Never worry about losing (or even carrying!) a key or forgetting a combination. Fingerprint based biometric locks let you (and 10 friends/family) unlock with just the press of a finger in under a second. We review cable and “U” shackle locks from YAHEY, Deep Dream, Tried & True and others, starting under $30.
These locks also go by names like: Thumbprint , Digital or Smart locks.
Fingerprint locks are often used for simple security on Gym / School lockers, Backpacks, Gates, Sheds, Utility Boxes, Cabinets, Liquor Cupboards and Tool Boxes.
All list an Ingress Protection level rating – typically “IP65” or “IP66”. Read more in our article on Understanding the IP Ratings for Water-Proof, Dust-Proof .
One application these are not approved for is as a TSA luggage lock, since there is no “universal” way for TSA to open a biometric lock. If you use this on your airline checked luggage and TSA needs to search your bag, they will simply cut the lock cable or U-shackle.
Most support a 360 degree fingerprint recognition, so you don’t have to remember how you recorded the original fingerprint or how you were holding the lock.
When you record your fingerprints, you’ll generally need to touch the screen about 10 different times, in different orientations so there is a comprehensive recording of your fingerprint.
Is My Fingerprint Secure?
One question people have is if your actual fingerprint is stored in the lock, and can someone reverse engineer your fingerprint if they steal the lock. Rest easy, an image of your fingerprint isn’t stored and can’t be recreated from the data in the lock memory.
Basically, the sensor on the lock records unique areas on your fingerprint – the ridges, valleys, swhirls and whorls make up the “minutiae” for your fingerprint. These are unique to each person.
The micro-controller in the lock uses some mathematical algorithms to measure the distances and angles between these features to turn this information into a unique number.
This is very similar to how a computer creates a “hash code” of your password to log onto your on-line accounts (websites, banks, etc.).
Using just 6 to 12 minutiae, your fingerprint number is created.
If you are interested in more on this topic, here is an excellent article on how fingerprint scanners work from the team at ExplainThatStuff .
When someone touches the lock sensor, this number is created and compared with the stored numbers from authorized users. If there is a number match, it unlocks. Yay!
Favorite Cable Locks
Smart locks, similar to standard locks, come in two basic securing configurations – a flexible cable or a solid “U” shackle. We’ll start with the cable wire locks since these tend to be the lightest and most versatile.
Top Choice – YAHEY
YAHEY Fingerprint Smart Lock – about $32
We like the YAHEY for its compact size, lightweight and adaptable steel cable. The all the zinc alloy body constructed with seamless joints, is IP65-Level water-proof and dust-proof. It can handle the sun, rain and cold for outdoor uses, or in case you drop it in the pool.
The 250 mAh battery can be fully charged in about 2 hours; YAHEY says it can stay in standby for up to 2 years, the longest of any we’ve seen. They also rate it for 3,000 unlock actions – again, this is the highest we’ve come across in this sized lock.
It can store up to 10 different finger prints, so everyone in your family can have access to the lock if you want. This is great for outdoor gates, or if you just want to have it around for any users to grab-and-go.
Test it out with a 30-day unconditional return policy, and 1-year warranty.
Get more details, or order on Amazon using our link: YAHEY Fingerprint Smart Lock – about $32
Runner Up – Deep Dream L1
Deep Dream L1 Fingerprint Lock – about $35
Another compact cable lock, this is a great alternative if the YAHEY isn’t available. The case is a little sturdier, made from an aluminum-zinc alloy; It has a good length steel wire cable to secure your belongings or use for a gym / cabinet lock.
You’ll get comparable water-proof, dust-proof ratings with the metal IP66-level case.
The 240mAh Li-Ion battery provides a minimum of 2,500 unlocks with a 1+ year standby between charges. It takes about 2 hours to go from zero to full charge with a standard USB charger.
Include up to 10 different fingerprints for unlock access.
Deep Dream offers a 30-day unconditional refund, and 1-year manufacturers defect / quality problem warranty.
For more information, or to order on Amazon, use our link: Deep Dream L1 Fingerprint Lock – about $35
Lightest Cable Lock – Tried & True
Tried & True Fingerprint Smart Padlock – about $29
If you are looking for the most compact, least heavy cable lock, then the Tried & True at just 0.95 ounces is the one for you. They achieve this by using a high-impact molded-plastic housing in place of the metal cases on the heavier locks. The cable is still high-grade steel, keeping the locking loop secure.
Unless someone starts hammering at this lock, you’ll be good for public-space uses for lockers as well as on your home cabinets.
A little more weight is saved by using a 150 mAh Lithium-Polymer battery instead of a larger Li-Ion. You’ll still get about 1,500 unlocks and up to 9 months stand-by on a single charge.
Like the other cable locks, you can set up to 10 fingerprint identification accounts for you and your family / friends.
It comes with a 30-day money-back / 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and One Year Warranty.
Use our Amazon link to get this lightest lock – Tried & True Fingerprint Smart Padlock – about $29
Best Biometric Padlocks
When people think of padlocks, they expect the square-type body with an upside-down “U” for the shackle. These biometric padlocks deliver on that expectation, with the addition of a fingerprint sensor on the body.
Fingerprint Padlock, Smart Security Lock – about $32
You can store up to 20 different fingerprints / users in this lock, more than enough for all of your friends and family. This is great for house / yard gates that you need to give access for gardeners, pool cleaners and regular visitors.
The 300 mAh Lithium-Polymer battery is good for up to 3,000 unlocks, and standby for up to 9 months.
One feature we like that most other locks don’t offer is the low power indicators. If the battery is running low when you unlock, the red and blue LED indicators will flash alternately for 15 seconds – which is hard to miss. Also, when the padlock starts approaching a critical level, it will blink the LEDs one every 2 minutes to indicating low power
At 1.97 x 0.91 x 3.07 inches and 4 ounces, it’s similar in size and weight to a standard key type lock.
The manufacturers offers an unconditional 3-month return policy along with a 2-year warranty for any defects. This is one of the most generous warranties for biometric padlocks.
More information and ordering using our Amazon link – Fingerprint Padlock, Smart Security Lock – about $32
Runner Up – NetBolt
NetBolt Fingerprint Smart Padlock – about $45
You get the storage for 20 fingerprints / users, and it’s also IP65 rated for water-proof, dust-proof.
The fingerprint lock body is made of aluminum alloy and “U” shackle is made by one piece of stainless steel for superior cut resistance.
Measuring 6.2 x 3.1 x 1.5 inches and weighing 9.6 ounces, this is one of the heaviest biometric padlocks.
Find more information, or order on Amazon – NetBolt Fingerprint Smart Padlock – about $45
Bluetooth Enable Padlocks
You can also find biometric / fingerprint locks which also have a Bluetooth connection to unlock and manage from your phone. The idea of Bluetooth was nice, but not the most practical.
One major drawback was that many of the manufacturers require permissions to access your phone for location data, but also for your contacts, cameras and storage. Why an App for a lock would need this amount of personal data is beyond what we would expect.
Another issue with the Bluetooth option is that battery life tends to get shorter since you now need to power those electronics.
Lastly, these tend to cost a little bit more that fingerprint locks without the Bluetooth features.
For these reasons, we aren’t sold on a Bluetooth fingerprint padlock. But if you think this is right for you, here are the top 3 Bluetooth locks we can recommend for your consideration:
Famisafe Bluetooth Fingerprint Smart Lock – about $40
Bluetooth Fingerprint Padlock – about $33
Megafeis Bluetooth Fingerprint Smart Padlock – about $39
A smart padlock you can open with just your fingerprint is a great alternative to carrying a key or remembering a combination. We like that you can store 10 to 15 different fingerprints, so that your family, friends and regular visitors can all have easy access.
Biometric locks cost a bit more than a traditional lock, but the price is worth the convenience. These are also water-proof / dust-proof, so no more worries about outside locks (gates, sheds, garage doors, electrical panels, etc.) getting rusted shut.