Yale Smart locks

Smart Locks are one of the first things family and friends see when they come over for the holidays. For many, the first thing they will ask themselves is why don’t they have one. Smart locks are convenient, secure, and flexible. Set new PIN codes or virtual keys to someone from your smartphone. Revoke access when access is no longer necessary. Smart locks are a great investment that you will never regret, especially during the holidays. Let’s look at all the different ways smart locks can help you during the holidays. 

Hosting out-of-town family

The holidays are that one time of year when the whole family comes together. That means you’ll have out-of-town guests staying over at your place. With smart locks, provide guests with pin codes or virtual keys. If you’re making up a new PIN code, my Handy Andy tip is to use the year they were born. That’s definitely something they will not forget. I do it with my dad because he is quick to forget any other PIN code I give him. It’s a great trick, I highly advise you to try it out. 

Schlage smart lock

Schlage Encode smart lock

My parent’s house is the main house in our family. When out-of-town guests come, that’s where they stay. Recently I reviewed the Schlage Encode smart lock. I knew right away that I was going to install it at my parent’s house. They are not tech-savvy, so I was taking a big risk here. However, it turned out to be the best decision ever. It connects to their Wi-Fi network for both PIN code and smartphone app entry. Users can remotely lock or unlock the door from their smartphone. For me, it was easy to create multiple PIN codes for all the different family members. Basically, I texted everyone and asked them to send me a four-digit, PIN code. In the app, I named each family member and programmed an original PIN code. Now when my brother comes into town, he never has to ask my mom for house keys. He knows his PIN code and uses it whenever he is in town. 

Home security for holiday travel

If you’re not hosting, you might be traveling to visit friends and family during the holiday. Having a smart lock in your home provides security, real-time alerts, and peace of mind for travelers. If you’re gone for an extended period of time, you might need someone to come over to feed the pets, or water the indoor plants. The other scenario is in case of an emergency, like a water leak. This could be a friend, neighbour, or family member. With smart locks, you can remotely create a PIN code or virtual key and send it to someone. It’s much more secure than the old-fashioned way of hiding a key under a doormat. Those days are long gone. Afterward, you can revoke that access and secure your home once again. It gives people peace of mind knowing they are granted access to their home remotely without hiding a key. 

Alfred Smart Lock

Alfred DB2S smart lock

If you’re looking for a smart lock that I recommend, it’s the Alfred DB2S. I say this because this is the smart lock I use on my front door. It’s the best smart locks I’ve reviewed this year. There are so many different ways to allow entry: PIN code, RFID tag, key, or the app. I use the RFID tags as hotel keys. I give them to my neighbour when I’m out of town so she can water my house plants. In the app, it is easy to create new PIN codes. Another thing I like is the rechargeable battery. Since I installed it 3 months ago, I still haven’t charged it. In the event that the battery dies out, they design a backup plan. Under the lock is a USB-C port. I can connect a portable battery to power the smart lock. That gives me a lot of peace of mind, especially with a smart lock that uses a battery. 

Short-term home rentals

With the high cost of living, many people are renting out their homes during the holidays. They may be out-of-town snowbirds, or someone spending time with nearby family. In any case, smart locks are ideal for hosting short-term rental guests. Users can send temporary virtual keys to guests before they check in. Many smart locks allow you to program when that virtual key will expire. After checkout, the virtual key will no longer work. Providing guests with new, temporary virtual keys is much more secure than traditional PIN code entry. Guests have a secure and easy way to gain access, and you as the host have the peace of mind knowing the access is temporary. 

August Smart Lock

August Wi-Fi Smart Lock

One way to retrofit your lock to a smart lock is with the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. This installs on the indoor side of your lock leaving your existing lock on the outside. However, it comes with a Smart Keypad that installs on the outside of your door. It connects to the inside portion of your lock and home Wi-Fi network. In the August app, users can create new PIN codes for short-term guests. They enter the PIN code on the keypad, and the lock opens. It’s a great solution to retro an existing lock and make it smart. I reviewed this lock and it turned my old deadbolt lock into a smart lock. It’s perfect for people thinking about getting into short-term rentals. From the outside, no one would know it’s a smart lock.   

Adding smart locks with smart doorbells during the holidays

These days, people rarely have someone knocking on their door. During the holidays, that’s a whole different story. If you’re hosting family and friends, it’s safe to assume that they will be arriving at different times. You, as the host, might be busy entertaining guests when they arrive. Rather than waiting to hear the doorbell and opening the door, combine it with a smart doorbell. As guests arrive, you’ll get a push notification on your phone. Remotely unlock the door with your smartphone. They can help themselves and join the party. Another way to unlock your door is with a voice. Sync your lock to your smart speaker for voice control. It’s much better than leaving guests to open the front door multiple times a night. Combine all your smart devices for the ultimate convenience in security and access.

Getting a smart lock during the holidays

The holidays are the perfect time to install a smart lock. Remember, it will be the first thing they will see so make that experience count. Hosting or travelling, smart locks are an indispensable tool during the holidays. Read this buying guide to help you determine which Smart Lock is right for you. 

Andy Baryer
Andy Baryer aka “Handy Andy” is a technology journalist, gadget reviewer, and DIY/how-to content creator. Known as the handyman of tech, Andy enjoys fixing poor wireless networks, building smart homes, and cooking with the latest kitchen gadgets. He’s a competitive whistler, a budding woodworker, and loves gardening in his home-built smart garden.


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