Smart locks have revolutionized the way we secure our homes and businesses. With their advanced features and remote access capabilities, they offer convenience and peace of mind to users.
However, one common concern among smart lock owners is the battery life of these devices. After all, the last thing you want is to be locked out of your own property because the battery died unexpectedly. In this article, we will explore the factors that affect the battery life of smart locks and provide some tips on how to make your batteries last longer.
So if you’re considering investing in a smart lock or are already a proud owner, read on to learn more about how long you can expect the battery to last on a smart lock.
- How Long Does The Battery Last On A Smart Lock
- Factors Affecting Battery Life In Smart Locks
- Smart Locks with the Longest Battery Life
- Best Practices For Maximizing Battery Life
- What Happens If The Smart Lock Battery Dies?
How Long Does The Battery Last On A Smart Lock
Smart locks are powered by batteries and so battery life is an important factor when choosing a smart lock.
Some smart locks need their batteries changed every 1 to 3 months. For many people, that’s just another thing to worry about and defeats the whole purpose of having a smart lock: convenience.
If you are like me, you don’t want to be changing batteries more than twice a year. And preferably even less than that.
This article will show you why battery life is important when buying a smart lock, what factors affect battery life, how to maximize the battery life of your smart lock, and which smart locks have the longest battery life.
Factors Affecting Battery Life In Smart Locks
#1. Battery life and wireless protocol
The biggest single factor affecting the battery life of smart locks is the wireless protocol used to connect the smart lock to the hub or the controller.
There are three main protocols used to connect smart locks with their hubs: Bluetooth, Z-Wave, and WiFi.
Bluetooth smart locks are generally very power efficient and light on battery usage. They typically have a battery life of 10 to 20 months. This is because Bluetooth uses a low power frequency.
However, the drawback of Bluetooth is that the type of connectivity it offers supports only basic functions. This means that Bluetooth-powered smart locks don’t give you anything like the functionality of smart locks powered by Z-Wave or WiFi.
Z-Wave is a type of Bluetooth that connects to a hub instead of a smartphone. With Z-Wave, the hub does all the heavy lifting, which means there is much less burden on the smart lock batteries. Batteries in Z-Wave smart locks usually last from 12 to 18 months.
The only drawback with Z-Wave is that you will have to invest in a Z-Wave hub, which can cost anywhere from $150 to $750, depending on the brand.
WiFi gives you the most advanced features for controlling your smart locks. But WiFi is also the most power-hungry of the three wireless protocols used by smart locks. In WiFi-powered smart locks it is not unusual to have to replace the batteries every 1 to 3 months.
Other wireless protocols used by smart locks
Two other wireless protocols used by some smart locks are Zigbee and Thread.
Zigbee – wireless technology designed for low-cost, low-power wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) networks.
Thread – an IPv6-based, low-power mesh networking technology for the Internet of Things (IoT).
#2. Alignment of deadbolt and strike plate
If the deadbolt is not aligned properly with the strike plate, there will be friction as the deadbolt moves in and out of the strike plate. And that friction will reduce battery life.
So, make sure that the deadbolt and the strike plate are correctly aligned so that there is no unnecessary resistance.
#3. Usage frequency
Another factor that affects battery life in smart locks is the number of times per day that the lock is used.
The biggest drain on a smart lock battery is the mechanical movement of the deadbolt in and out of the mortise.
A smart lock that is used 15 times per day, for example, will have a shorter battery life than a smart lock that is used two or three times per day.
#4. Type of battery
Lithium batteries can last up to six times longer than alkaline batteries. They also perform better than alkaline batteries in extreme temperatures (from -40℉ to 140℉).
However, lithium batteries have a tendency to go flat quickly once they reach about 20% of remaining power. This means that you get much less warning that your battery needs replacing than you do with an alkaline battery.
While lithium batteries give much better battery life than alkaline batteries, they can damage some devices because they have a higher energy density than alkaline batteries. Before using lithium batteries in your smart lock, check the manufacturer’s specifications to see if the smart lock is compatible with lithium batteries.
#5. Features enabled
Another factor affecting battery life in smart locks is how many features you have enabled. For example, some smart locks offer voice control, geo-fencing, and auto-locking as well as other advanced features.
The more features you have enabled in your smart lock, the shorter your battery life will be.
Smart Locks with the Longest Battery Life
Here are two smart lock models that have better-than-average battery life.
Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt
The Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt has very good battery life if installed properly. I know someone who installed their Schlage Connect a year ago, and they are still on their first set of batteries.
That’s probably an unusual case, though. As a rule of thumb, with light use (up to 5 entries per day) you should get 8 to 9 months of battery life, and with heavy use (7 to 10 entries per day), you can expect 5 to 6 months.
The key to getting good battery life with the Schlage Connect is the alignment of the deadbolt with the strike plate.
When moving the deadbolt, the lock has two power modes: light and heavy. The lock will try the light mode three times. If it cannot move the bolt into the strike plate, on the fourth attempt, it will use the high power mode, which has a lot more torque and uses much more battery power. The high-power mode drastically reduces battery life.
That’s why it is vital to align the deadbolt with the strike plate so that there is no friction in the movement of the deadbolt.
Another way to get maximum battery life from the Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt is to disable the auto-lock feature. When this feature is enabled, the deadbolt will be moving twice as many times per day. So disable the auto-lock to get maximum battery life.
Touchscreen Yale Assure SL Deadbolt
You should be able to get six months to a year of battery life from the Yale Assure Lock 2, Touchscreen Lock with Z-Wave. This is because the lock uses Bluetooth, not Wi-Fi.
The lock pairs via Bluetooth with a bridge, which then connects with your Wi-Fi network. The bridge does the heavy lifting, not the smart lock.
Best Practices For Maximizing Battery Life
Improve WiFi signal
A poor signal from your WiFi access point can make the chip in the smart lock work harder to capture and maintain a connection. This can cause reduced battery life. Try to move your WiFi router as close as possible close to the smart lock.
Use of power-saving modes
If your smart lock has power-saving modes, use these settings. Some functions of your smart lock, such as voice activation, may place a particularly heavy burden on the batteries. If possible, try to disable functions that are not absolutely necessary.
Use quality batteries
When replacing your smart lock batteries, use only high-quality batteries, whether alkaline or lithium.
What Happens If The Smart Lock Battery Dies?
Most smart locks will give you warnings about two weeks before your batteries expire. These warnings will either be in a mobile app or a red light on the smart lock itself.
So it is unlikely that you will be caught unawares with flat batteries in your smart lock. But if your smart lock battery suddenly dies, what can you do?
Many smart locks have a keyed entry option. If your smart lock does have a keyed entry, always keep the key on you so that you can get in if the batteries fail.
However, many smart lock models do not have keyed entry (after all, the whole point of having a smart lock is so you don’t have to carry keys around with you).
If your smart lock does not have a keyed entry, it more than likely will have terminals on the underside of the lock housing.
If the batteries go flat, hold a 9-volt battery against these terminals. That will give you enough charge to operate the smart lock. If your smart lock has this feature, it’s a good idea to always carry a 9-volt battery in the glove box of your car.
How long does the battery last on a smart lock?
It depends on a number of factors.
These factors include the alignment of the deadbolt, the number of times the lock is used per day, and the quality of the batteries.
But by far, the most important factor affecting battery life is the wireless protocol used to connect the smart lock to the controller or hub.
WiFi gives you more control over the smart lock than any other protocol, but it also results in the fastest drain on smart lock batteries.
Bluetooth places the least burden on smart lock batteries. But it has a very short range, and unless coupled with a WiFi hub, it does not allow remote control of the smart lock.
You can make your smart lock batteries last longer by ensuring there is no friction between the deadbolt and the strike plate, by using Z-Wave or Bluetooth instead of WiFi, by improving the WiFi signal (if using WiFi), by using a keypad for entry rather than a mobile app, and by using good quality batteries.
Always check the life expectancy of the batteries before buying a smart lock, as battery life is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a smart lock.