Home & Garden

Is a keyless lock as good as a regular deadbolt?

Q: Are keyless locks – the ones with a keypad – as good as regular deadbolts?

A: Unless you’re considering a traditional deadbolt that features a multilock system, the bolts in keyless locks and deadbolts are essentially the same. With that said, you may want to join the folks who’ve gone keyless for convenience.

Would not having to carry a key around sound like freedom to you? It might especially appeal to the many parents whose kids frequently lose house keys. Keep in mind, though, that keyless systems are battery-operated, and could fail if a battery isn’t changed in time. Fortunately, most systems provide a key override so you’re not left out in the cold.

Locksmiths list other benefits of keyless locks:

• It’s easy to change codes, and you can set temporary ones that expire after a designated time.

• Some systems automatically lock a few seconds after you leave.

• Some link to Bluetooth so you can operate the lock via a smartphone or tablet app.

• You don’t risk someone finding a key you’ve hidden outside.

Despite the many benefits, there are things to consider before committing to a keyless lock system:

• Weather can affect how they function; they may not perform well after prolonged exposure to extreme heat, sun or cold.

• You’ll need to change the battery about once a year.

• Someone could observe the numbers you input and learn your code.

• If you don’t change your code periodically, affected keys can wear down, increasing the chance of someone guessing the code.

Keyless locks cost more than traditional deadbolts. Expect to pay $30 to $50 to install a traditional deadbolt, and $150 to $250 for a keyless version, depending on brand and quality.

When hiring an installer, consider an experienced locksmith. A pro can spot defects, sagging hinges and other potential problems. As always, hire contractors who are appropriately licensed, insured and bonded, and who have positive reviews on a trusted online site.