People who own second homes in the sun are acutely aware of security, as one place or the other is bound to be either unoccupied or rented out for weeks or months at a time. Regular locks pose a significant weakness, however physically strong they might be. What’s the solution?

Keys to your second home, or your prime residence, have to be kept where family members, guests, tradesmen and the emergency services can get hold of them, and organising this can be a major hassle (and leaving the key under the flower pot is not, repeat not, a desirable solution).

If only there were locks that you could open from a thousand miles away. Wait! There are! A wide variety of smart locks are now available that can be unlocked using an app on your smartphone from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Suddenly, home owners are back in control even when they are far away.

Smart locks can be unlocked in many ways, including entering a code on a number pad, tapping with a contactless card or fob, fingerprint scanning or even voice recognition (so handy when you are carrying a load of shopping), but it is the ability to open the door remotely via wifi that is the crucial feature for second home owners.

This brings in a whole load of extra security considerations, of course. Can hackers open your door to criminals or terrorists? This is why buying from a reputable brand with the latest encryption technology is essential.

Decision time
Choosing the right smart lock is more complex than it seems, however. The lock has to be compatible with the existing hardware on the door, be it a deadlock (the round type of bolt), a mortice (the flat type of bolt) or a nightlatch (the wedge-shaped bolts). The thickness of the door may be a problem, too.

Another less-publicised feature of smart locks is that they use batteries, which must be either replaced or recharged regularly, adding to the massive charging schedule for all the gadgets that rule our lives from smart watches to electric cars. Some smart locks require an additional wifi unit for remote connection.

A highly-regarded smart lock for most applications is the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock (€278 on, a sleek and compact smart lock with remote access via the August app. It has built-in wifi connectivity, eliminating the need for an additional bridge or hub.

The August Lock employs bank-grade AES 128-bit and TLS encryption to ensure secure communication and a sensor to provide real-time notifications when your door is open or closed.

Smart home fans will love the ability to work with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit, enabling voice control (“Alexa, open the door for the vicar”) and integration with other smart home devices such as turning on the hallway lights when the door is opened. It is designed for easy DIY installation, fitting onto most standard deadbolts without the need for replacing the entire lock.

Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt (€547 at also offers built-in wifi connectivity, allowing you to lock and unlock your door remotely through the Schlage Home app. It also supports up to 100 access codes so family members, guests, or service providers can gain entry via the keypad.

In addition, it features a reassuring built-in alarm, which senses potential security breaches and alerts you. The lock is also equipped with a built-in auto-lock feature, ensuring your door is always secure.

The Encode Lock is also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control, and works seamlessly with Ring Alarm systems and Key by Amazon for enhanced security and convenience.

But one of the Schlage lock’s best features is that it can be installed in minutes with just a screwdriver, fitting most standard doors without requiring additional drilling.

The Yale Assure Lock SL with Connected by August (€690.98 at combines Yale’s trusted hardware with August’s smart lock technology, offering keyless entry, remote access, and voice control capabilities. It supports Wi-Fi connectivity and works with the August app for remote management.

As with August’s own-brand lock, it utilises bank-grade encryption for secure communication and is compatible with most smart home systems. It is nicely designed with a slim, touchscreen keypad for convenient code entry. It is designed for easy retrofit installation, fitting onto most standard doors without requiring additional wiring.

Priced at €976.47 at, it features a unique PIN Genie touchscreen keypad that displays a different keypad layout each time to prevent fingerprint and code detection. It offers Wi-Fi connectivity with the Lockly app for remote access and management.

The lock utilises advanced encryption algorithms and supports up to 99 programmable codes. It also features a secure mode that prevents access code guessing.

Again, it works with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control and a wide range of smart home devices and services. And it is designed for easy DIY installation, fitting most standard doors without requiring additional modifications.

Nightlatches, the type of lock that sits on the back of the door with a wedge-shaped bolt that clicks in when you slam the door, are commonly known as Yales for the same reason vacuum cleaners are commonly known as Hoovers. And indeed, Yale offers one of the best units for transforming a humble nightlatch (doesn’t have to be a genuine Yale) into a smart lock, the Keyless Connected.

The procedure is easy. One extra hole needs to be drilled through the door for the top mounting point of the keypad and the power cord from the battery pack mounted inside. Everything else just slots into place. Any attempt to tamper with the keypad sets off an 80dB siren that is guaranteed to raise the alarm.

The lock can be unlocked with a contactless card, a key fob (one of each included), and by entering a pin which can be time-limited codes, so you can set up access for a 24-hour period.

One limitation of the system is that the knob has to be physically turned to open the door. You’ll just have to put all that shopping down to get in.

Another drawback is lack of connectivity – to control the lock from afar you will need a wifi module at extra cost

Words: Chris Partridge

Share This Story