Breeze Fingerprint Internal Door Lock

From £89.95

Smart Lock Buying Guide

Introduction to Smart Locks

Over the past 30 years we have seen a lot of products make the transition into the 21st century, but it seems to have taken the lock industry a bit longer than most. Although we have all used key card ‘smart locks’ on large office buildings, the innovation of bringing smart locks to personal properties has only come about in the last 5 years. This has coincided with the meteoric rise of Smart Homes, or Internet of Things (IoT), allowing the whole home to become connected. Be it through doorbells, security cameras, heating, lighting and even appliances. With the rest of the home becoming more convenient by speaking to smart devices such as Alexa or Google assistant, Smart Locks became the next logical step.

Smart locks have a wide variety of opening methods. Some still have a traditional key as a backup, but most embrace the keyless concept like our Blusafe Origin Smart. Typical unlocking options include: apps, key cards, fingerprints and code pads (digital or physical).

There isn’t just one type of lock or locking system to cover all bases, so smart locks come in various formats. Each has varying uses, whether to secure your home, business, rental property, or even just locking away personal belongings.

smart locks buying guide

What are the different types of smart locks?

It can be difficult to know where to start when looking into smart locks. Replacing door locks is usually something people leave to a locksmith, but smart locks are typically designed to be DIY friendly, and it’s important to know what smart lock will fit your specific door lock. Let’s explore the different types of lock on the market.

External Doors

Multipoint door lock:

This is the most common door lock found in modern doors or properties. If your external door is made of UPVC or composite, it’s likely to be a multipoint lock. If you must lift the handle before locking the door, then it will be a multipoint lock.

There are a few options on the market for this type of door lock, all with different levels of safety features. Blusafe Solutions’ answer to this is Origin Smart. Origin Smart can be unlocked with a fingerprint, key card, code pad and via an app, and can also be controlled remotely by connecting to Wi-Fi. Origin Smart will be released in September 2021. and solves many problems for both landlords and homeowners.

smart locks buying guide

Mortice door lock:

Mortice door locks are more traditional, typically found in older wooden doors and will usually have an ‘old fashioned’ key style. When the key is turned, this shoots a single bolt into the frame to secure the door. It isn’t unusual to see a door with both a mortice lock and a night latch to increase security.

Given the nature of mortice locks, there hasn’t been much innovation in terms of smart developments. However, Blusafe UK are looking into smart options for mortice locks that will be released in future. This will benefit both external and internal doors for landlords of HMO’s and student accommodation, allowing controlled access for multiple tenants by the landlord.

smart locks buying guide

Night Latch/Rim Lock:

As opposed to mortice and multipoint locks, night latches sit on the outside, rather than inside the door. They only have an internal turn knob and an external key to unlock. Much like mortice locks, these will typically be on wooden doors that are both external and internal. Whilst some doors may only have a night latch, it’s common that they may also have a mortice lock and handle for extra security.

Currently, there are very few solutions on the market for these locks and these are limited to specific lock sizes. Blusafe are currently working on a solution for this and we will release a smart night latch in the future.

smart locks buying guide 5

Deadbolt door lock:

Not widely used in the UK, deadbolt locks are very popular in the US, Australasia and in other continents. They are a simple concept and work similarly to a mortice lock, with a bolt shooting into the door frame when the key is turned.

Due to its simplicity, there are a lot of options on the market in these countries. Blusafe Solutions currently offers a product called Cloud for deadbolt doors, but this is only available in Australia, New Zealand, and soon to be available in the US.

Deadbolt on wooden door engaged with bolt extended
smart locks buying guide

Internal Doors

Standard latch:

Most internal doors have a standard latch that allows the door to shut but has no locking function. You will typically find that the only way to lock these doors is by putting a manual bolt on the inside, but they can’t be locked from the outside.

Blusafe Solutions provides a fingerprint internal door handle, Blusafe Breeze, that works on any internal door with a standard latch. When the door shuts it automatically locks, requiring a fingerprint or backup key to open the door. The door always opens freely from inside, making it ideal for landlords to use on tenants’ bedrooms, as it fits the keyless fire exit requirements. It gives controlled access for landlords as the fingerprints and backup key can be controlled by the landlord.

In the near future, a new version of this handle will be developed with Bluetooth app functionality and Wi-Fi bridge connectivity.

smart locks buying guide

Mortice latch:

Some internal doors also have a built-in lock and key which works similarly to the external mortice locks.

As with the external doors, there aren’t any smart lock options for this style of door and lock. The Blusafe Breeze long backplate version can work on these doors, it will bypass the mortice lock and use the latch instead. Due to the existing lock placement, you may need to screw this into the door rather than use through fixings.

Electronic,Digital,Door,Lock,On,White,Office,Door

Code lock:

It’s common to find mechanical code locks on internal doors, especially in HMO’s (Houses of Multiple Occupation) and student accommodation. It provides the tenants with keyless access but is still a manual lock that requires a passcode for entry.

This operates as a standard latch and therefore can be replaced with a smart lock, such as the Blusafe Breeze fingerprint door handle. Unfortunately, there aren’t many other options in this space right now.

Shop the Blusafe Breeze range now

Padlocks

Padlocks have been around forever but have only recently become smart. Padlocks can range in size, security, and are price dependant on what you need it for. Always bear those in mind when deciding what padlock you need.

You can currently find two types of smart padlocks on the market, the first being fingerprint padlocks and the second Bluetooth app padlocks. There are some padlocks that combine both features, but naturally they are more expensive.

Blusafe Mirage is a secure but affordable fingerprint padlock that holds 20 fingerprints, has up to 6 months battery life, and comes in two colours and shackle lengths. Blusafe Mirage starts at £39.95. There are other good quality options on the market, however these can be over £100 per lock.

Shop the Blusafe Mirage range now

What are the Advantages/Disadvantages of Smart Locks?

Advantages:

Convenience

The greatest benefit that any smart lock brings is convenience. Not having to worry about losing a key, being able to share access with friends or family and opening the door with your fingerprint when you have your hands full. You can give multiple people access without having to cut keys or even be present. This ties in with smart homes, as everything is designed specifically to make your life easier. Who wouldn’t want a more convenient life?

Peace of mind

Whilst it ties in with convenience, peace of mind is another benefit. If you don’t have to worry about somebody being locked out or losing a key, it’s one less thing to stress about. A lot of parents worry about children losing keys, but with a smart lock they can be comfortable knowing their kids will always have access to their home. Parents can also be notified and check the activity log to see when family members unlock the door, ensuring children are home safely.

Security

A common concern is that smart locks are less secure than traditional locks. We would argue that they are more secure, given that keys can’t be cut, and locks can’t be picked. People have access by a fingerprint unique to them and via the app is fully encrypted. Continue reading to learn more about security and safety concerns surrounding smart locks.

Time saving

The ability to add multiple fingerprints and share access via the app or keypad to friends and family, means that you don’t need to be around for somebody to access the property. Give controlled access to dog walkers or cleaners, know when they arrive, and even give them temporary access. All without having to trust them with a key.

If you want to remove someone’s access, you can easily do so without having to change locks or take away keys.

Grow your business

For landlords of rental properties, smart locks can simplify your day-to-day life and increase property desirability.

If you have an HMO or student property, you can give tenants access to their rooms via fingerprint handles and simply reset the devices when they leave. Pair this with front door access via fingerprints or an app, and they’ll never need to carry a key.

For holiday lets and Airbnb, manage access to the property from wherever you are and even remotely unlock the door if someone can’t get in. Share and manage temporary access for cleaners, letting agents and tenants via the app or wireless keypad. View a full activity log of who has entered the property and when, and even get notifications when the door is unlocked.

Smart locks can be very useful on standard long-term rentals as well, avoiding the need to be present or use an emergency locksmith if a tenant is locked out. Avoid having to change the locks between tenants in case they had more keys cut, saving you money in the long run.

Automation

Installing a smart lock and connecting it to your smart home allows you to link it with other smart devices. Ask Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to unlock the door for you. See someone at the door via your smart doorbell and simply unlock the door remotely for them. Even create a sequence of events, for example, when you unlock the door, it automatically turns the lights, heating, and some music on! The possibilities are endless.

 

Disadvantages:

Battery life

One of the first things most people will think about is ‘What if the battery runs out?’. Due to the nature of smart locks, batteries will always be a concern, but there are plenty of options to avoid this becoming a problem. Most smart locks have around a 6–12-month battery life depending on usage. All smart locks will give low battery warnings for around 200 operations before the batteries completely die, so you have plenty of time to charge or replace the batteries.

All locks have a backup power outlet, this is usually a micro-USB port or a 9v battery terminal in case of emergencies. Some smart locks have a backup key which works regardless of power. Blusafe Origin Smart will physically speak to you with a ‘low battery’ warning when you use the handle and power is low, as well as showing you battery life via the app.

Therefore, whilst it’s a small concern, you will rarely be in a situation where the battery completely dies!

 

Learning curve

The reality is that smart locks are extremely easy to use and very quick to get used to. However, given that everybody has used a traditional lock and key for their whole life, there is a small learning curve and transition to get used to a smart lock.

Learn more from our knowledge hub

Are fingerprint door locks any good?

What are the different ways to unlock smart locks?

Fingerprint/Biometric sensor

The only thing that is completely unique to every individual, is a fingerprint. You can feel secure in the knowledge that only registered fingerprints can unlock the smart door or padlock. This is also the most convenient everyday unlock method as you don’t have to remember anything, and you’ll never lose your fingerprint! All Blusafe products use fingerprints as the core unlock method, as well as other backup options.

Smart Phone App

A lot of smart locks will come with an app that allows you to connect via Bluetooth and sometimes Wi-Fi. This will allow you to unlock the door, share permanent and temporary keys with others that have the app, and manage other unlocking methods such as fingerprints, passcodes, and key cards. Apps typically have an activity log to monitor who has opened the locks and when, but each app is different depending on the provider.

Blusafe Smart app runs on Tuya’s platform, allowing it to connect to other smart home and IoT devices. Connecting the Wi-Fi bridge allows you to control the lock from anywhere, even if you’re not at home!

Passcodes

Some smart locks come with a built-in code pad, where others may have a code pad separately that connects to the lock. This allows you to create a 4–6-digit passcode that will unlock the door when entered.

With Blusafe Smart, you can add permanent or temporary codes and manage them remotely. This works great for holiday lets, allowing you to change the code for every guest without needing to be at the property.

Key Card/Fobs

A method that a lot of people will have used before in business offices, this is a card or fob that you tap on a smart lock to unlock it. The cards can fit in wallets and purses, and fobs typically go on keyrings.

Blusafe Origin Smart uses fobs as a backup method, as the fingerprint is the main entry method.

How Secure are smart locks?

With the natural progression of many devices becoming ‘Smart’, it’s inevitable that the question over general security or hacking will arise. This question is even more prominent in smart locks, given that their primary job is security. The simple answer to this question is that there are many methods in place to ensure that smart locks are secure and protected from break in methods, with hacking being one of them.

To dive a little deeper, we need to look at the methods that we’ve already discussed, as each comes with its own protections:

 

  1. App access:
    Smart locks can use many communication methods to allow the App access. Most smart locks will use Bluetooth to connect to the lock in close range, whilst also offering an option for remote connection. This is typically via; Zigbee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, and NB-Iot. All these communication methods use encryption and have been tested to different specifications. Take Blusafe Smart locks as examples, Blusafe Smart locks use AES128 encryption (the same level as the one used in banks) in its Bluetooth communications and has passed various test certifications such as BSI/CE/BHMA. The Blusafe Smart App also requires a password to login, so nobody can access the lock if the phone is lost or stolen.

 

  1. Wi-Fi access:
    Connecting a smart lock to the internet is where some users can be more cautious and may question if a server can be hacked or if someone can hack into the app. Blusafe Smart is built on the Tuya Smart platform – one of World’s largest IoT platforms and listed on the NYSE. Trying to attack Blusafe’s Smart locks essentially means the hacker would need to hack into Tuya’s server which has extremely tight security and encryption controls.

 

  1. Fingerprint access:
    Blusafe Smart locks use a biometric fingerprint sensor, which is also used in iPhones, MacBook’s, and many other high-end devices. Unlike an optical fingerprint reader, which you may have seen in 90’s James Bond movies, a biometric fingerprint sensor captures the electrical signals of the finger as unique features and creates a 3D rather than 2D image. Therefore, you can’t just clone a fingerprint, it’s extremely difficult to hack or copy and is much more secure.

 

  1. Key Card/Fob access:
    There are two types of cards/fobs used in smart locks. One is non-encrypted, so a user can purchase a non-encrypted card from Amazon and add it to the smart lock, or use the NFC on smart phones to simulate the card to be added on a The other is an encrypted card, like the Blusafe Origin Smart card, which was encrypted by Blusafe. The user can only purchase this card from Blusafe and add it to the lock. The encrypted cards provide extra security than non-encrypted ones or NFC access, as specific Blusafe cards must be used.

 

  1. Passcode access:
    Most passcodes used on smart locks are using complicated encryption technologies. Using a passcode is a very mature access method that has been widely used in many applications for a long time. Blusafe smart locks also use “anti-peeking” passcode technology, where the user can add another 4-6 digits before or after the valid 6-8 digits passcode. This helps you hide the actual passcode, but it still grants access. Blusafe also allows users to create temporary passcodes that expire or manage the passcodes remotely to ensure the code is regularly changed.

 

As well as the typical unlocking methods explained above, we’ve also introduced further security measures to the Blusafe smart locks.

Combined access methods: Some of our smart locks, including Blusafe Contour / Contour V, allow combined access methods instead of single access method. You can ensure that a user must use two methods to open the lock, for example a passcode & fingerprint, a card & passcode, or a card & fingerprint. This provides an extra layer of security access if you are concerned.

System lock down mode: On all our smart locks, if they detect 5 consecutive invalid attempts at unlocking, a system lock down will be triggered for 60-120 seconds. Within the system lock down, no other access can be granted except the admins. 

Access audit trail: The Blusafe app has a full audit trail and usage history of who has unlocked the door at what time. This history is constantly updated when connected to Wifi, otherwise it will update every time you connect via Bluetooth. You can name fingerprints, key cards, passcodes, and see exactly who has unlocked the door and with what method.

Special fingerprints: When setting up fingerprints, you have the option to enable notifications for that fingerprint. Then, whenever that fingerprint unlocks the door, you will receive a notification via the app.

Multiple Colours Available

How easy are smart locks to install and set up?

It’s typical that when it comes to locks, most people will get a locksmith involved and not even consider DIY. You may think that smart locks would be even more complex, but it’s quite the opposite. Blusafe’s smart locks have all been designed to be simple to fit with easy video instructions.

Most smart locks are designed to retrofit onto existing doors, so you can simply replace your existing handles. Whilst it is a DIY job that anyone can do, you may still want to get professional help. Most smart locks will offer a professional fitting service if required and locksmiths should be able to comfortably fit any smart lock without too many problems.

Setting smart locks up once installed is just as simple, an instructional video will take you through the process of setting the app up and configuring fingerprints, key cards, and passcodes. It’s best to add the main users of the smart locks in one go during installation and set-up, but you can always easily register more users later.

How does smart lock pricing work?

Most smart locks are just an initial one-off cost to purchase. A few companies, such as Yale, will charge extra fees for adding extra users over the free limit, but other companies like Blusafe Solutions don’t have limits on users. You won’t be hit with any ongoing costs.

Smart locks come in a range of prices depending on the type and use. Padlocks can range from £20-£120, internal door smart locks typically cost between £60-150 and external smart locks range anywhere from £130 and £350 depending on the type you require.

Always bear in mind the features you are getting as this will impact the price of the smart locks, as well as the type of door lock you are buying it for.

What happens if anything goes wrong with the smart lock?

As with any security product, you may ask what happens if anything goes wrong. Most smart locks have multiple opening methods as a failsafe just in case one doesn’t work. For example, a wet or dirty fingerprint might not be recognised, and you won’t be granted access.

We would always recommend registering multiple fingerprints per person for this reason, having a few key cards registered as a backup, and having the app connected. It may also be useful to keep a key card locked in a key safe in case of emergencies.

A common concern with any smart locks is battery life. Whilst this is something to think about, you shouldn’t be too worried. Most smart locks have at least a 6-month battery life and will give you plenty of warning before they run out. Whether that is by a flashing light or voice command upon use, each device will let you know. Blusafe smart locks will give you warnings for around 200 operations before the battery finally dies, so you have time to charge or replace the batteries. If your smart lock has an app, you will also be able to see the battery status on there.

All smart locks will also have an emergency power port, which will likely be a micro-USB port that you can plug a power bank into, or a 9V battery terminal that will give power when you touch a 9V battery to it. It’s unlikely that you will ever need to use these methods though if you take notice of the warnings.

As with any lock, the internal locking mechanism in the door may have problems which won’t be related to the smart handle. In this case, you would be best placed to call a locksmith as you usually would. Locksmiths should be familiar with smart locks and once the handles are removed, will treat it as any other door lock.

If you have any concerns around your smart lock or its app, the best thing to do would be to contact the company and seek their advice. Most companies will have an extensive FAQ list on their website which may be able to quickly answer your question.

How to get in touch

If you have any further questions about smart locks or more specifically about Blusafe Solutions products, please feel free to contact us via the contact form, at hello@blusafesolutions.co.uk or on +44 (0) 1904 230190.

We always welcome feedback and would love to hear any suggestions for future products that can help the UK market. So feel free to contact us with any thoughts and we will look into potential solutions!