This guide is designed to give you a tour of the features of a biometric door lock, answer the most frequently asked questions, and provide tips on what you should look for when buying a product. You will learn why biometric door locks cannot be fooled as well as about its other advantages over using a regular lock. And yet, this technology has weak points, also mentioned in the guide. A detailed review of TOP-7 best biometric door locks and a comparative chart of the products will make it easier for you to choose your best bet.

Security has never been a bigger concern than it is today. Of course, every generation opines that the moral fabric of society has declined since they were young. That’s debatable, the increase in crime being more likely due to population – the more people there are, the more bad people there will be, as volume within percentages inflate with the containing total. Population, economic pressure, and of course, the prevalence of “valuable” goods even in lower income homes just makes for a perfect storm of burglaries and other home invasion-based crimes.

That’s not to say that these factors remotely justify crime – they do not – but understanding these factors is critical in appreciating the need for security. You may live in an area that seems crime-free. Well, there’s a first time for everything, no matter your area. All it takes is one person with ill intent wandering into your neighborhood, determining it looks like a prime target, and acting on this.

Statistically, independent of location, homes without security systems are 300% more likely to be burglarized, after all.

Unsurprisingly, technology has exploded in the security sector in recent years as a direct response to this increasing rate of criminal activity. A prime example is the availability of advanced technologies once reserved for high-security corporate, military or government installations. Biometrics, which we’ve all heard of, and have all seen in action and spy movies, is a technology that has become more than available for average consumers.

This technology still isn’t “cheap”, but it’s no more costly than other electronic security systems at the end of the day, and it can add a significant peace of mind. Most of these systems are basically impossible to get around or cripple from outside, as long as there’s power to them. Of course, that power supply is a bit of a hitch, but we’ll get to that.

What You Will Learn From This Guide:

What Is A Biometric Door Lock?

Biometric locking mechanisms are unique. Where other locks use mechanical keys, RFID, swipe cards, key pads, or other digital/mechanical means of opening, biometrics scan a physical body in one of a number of ways.

The most common form of biometric locks use fingerprints, which are nearly as unique as someone’s DNA, to gain entry. Some biometrics use DNA, iris scans, or even breath analysis, but such measures aren’t used for commercial or residential locks, only by government and law enforcement for the time being due to the complexity of those technologies.

What is it made up of?

Generally, they are comprised of a housing around the door handle, with an optical (and possibly capacitive) plate for pressing one’s thumb or finger. Along with this, some also include a traditional locking mechanism (usually only operational in a power outage), as well as a keypad. The latter two aren’t always present, depending on the door lock.

Inside is some fairly simple circuitry that can analyze the optical/capacitive data from the print, and match it to a database of people allowed to pass.

Are these devices secure?

There is a downside to biometric door locks, and it’s the same one that any electronic locking mechanism faces, and we’ll get to that soon enough. Under normal circumstances, they are indeed very secure. Where theft of a key/card/fob could allow a thief to break into your home with other lock types, they’d have to steal your fingers to pull that with biometric locks. If someone’s stolen your fingers, you have bigger problems than burglars, most likely.

My experience with biometric devices

I do not have a biometric door lock on my house. This is for two reasons – for one, I have cameras, I have a standard security system, and on the rare occasions I’m not home for prolonged periods of time, my elderly neighbor across the street is, and she keeps an eye on the block. The other reason is, they’re a little costlier than I personally am willing to spend, when I have the previously-mentioned measures.

However, I have plenty of experience with biometric devices on laptops, my phone, and in commercial businesses from back when I worked security. I never had problems with the technology itself, but I will say it can be a nuisance at times if the build quality of a device isn’t of a decent standard.

The thumbprint biometric door locks I had to pass through on patrols when I worked security, they didn’t like any kind of motion while scanning your thumb. This is normally all well and good, but I happen to have somewhat shaky hands, and have had since shortly out of high school due to some minor nerve damage. I cannot hold my hand perfectly still for any length of time, which meant the then slow thumbprint scanner often required multiple attempts from me.

There was also a time when I suffered burns on my hands while working that job. The burns weren’t severe, but they were just bad enough that my hands were bandaged up for a couple days. This made the biometric scanner impossible for me to use.

Now, most biometric systems also have a keypad/combination system for such occasions, but let me tell you, I detest combination locks. Remembering numeric sequences is not something I have ever been good at, and that’s not uncommon. If I’m asked for my phone number, I have to look myself up in my contacts.

So, while this technology generally works pretty well, I have to say it can be a nuisance if your hands are shaky, or you’re temporarily unable to provide a thumbprint. On top of this, if you’ve got a combination pad involved, and you’re not one for memorizing numbers, you’re going to have a bad time.

How Does A Biometric Door Lock Work? Explaining the technologies behind

As we discussed a moment ago, these really are just a thumbprint scanner combined with an electric lock. Sometimes, it requires a thumbprint as well as a keypad combination, and maybe even a physical key all three, in order to open. It depends on your configuration, and the model of lock you have.

There aren’t really any major risks of people breaking in through a biometric lock. They’re basically impossible to pick, and trying to dismantle them will usually sound an alarm. The tricks done in movies to falsify thumbprints (making casts of prints etc.) aren’t real things that actually work, so if you’ve been hesitant to look into this technology due to what you’ve seen slick criminals do in those, you can rest easy.

Of course, you can further enhance the effectiveness of biometrics by adding a deadbolt to the door, and using locks that also take a key and/or a combination keypad.

What Are The Types And Their Differences?

When it comes to the actual biometric technology, there isn’t much difference across the spectrum, because there’s really only one way to scan prints. However, the additional security layers that can exist, such as mechanical keys, keypads, smartphone interfaces and so on can enhance the security, and provide alternate means of entry in an emergency.

A completely keyless, pure biometric solution actually can be troublesome in some circumstances, but again, we’ll get to that in just a bit.

What To Look For When Buying?

There are a host of things to consider when shopping for biometric door locks, and we’re going to go over some of the most important factors now, before going over our top five favorite models. Some of these may be more or less important to you, depending on your needs, but they’re all things to be aware of.

  • Low Battery Indicator – If you have an isolated power source for your lock (a good idea), then you want advance warning for when the battery is low. You don’t want to find out when you can’t easily get into your house!
  • Multiple Fingerprints – You really don’t want a lock that can only identify one fingerprint profile, or a single finger. Even if you live alone, being able to grant other people (family, friends) access is crucial.
  • LCD Display – An LCD display showing time, access attempts, and a readout of perhaps why you didn’t get access on a given try is also very helpful. A stoic piece of metal with no indication but beeps and flashing lights is remarkably unhelpful in any circumstance.
  • Built-In Alarm – An alarm system for attempted tampering, and that perhaps chirps whenever the door opens, can be helpful too. If someone somehow manages to pry this thing open, the alarm will likely scare them off. It also means nobody’s sneaking up on you if you’re home!
  • Mechanical Key Option – You still want a way to get this open with a mechanical key, more often than not. If the battery is low, or it’s tied into the house electric, and the power goes out, you still want to be able to get in without any problems. These locks are very hard to pick, and while the presence of them slightly diminishes the effectiveness of the biometrics, sometimes compromises must be made.
  • Live Finger Detection Option – While most of those tactics you’ve seen people use in movies to get past biometrics do not work, the use of silicon casts has succeeded if the right skill is applied. Live finger detection can tell if it’s a real finger, still attached to a living body.
  • False Rejection Rate (FRR) – Technology can never be perfect, and you want to look for a biometric device that has a low rate of rejecting valid users. This is something I wish the biometric panels where I did security, had.
  • Material of Locks – You’ll want to choose strong materials such as titanium or steel if possible, as they’re harder to drill or break by impact.
  • Power Source – This is a big one. Some of these systems are tied into the house power, and the house power alone. This can obviously be a problem if the power fails, and you don’t have a mechanical way to open the door. Others are battery only, which is less disastrous, but means you have to stay on top of keeping them charged. If you can get a mix of both, it’s a good peace of mind.

TOP-7 Best Biometric Door Locks

The review covers 7 biometric door locks of different levels of complexity, ranging from a basic-feature fingerprint door lock at a price of slightly more than $100 to a sophisticated face recognition device worth over $500. They differ in design and the number of features. Some models have RFID while others come with a mechanical key as an additional method of access. Intrusion alarm is another important feature to consider as it will both deter a person with ill intent and notify your neighbors.

Modern-Style Biometric Door Lock | Samsung SHS-P718-LMK

Samsung SHS-P718-LMK: photo

When you’re dealing with Samsung devices, you know you’re getting years of experience in quality electronics and modern innovation. It may be surprising that Samsung would work in the security field, but they like to have their fingers in every tech pie around.

This is a touch-based multi-faceted biometric system, but also offering RFID and code input for multiple access methods. With a sleek brushed steel design, it looks elegant and inviting, while also conveying serious business to anyone looking for trouble.

Features

  • Biometric Type: Optical.
  • RFID: Yes.
  • Mechanical Key: No.
  • Keypad: Yes.
  • Intrusion Alarm: Yes.
  • False Rejection Rate: Very low.
  • Power Source: Battery. (8 AA alkaline). 12 months/10 uses per day lifespan.
  • Fingerprint Capacity: 100 unique prints.
  • Display: Touch screen.

Performance

Being battery-powered, you needn’t worry about power outages affecting this system. Its touch screen is very durable, and provides full readouts of what’s going on. Along with key codes and RFID, you have multiple ways to get in, or multiple layers of security. This is like something out of a 90s science fiction movie, but with the elegance of modern design.

This system is definitely not cheap, but if you want top of the line, you can’t go wrong with Samsung in general.

Pros Cons
  • Modern design.
  • Samsung quality.
  • Touch screen.
  • Multi-tiered security.
  • Runs during power outages.
  • Durable.
  • Uses AA batteries, instead of a power pack.
  • Touch screen seems a tad vulnerable.
  • No mechanical key.
  • Very expensive.

Conclusion

If you don’t mind the cost, and you’re comfortable with no key option, then I’m comfortable recommending this solution. However, it honestly seems a bit overpowered unless you have a lot of valuables, and your house is pretty obvious in conveying your positive financial situation. But you definitely can’t go wrong with these, and if I were going to invest in a biometric lock for my house, I’d probably just bite the bullet and get these. Though, I’d probably modify them to use a power pack. I hate antiquated AAA/AA batteries in modern devices.

Samsung SHS-P718-LMK: Check the current price

Next Gen Fingerprint Door Lock | Lockly

Lockly: photo

Lockly’s keyless biometric door is a different take on the implementation. Similar to Samsung’s solution, it offers a touch screen system for readouts and keypad input, but uses a new generation of 3D print detection which is far more strict, but also has a remarkably lower false negative rate as well.

This one is less costly, which is a plus, and offers Bluetooth sync with iOS or Android as well as auto-lock.

Features

  • Biometric Type: Optical 3D.
  • RFID: No.
  • Mechanical Key: Yes.
  • Keypad: Yes.
  • Intrusion Alarm: Yes.
  • False Rejection Rate: Very low.
  • Power Source: House power w/ 9v backup.
  • Fingerprint Capacity: Unstated.
  • Display: Touch screen.

Performance

The big advantage this one has, in my opinion, is that it has dual power sources, so you don’t have to mess with batteries as often. The interoperability via Bluetooth with mobile devices is a neat idea, but anyone who’s used Bluetooth knows what a pain it is to sync devices, and it takes a minute. Imagine getting home, needing the facilities badly, and having to do the bathroom dance at your front door while waiting for the sync.

Nonetheless, this is a solid design, if a bit utilitarian.

Pros Cons
  • Touch screen.
  • Multi-tiered security.
  • Runs during power outages.
  • Durable.
  • Backup is a 9v battery …
  • Touch screen seems a tad vulnerable.

Conclusion

This one’s a bit simpler in some ways than the Samsung offering, and the reduced price reflects this. I like the idea of integrating one’s phone into systems like this, but Bluetooth is actually kind of a crummy technology/protocol I anticipate being replaced in the fairly near future with something faster and more reliable. I wouldn’t use that feature of this thing, given my past experiences with Bluetooth. Nonetheless, everything else about this lock system is very solid, so I’m ok with recommending it.

Lockly: Check the current price

Stylish Fingerprint Door Lock | Ultraloq UL3 BT

Ultraloq UL3 BT: photo

This is a pretty standard OLED-enabled biometric locking system. What’s really interesting, aside from the affordability partnered with quality, is how this reflects modern technology trying to fit into an aesthetically-minded world. The aged bronze and matte black detail of this lock intrigues me.

Features

  • Biometric Type: Optical 3D.
  • RFID: No.
  • Mechanical Key: Yes.
  • Keypad: Yes.
  • Intrusion Alarm: Yes.
  • False Rejection Rate: Very low.
  • Power Source: 3 AA batteries.
  • Fingerprint Capacity: Unstated.
  • Display: Touch screen.

Performance

This is a pretty run of the mill lock, with standard features, and it works well enough. This is really a lock for someone who wants it to blend in with their antique-styled home. It’s interesting to see how these new technologies try to blend in with old architecture. I used to watch star trek, and wonder “how does all this future tech blend into the old houses we never see?”.

Pros Cons
  • Touch screen.
  • Multi-tiered security.
  • Runs during power outages.
  • Durable.
  • AA battery power. Stop this …
  • Touch screen seems a tad vulnerable.
  • The knob/handle is a bit meh.

Conclusion

Given this is pretty elegant-looking, and affordable, I’m alright with recommending this to average users. However, it’s not very feature-rich, so if you live in a home that needs absolute security, this is a bit underpowered. However, it looks tasteful, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and it does indeed look nice, so you’ll probably be happy with it.

Ultraloq UL3 BT: Check the current price

RFID-Focused Biometric Door Lock | ZKTeco TL400B

ZKTeco TL400B: photo

This is another relatively standard system, but its focus on integrating RFID along with the biometrics makes it stand out. It’s a bit of an austere aesthetic, but it’s very secure and very reliable.

If you don’t always want to have to mess with the biometrics, the mobile (again Bluetooth …) and RFID features of this one are pretty well-refined.

Features

  • Biometric Type: Optical 3D.
  • RFID: Yes.
  • Mechanical Key: Yes.
  • Keypad: Yes.
  • Intrusion Alarm: Yes.
  • False Rejection Rate: Very low.
  • Power Source: 4 AA batteries.
  • Fingerprint Capacity: Unstated.
  • Display: Touch screen.

Performance

This looks the most like the type of access panel you saw in old science fiction. Honestly, it reminds me of appliances from about five years ago, with the steel finish and black/blue display. However, it’s very secure, and I like the RFID feature, which is encrypted and shifted on a regular basis.

This is a simple solution, but it’s very secure and reliable.

Pros Cons
  • Touch screen.
  • Multi-tiered security.
  • Runs during power outages.
  • Durable.
  • AA battery power. Stop this …
  • A bit industrial looking.

Conclusion

If you’re ok with a bit of an obvious appearance, this one’s definitely recommendable. Honestly, biometric digital locks being obvious isn’t necessarily a bad idea, criminals will take on look at it, and decide it’s not worth the trouble. Visible deterrents do work, hence the security signs many people place in their yards, after all.

ZKTeco TL400B: Check the current price

Basic Feature Fingerprint Door Lock | Ardwolf A1

Ardwolf A1: photo

If you’re looking for the most basic, affordable option, then this offering by Ardwolf will meet your specifications. It’s very lacking in features, being just a biometric panel, a physical keypad, and an optional mechanical key.

It works fine, but it’s pretty basic, being very similar to the ones I encountered when working security. It’s not very attractive, but the look of it, again, will likely be a solid deterrent in and of itself.

Features

  • Biometric Type: Optical 3D.
  • RFID: No.
  • Mechanical Key: Yes.
  • Keypad: Yes.
  • Intrusion Alarm: No.
  • False Rejection Rate: Average.
  • Power Source: 4 AA batteries.
  • Fingerprint Capacity: Unstated.
  • Display: None.

Performance

This is a barebones biometric lock, but it’ll keep your home or other location secure, and that’s what counts. Honestly, for the price, this is a good, solid lock and if I didn’t get the Samsung, I’d probably go with this. I like no-frills solutions that work and don’t cut corners. It’s ugly, but I dare a criminal to look at this thing and think “Yeah, I can crack this lock!”.

Pros Cons
  • Affordable.
  • No drilling needed.
  • Reliable.
  • Simple.
  • Durable.
  • AA battery power. Seriously, why? We have battery packs.
  • Ugly as sin.

Conclusion

If you want biometric security on a budget, then I am very comfortable recommending this. It looks like it belongs in an office or on a storage shed, but honestly, if you’re that obsessed with aesthetics, you’re probably asking for a burglar to break in.

Ardwolf A1: Check the current price

Face Recognition Door Locks

We see much more advanced biometric identification technologies in use, in even realistic science fiction movies, and these technologies do in fact exist, albeit rarely as consumer products. Some facial recognition technologies are becoming available, and other things such as voice print, thermal imaging, and even DNA are possible, moving forward. Better sensors, faster computing, and all of that being cheaper, are the barriers to those being commonplace right now.

Facial recognition is available if a few costly units, though. However, facial recognition has a few issues, such as eyewear, facial hair, complexion changes, and so on potentially confusing them. Optical recognition doesn’t like subtle movement, or ambient light being difficult either. Better cameras (passive scan and three dimensional imaging) becoming possible, along with faster data processing, is gradually making these more and more practical.

Full-Featured Face Recognition Biometric Door Lock | ZKTeco

ZKTeco: photo

This unit offers pretty much every type of security measure possible, short of some impractical technologies not yet available. It has a three-dimensional facial analysis system, a thumbprint identification system, RFID sensors, a touchpad, an alarm, the works.

Features

  • Thumb Panel Type: Optical.
  • Facial Recognition: Stereoscopic Camera.
  • Key Pad: Touchscreen.
  • Display: Touchscreen.
  • RFID: Yes.
  • Mechanical Key: Yes.
  • Power Supply: 12v Power Port/Power Pack.

Performance

This is a next-generation biometric lock, complete with every type of access layer available right now, including USB, smartphone compatibility, 3D face recognition, you name it. The optical is a bit fiddly, meaning you may often resort to bypassing it, as is the case with optical recognition in general for now.

Pros Cons
  • Future proof.
  • Multi-tiered security.
  • Durable.
  • Modern power supply.
  • Surprisingly accurate.
  • Optical recognition has a lot of room to improve.
  • Touch screen may be fragile.
  • USB port could potentially allow this to be hacked (though it’d take long enough you’d likely be busted).

Conclusion

This is an interesting unit, and while it looks a bit industrial, that look itself would be a good deterrent. This is proof that facial recognition could be a practical ID system across the board one day.

ZKTeco: Check the current price

Next Generation Face Recognition Door Lock | Corum Security Face

Corum Security Face: photo

This one looks like something out of a science fiction movie. With a mobile-styled display, it offers all the layers of security except for thumbprint. This has a potential issue, which we’ll get to in a moment.

However, the camera on this one, as well as the optical processor, are very fast, making this the least fiddly/fickle one on the market for now.

Features

  • Thumb Panel Type: None.
  • Facial Recognition: Stereoscopic Camera.
  • Key Pad: Touchscreen.
  • Display: Touchscreen.
  • RFID: Yes.
  • Mechanical Key: Yes.
  • Power Supply: Rechargeable.

Performance

The one downside with this one is, it doesn’t have fingerprint, and facial recognition is something that can mess up if you change anything about your appearance (even age can do this), while prints really never change. While it offers other methods (card, key, passcode), this defeats the point of biometrics.

This is something of a trade-off, but this is probably the most reliable face scanner on the market, and its dummy-proof recognition means you’re not fooling it easily.

Pros Cons
  • Dummy-proof.
  • Can’t be hacked.
  • Durable touchscreen.
  • Encrypted RFID.
  • Less dodgy recognition.
  • No fingerprint capabilities, which means the biometric aspect may be partially defeated if the camera decides it doesn’t like your new glasses.
  • The power needs are a bit dubious.
  • The mechanical lock looks slightly vulnerable.

Conclusion

This looks to me like the type of form future locks will often take, though I see fingerprint capabilities remaining in play, which this one doesn’t have. However, capacitive fingerprint scanning (which some phones do) doesn’t require a special screen, merely the right software to analyze the tough. This means these locks could be updated, potentially, to remedy this at some point.

Corum Security Face: Check the current price

Comparative Chart Of Biometric Door Locks Effectiveness

Product Features

Samsung SHS-P718-LMK

Optical with a touch screen.
RFID, keypad and intrusion alarm.
Very low False Rejection Rate.
Powered by 8 AA alkaline batteries lasting for 12 months.
100 fingerprints.
Effectiveness: 9

Lockly

Optical 3D with a touch screen.
Mechanical key, keypad and intrusion alarm.
Very low False Rejection Rate.
House power w/ 9v backup.
Effectiveness: 8

Ultraloq UL3 BT

Optical 3D with a touch screen.
Mechanical key, keypad and intrusion alarm.
Very low False Rejection Rate.
Powered by 3 AA batteries.
Effectiveness: 7

ZKTeco TL400B

Optical 3D with a touch screen.
RFID, mechanical key, keypad and intrusion alarm.
Very low False Rejection Rate.
Powered by 4 AA alkaline.
Effectiveness: 10

Ardwolf A1

Optical 3D with a touch screen.
Mechanical key and keypad.
Average False Rejection Rate.
Powered by 4 AA batteries.
Effectiveness: 6

ZKTeco

Optical thumb panel.
Facial recognition: stereoscopic camera.
Touchscreen keypad and display.
RFID and a mechanical key.
12v power port/power pack.

Corum Security

Facial recognition: stereoscopic camera.
Touchscreen keypad and display.
RFID and a mechanical key.
Rechargeable.

FAQ On How To Use

Are they safe?
The only instances where they wouldn’t be is if you’re being chased by a killer and need to get inside in a second or less.

What is the best fingerprint door lock?
For the money, probably the Ardwolf. If you want bang for your buck, the Samsung.

How to install it?
It’s generally a lot like installing a deadbolt or a fancy doorknob.

Can a fingerprint door locks be hacked?
No. Not at the moment, at least.

How to reset it?
Your manual will come with a series of keystrokes to do this. It varies from lock to lock.

Pros & Cons Of Using Biometric Door Locks

Pros

  • Keys and combination locks can be stolen/snooped. Biometrics really can’t be, practically.
  • Thanks to live finger detection, even elite “spy” methods for fooling biometrics really don’t work. You can’t fool these systems.
  • The sight of these systems is usually enough to deter most criminals.
  • The key locks, where present, are pretty much impossible to pick.

Cons

  • These systems rely on power. If it goes out, you could be locked out, or stuck with a simple mechanical lock.
  • If your fingers are cut or otherwise damaged, the biometrics don’t work well (I can vouch for this one!)
  • They’re very expensive for now.
  • Some of these feel fragile in the sense that, out of spite, a criminal will break the screens.

Conclusion

Biometrics have their advantages. It’s pretty much impossible to fool modern biometrics, and they make an excellent deterrent. Also, when it works, it’s great to not have to fumble for your keys or RFID card to get in. However, this technology still has a ways to go, and the fact that most of them rely on old battery technologies instead of modern power packs baffles me. Honestly, nothing should use these old battery form factors in the second decade of the 21st century, and that’s a big detracting problem for me. If you don’t mind that, then any solution on this list should work excellently for you.