Three Ways to Replace That Old Hide-A-Key

We've had a chance to play with three more door latches and deadbolt locks that can make you feel more secure.
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Check out this scenario:

You come home and discover you left your house keys in the office, corner bar or -- most likely -- on the kitchen table. Then, you remember that you've "hidden" a key behind the light on the front porch. Terror alert: It's not there, your front door's unlocked and there's an empty space where you new 4K TV used to be.

Of course, we aren't saying this will definitely happen, but we do have a way to make it a bit more difficult for burglars to invade your "space."

Awhile back we reviewed a high-tech door lock from Schlage that can be opened either by entering a combination on a touchpad or accessing it with your smartphone, making it a lot tougher for thieves to break into your house. Since then, we've had a chance to play with three more door latches and deadbolt locks that can make you feel more secure.

The folks from Emtek have developed the Liscio Keypad Leverset ($162), which connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth technology and features a combination keypad on the outside lever.

Basically you just replace your old door's hardware (handles, bolts, etc.) with the hardware that's in the box, download the Emtek Liscio app from either the Apple or Google Play store and, theoretically, you're all set. Unless -- there's always an "unless" -- the width of your door doesn't meet the minimum requirements dictated by Emtek.

The lock was designed to fit doors that are at least 1.75 inches thick. Even a centimeter less (or a bit of weatherstripping) can result in hours of frustration during installation. We ran into this problem, but a call to customer support, and a loosening of three screws, solved the problem. The result? Our possessions are now happily secured.

You can choose from a left-handed or right-handed lever set, which come with two preset codes you can use to unlock the door from the outside. There's also a set of keys in the box in case you forget the code and need to enter you house the old fashioned way. The code can also be reset using the smartphone app.

The August Smart Lock ($249.95) is the most expensive of the trio, but is also a bit "smarter" than most of the other locks on the market.

Basically, the August lock is a large cylinder (a bit bigger -- and a lot thicker -- than a hockey puck)and flashes either red or blue lights to indicate whether it's open or locked.

This is basically a deadbolt lock designed to replace the old interior thumbscrew type locks found on most doors, but its functionality goes way beyond that. In fact, if you use an iPhone, it can detect whether you're in range of the door and automatically unlock the door for you. The same tech is being developed for Android users (like us), but won't be available until sometime in 2015.

Installation is easy. Simply remove your door's old deadbolt lock and attach the new one. The lock is designed to use your old bolt, so there's no fumbling around trying to install a new one.

Next, you download the August app to your smartphone and give permission to "guests" to access the lock by sending them a copy of the app. That's it. From that point on, all you or your "guests" need to do is access the app and hit either "lock" or "open" and the lock obeys.

If you need to unlock the door using your hands, remember to grab the lock from the side, rather than from the front, and turn it. Grabbing it from the front unsecures the battery cover, which can be annoying -- especially when it ends up on the floor or in the palm of your hand.

The third -- and most colorful -- lock set of the trio is the Okidokeys Smart-Lock ($189 to $349 depending on the configuration or "pack" you choose).

We were sent the Connect-Pack, which contained a lock, three colorful lock covers, several "smart keys" and key rings and the ability to connect to the lock using our Wi-Fi network. The other two packages (one of which is just the lock and the other containing the lock and keys in various forms) work solely via Bluetooth Technology.

Again, installation was a simple process and just required replacing old hardware with the hardware that came with the lock. We also had to use their bolt, but that was also pretty easy to install.

As with the others, you can access all of the lock's functions using your smartphone by downloading an app from either the Apple or Google Play store. But that's where the similarity ends. This lock uses smartkeys that can be read by the lock and come in the form of cards, rings or wristbands. You really don't need the keys to access the lock, but they're a great alternative to keys that can be used in case you don't have your phone with you, etc.

Any of these locks will do a great job in helping you secure your home and reducing the possibility of the above scenario becoming reality.

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