Doing a little home improvement this year? Sure you could redesign your kitchen, build a spare room off the back of your home, or even upgrade the master bath but those types of improvements seem to me fanciful pipe dreams from the early 2000’s.
In this era (the post-housing bubble era) home improvement projects seem to be a lot more practical. They involve actually improving things that exist rather than beautifying the property or adding square footage.
One thing my wife and I did with our home this past year as to change out the fixtures all throughout the home. This cost us only a little and made the place look a lot better. Other upgrades we have considered include installing new insulation in the walls and ceiling of our home. This is something that would cost a bit and wouldn’t be seen but we would feel the savings in our electric bill year after year hence forth.
Although this is something we should do but haven’t it illustrates one important point – good home improvement projects actually make a home better. They make a home safer, more useful, convenient, or efficient. That’s why we have recently experimented with our front door. No, we haven’t replaced the door but we have improved it by installing a keyless entry deadbolt.
What Is A Keyless Door Lock?
If you are unfamiliar with keyless entry systems then you should know there are a few different kinds. There are the actual keyless deadbolt systems where the only way to get in is to punch in a code or use some sort of biometric screening device. The other main type of keyless entry is not actually keyless at all. They are door locks which have a push code entry system of buttons or a biometric screening system in addition to a traditional keyhole deadbolt. Some even use a remote as pictured to the left.
Basically the push button or biometric screener operate the deadbolt but leave the option for a traditional key to open the deadbolt as well. The most common keypad door locks are those with a push button keypad as well as a key slot. They are more affordable and versatile but they do present some challenges that the other types don’t.
For instance some people want a keypad door lock because they stop lock pickers in their tracks. If you have a traditional deadbolt door lock then a talented lock picker can gain entry. Similarly someone with a bump key might be able to get in. The keypad deadbolt that has the keyhole also doesn’t really eliminate this problem.
The only way to eliminate the problem of unlawful entry is to install a keyless entry door lock that doesn’t have a keyhole at all. These systems usually are mechanical in nature rather than electronic. The electronic versions have battery and power issues that have to be dealt with but a mechanical punch pad doesn’t have to be powered at all.
Should I Buy A Keyless Door Lock Or A Traditional Deadbolt?
Once you have a decent understanding of what a keyless entry door lock actually is the next obvious question is if it is right for you. For our family we decided last year when our baby was born that a push button door lock would be really handy. It was difficult at time juggling a baby in your arms while trying to fish out your keys. Additionally we felt that a push button deadbolt would be safer in the event that someone needed to get into the house and neither my wife nor I was around to open the door.
We pondered the possibility of babysitter needing in or a neighbor needing to grab something while we weren’t there. If they were watching the baby then we could give them a code to get in and then deactivate it later.
Another thought was that one day our son would be old enough to come and go as he pleased. Giving him a key just seems like a recipe for countless lost keys and door lock re-keying sessions. In the end we just felt having the option to push a code to get in would be really convenient so we went for it. We chose to buy a Camelot Keypad Door Lock and get that installed on our door.
For us we went with the electronic keypad option with a traditional keyhole deadbolt. It was cheaper than some of the fancy options but it offered more of the security features we cared about. It is susceptible to picking like most deadbolts but if someone tries to “crack the code” and fails four times the entire keyless entry system shuts down forcing you to use a key or knock on the door to get in.
Another perk we liked was the ability to set up a handful of entry codes for various uses. We now are able to activate and deactivate them at will. This is great for giving a code to family staying over for the weekend or for providing temporary access to anybody without having to actually physically provide them a key. If we tried to do this with a traditional dead bolt lock then we would have lots of keys in many different hands. The codes allow us to reset codes on a daily basis if we want – so handy.
Is It Worth It To Buy A Keypad Door Lock?
For us the answer was simple. The keypad door lock offered us far more versatility while arguably increasing our security. The only stumbling block we had when we made the decision was to actually spring for the Camelot Deadbolt over the cheaper options.
Doing some research we found that there are some cheap push button deadbolts for sale but their quality is suspect. It’s not that people complain about the lock not being secure it’s more about the electronic mechanism not being made with much quality.
Certainly a traditional dead bolt door lock will be the cheapest option and it is the most normal option but for use the extra money we spent on the keypad lock was worth it. In the end we spent a bit more than $100 on our home improvement project and we couldn’t be happier. In our minds the comparison between a simple deadbolt lock versus a keyless entry system is night and day. We definitely recommend the latter.