The pros and cons of getting a smart lock for your door

There are digital electronic devices for almost everything today including smart locks for doors to your home or apartment unit. The question is whether or not smart locks are really beneficial compared to the old-fashioned metal mechanical key still used by the majority of people.

Charlotte Pfahl, 68, prefers to use an old-fashioned metal key to get into her New York. Why? For several reasons.

Not all people over 65 have access to a smartphone. If they do they have to remember to keep it charged or they will not be able to get back into their home or apartment, let alone even having access to the elevators nor have access to the lobby where their mail and packages are kept. 

If the smart lock uses a pass code, for some seniors its difficult remembering the code. If they don’t remember it they’re out of luck getting back into their place of abode or even getting into their apartment complex before they can even get into their unit.

Not only that, but if the building or neighborhood loses power your smart lock won’t work and when that happens it either locks the door closed or locks it open. And if you live in an apartment complex that has no onsite management you won’t be able to access your unit no matter how old or young you are.

This happened to Pfahl, who is a retired lawyer, and her apartment neighbors after their landlord decided to modernize their building and install smart locks in 2018. In 2019 there was a massive power outage in New York City and Pfal’s building was affected. Pfal and her neighbors of course were not able to access their apartments.

So Pfal and four other residents sued and they won.

Some other reasons against installing a smart lock is having to teach others and guests how to use it. Another reason is aesthetics. Most home owners don’t like the bulky look of a smart lock. Even more so, is battery replacement and of course keeping any software updated, not to mention the potential for hackers.

On the pro side of the issue of using smart locks is convenience. And for some seniors it saves steps when it comes to letting someone into their home. Also, if you give a friend temporary access to your home using a smart lock you don’t have to worry about getting the key back or losing it or having to hide it under a doormat. 

Martin Heckmann who is a director at LiftMaster, says that everything is safer with a smart lock than having a spare key under your doormat.