The best biometric door lock
Biometric door locks offer unrivaled security by reading fingerprints. Because everyone's fingerprints are unique, only those who are authorized can gain access.
There are many different models available, giving plenty of options for home, office, or factory installation. In addition to a fingerprint scanner, biometric door locks may grant access via keypads, RFID, and other methods.
We recently reviewed all the latest models and have put together this buying guide to help you find the right lock for your home or business. Our top pick from MENGQI-CONTROL combines powerful security with a comprehensive set of options, making it ideal for apartment blocks and commercial properties.
Considerations when choosing biometric door locks
Advantages of biometric door locks
Biometric door locks use fingerprint scanners to grant access to a set list of individuals. They allow for quick entry, and they are very easy to use.
One major advantage of a biometric lock is the simplicity of changing access. If a member of your staff leaves, for example, you don't need to change access codes or issue new keys -- you just delete a single fingerprint. In general, a biometric lock provides for one administrator who then controls the addition and removal of others. The number of potential users can be anywhere from 10 to 1,000.
FRR and FAR
Fingerprint recognition largely depends on the resolution of the scanner. A percentage of error is always possible, and the industry has its own jargon for them. The two most common terms are FRR (False Rejection Rate) and FAR (False Acceptance Rate). False rejection is when an authorized person is denied access -- this can be frustrating, but security is maintained. False acceptance is the opposite, and thus far more concerning. Unfortunately, few if any makers give you their figures. Cheap biometric door locks can be prone to higher rejection rates than we'd like to see, but almost always work after repeated tries. False acceptance is a fairly rare issue.
Access and power
All biometric door locks have a master key in case of power loss (the keyhole itself may be concealed). Some can be powered externally for temporary access, using a nine-volt battery.
Many models also have keypads -- though whether you use them or not is up to you. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is another option, where access is granted via a key fob or card. These don't require physical contact with the lock (though range varies), thus offering hands-free opening.
For obvious security reasons, many lock themselves when closed. However "passageway" override is an option that lets you leave them unlocked -- during high traffic periods or when moving items in and out, for example.
A number of biometric door locks can store usage data for later analysis. Some download this via RS45 cable, but some models can transmit that data wirelessly to a smartphone. Bluetooth connectivity can provide a wide variety of extra features, including the possibility of issuing one-time access codes.
Physically, most biometric locks are similar to a standard door lock, with the exception of magnetic models that may not have a traditional deadbolt. However, the enormous pressure required to lever them open makes them equally secure. Many models list the amount of pressure they can withstand.
Budget biometric door locks start at around $80, though fingerprint recognition can be temperamental. From $150 upwards, you will find more reliable models. Those that communicate with your phone range from $200 upwards but can be $350 or more depending on their design and durability.
Q. Is it difficult to install biometric door locks?
A. No. Most are self-contained, so they're a straight swap for the existing door handle (provided it's a standard thickness). The exception are magnetic locks, which need a mains power supply. Still not a major job, but we would recommend using a properly qualified electrical contractor.
Q. Is a biometric door lock hackable?
A. The biometric aspect isn't, but if it also offers keypad or RFID access, you need to guard against codes or cards falling into the wrong hands. Smartphone compatibility is a potential weakness, but the use of a strong password will defeat most attempts.
Biometric door locks we recommend
Our take: Multi-access system with 600-pound locking force for high-traffic entryways.
What we like: Extremely strong locking mechanism. Controlled access for up to 3,000 users via fingerprint, code, or RFID (1,000 fingerprints). Downloadable entry records (100,000 events). Push button exit from interior. No handle required.
What we dislike: Longer to instal than non-magnetic types. No physical deadbolt.
Best bang for your buck: SCYAN's X9 Fingerprint Touchscreen Door Lock
Our take: Affordable security best for office or commercial use.
What we like: Can take 100 fingerprints or user codes. Easy to fit and set up with master admin fingerprint. Low battery alert. Retains codes in the event of failure.
What we dislike: Fussy fingerprint scanner. Clunky looks. No batteries included.
Choice 3: Samsung's Biometric Digital Door Lock
Our take: A sleek, modern model from a manufacturer with a reputation for quality and reliability.
What we like: Stores up to 100 fingerprints. Auto-locking on close. Interior privacy lock. Silent mode. Subtle backlight for nighttime use. Low-battery warning tone. Lockout delay after five consecutive incorrect attempts.
What we dislike: Expensive. Installation can be awkward.
Bob Beacham is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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