How to Build a Low Cost Electronic Lock You Can Install Yourself in One Hour

Installing an electronic lock on your door can seem intimidating, but it's actually quite simple if you pick the right lock and prepare properly. With a bit of DIY know-how, you can install a basic keypad or fingerprint lock yourself in as little as one hour. Here's my step-by-step guide on how I installed a low cost electronic lock on my front door in under 60 minutes.

Choosing the Right Electronic Lock

The first step is picking out the right electronic lock for your needs and budget. Here are some things to consider:

Lock Type

The two main types of electronic locks are keypad and fingerprint locks.

For a simple DIY install, I recommend a keypad lock.

Power Source

Electronic locks either run on batteries or get hardwired into your home's electrical system.

I picked a battery-powered lock for simplicity.

Smart vs. Non-Smart

You can now get smart locks that connect to WiFi and allow you to control your lock from an app. However, these cost more and require some app setup.

I opted for a basic non-smart lock since I was focused on the installation itself.


Stick with a reputable brand like Schlage, Kwikset, or Yale when buying a lock for security and reliability.

After comparing different options, I selected the Schlage Camelot Keypad Deadbolt. It had good reviews and met all my criteria above.

Preparing for Installation

To ensure a smooth installation, you need to prep both your door and your tools.

Door Compatibility

First, ensure your door is compatible with the lock you selected. The Schlage lock I chose requires:

Use a tape measure to double check your door meets these requirements.

Tools Needed

You will need the following tools:

Gather all these before starting installation.

Installation Guide

Read through the full installation guide for your lock so you understand each step before beginning.

Step-by-Step Installation

With the prep work done, you're ready to install your electronic lock. Here is a step-by-step overview:

1. Remove Old Lock

First, use a screwdriver to remove your existing deadbolt and any plate or hardware. You want a clean door with just the 1-inch latch hole.

2. Drill New Holes

Use a 1-inch drill bit to drill a hole for the lock cylinder at the proper height. Then use a 2-1/8 inch bit to drill a hole for the lock body, being careful to drill straight.

3. Chisel Holes (If Needed)

If the new holes are too small, use a chisel to enlarge them slightly to fit the new lock.

4. Install Latch & Strike Plate

Insert the latch into the 1-inch edge bore hole and tighten screws. Install strike plate on door frame.

5. Install Lock Body

Insert lock body into 2-1/8 inch hole and use screws to secure it.

6. Attach Cylinder & Keys

Insert cylinder into the 1-inch hole and use included pin to secure in place.

7. Install Batteries & Cover

Insert 4 AA batteries and secure battery cover.

8. Program Codes

Use the instruction manual to program a master code and user codes into the lock.

9. Test Lock

Verify the lock functions properly by testing it with your codes. Make sure it easily locks and unlocks.

And that's it! With good preparation and following the steps, I was able to install my keypad lock properly in just one hour. It provides reliable security, and I can always reprogram codes or make adjustments if needed. With a little DIY experience, you can install an electronic lock yourself too.