Dear Angie: Are keyless locks — the ones with a keypad — as good as regular deadbolts? — Deb H. of Madison, Wis.
Answer: Unless you're considering a traditional deadbolt with a multilock system, the bolts in keyless locks and deadbolts are essentially the same. With that said, you might 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 appeal especially 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.
Top-rated locksmiths list other benefits of keyless locks:
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■ It's easy to change codes, and you can set temporary ones that expire after a designated time.
■ Some systems lock automatically a few seconds after you leave.
■ Some link to Blue tooth 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 might 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 licensed, insured and bonded appropriately, and who have positive reviews on a trusted online site.
Angie Hicks compiles the best advice from the most highly rated service pros on Angieslist.com to answer your questions. Ask Angie your question at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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