Most of us enjoy the comfort of our backyard after a long day at the office, though sometimes it feels like your backyard gate is more of a suggestion than a barrier. Most gate latches can be opened by anyone with an arm and fingers — hardly a crime deterrent.
If this rings true for you, then it may be time to upgrade that glorified saloon door with some much-needed technological improvements.
Biometric and smart locks cover a lot more parts of your house than you might have previously realized. On top of the main entrances to your home, they offer padlock and outdoor alternatives for your back patio, garage, shed, and much more.
For those of us who want to keep out the kids or overly curious neighbors from our beloved he/she shed, this is a list of some of the best outdoor smart locks on the market today.
Smart Locks for Outdoor Gates
When it comes to smart locks, consumers have a wide range of things they look for.
A reliable battery is huge, access codes can be important as well as more overlooked aspects like auto-lock capability and simplistic installation.
For outdoor gates, there are a few more things worth considering.
The biggest is likely weather protection, but you also have to consider how practical the lock is for what you intend to use it on. To optimize your search for the ideal outdoor smart lock, let’s look at a few of the top products.
One of the biggest issues consumers have to deal with is shoddy battery lives that make their smart locks inconsistent and unreliable. This is a huge concern for anyone who relies on their lock to keep their house protected, never mind the fact it could cause them to get locked out.
Thankfully, the Jounjip lock eliminates the need for batteries with a completely mechanical lock.
This mechanical keylock is one of the cheaper products you will find on the market, though it is designed excellently to function as a barebones outdoor lock.
It does not provide an easy release for the sake of increased security and allows for up to 9 numerical inputs per code combination. You can have up to two different possible codes per lock, and the choice of one or two-sided locks depends on your gate setup.
For those concerned about how it will fit on your gate, this product can comfortably fit any standard size door whether it be metal or wooden.
If you have a barred gate, installation may prove difficult to impossible so a small amount of due diligence may be required before purchasing this product.
The downsides to this smart lock depend on what you want from the product.
While some people appreciate the more simplistic, dependable design of this product – it can feel somewhat rudimentary to those that want additional features.
It really isn’t a “smart” lock, per se, but it has a sleek design, smooth function, and is perhaps the most durable and waterproof product on our list. So it will feel much smarter than purchasing a tech-centric product that doesn’t hold up to rain and snow.
If you are someone who appreciates the finer tech in life, this product may come across as a bit too archaic for your liking.
If you found yourself disgusted at the previous entry for its lack of smart features, this product is perfect for you. Unlike the previous entry, the August Wi-fi lock prides itself on its intelligent design which can be seen in its futuristic outer layer.
However, some of this tech also means it will need added waterproofing before being used outdoors. If your gate has no overhead (snow, rain, sun, etc.) protection, you will need to purchase a lock cover or build a shield to keep the lock safe from the elements.
Smart locks come with several features and the price scales upwards quite high with every new shiny feature. This circular lock breaks the mold by offering smart home features without costing you an appendage or two.
This is a smart lock in every sense of the word and it only takes a quick summary of its features to understand why. Whether you want a lock that auto-unlocks upon your arrival, via your phone, or with nothing more than the breathy baritones of your speaking voice.
You could be vacationing in the south of France and remotely unlock your home for dogsitters and relatives with the smartphone app. The lock also allows for six different mobile phones to be connected to it at the same time.
We haven’t even begun to cover the different customization options allowed with this product.
Forgetful? Utilize its autolocking function so you never have to worry about whether or not you locked your gate again.
With its built-in Wi-fi, you can use it in conjunction with your smart home from Amazon to Samsung Smartthings.
One of the more unique features is its ability to set a time limit for guests to access the door should you wanna set a time for people to get through your gate, fence, or swinging saloon door.
Like all products, however, it does have a few notable drawbacks that you should take time to research before purchasing.
The app by all accounts can be very confusing and difficult to set up with several consumers expressing that it is by far the most difficult part of the installation process.
Additionally, it does not offer compatibility with 5GHZ wifi connections which for some people can be a bit of a deal-breaker. This struggle to connect it with the app can also occasionally be felt when you try to pair it with other smart home devices.
For its reasonable price, if you can deal with the possible headache of installation it is well worth the money.
For those looking for a nice middle ground, the Schlage BE365 is a perfect fusion of technological innovation mixed with reliability.
While it is battery-powered which can be frustrating, it offers the ability to use a key instead of the keypad so you never have to worry about breaking out a tent in your backyard. It also comes in a wide variety of shades and colors so you don’t have to worry about your lock visually conflicting with your gate or door of choice.
The lock is well-built and water resistant, making it a great option for outdoor gates. Add a bead of caulking around the edges and this lock should withstand the elements for a decade.
This device has a solid list of features regardless of what you desire from your smart locks – making it universally desirable for anyone seeking a higher level of protection from unforeseen circumstances. It comes with a backup key, simplistic re-lock, backlights on the keypad, a battery indicator and can remember 19 different keypad combinations.
One of the best parts about this product is how seamlessly it fits into any part of your home, whether it be a side door, gate, or front door without sticking out or feeling out of place. With the customization options, simplistic design, and easy installation you can have a very competent smart lock for any part of the house within minutes.
The downside to this lock seems to fall more on the side of poor customer support by its manufacturer. Consumers have expressed that the lifetime warranty is seldom honored and customer support is slow to respond and slower to act, which can be frustrating considering you are spending triple digits on the product.
Nonetheless, the Schlage name is pretty well-respected when it comes to locks, so I would still feel more confident in the hardware and workmanship of this lock than many other competitors. While there are a number of new entrants into the smart lock market, not many can match the 100+ year reputation of Schlage.
Outside of Schlage’s allegedly poor customer service, the lock is exceptional at what it does and is well worth the cash.
For those that live in parts of the globe that get extreme in temperature – it can be hard to describe the destructive nature of inclement weather. Whether you have to deal with the brutal monsoons of Arizona or the bone-chilling Chicago winter, sometimes you need a product that is built as robust as you are (sounds like I’m trying to sell you a Ford F150).
If any of this sounds familiar, the IP65-rated Ultraloq product is going to be absolutely perfect for you.
This device is built to withstand heavy weather and extreme temperatures – it has been measured to be thirty-five times more durable than standard locks. Though I have no clue how this measurement was calculated, we do give Ultraloq a lot of credit for having an IP waterproof rating.
Many products are marketed as “tough” or “durable,” but the IP rating adds legitimacy to these claims. But keep in mind that the waterproofing only extends to the “exterior” surface of the lock. Since a gate lock will have both sides (“inside” and “outside”) exposed, you may need to do some waterproofing on the “inside” portion of the lock.
This lock offers a healthy selection of features on top of its durable design.
It can work with your smartphone to automatically lock and unlock and offers multiple ways to allow access including a keypad, mechanical key, shake to open, and even auto-unlock. You can have sixty different keypad combinations of 4-8 digits, can share a digital “Ekey” and it offers a log of all the people who unlocked your keypad.
The biggest downside to this product is lofty claims about its battery life that don’t seem to measure up to reality. While UltraLoq claims that the battery will last up to a year, several reviewers have said this is false.
Additionally, the app can be a bit tricky to get working when you are initially setting everything up. If you can tolerate these minor drawbacks then you will receive a fairly cheap product that offers a lot of grit and customization for your home.
If you are looking for a smart lock on a very tight budget, this is the ideal choice for you.
A bit rudimentary in appearance, the padlock offers much more maneuverability for people that don’t have solid gates, yet still need to keep them locked tightly. On top of that, this product is also resistant to water so you don’t have to worry about autumn showers knocking out your shiny new biometric padlock.
On top of being the cheapest lock on this list, it is likely also the most unique.
It can be charged via a USB and offers 2 – 6 months of battery life per charge. If it does fall victim to a lack of charge it will simply remain locked until it can receive more juice.
It is IP65 resistant so you don’t have to worry about it getting destroyed by torrential rain or dust storms.
It can be connected to its mobile app with a Bluetooth connection where you can register fingerprints and offers a record log that stores up to 1000 unlocks.
To top it off, it can also remember a hundred different fingerprints.
This lock surprisingly has very few downsides and the reviews all rave about this inexpensive product.
One thing worth considering though is that if your finger has dirt, dust, or water on it the padlock may not read it accurately. Because there is no keypad or physical keyhole, your only other option to unlock the padlock is via mobile app.
For an outdoor gate in your yard, there will likely be times that you are without your phone and yardwork has your hands too dirty to use a fingerprint reader.
Outside of this if you want a cheap lock and are okay with only using your finger then the MEGAFEIS smart padlock has all the quality of a high-end lock without the additional cost.
Features to Consider
The nature of a gate lock means that hard-wired options are non-existent. So, you need to consider a power source for your lock.
Generally speaking, outdoor gate locks are powered by AA or AAA batteries. The average user should get many months, or sometimes a year-plus, from a set of batteries. Advanced features like WiFi, bluetooth-capability, and backlighting are great to have, but will shorten the battery life.
Rechargeable built-in batteries are less common, but some products (like the MEGAFEIS padlock listed above) can charge via a USB cable. For smart locks that stay fixed on the gate, this won’t be practical. But for removable locks and padlocks, this is an option to consider.
Most commercially available smart locks just aren’t weatherproof enough to use as an outdoor gate lock. Many of the “best” smart locks on the market are great for a front door that is sheltered from the elements, but won’t withstand the rain and snow that your gate gets exposed to.
If you can find a lock which has an IP waterproof rating (such as the MEGAFEIS and ULTRALOQ products above), you can sleep easy knowing that the lock will withstand rain, snow, dirt, and dust.
Many other locks lack a waterproof rating but are still durable enough to withstand outdoor use. In this case, you may want to consider caulking or other means of preventing the ingress of water/moisture.
But if you need a smart lock that lacks waterproofing altogether, you will have to buy or build a shield for your lock. Before buying anything, be sure to spend some time determining whether or not the shield will fit over your lock.
*One final note: Many exterior locks that are “waterproof” are waterproof on the exterior only. Because these locks are designed for exterior doors, the exterior surface is durable and waterproof while the interior surface is plastic and can be damaged by water.
So, if you are using one of these locks on a gate which will have both sides exposed, additional waterproofing will likely be needed.
One fatal flaw with many (/most) gate locks is that they can be tampered with so easily.
Many of us have fond teenage memories of sneaking into outdoor pools by reaching over the gate to unlatch and open it. Sometimes you can even reach right through the rails on the gate and unlock the latch in a matter of seconds.
So, in addition to choosing the right lock, you also need to be sure that your gate doesn’t allow the lock to be easily picked or tampered with. This may be a simple fix, such as a plastic guard to prevent anyone from reaching over/through the gate.
Ease of Installation
Most smart locks are marketed as “easy” installation, but this term is relative. A lock that claims a 10 minute installation time refers to installation in a door that is pre-drilled and ready to accept a lock without modification.
If you are installing a lock in a gate, some portion of the gate and/or jamb will likely need to be modified. This means that an easy, 10 minute installation may not be in the cards.
Also remember that gates often don’t fit with the same precision as doors.
Your front door probably sits evenly on the hinges and fits into the strike plate in the same position each time you open/shut your door. This makes for an easy, repeatable lock installation.
On the other hand, your gate (if it is anything like mine) tends to wobble and not fit precisely in the jamb. Again, this lack of precision will likely make the installation of a smart lock more time consuming (and more frustrating).
If you are looking for the easiest installation possible, it is hard to beat a padlock. Otherwise, just plan to spend some extra time and energy during installation.
Most people never pay attention to how much money is stored in their shed, garage, or backyard.
Unfortunately, we can not safely store most outdoor appliances or tools in the house, leaving thousands of dollars or tools, appliances, and lawn care devices vulnerable to the elements and potential burglars.
With these outdoor smart locks, you will never have to worry if someone is siphoning gas out of your lawn mower again!