Smart locks are becoming more and more popular, as they provide a convenient and secure way to access your home without the need for a traditional key. However, a question people often ask when considering smart locks is do smart locks need power to operate?
In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of smart lock power requirements, including the different protocols that smart locks use for communication, how they affect the lock’s battery life, and what you should consider when choosing a smart lock for your home.
Why Do Smart Locks Need Power?
Smart locks need power to operate their electronic components, such as the microprocessor, motor, and communication modules. These components require electricity to perform their functions, such as unlocking the door, connecting to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and processing user input.
There are several ways that smart locks can receive power. Most smart locks use batteries, which are often housed in a compartment within the lock. Other smart locks can be hardwired into a home’s electrical system, which provides a more consistent source of power.
Regardless of the power source, smart locks need to be powered to function properly. If the power supply is interrupted, the lock may not operate correctly or may not operate at all.
To overcome this issue, most smart locks have at least one backup method of entry, such as a traditional key or a 9V battery that can be connected to external terminals.
How Long Do Batteries Last In Smart Locks?
The greatest drain on your smart lock batteries will be the motor that drives the deadbolt. So your smart lock battery life will depend on how many times a day your smart lock is opened and closed.
Another factor affecting battery life in smart locks is WiFi. If your smart lock is connected to your home WiFi, that will also shorten battery life.
Most smart locks use either AA alkaline batteries or 3-volt lithium batteries.
Here’s a list of popular smart locks with the type of battery and estimated battery life:
- Yale Assure Lock 2 – 4 AA Alkaline Batteries – batteries last up to 3 months
- August Wi-Fi Smart Lock – CR123 batteries (x2) – batteries last 2 to 3 months
- Wyze Lock Bolt – AA Alkaline Batteries (x4)- batteries last 10-12 months
- SwitchBot Smart Lock – 3V CR123A batteries (x 2)- batteries last up to 6 months
- U-Bolt Pro WiFi – AA Alkaline batteries (x4)- batteries last 3-6 months
- Level Smart Lock – Lithium 3-volt CR2 battery- battery lasts about one year
- Lockly Secure Plus – AA alkaline batteries (x4)- batteries will last up to a year
- Schlage Encode WiFi – AA alkaline batteries (x4)- batteries last 6 months
What Happens If Your Smart Lock Batteries Go Flat?
So what happens if the batteries in your smart lock go flat?
That’s a question that many people ask before investing in smart locks
The answer is that smart locks usually have two or more backup options that allow you to continue using your smart lock, even when your batteries are flat.
Firstly, many smart locks have a traditional keyway, so you would still be able to lock and unlock your smart lock using a key.
Secondly, most smart locks have a terminal that allows you to connect a 9-volt battery to the smart lock. That way, you can keep using the smart lock until you can replace the batteries. Alternatively, some smart locks have a built-in USB port that allows you to connect a battery pack to the smart lock.
And finally, nearly all smart locks monitor battery life and send you an alert when the batteries need replacing.
Long story short: with these three measures in place, you don’t need to worry about your smart lock batteries going flat.
What Happens To Smart Locks In a Power Outage?
Can you continue to use a smart lock in a power outage?
The answer is yes: smart locks use batteries and so they are not affected by power cuts. In other words, the battery-powered functions of the smart lock would continue to work in a power outage. This includes the movement of the deadbolt, biometric authentication, the keypad, and Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
However, in a power outage, your home’s WiFi network would stop working, and that would mean that you would lose the ability to open and close the smart lock remotely and the ability to control the smart lock through a smartphone app. Those functions would return, of course, once the power came back on again.
In short: power outages are not a problem for smart locks – the basic functions of your smart lock will be unaffected.
How To Get Longer Battery Life from Your Smart Lock
The biggest drain on smart lock batteries, apart from the movement of the deadlock itself, is the need to constantly maintain connection with a WiFi network.
One way to extend battery life is to choose smart locks that use Z-Wave and Zigbee instead of WiFi. Devices that use Z-Wave or Zigbee use a fraction of the power that WiFi-enabled devices use.
Here are some examples of smart locks with long battery life.
Schlage Connect Smart Deadbolt (BE469ZP)
The Schlage Connect Smart Lock uses 4 AA alkaline batteries. It uses Z-wave instead of WiFi and has a battery life of up to two years.
Yale Assure SL Touchscreen Deadbolt
The Yale Assure SL Touchscreen Deadbolt uses 4 AAA batteries and has a battery life of 1 to 2 years. This smart lock uses Z-Wave to connect with smart home hubs such as Samsung SmartThings and Wink.
Kwikset SmartCode 888 Smart Lock
The Kwikset SmartCode 888 Smart Lock uses 4 AA batteries that last over 1 year. The wireless protocol used by this smart lock is Z-Wave Plus, which is why the batteries last so long
Do smart locks need power?
Yes they do: smart locks use power to extend and retract the deadbolt.
They also use power to connect with a network, and for various authentication methods such as fingerprint scanner and keypad entry.
But smart locks use batteries, which means that in a power outage you can still use your smart lock.
The need to replace batteries is undoubtedly one of the drawbacks of smart locks. But you can minimize this aspect by choosing a smart lock with long battery life.
To get maximum battery life, choose a smart lock that uses either Z-Wave or Zigbee instead of WiFi. These kinds of smart locks have a battery life of one to two years.