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Whether you have a teenager who tends to break curfew or merely want to give temporary access to houseguests, service providers, or Airbnbers, home use fingerprint lock 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. 

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). 

Remember all those times you've reached your front door only to spend the next few minutes fumbling around for your keys? It's frustrating and it happens to us all. But if you're looking for easier ways to get in and out of your home, you might want to buy a smart lock.

These smart home devices allow you to unlock doors from anywhere through an app on your phone, or they can open when you're in close proximity to your front door. While smart locks won't necessarily make your home any safer, they do allow for more control and efficiency. Not only will they make sure you never again have to drop everything in your hands to look for keys, but tuya smart door lock can lock and unlock your door from anywhere and extend digital "keys" to friends, family, caregivers or anyone else who regularly visits your home. 

Sure, you can still use a regular ol' key to open a smart-lock-equipped door (or most of them, anyhow), but don't be too quick to discount the convenience of connectivity -- especially when your hands are full of grocery bags, squirming tiny humans or anything else that makes it tough to rummage around for your keys. And when you crawl into bed, only to second guess whether you locked the door or not, you won't need to throw on a bathrobe and stumble to the front door. You can just pick up your phone and check the lock status. 

That said, not all smart locks are the same. There are keyless options, Bluetooth options, locks that use your fingerprint, locks that fit on your existing deadbolt and complete deadbolt replacement locks. It can be tricky to navigate if you're new to smart home tech. Here's a look at today's smart lock options, what you need to know before buying one and how to choose the right lock for your needs. 

Models like the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, Kwikset Kevo Convert and Sesame TTLOCK Smart Door Lock are designed specifically to clamp in place over top of your existing deadbolt hardware. All three work with a lot of standard deadbolt brands. In August's case, the compatibility ranges from Arrow Hardware and Baldwin to Defiant, Kwikset, Schlage and many more. (Here's August's and Kwikset's deadlock compatibility charts for more details.)

With these retrofit setups, you get to keep the hardware already defending your door and add a layer of connectivity over top of it. This also means you get to keep your physical keys. Retrofit smart locks are the simplest way to add connectivity to your door without replacing your entire deadbolt system.

The other option is to replace your existing deadbolt altogether. The majority of smart locks take this approach, including the Schlage Sense Bluetooth Deadbolt, the Kwikset Kevo and the Yale Assure SL Touchscreen Deadbolt. There's even an "invisible" smart lock called Level Lock that is just a deadbolt replacement, so you can keep your existing hardware.

Locks like these will take a little more time and effort to install, but it's definitely doable for a novice DIYer. Since most locks are entire deadbolt replacements, you're going to have significantly more options if you go this route. Similar to the retrofit versions, you just need a screwdriver and about 20 minutes. Just remember to make sure that your door is smart-lock compatible before buying in. 

Another tip: Snap a picture of your existing setup before you begin, so you can reverse the install if you run into any unexpected issues with the new smart lock. A new deadbolt may mean a new set of keys (unless you choose a keyless model), so everyone in your family who wants a physical key will need a copy of the new one.

A smart lock needs to be able to communicate with the rest of your smart home setup and with your phone. Most will do that using one of three common communication protocols: Bluetooth, Z-Wave or Wi-Fi.

There are pros and cons to each, so you'll want to be sure to understand the differences before making a purchase.

Bluetooth

Examples: August Smart Lock, Poly-Control's Danalock (Bluetooth version), Schlage Sense Bluetooth Deadbolt, Kwikset Kevo, Friday Lock

Bluetooth is a common smart-lock protocol because it doesn't burn through battery life as quickly as Wi-Fi does. After all, it's not like you can plug your deadbolt in, and who will remember to change the batteries on a door lock? With Bluetooth, your lock's batteries should last a year or longer.

The downside to Bluetooth is that your range is somewhat limited — roughly 300 feet in a best-case scenario, and probably a lot less than that depending on how your home is laid out. It's enough to control your lock while you're at home, but wander too far afield and you'll lose the connection.

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