An electronic lock is a locking device which operates by means of electric current. Electric locks are sometimes stand-alone with an electronic control assembly mounted directly to the lock.

Have a look at our Buyer's Guide to help you make a more informed choice.

Introduction

Instead of using a physical key to unlock a door, digital door lock uses electric and digital technology to secure and unlock a door. There are a variety of ways digital locks use to gain control access to the door. It could be keypads or using code, biometric, Bluetooth, or using radio frequency through a smart card. While it makes your life more comfortable as you no longer need a physical key, it also offers better security compared to a traditional lock.

Types

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TypeDescriptionProsConsCost(Avg)Idea For
Mortise Digital Lock

Mortise digital locks combine the latch and deadbolt into one to secure the door into the door frame. This digital lock type is installed by cutting a rectangular pocket into the door, where the lock will be fitted into. Some mortise digital locks are designed with more than 1 bolt to increase security of the door. Within this type of digital locks there are 2 sub types namely, push-pull and lever handle.

  • Come in a wide variety of different sizes and designs, which means that they can easily be customized to fit into smaller or larger doors. 
  • Aesthetic Appeal of the lock which adds to the overall design of the door which they are installed on. 
  • More difficult to install because mortise digital locks are installed in a hollowed section of the door
  • Requires gap between the door and metal gate
  • Replacement is more expensive as the old lock needs to be removed entirely 

S$150-S$2200

Quick Estimate

Main doors (HDB/Condo/Landed)

Different Types
Deadbolt Digital Lock

Deadbolt digital locks are locks with a solid cylindrical piece made of either steel, bronze or brass. It is more sturdy than mortise digital locks as the material is thicker and heavier and the bolt can't be forced back and also extends longer into the frame of the door to make it more secure.

Deadbolt locks are usually paired with a latch or knob as the lock itself does not have a handle.

Deadbolt locks provide a much tighter seal for your door frame and are made from machined steel, making them more durable and secure.

Requires additional door handles

S$250-S$1900

Quick Estimate
  • Main doors (HDB/Condo/Landed)
  • Swing doors
Rim digital locks

This digital lock does not lock into the door frame but locks using a bracket that is externally attached to the door frame or door panel. When the locking mechanism is turned, the metal bolt is secured across the bracket.

Due to this they are generally cheaper and viewed as less secure.

Similar to a deadbolt digital lock as it does not contain a handle.

Externally attached, allowing to retain existing lock handles

  • Deemed last secure
  • Requires additional door handles

S$90-S$700

Quick Estimate
  • Main doors (HDB/Condo/Landed) preferably this is behind a metal gate
  • Swing doors
Glass digital locks

These digital lock types are attached only to glass doors. It offers the same advantages as the other digital lock types but typically are lighter and less secured.

Aesthetic Appeal of the lock which adds to the simplicity of a glass door 

Not secure

S$90-S$750

Quick Estimate

Glass doors

Gate digital lock

These digital lock types are attached only to metal gates and require custom fitting to the gates. There are commonly 2 options in the market:

  1. A metal lock box with rear enclosure in the gate to allow the lock to be installed
  2. Replacement of the current lock-set of the gate

Aesthetic Appeal of the lock which adds to the simplicity of a gate 

Requires custom installation and fitting

S$550-S$1500

Quick Estimate

Metal gates (HDB/Condo/Landed)

Buying Considerations

  • Size - If your home features a metal gate in front of the door which this digital lock is to be installed, then it is important to select a model which can fit in between the gaps.
  • Locking mechanism required - There are many different options on the market, from keyless locks to combination locks. You'll also want to think about what level of security you need. Some digital locks are more secure than others, so if you're looking for a high-security option, you'll want to keep that in mind.
  • Unlocking methods - There are a variety of methods to unlock your digital lock, these are the common ones in the market today:
    • RFID - RFID digital door lock uses a radiofrequency device, usually with a card that carries the signal, to open the door. Some RFID cards don’t require you to be so close to the door to open it, as it will open automatically once the signal is detected. Advantage of this is convenience where you don’t need to take out the RFID from your bag or pockets, but might be a safety concern if the area where you store your RFID at home is too near the door. Best to check the distance with the vendor and the area of your home. 
    • NFC - Near Field Communication (NFC) works can unlock only within a few inches, making it a particularly reliable and fast way to unlock. This can be via an NFC card, a fob or via an NFC enabled mobile phone. This makes it the most versatile approach as you don’t need to bring another item.
    • Bluetooth - A combination between RFID and NFC, this method allows using a bluetooth enabled device (like a mobile phone) to open a door when in proximity.
    • Biometric lock - This option leverages unique identifiers of fingerprints to unlock the door. There will be a fingerprint scanner located at the lock when you’ll have to place your finger on. Some locks also feature a 2nd authentication layer via a pin. Do note that bypassing fingerprint-based authentication is relatively simple (e.g via a printed image of a fingerprint), so it is important to ask the vendor how the lock will detect and protect such hacks.
    • Electronic Keypad Lock/Password Digital Door Lock - Basic but effective, this method requires owners to key in a pre-input sequence of numbers to unlock. 
    • Wifi - Via an electronic device that will connect to your home wifi to unlock the door. This requires your home’s wifi to be enabled throughout. It is important to check with vendor that In the situation of a power outage, what are the alternate unlocking methods.
  • Battery requirements - Majority of digital Locks are operating using 1.5V AA Alkaline Batteries. But it is prudent to check that before purchase.
  • Alternative to opening - In situations that the smart lock is not working as expected, there must always be another way to unlock manually. This is typically via a MECHANICAL OVERRIDING KEY, thus this is an important feature that owners should always ask the vendors before purchasing.
  • Memory slots - Regardless of the unlocking methods mentioned above, there is always a maximum capacity of how many “digital keys” can be entered into the system. If you have a big family, this is definitely something to check out with the vendor.
  • Warranty -  Typically 3 to 5 years, but it is equally important to clarify what terms and conditions are in the warranty period and to be clear what is covered and if vendors includes defect due to installation as well. Labour cost if required is a must to be clear on. Lastly, while many vendors check what are the exceptions which will void this warranty.
  • Fire-rated - If you’re staying in a place where its required to have a fire-rated door, then the digital lock you’re choosing must also be fire-rated. A certificate of conformity (COC) is required per Singapore’s firecode. Speak with the vendor to ensure this is in place.
  • Built-in detection alarm
    • Low battery indicator - this should be in all digital locks and a requirement that cannot be overlook.
    • Fire warning- When the room temperature rises above normal , heats sensor in the digital lock will detect this high temperature and activate a loud alarm and the door will automatically unlock. Its important to check with the vendor what that temperature threshold is under what situation will a false positive be triggered (e.g. Prolonged exposure of the door lock’s main body to direct sunlight can activate the Fire Sensor Alarm. Even in Force Lock Status, the door will automatically open. When the temperature returns to normal, the lock’s normal operation status will be restored.)
  • Additional security features - if you’re looking for more safety regarding your digital locks, these are some additional features that you can speak with the vendor to select a model:
    • Theft & prank prevention - 1 min stoppage after 5 consecutive wrong input (depending of unlock methods)
    • Suspicious movement alert - some digital locks are equipped with IR sensor that detects any suspicious movements for prolonged periods of time, the door lock sounds a warning siren to ward off unwanted guests.
    • Intruder prevention - The digital lock can be armed from the outside and an alarm will be set off when the lock is operated from the inside; a sign of a burglar attempting to make an escape.
  • Volume Control/Silent Mode - some digital locks feature keytones or some melody during unlocking/locking which can be quite loud. If there is a need to not disturb others (e.g. If you have a little child or often enter/exit your home late at night), check with the vendor if the digital lock can have the volume adjusted or mute it.
  • Other smart features - digital lock vendors are adding more functionality rapidly (e.g. voice unlock) and oftentimes these functionalities will require access to the Internet via a wifi connection.  It is important to check with vendor on safety of such internet based features and if any additional cost is required. And that In the situation of a power outage, what are the alternate unlocking methods.

FAQ

Technical Terms

  • Fingerprint scanner - This is the area where one’s fingerprint is scanned and read by the digital lock and allow access upon positive identification.
  • Card reader - This is usually the area that has a card logo and  where one’s taps their RFID/NFC card to be read by the digital lock and allow access upon positive identification.
  • Number Pad - At the center of the digital lock, this is where you key in your pin to unlock.
  • Low-Battery Indicator - When digital locks are low in battery, this is the indicator that will flash up to notify owners to change the battery.
  • External power contact - When the digital lock cannot be powered on, this is the place where an external power (commonly a 9v battery) is placed to power up the digital lock.
  • Keyhole - Another alternative opening method, this features a mechanical keyhole where the owner will require to use an overriding key to unlock.