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Is it time to Ditch The Keys and get a Digital Lock?

There has been a rising trend in the number of homes in Singapore adopting the digital door lock. According to The New Paper, Yale Singapore now sells 12 times as many digital locks as it did back in 2005.

But why are homeowners here putting the safety of their homes on this electronic device? According to Reno Lim, owner of Locksmith Singapore, it’s primarily because users are seeing its convenience as opposed to the traditional mechanical lock. And with the advancement in technology, digital locks are gradually replacing their long misguided perception of being unreliable.

Source: Yale

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering if you should get a digital lock. The straightforward answer is, why not? But if you need a little convincing, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on digital locks, the different types that are out there and comparing them with the traditional lock and key. We also hear from a local locksmith on the reliability of digital locks, while a simple guide will take you through the process of getting a digital lock for your home.

What is it and how does it work?

While the mechanism for digital door locks is similar to the mechanism behind their conventional counterparts, the difference lies in the way to access the lock. Unlike traditional locks which require a key to open, there are various access modes for digital locks. Common ones in the market include those that are opened by keypad (using a PIN number), security token, biometric (fingerprint) or Bluetooth (using a Bluetooth device such as a mobile phone).

Source: Yale

Some function as add-ons to existing mechanical locks, as an added security measure, such as the Yale YDR 323 and the Yale YDM 3109. These can be accessed by a variety of modes including PIN code and card, while your mechanical key lock still works. Then there are higher-end models that replace your existing mechanical lock entirely, like the Yale YDM 4109, which features fingerprint access. For Yale digital locks, price can range from about $500 to $1,200.

Added security features


Source: Yale

 

Other features that can be found in digital locks include an alarm that will go off in the event of a break-in attempt, a high temperature safeguard where the lock is released immediately when there’s a fire, the ability to register several cards in one lock for multi-user access, as well a one-time visitor code that gives a one-off access to a visitor, say a part-time helper, and then stops working immediately after.

Some models also come with child-safety features, a scramble code function that lets you add extra numbers before or after your actual PIN if you’re concerned that someone is watching the numbers you type, as well as a PIN pad that only becomes visible when a registered user touches it.

These added security features are what makes digital locks so attractive, but its main advantage is that you won’t need to carry a physical key everywhere you go – so no more having to scramble around to find your keys.

How does a digital lock’s security compare with that of a traditional lock?

According to Reno Lim of Locksmith Singapore, there is little difference between the security of a traditional lock and that of a digital lock. “No lock is one hundred percent secure anyway. Every lock can be opened in short amount of time if you’re trained.”

His advice for folks hoping to get a digital lock is to get a brand that is reputable and to ensure that all safety measures are in place by hiring a proper contractor to install it.

Installation & Maintenance

Installation for digital locks are quick, usually taking about one to two hours, depending on the model and the contractor/installer’s familiarity with the model. Digital lock retailers like HomeFix has their own pool of digital lock installers that takes away the hassle of having to find an external contractor to install the lock for you.


Source: Yale

 

Digital locks can be installed in most main doors and in certain gates. However, depending on the size of your digital lock, the thickness of your door, and the distance between your main door and gate, your door and gate might need to be modified or replaced so as to accommodate the digital lock. There are also models out there that can only be installed in certain types of housing.


Check with your contractor or installer on the suitability of the digital lock and to see what modifications are necessary before making your purchase. Self-installation for digital locks is not recommended unless you’re trained in the field, because of the complications and security implications that can arise from a digital lock that is not properly installed.

 

Most digital locks today are powered by AA- and AAA-sized alkaline batteries or regular 9V batteries. According to Reno, the batteries can last about a year in the digital lock before needing to be replaced. The digital locks usually come with a warning indicator when the battery power runs low. In scenarios when the batteries run flat, most digital locks come with a mechanical override key or an emergency power supply plug-in to power up the lock.

So, should you be getting a digital lock?

Yes, if you tend to lose your keys often. With some many types out there offering various access modes beyond the traditional mechanical key, a digital lock means you won’t need to carry your keys around with you wherever you go.

Yes, if you want a door with flexible security options. We like that digital locks offer that extra convenience of having a one-time PIN code access for one-time visitors. Great whether you’re employing a part-time helper to clean your house or want a friend to house-sit your home whenever you’re away.

Yes, if you love all things new-fangled and high tech. While traditional locks are still the mainstay in many homes, digital locks are the future of home security. Nowadays, there are models out there that can be linked up with home automation systems, providing even greater convenience and security. It means you can access all aspects of your home no matter where you’re around the world.

Final advice

Source: Yale

Besides the price, always keep in mind the access modes (method of entry) and your door/gate suitability when shopping for a digital lock. Depending on your household’s needs and lifestyle, you might find a biometric lock more suitable compared to one that uses a PIN code. This is in cases such as where you have older folks living with you who might find it difficult to remember the code number.

As mentioned earlier, the suitability of your door/gate is particularly important before you make your decision on what digital lock to purchase. Not all digital locks can fit in with your existing door and gate, and any modifications done might incur a hefty cost, so do take that into account when you’re setting your budget.


 

Thinking of getting on the digital lock bandwagon and ditching your keys for good? Contact HomeFix & More (Hotline: +65 8181 1122) for a free onsite consultation.


Join us on 27 Jan 2018 at HomeFix & More to get exclusive deals on products from the store. Click the banner below to RSVP today!

 


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