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Smart locks or digital locks: Which do you choose?

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

Both smart locks and digital locks have the benefit of convenience over traditional mechanical locks. Replacing your conventional lock with a smart or digital one will mean you won't need to carry a physical key everywhere you go.

Smart locks however, work a little differently from digital ones, so which to get depends on your preference and needs. We put together a quick guide to help you understand the difference so you can better decide which to get for your home.

Yes. We tend to use the terms smart locks and digital locks interchangeably, but there is a slight difference. For digital locks to work, they require a physical interaction or proximity with the lock.

The type of physical interaction differs from brand to brand.

Smart locks on the other hand are integrated with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or other wireless mobile communication technologies so you can access the lock and change settings through an app on a smartphone.

Without hesitation, I just want to get a digital lock.

If you are shopping around for a digital lock, one of the first things to ask yourself is what sort of modes of access (method of entry) do you want.

Depending on the brands, digital locks can have access modes through PIN codes (typing a PIN onto the keypad), security tokens (e.g. RFID card) or biometric means (fingerprint, bluetooth).

You may find having a digital lock with biometric means more useful than a digital lock with just PIN code entry, especially if you live with seniors who tend to be more forgetful.

Decide if you want to install the digital lock on your locker as the lock you buy will be different.

It all sounds very complicated. So which should I get?

If you just want the convenience of not having physical keys with you, a digital lock will suffice. Depending on the access modes and features available, you will be able to unlock your lock in a variety of ways and have useful features like helping you automatically lock your lockers when the door closes.

Smart locks are a step-up from that and are for those who want to use their smartphone as a key. If you regularly have visitors or part-time cleaners coming by, a smart lock is useful to provide access to your home even when you are away.

The access you provide (usually a PIN code or your guest can download the same app you use to gain access) is often one-time or only accessible at a designated time you set, so when they leave your home, they won't be able to use the same access again.

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