By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Fingerprint scans may be what make "Mission Impossible" a futuristic thriller, but look no further than your front door to bring the possibility here and now. The SmartScan, the industry's first residential biometric keyless entry deadbolt, works with a swipe of your finger using sub dermal sensors. The lock can replace an existing deadbolt and is designed for do-it-yourself installation; no hardwiring is required. The standalone device eliminates the need for duplicate keys, although it comes with a backup key, and operates on four AA batteries for a year's time. It allows you to maintain total control of who has access to your home with different levels. For example, you can program the lock for family members with 24/7 access, give temporary in-and-out privileges to workmen, and restrict access for a specific time and day of the week for visitors such as a delivery service.
A locksmith will charge $285 to replace a deadbolt with a scanning deadbolt lock, which includes labor and material. You can buy the device for $200 and install it yourself, assuming you have carpentry skills and tools. If you have doubts, hire a locksmith to install it and spend time becoming familiar with access settings. This involves managing the system functions, capturing the scans, enabling and disabling users' access, and changing the settings. Tom Cruise makes it look easy, but unless you're a tech-head you'll need time to familiarize yourself with the ways of the future.
Sound too complicated and time consuming? Here's a link to Home Advisor, a free referral service that matches homeowners with local contractors.
The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid to install a keyless deadbolt lock with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision. You adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020