The cheapest way to protect your family? Try a $10 box strike plate!

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Image Credit: Ace Hardware
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Smart locks are all the rage today, but they’re hamstrung by a very dumb problem: If your smart lock doesn’t come with a box strike plate — and many don’t — breaking into your home with blunt force becomes much easier for a criminal.

The solution? An after-market strike plate that will run you about $10 at any home improvement store or online.

RELATED: Convicted burglar reveals 9 secrets to keep your home safe

Box strike plates and a look at the best locks

With the Internet of Things (IoT) promising everything from smart appliances to smart security systems in our ever-increasingly connected home, we all worry about hackers compromising the networks that run the IoT.

But Consumer Reports says when it comes to smart locks, there’s a way more analog problem — and that’s a criminal repeatedly kicking in a door to gain entry to your home.

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The magazine recently looked at 17 locks and applied the kick-in test to each of them. Only six locks fared well with the standard latch strike that came with the lock.

But when a box strike secured with four 2-inch screws was added to the door frame, suddenly every single model was highly resistant to the kick-in test.

Translation: You can buy a slightly cheaper, though still quality lock and supplement it with an after-market $10 box strike to make it as secure as a more costly lock!

Speaking of tests, here are the locks that emerged as the recommended buys according to Consumer Reports:

Standard door locks

The magazine recommends the Kwikset 980 ($30), the Baldwin Prestige 380 ($40) and the Falcon D241 ($55).

If you have a bigger budget, the highest score of all went to a high-security door lock called the Medeco Maxum 11*603 ($190).

The Medeco Maxum got the best possible marks in being resistant to kicking as well as picking and drilling — the latter being another common way crooks get into your home.

Whatever you do, don’t cheap out too much on a lock.

The Gatehouse DLX71 ($12) and Kwikset 660 ($17) were among the most affordable locks, but they both got the lowest possible scores on kicking, picking and drilling!

Smart locks

When it comes to electronic locks, Consumer Reports only tested three models.

The Schlage BE365 V CAM 619 ($130) and the iTouchless Bio-Matic BM002U ($300) both got high scores on the kick-in test when reinforced with a box strike secured with four 2-inch screws.

RELATED: Your guide to DIY home security systems

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo has co-written several books with Clark Howard, including the New York Times #1 bestseller Living Large in Lean Times. As a single widowed parent of two young children, he strives to bring unique savings tips to men and women like him who must face life without their spouses. He can be reached at [email protected]
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