There are a handful of smart locks to choose from, but not all are created equal. Here’s what you should know about the different kinds of smart locks and which ones you should consider buying.

The main thing you’ll need to decide when buying a smart lock is whether you want a full replacement smart lock or just a conversion kit. The former replaces your entire deadbolt, while the latter just replaces the interior thumb turn portion, leaving your existing deadbolt mechanism and exterior portion alone.

This is really just a matter of preference, but you do get different features with one or the other. For example, most full replacements give you a nice keypad or some unique way to unlock your door from the outside (like touching the lock to unlock your door with the Kwikset Kevo), but conversion kits leave the exterior portion of your deadbolt the same. So from the outside, you still have your existing deadbolt, but you have the added benefit of being able to unlock it with your phone and such.

Conversion kits are usually cheaper as well, since all they include is a thumb turn mechanism with the circuitry needed to provide the smart features and the mechanics to operate the lock. Whereas, full replacements include a completely new deadbolt mechanism, which raises the cost.

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