Speaking from experience here I was the last person to tell you what the difference between keyless door locks and keypad door lock was until my wife and I switched our deadbolt out with a new keyless entry system. We’ve been living in our little condo for a few years now and after deliberating a bit about doing some simple home improvement projects around the house we figured a keypad door lock on the front door would be pretty nice.
Not long ago I mentioned the difference between keypad doorlocks and traditional deadbolt door locks but I didn’t spend too much time on what exactly a truly keyless door lock actually was. Keypad systems rely on a the person entering a preset code on a push-pad to gain access. It’s a lot like a call box at the front of an apartment complex but a little more thoughtfully designed for a deadbolt protecting a single household.
Most keypad locks actually have a keyhole on them. This is meant for extra versatility and it is a backup system for those times when you forget the code to get in after setting it. This may seem far-fetched but when you can change the code any time it can be easy to forget new codes especially if you don’t take the time to really set the new code to memory.
Another reason to get a keypad lock with a keyhole is because you may not want someone to have the code but you may want to give them a key. This could be applicable to many people but a few potential reasons for this are in cases where someone – say a child – may not be able to remember the code. Another may be in a situation where you do not trust the person to give the code to. An elderly family member with poor memory might be a good example in this situation.
One totally functional and practical reason for getting a keypad lock with a keyhole is because most of these types of door locks run on a battery. The electronic parts that the buttons activate all slowly drain power and eventually they will go dead. If there was no way to unlock the door from the outside when a battery dies then you would be in a very bad place.
Of course not all push button door locks are electronic; some are mechanical. In the case of a mechanical pushbutton door lock you don’t have to worry about battery life and thus you don’t have to worry about getting locked out with no way of gaining reentry. The mechanism inside the dead bolt system should work when the correct push button codes are pressed in the correct order no matter how long the lock has been in place.
Mechanical dead bolt locks which are mechanical in nature are great for doors which are not used very often or for doors where there is an alternate entry point to the building. If codes are lost then the deadbolt can usually be opened manually from the inside. The main problem that we had with the mechanical variety though was the fact that it was purely mechanical and couldn’t replicate many of the features that the electronic deadbolts could.
The keyless door locks were more secure in that they couldn’t be picked or bumped but we really liked the idea of having multiple entry codes. The keypad door locks that were electronic in nature were really cool. We were able to set a single code for me and my wife as well as alternate codes for our neighbors and family depending on their need for access to our home. When they didn’t have a need to access the place we can disable their code and then re-enable it later when they need it.
When our small son grows up we can also choose a special code just for him so that we don’t have to give him a key. I figure that he’ll eventually let the code slip from time to time so we can always give him a new code every few months without having to change door locks.
Lastly, although the typical keypad door lock with alternate keyhole is not impossible to pick or bump the push button code system is pretty darned secure. The door lock is actually setup to automatically disable if the code is entered incorrectly multiple times in a row just like an internet password does to your accounts when entered incorrectly. Most totally keyless entry systems which run mechanically simply don’t have this as a feature; it’s too complex.
For us it was an easy decision to go with the keypad deadbolt that had a few options for entry rather than the mechanical keyless entry only lock set. There were still some decisions to make afterwards but these weren’t that difficult either. Many keypad dead bolt lock systems are sold fairly cheaply while others sell for quite a bit. After reading some reviews of various locks we ended up going with a lock which was priced in the mid-range. The cheapest keyless entry door locks simply didn’t appear to be high quality enough for us.
It’s not that these locks don’t work well its how they are made. Apparently many of the cheap electronic locks are made from low quality materials and the electronic parts begin malfunctioning before the lock is very old. The better quality locks cost a bit more but when you read review after review from people saying nothing but good things about it and the quality of the lock itself you can’t help but feel like paying a few more for a trusted product.
We ended up choosing the Schlage Camelot keypad door lock which we felt was a good mix of quality and cheapness and the reviews were just good enough for our needs. I wrote more extensively about the Camelot deadbolt in the recent past but more information the deadbolt can easily be found all over the web as well as on websites like Amazon which sell it.