How good are you at keeping track of your keys? I’m pretty good at it — I mean, I can reliably count on them still being in the door to my workshop while I’m doing chores or feeding the animals. So I know where they are, but I don’t necessarily have them within arm’s reach. Therefore, it’s been nice the past couple of weeks to have used the keyless Tapplock one+ padlock on my shed — easy access without having to go back for my set of keys.
The idea behind it is that you can use your fingerprint, rather than a key, to open the lock. I like that kind of simplicity. The device bills itself as receiving the fingerprint input and unlocking in 0.8 seconds. For all the time I’ve been using it, that seems accurate. If you don’t want to use your fingerprint, it also works by way of Bluetooth connection to your phone (Tapplock has an Android and Apple app available), or by using a Morse code pattern, for if someone needs to use it whose prints aren’t already saved to its memory.
The hi-tech lock has a waterproof rating of IP67, meaning it can be used outdoors and unlocked in any weather conditions. Just like the fingerprint sensor on your smartphone, it’s not going to work as well if your finger or the sensor pad itself is damp — so be sure to wipe that off first. The lock is built using a Zamak 3 zinc alloy in the metal body, a cut-resistant stainless steel shackle, and a double-layered design with anti-shim and anti-pry capabilities. The device is listed as being rust-proof and fully functional between -4 degrees F and 149 degrees F.
Setting up the device was easy. When you download the app and pair it via Bluetooth to the lock, it gives you the opportunity to set up your fingerprints — any or all digits, on whichever hand you choose. And whether your immediate family needs access or you have dozens of farmhands who need to get in, Tapplock stores up to 500 fingerprints, so anyone who needs to get in should be covered.
I’ll admit that if you’re buying this lock, you’re probably buying it for this fingerprint capability. I do also like having the Morse Code access functionality as an option, but it’ll be rare when you’re asking a neighbor or family friend to come over and get the chainsaw or a roll of barbed wire out of the shed when you’re not around. (Just be sure to change your Morse Code afterward if you don’t want to give them permanent 24/7 access.) Additionally, I found myself never needing to use the Bluetooth feature to unlock the padlock using my phone. If I’m close enough to use the Bluetooth functionality, I probably going to utilize the fingerprint access.
In the end, that’s really where this lock shines — it’s fingerprint access. This lock is a fitting addition to a large ag operation or work site where multiple people need to access a tool shed or vehicle lockbox. Giving your trusted workers fingerprint access allows the app to track every person who unlocks the device, so you are better able to keep an eye on work habits and what tools they’re are getting hold of.
And in talking about a smart lock, without a doubt, one of the first questions a user will have is: How long does the battery last? Tapplock says that a full charge provides for 3,500 unlocks, which roughly translates into a year’s worth of use (I haven’t had it that long, so I couldn’t confirm that claim). The Tapplock app tracks remaining power, and the lock’s indicator light blinks red when the power gets low. If the rechargable battery does run out, the company states that an 8-second charge using any portable battery pack will awaken the device. Like any modern smart device, the lock comes with a charging cable, though I wish the cable were longer — it connects to the lock magnetically, and the cable is so short that I had to stack a few books on the floor and charge the lock on that stack because the cord didn’t reach all the way to the ground.
Everything on our farms is becoming smarter, more high-tech. It should be no surprise that something as simple as a padlock would go that route, too. Overall, I liked having this lock on my shed. As noted earlier, I don’t always have my keys in my pocket, so not having to worry about them was a bonus. At $99, the price is steep (at least compared to a standard heavy-duty padlock), so it’ll be best suited to operations that have several family members or workers needing access than it would be to a solo operation. And while I didn’t straight-up smash the lock with a sledge, there was nothing I saw that made me doubt its durability.
It’ll be getting a lot of use from me in the years to come.
You can buy the Tapplock one+ here.