbolt smart features with no change to your exterior hardware.
- Easily the new champ in smart lock unobtrusiveness
- Quick installation and app setup
- Near flawless operation in daily use
- Specific hardware must be purchased based on the length of your door’s backset
- Geofencing didn’t work
- Activity logging is minimal
Level Home strips touch sensitivity out of its brilliant smart lock, along with $80 off the price.
- Identical, effortless installation
- Very responsive and intuitive
- Completely invisible to the end user
- Touch features do add flexibility that’s missing here
- While more affordable, it’s still not cheap
Level gets external hardware, touch-sensitive opening, and more features in a compelling—but expensive—smart lock system.
- Incredibly easy installation, with newly adjustable backset
- Solid performance, very easy to use
- Easily the best-looking smart lock on the market (save perhaps the Level Bolt retrofit lock)
- HomeKit hub and iOS device required for away-from-home control
- Still no support for Alexa or Google Home
- Exorbitant price
The Yves Behar-designed August still looks great, and it packs in more features than ever.
- DoorSense feature is a killer addition that lets August know whether the door is ajar
- Ample notifications
- Integrates well with tons of smart home gear
- Hardware remains on the large side
- Still quite expensive
- Myriad bugs in beta release of app
August adds Wi-Fi while shrinking the overall size of its hardware considerably, making this a better retrofit option than ever.
- Smaller hardware footprint is immediately noticeable
- Ultra-simple installation could not be smoother
- Intuitive and responsive app
- Setup difficulties related to reaching my Wi-Fi network; limited Wi-Fi range
- HomeKit connectivity never worked in my home
- Occasional, random app crashes
Eufy’s fingerprint-reading lock needs some more refinement to become a top pick, but it’s darn close.
- Greatly improved fingerprint reader
- More streamlined setup and smoother hardware operation
- Rechargeable battery pack is more convenient than AAs
- Same price as our top pick in this category
- Oversized interior escutcheon
- Minor operational hiccups
Out with the keypad, in with the fingerprint scanner—and a few other welcome changes to make this lock a winner.
- Effective operation with a top-notch fingerprint scanner
- Much more attractive exterior escutcheon
- Streamlined setup process
- App mired in lengthy delays every time a setting is changed
- Interior escutcheon is still industrial-class ugly
Lockly Vision successfully integrates two complex smart home devices—a deadbolt lock and a video doorbell—into a single, compelling security device.
- Myriad access options for opening the door, including a killer fingerprint reader
- Video recording is automatic and effective
- Ample storage on companion hub
- No need for a cloud subscription
- Very expensive
- Extremely bulky and not particularly attractive
- Companion bridge must be wired to your router
- No option to set up an interior chime
This capable smart lock offers commercial-grade construction and impressive reliability.
- Rock solid build quality
- Perfect operation, never failed once
- HomeKit compatibility offers remote access without extra hardware (from Schlage, at least)
- All users' PINs must be the same length (up to a maximum of 8 digits)
- No Android support
Alfred’s second-generation lock improves its looks and adds voice-based guidance, but it remains a tough sell.
- More attractive design than the first-gen lock
- Can also be opened with a physical key
- Voice features are much more helpful than beep-based guidance
- Feature set is almost as limited as the first-gen lock
- Limited to just 20 PINs
- Z-Wave module adds $29 to the price
An all-around solid smart lock built for iOS enthusiasts.
- Impressive code management features, including one-time-use codes
- Solid build quality without being overly industrial
- Keypad buttons can be hard to press, especially for younger users
- More expensive than the Schlage Sense
- Not Android compatible
Postmodern in design, this is one of the best-looking locks on the market (at least on the outside). But you’ll have to wait for a connected version.
- Slim and sexy exterior escutcheon looks impressive at any distance
- Sturdy build, never jammed in testing
- Installation is more difficult thanks to sloppy bolt machining
- On the noisy side
- The first lock I’ve ever reviewed that didn’t come with the batteries it requires
There’s plenty to like about this smart deadbolt, but its inability to integrate with a smart home hub—no matter the brand—makes it hard to recommend to smart home dwellers.
- An onboard solar panel keeps its battery charged
- A second rechargeable battery (and charger) is included in case there’s not enough sunlight
- Amazon Alexa support
- Connects directly to your Wi-Fi network, so you don’t need a bridge or smart home hub
- It’s one thing to not need a smart home hub and something else to not be able to connect to one at all
- Bolt is not tapered to accommodate mis-aligned doors
- Support for Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit is still in development
The world’s first smart lock/camera combo works as intended, but it’s not the most attractive product to put on your front door.
- Integrating a camera into a door lock is a no-brainer, awesome idea
- Rock-solid lock operation
- Easy-to-use, if basic, app
- Very expensive compared to other retrofit smart locks
- Unappealing industrial design
- Speaker emits audible fuzz and hum when the camera is live
The Lockly Duo effectively combines a latch and deadbolt in a single smart unit, but the resulting device is enormous and—a bit wonky.
- Excellent operation, including a top-notch fingerprint scanner
- Extremely sturdy industrial design
- Bluetooth-to-Wi-Fi bridge included
- Myriad ways to open the door, including a killer fingerprint reader
- Installation is daunting and lengthy
- Gargantuan hardware
- Deadbolt isn’t motorized, and there’s no obvious way to know if it’s engaged
Adding Wi-Fi to the Lockly system is a nice trick, but it doesn’t make this smart lock any easier to install.
- Fingerprint reader is (still) unbeatable
- The addition of the Wi-Fi Hub lets you manage and control lock from anywhere
- Bluetooth connection still works and is a convenient option for power outages
- Wi-Fi features depend on a discrete AC-powered hub
- Just as difficult to install as the original
- The companion app has not improved
Nest’s first smart lock is a somewhat buggy Yale product with Nest features, not the other way around.
- Integrates well with the Nest ecosystem
- All the expected features are front and center
- Sturdy hardware
- Not terribly attractive, particularly inside the house
- Considerable trouble during setup
- Expensive, especially if you also need to buy a Nest Connect
Securam’s top-notch fingerprint reader is the highlight of this pricey, industrial-looking Bluetooth smart lock.
- Sturdy industrial design
- No-nonsense operation, particularly the fingerprint reader
- Responsive tech support
- Bluetooth only ($90 Wi-Fi bridge in development)
- App in need of significant polish
- You can't create a PIN without an accompanying fingerprint
This latch-style lock includes a quality fingerprint reader, but it’s short on tweakability.
- Streamlined hardware design
- Solid fingerprint reader performance
- Bolts strip easily during installation
- Battery placement makes for difficult access
- Limited configurability
This smart lock boasts a ton of excellent features—including a killer fingerprint reader—but be prepared for a challenging installation.
- Amazingly versatile, with endless options for locking and unlocking your door
- Best-in-breed fingerprint scanner
- Compact hardware
- Horribly difficult—and finicky—to install
- App can be slow to connect
- Geofencing feature didn’t work
This Bluetooth and Z-Wave-compatible lock is a hassle to install, especially when connecting it to a Z-Wave smart home hub.
- Compatible with Z-Wave smart home hubs
- App setup is quick and software is generally responsive
- Too expensive for its basic feature set
- Buggy Z-Wave setup
- Limited to just 20 PINs
This fingerprint-scanning door lock is affordable and simple to set up, but it’s too buggy and probably too arcane for most users.
- Quick and easy installation
- Very inexpensive
- Sturdy hardware
- No smart-home/wireless features
- Fingerprint reader is decidedly buggy
- Onboard programming process might be complicated for novice users
Eufy’s fingerprint-reading smart lock needs refinement to become one of our top picks.
- Svelte, attractive design
- Plenty of configurability options
- High-security physical keys included
- Fingerprint reader is erratic at best
- Eufy's servers peformed poorly during setup
- No hooks into other home security services or devices
Kwikset finally gets Wi-Fi, but the raw, industrial design of this lock is awfully unappealing.
- Fairly easy to use in day to day operation
- Wi-Fi enabled, so it’s easier to connect from anywhere
- Industrial ugly
- Setup is an ordeal, in both hardware and software
- If you have other models of Kwikset smart locks, you can't use the same app to control all
A capable, if expensive, way to upgrade your front door.
- Touch-to-open system is a crowd-pleaser and conversation piece
- Kids can be outfit with a fob ($25), so they can open the door without a smartphone
- Needs Kevo Plus hardware to do much of anything beyond simple Bluetooth connections
- Installation could be simpler
- A pricey option in this category
This budget retrofit kit is a less exciting, but reasonable, way to turn any deadbolt into a smart lock.
- Much cheaper than the standalone Kevo and the August conversion kit
- Sturdy build quality
- Much more intrusive appearance than August
- Somewhat more prone to jams
- App is slow to update
This budget retrofit lock ditches the high-end design. It's not the polished product that it's more expensive cousin is.
- Very affordable, one of the cheapest smart lock systems on the market
- Has most of the same features of the Pro lock
- Setup bugs are severe, with too many to merit a recommendation
- Louder and clunkier than the pro mechanism
- Rather unappealing design
The Invisible Smart Lock.
“The whole process, including replacing the strike plate on the door frame, takes about 10 minutes”
“Level Bolt’s hardware certainly feels like something Steve Jobs would have made”
“An absolute game-changer for smart locks with its innovative, completely invisible design.”
Make your lock smart
Level Bolt is the only way to invisibly transform your existing deadbolt. Make your lock smart and maintain the design integrity of your home.
Created for everyone
Give friends and family the convenience of using their phone, voice, or even a plain old key to enter your home.
Access from anywhere, use with other devices, control with your voice, create home automations, and more.
Award-winning designGlobally recognized as best in class for quality and innovation, Level Bolt has won numerous awards for product design.
The little details
Level Bolt’s quality craftsmanship demonstrates a level of precision not found on any other smart lock. Our parts come together securely in your door and the battery is thoughtfully hidden inside the bolt.
Power, meet efficiency
Level Bolt uses a patent-pending, 6-stage, stainless steel gearbox that's both powerful enough for the toughest conditions and efficient enough to deliver over a year's worth of battery life from a single CR2 battery.
Durable and reliable
Engineered from the ground up for strength and durability, Level Bolt exceeds the highest industry standards and is stress tested to over 1,000,000 cycles. Its mechanical operation is 100% available for reliable egress, never leaving you stranded.
See who’s come and gone, and when.
Send digital keys to anyone in a few taps.
Create one event pass for everyone to use.
Features at a glance
Available for iOS and Android
“Absolutely in love with this lock!”
“I have owned this lock for 2 years now. I still love it!”
“Super easy and quick (about 5min) to install.”
“This is such an elegant product that is really invisible”
“If you want a well-designed smart lock, this could be your option.”
“So simple and easy!! Great quality and design.”
Installing Level Bolt on your door is straightforward and only requires a screwdriver.
Will Level Bolt work with my lock?
Level Bolt was designed for most American standard deadbolts and requires a properly operating door and latch. Visit our compatibility guide to make sure you have what you need to successfully install your lock.Take the Quiz
American standard deadbolt
Standard door size
Properly aligned door
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Deadbolt one sided smart
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