Zigbee, Z-wave or wi-Fi

I have a remote house that may be empty six months at a time and I’m wanting to put a smart lock, deadbolt only, on this house. I’m very concerned about battery life and hoping one protocol may use less battery than another. Which protocol might last the longest? Also if you have experience with smart locks, I would appreciate any recommendations on brands.
Thanks Dale

I have this Yale Assure Lever which sells without wireless module. You can then fit it with your choice of zigbee, z-wave or wifi module.

I went with zigbee and besides working flawlessly with Hubitat, I'm getting really good battery life. I'd say 4x alkaline will last probably >1 year, much longer if, as in your case, the house is empty six months at a time.


I am very satisfied with my Yale Assure SL zigbee locks paired to Hubitat. Battery life is in excess of one year. And should the battery die, there are external contacts 9V battery contacts to temporarily power the lock.

Edit: I chose keyless locks, but they also make keyed versions.


As @aaiyar said. The Yale are great locks. I have one and it lasts a long time.

Some other things you may want to consider, get a lock that also has the physical key on it, just in case. Also if you have more than one door, install two locks, then if one dies you hopefully have the backup on the 2nd if needed.


I went back and forth on the absence of a key for a long time.

It is a practice in my neighborhood for spare keys to be left at neighbor's homes. In reality, this has led to my getting deadbolts rekeyed once because someone lost a whole slew of keys. I also have had housekeepers over the years (pre-smartlock days to smartlock days), or tradesmen who'd have to work in the house in my absence. In the end, I became uncomfortable with the profusion of keys all over the place and got a keyless lock.


Perfect. That is exactly what I needed to know. Thank you.

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The key for me is just a backup. You don't want to end up coming home at 2am only to find that the lock is dead and you can't find a 9v anywhere. This is where 2 locks may help as you can just go in via the other door. But a key is also a nice backup.

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The greatest battery drain on a remote activated lock is the power required to open and close the lock bolt. If you install new batteries in the lock when you vacate the premises for six months, it is highly unlikely that the batteries will drain over that six months unless you have someone who comes by frequently to check on things.

Always have multiple modes of entry whether it is a physical key or a smartlock on a second door. I cannot remember the last time I have used a physical key to access a door.

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I totally agree about having another entrance or a key. This house has multiple entrances with keys but I’m only wanting to use the smart lock on the side entry door to allow me to open access for service people. I was thinking I would use wi-Fi because that is all that is currently set up at the house. I use Zigee at home so I might as well get a Hubitat for my remote house.

When I looked at some reviews on Amazon for Wi-Fi locks most of the people were saying the batteries only lasted two months.


So maybe my thinking that it was the protocol using more or less battery power was incorrect. That sort of makes sense now that I think about it a little bit. The reviews I read on Wi-Fi locks had very short battery life but this may have well been due to how often it was used rather than the protocol it used.

Ditto on Yale Assure. I have had mine for 3 months and they've used only a tiny fraction of the battery life. I use them every day so there's a fair amount of drain. I have the YRD216 zigbee version. The keys stay locked away in the safe.

The trick I had to overcome was getting the alignment of the door and the lock pretty exact. A regular mechanical lock can be "wiggled" into the correct position while you're locking it. Not so much with a battery operated lock.

No, those reviews actually make a lot of sense. Keeping a battery operated WiFi device always on, to be ready to listen to commands to lock/unlock, is incredibly power consuming. I would definitely avoid WiFi locks for this reason, unless they offer a solar charging feature, or similar.

Zigbee / Z-Wave will be much more efficient in terms of battery usage.



Zigbee and Z-Wave are designed to be low energy devices. WiFi is not. You can use WiFi with battery powered devices such as tablets because the WiFI is only active when the tablet is in use. Also, tablets and cell phones have huge rechargeable batteries that get recharged every couple of days.

I believe the locks used in hotel rooms may use WiFI, but they also have some means of providing power to the lock so they do not have to keep changing batteries.

If you leave the property vacant for months at a time, you really need a home automation system with sensors that tell you things are working properly. One of my wife's friends had a condo in Southern California. Since it never freezes there, they did not worry about the pipes freezing, so they left the water on. A pipe burst while they were 2000 miles away and water ran for quite a while before someone noted the water running out from under the doors. Since the condo was unoccupied, they could not get insurance on the property. They spent many thousands of dollars out of pocket to replace carpet, flooring, drywall, appliances, etc. It was an expensive lesson.

Thus, having devices to monitor for water leaks, fire, and break-ins is the best insurance you can get for unoccupied property.

Whichever lock you choose, I recommend using Lithium battery equivalent (if available) for lowest maintenance and set notification for low battery level.
I use Kwikset Z-Wave+ locks (can buy the zigbee board to convert to zigbee or vice versa) which I put Energizer Lithium AA into. Entrance locks are the last thing I want to worry about the battery.
It has Smartkey so all my locks are keyed to same backup key.

I use Z-Wave+ only because personally prefer Z-Wave over Zigbee for less wifi interference and less likely to be jammed.
However, I still have many zigbee devices because of unbeatable lower price (so, it's a dilemma LOL)
I can find the only reason to use Wifi is to not having an additional smart hub.

I used to have some August locks which are wifi, but have a separate module that's ac powered to be the wifi part. I think the lock used zigbee or something similar to talk to the wifi module. Anyways, those lasted several months with the locks being used multiple times a day.

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I think BT.

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That might not work for lithium-metal batteries, which tend to report a full charge until they rapidly die, potentially before an intervening “low” battery report can even be sent.

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Yup. Matter of fact, some manufacturers, like Allegion/Schlage, recommend against their use for this very reason.

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Now I remember. You are right, Bluetooth. It had the option of auto unlocking based on Bluetooth presence, but it never worked very well

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There is still a curve, it slowly drops to 1.4-1.3V before drop rapidly. The lock's internal notification will not work, but in Hubitat, it can monitor it by %. I set notification to like 95%. After almost a year, it's still 100%, so still needs time to tell if that works.
Lithium OEM Presentation EDF 2010.pdf (energizer.com)

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