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Best Smart Lock

Ultraloq UL3 BT Review

If you aren’t quite sure about smart locks, or smart technology in general, it’s best to ease yourself in with a thermostat or lock for your front door. Rather than stick to one kind of lock, the best smart lock to make the leap is the Ultraloq UL3 BT. It’s offering 5 locking options, so you’ll always get to choose one that’s more comfortable.

Why We Like It – Utraloq UL3 BT review

Like the valuepack of smart locks, it has 5 different ways to lock and unlock your door, from a fingerprint scanner, right down to a simple key. Ideal for individuals unsure about smart technology.

Pros
  • 5-in-1 locking/unlocking options
  • Proprietary app is responsive and functional
  • Great pricing
Cons
  • Door unlocks when dead
  • Cold weather can affect the fingerprint reader

Performance

What we loved the most about the Ultraloq UL3 BT—besides its performance—was its range of locking options. It handles 5: keypad, fingerprint, app, mechanical key, or by rattling your smartphone. If your hands are full, you can knock on your phone’s screen to unlock the door. No matter which option we chose, the keyless entry was quick to recognize its master.

We did notice it took a second to read fingerprints during colder weather. Thankfully, alternative options are available. Lastly, the door will unlock should the batteries fail. To avoid spending tons of money on batteries, use rechargeable ones and switch them out every 8 months. The August Smart Lock Pro, for example, will notify you of a low battery.

Design

The design of the Ultraloq UL3 BT Bluetooth Enabled Fingerprint Scanner and Touchscreen Smart Lock is simple, fitting within a dimension of 7.00 x 6.30 x 2.70 inches. The touchscreen keypad is along the top, just above the finger print reader. There’s a keyhole for backup, which the Yale Assure Lock SL lacks entirely. And since it comes with a satin nickel finish, it’ll match just about any front door style.

Value

There are dozens of smart locks that incorporate one or two additional locking and unlocking mechanisms, like the Kwikset 909 Smartcode Electronic Deadbolt, but few use 5 different options. This makes it valuable to not only tech savvy individuals, but also people with an aversion to smart home technology. This is especially true with how easy it is to get everything settled through Ultraloq’s proprietary app. Aside from performance, the Ultraloq UL3 BT gets our seal of approval, and has excellent value.

Utraloq UL3 BT review Wrap Up

By using rechargeable batteries and its alternative locking options during the winter, the Ultraloq UL3 BT’s shortcomings can be avoided. After all, it has 5 ways to lock and unlock your door. Its application is responsive, functional, and resourceful. And best of all, you get everything for a really great price.

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Best Smart Lock

VOCOlinc Smart Door Lock Review

If you’re a big fan of Apple technology, and need one more smart home device in your house, the most obvious choice is the doorknob. Why not the best smart lock for Apple homes, the VOCOlinc Smart Door Lock? You’ll get strength of security with a laundry list of activity management—all of which work beautifully with Siri.

Why We Like It – VOCOlinc Smart Door Lock Review

A great option for integrating a smart lock into your Apple-loving home. WIth support for Siri and Apple Home, you’ll get to manage the activity in your home with your choice of iOS devices.

Pros
  • Advanced security and activity management options
  • Design fits most doors
  • Integrates well with Siri
Cons
  • Need HomeKit, iPad, Apple TV, Homepod for remote access
  • Lacks Android support

Performance

Security and activity management is the MVP here, a godsend when it comes to smart locks. You can manage 30 different users, track when the door opens and closes, auto-lock, and remote access through the Linkwise app. Its keypad LED touchscreen is very responsive, and the deadbolt is a lot stronger than your standard deadbolt. The VOCOlinc Smart Door Lock does not use Wi Fi, but rather Bluetooth LE 4.2, so you’re also getting a great connection.

What we didn’t like was its Apple HomeKit compatible-only nature, for remote control via Apple TV, Home Hub, or iPad, through the Apple Home app. The lack of Android support also extends to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The August Smart Lock Pro is better in that regard.

Design

The design of the VOCOlinc T Guard Smart Lock is as simple as it gets, and very reminiscent of the Yale Assure Lock SL but with a key entry. Its satin nickel finish is nice and clean, and will fit the aesthetic of most doors. Everything the VOCOlinc Smart Door Lock does is built into the lock itself, so no separate hub is required; you install, connect, and you’re good to go. It needs 4 AA batteries to run, which give it enough juice for 4-6 months.

Value

The value of the VOCOlinc T Guard LED Touch screen Smart Home Lock does take a hit, almost entirely because of its limited support. It severely cuts down on who can purchase it, especially individuals that look at it, and like it, but think to themselves, “We would like Android support before making the jump.” This is strictly an Apple’s HomeKit smart lock. If that’s you, you won’t have an issue; you’re getting a great smart lock otherwise. Instead, look to the Kwikset 909 Smartcode Electronic Deadbolt for better support.

VOCOlinc Smart Door Lock Review Wrap Up

Being tied to iOS devices was a real drag, and a major hit to the VOCOlinc Smart Door Lock. Make sure you have a compatible device before purchasing. Other than that, you’re still getting a good smart lock that integrates well with Siri, fits to most front doors, and comes with a laundry list of security options and activity management.

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Best Smart Lock

August Smart Lock Review

For those with busy lives, forgetting to lock the door is a bad habit you just can’t seem to shake. The best smart lock to circumvent this habit is the August Smart Lock. Thanks to its auto lock/unlock feature, you’ll always know for sure your home is safe and secure when you leave for the day.

Why We Like It – August Smart Lock Review

The August Smart Lock provides the security a smart lock needs without heading down the path of fully replacing your door knob. It’s ready in minutes, giving you access to its great features before dinner is ready.

Pros
  • Auto lock/unlock feature
  • Easy setup; doesn’t replace entire door knob
  • Supports Android and iOS
Cons
  • A bit expensive

Performance

We loved the August Smart Lock’s forward thinking performance. Since just about everyone uses a smartphone these days, your door will automatically lock when you leave the house. It also has an auto unlock feature when you come back, too. All you need is your smartphone. And if you’re without it, no sweat! Simply use your key.

You can make use of additional unlock features through voice commands. This can be done with smart home devices such as Amazon Alexa Google Assistant Apple HomeKit, even Apple Watch. And if you’re away, you can use remote access through the August app (August Home app) to grant friends and family access.

Design

The August Smart Lock doesn’t share the same design as other smart locks such as the generic Kwikset 909 Smartcode Electronic Deadbolt or Yale Assure Lock SL. Instead of replacing your entire front door lock, it fits to your existing deadbolt. It keeps your existing lock intact while adding additional security. The other half of the setup—the Connect Wi Fi Bridge—is placed in your home. Just make sure it’s nearby and not upstairs. Around the edge is a series of LED lights; red means locked and green means unlocked. Unlike the Ultraloq UL3 BT, the August Lock will stay locked, even when it dies.

Value

This new smart lock August has released may earn your respect yet. Compared to other smart locks on our list, it has to be the easiest and most compatible. Setting it up can be done in a matter of minutes, and it can work with both Android and iOS devices, including Z Wave Plus. Its voice controls are very responsive, some of the best on our list. For its performance and design, it gets our mark of excellent value, even if it is a bit expensive.

August Smart Lock Review Wrap Up

Not everyone wants to replace their entire door knob, nor does the August Smart Lock ask you to. With all the fantastic features you get, including auto unlock and locking, it was well worth the price. And considering it can work across a wide range of devices—Android and iOS—means anyone can install one of the best smart locks around.

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Best Smart Lock

Kwikset Premis Touchscreen Smart Lock Review

For those of you looking for the best smart lock for your Siri-controlled home, feast your eyes on the Kwikset Premis Lock. By itself it’ll keep your door secure with unique user codes. But pair it with the Kwikset app or Apple Home app and you’ll gain access to a host of new features. If you’re worried about the humidity in your home, you should also read our Raincloud C-15 (drink the atmosphere’s humidity, literally) review.

Why We Like It – Kwikset Premis Touchscreen Smart Lock

With better security and additional features, the Kwikset Premis Touchscreen Smart Lock provides the perfect opportunity to upgrade from a Kwikset 909 SmartCode. Compare this with the Swann MP3 doorbell SWADS-DOORCH review if you want to personalize your doorbell’s sound. If you try to stay up do date on the latest tech, you should also take a look at how the Google Home mini-mod adds a line out for speakers.

Pros
  • Lock and unlock from anywhere
  • Siri keeps a lock history
  • Keyhole available as backup
Cons
  • Limited to only Apple products

Performance

The Kwikset Premis Smart Lock works very simple by itself, not unlike other smart locks. Create a user code and only that code will unlock your door. Its true power comes from linking it with the Kwikset Premis app—an iOS-only application. You’ll be able to unlock, lock, and monitor your smart home lock remotely. Even 4th generation (and newer) Apple TVs can do is, so long as it’s within Bluetooth range.

Furthermore, the lock is susceptible to voice commands, specifically Siri voice commands. You won’t be use Google Assistant with the Kwikset Premis; Apple-only. For something less restrictive, the August Smart Lock Pro supports several devices—including Apple HomeKit.

Design

The Kwikset Premis Touchscreen Smart Lock isn’t that far off in design compared to its cousin, the Kwikset 909. Its dimensions are much taller, coming in at 10.00 x 4.00 x 3.50 inches. It only comes in two finishes: venetian bronze and satin nickel.

Rather than use physical buttons, the Premis uses a touchscreen. To circumvent code detection from your fingerprints, the touchscreen uses SecureScreen technology. Should you forget your code and or phone, there’s a backup keyhole for a physical key. And if you’re an apartment dweller who can’t get enough home-grown food, take a look at our review of how the Volksgarden Rotating Garden lets you grow anything at home.

Value

Given the Kwikset Premis’ performance, excellent battery life, and additional features, we can easily consider this device as having good value—that is, if you align with the Apple HomeKit. Being only compatible with iOS, it holds it back from having great value rather than “good” value.

Still, if you’re in a position where that isn’t a problem, the Kwikset Premis Door Lock is going to work beautifully for you. Otherwise, consider using Yale Assure Lock SL or a Schlage Sense for a wider range of compatibility.

Kwikset Premis Touchscreen Smart Lock Wrap Up

The Kwikset Premis Touchscreen Smart Lock is a magnificent companion to your Apple HomeKit—especially with one of two companion apps. Through remote access, you can lock or unlock it, just in case you forget or need to let someone in. As an added bonus, you’ll be able to keep a history of when the door was opened. And if you forget your code, don’t worry! There’s a keyhole for a physical key.

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Best Smart Lock

Schlage Smart Lock Review

If you’re on the market for the best smart lock that integrates seamlessly with Echo devices, can secure your home, and is easy to use, turn to the Schlage Smart Lock Encode. Its performance and companion app make for an excellent security system, even when you’re away or off in dreamland. If you’re still missing a humidifier for your house, you should also read our Raincloud C-15 (drink the atmosphere’s humidity, literally) review.

Why We Like It – Schlage Smart Lock Review

The Schlage Encode streamlines several features typical in smart locks, making it easy to use and ready to be used with a quick installation. Pair this with the Swann MP3 Doorbell SWADS-DOORCH review if you want your door completely customized. For your music listening needs, you should read our review of how the Google Home mini mod adds line out for speakers. 

Pros
  • Can lock and unlock from anywhere
  • Will fit standard doors
  • Touchpad is fingerprint-resistant
Cons
  • Only integrates with Amazon Alexa

Performance

For starters, the Schlage Smart Lock is fingerprint-resistant. No one is guessing your access codes anytime soon. With its companions, Amazon Key and Schlage Home apps, you can manage up to 100 different access codes—temporary ones, recurring, or even permanent. Not a bad way to keep an eye on who enters and exits.

When you’re away, use either companion app to ensure your doors are locked. Even better, set a schedule to automatically lock your doors as a sort of backup—a just-in-case scenario. And if someone tries to break in the front door, it makes use of its built-in alarm.

Design

The design of the Schlage Encode is nearly identical to its cousin, the Schlage Sense. However, unlike its cousin, the Encode is a Wi-Fi smart lock, packing network capabilities right out of the box. The dimensions of the Encode make it a little bigger at 2.24 x 3.00 x 5.47 inches. It’s bulkier but still won’t take up a lot of space on your door. Like the Sense, you won’t find physical number buttons; it’s all touchscreen. There’s a keyhole just in case you forget your key. It comes in three finishes: matte black, aged bronze, and satin nickel.

Value

The Schlage Encode teters back and forth between having great value, and other times only have good value. For starters, you don’t need a Wi-Fi bridge like its cousin, the Schlage Sense, to link it with your network. Right out the gate you have remote access. But only voice commands from Amazon Alexa will work. You can’t connect with Google Assistant, nor is it Apple HomeKit compatible. If you have an Echo Dot, great! If not, you’re better off considering the Yale Assure Lock SL or even the August Smart Lock Pro. Alternatively, the Kwikset 909 is a simplified version for a fraction of the price.

Schlage Smart Lock Review Wrap Up

The Schlage Encode Smart Lock works best for a smart home that relies on Amazon’s Alexa as their voice assistant; otherwise, you’re better off choosing something else. With that said, if it’s fully integrated into your home, it becomes one of the best smart home systems out there. Lock and unlock anywhere, it fits with standard-sized doors, and the fingerprint-resistant touchpad prevents people from nabbing any access codes.

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Best Smart Lock

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt Review

If you’re looking to add a better locking mechanism to your door, you should be looking at the best smart lock. Word is that the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt could be that kind of security system for you. It only takes a few minutes to install for countless nights of peace. If you like this deadbolt, you might also be interested in this LED door handle.

Why We Like It – Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt

The Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt provides a great smart lock security system while building a bridge to make it better down the road.

Pros
  • Includes a backup keyhole
  • Solid app
  • Great lock quality
Cons
  • Wi-Fi adapter is sold separately
  • Expensive

Performance

The Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt is among the easiest to use compared to other smart locks. You use an access code to open the door, no key necessary. Should you forget, you can always fall back on a physical key. With the free Schlage Sense app—available for iOS & Android—you can manage access codes, create a schedule, and even view when the door was used.

By itself, the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt is good, but it isn’t until the Wi-Fi adapter is added that it becomes amazing. Smart home app integration becomes possible with Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, and Google Assistant. Bluetooth also becomes an option, connecting to devices like an Apple TV so long as it’s within Bluetooth range.

Design

Aesthetically speaking, the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt is plain in design. The dimensions are 5.00 x 3.00 x 1.00 inches, so it won’t take a lot of space on your front door. It uses a touchscreen instead of physical buttons, which means losing physical buttons is a thing of the past. Below the touchscreen is a keyhole should you find yourself forgetting your user codes. It comes in a few finishes such as aged bronze, satin nickel, and matte black.

Value

When you consider the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt by itself, which doesn’t come with a Wi-Fi adapter, the deadbolt is rather expensive compared to the Kwikset 909, an identical lock in design. If you want remote access, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities, you’ll need to spend another $60.

With that said, the complete package then becomes comparable with the Yale Assure Lock SL, which is $15 more. You’d get a better value out of the entire package rather than just the keypad itself. For further savings, you can look at the August Smart Lock Pro.

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt Wrap Up

The Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt is pretty expensive by itself. Its price isn’t worth it until you purchase the Wi-Fi adapter, allowing for additional functionality like linking with smart home devices. However, once the two devices are paired, it easily becomes your new favorite smart home device—especially with the option to use a code as long as eight digits.

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Best Smart Lock

Yale Assure Lock Review

If you’re looking for a premium locking system that’s also the best smart lock, don’t turn your nose away from the Yale Assure Lock. Its keyless design means you never have to carry keys again, relying almost solely on your mobile device or, alternatively, a password.

Why We Like It – Yale Assure Lock

The Yale Assure Lock provides a high quality premium security locking system, far better than a normal lock, while also throwing in a ton of supported devices and additional features.

Pros
  • Locks up even if you forget to
  • Smart home device integration
  • August Home app is solid
Cons
  • Lacks a normal keyhole
  • Needs 4 AA batteries to operate

Performance

All things considered, the Yale Assure SL works incredibly well. The lock will sense your phone when it’s nearby, unlocking the system automatically. This also works when you leave said location. So if you forget to lock up, don’t worry—it’ll do it for you. Compare this with the Genie Smart Lock that lets you unlock your door via your phone even when you’re a million miles away on the other side of the world.

Additionally, the Yale Assure Lock’s network module allows linking with smart home devices such as Apple HomeKit, Apple TV, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, even an Apple TV. Since it also includes the August Module, you can link up the August app, August Connect, to control the lock remotely.

Only two problems exist: using batteries, and lack of a normal keyhole. You won’t need to change the 4 AA batteries often, but invest in rechargeable ones to save money. If you happen to forget your phone and the password, you’re locked out because it doesn’t have a normal key lock to fall back on or a fingerprint scanner like the Ultraloq UL3.

Design

The Yale Assure Lock SL Key Free belies its high quality security with its design. It’s quite simple in design. Everything that it is fits into its small dimensions, which is 6 x 6 x 14 inches. With it being a touchscreen keypad, you lose any number keys. This touchscreen deadbolt also comes in a variety of finishes such as black, brass, bronze, and satin nickel, allowing it to fit into any smart home. It’ll replace your lock, unlike the August Smart Lock Pro.

Value

The key free Yale Assure Lock SL asks for a hefty price. Compare it with the Kwikset 909 and you’re paying almost 4 times as much. With that price comes a load of compatibility and functions than other smart locks. Your phone, which is probably in your pocket than, say, a purse, is arguably more secure than a physical key. In other words, it’ll be a better security system on your front door than other door locks that rely solely on pin codes every time you need to get in.

Yale Assure Lock Wrap Up

The Yale Assure Lock relies on your memory and phone to unlock, lacking a normal keyhole. If that isn’t your cup of tea, this lock isn’t for you. However, its hands-free design, smart home integration, and solid August app would argue otherwise. Sure, it runs on batteries, but that’s a small price to pay for a lock that secures itself even when you forget to.

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Best Smart Lock

Kwikset 909 SmartCode Electronic Deadbolt Review

If you’re looking to add a level of security to your home, other than an alarm system, the first move is to invest in the best smart lock. For those who prefer a keyless entry, the Kwikset 909 SmartCode Electronic Deadbolt is the exact kind of smart door lock you need. After a quick installation, it’ll bring your mind closer to peace. If you want a doorknob that will light up, you should also take a look at this LED door handle (beyond brilliant).

Why We Like It – August Smart Lock Pro Review

The Kwikset 909 SmartCode Electronic Deadbolt provides peace of mind by adding additional security to your door while still being affordable.

Pros
  • Reduces amount of keys carried
  • Includes a normal keyhole
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Needs 4 AA batteries to operate
  • Motor isn’t that strong

Performance

In an ideal situation, the Kwikset SmartCode Lock works beautifully. When you leave for home, you simply press the lock button and the deadbolt auto locks. When you come home, you punch in one of the user codes you created and the deadbolt will be released. Should you forget the code by accident, there’s a normal keyhole to use—unlike the Yale Assure Lock SL. Additionally, you can create up to 8 access codes, plus a 9th master code.

The Kwikset 909 has but two problems: the motor, and batteries. It needs 4 AA batteries to operate, but they’ll last a year before needing replacements. Circumvent that by using rechargeable batteries. As for the motor, if the deadbolt lock doesn’t quite fit your front door, the motor has a harder time operating. Make sure it fits right.

Design

Aesthetically speaking, the Kwikset 909 Deadbolt featuring SmartKey is pleasing to the eyes. Its dimensions are 3.50 x 5.38 x 9.88 inches. It comes in three variations: satin nickel, polished brass, and venetian bronze. Each variation includes 5 numbered buttons and the lock button as well as a normal lock. If you lose a key, you can make use of its Kwikset SmartKey technology, allowing you to re-key the lock if you lose your home key.

When installing, this will completely replace your deadbolt, unlike the August Smart Lock Pro that simply fits to your current deadbolt. It takes about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how handy you are.

Value

The Kwikset 909 SmartCode Electronic Deadbolt smart home lock is a really cheap device, only going for about $73. Since it’s standard two have two doors, investing $150 into better security—albeit simpler in design than the Ultraloq UL3—is an easy choice to make in our opinion. Its design allows it to fit to just about any standard-sized door, providing accessibility to a large portion of the population. If you get a new key, you don’t need to replace the device. In other words, the Kwikset 909 SmartCode has really great value.

August Smart Lock Pro Review Wrap Up

Picking up a pair of Kwikset 909 SmartCode locks is a pretty easy investment to make, provided you also invest in rechargeable AA batteries. You won’t have to carry so many keys, though the option is available. Furthermore, it’s easy to install on most standard doors, so long as you fit it correctly or else the motor has a harder time operating.

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Best Smart Lock

August Smart Lock Pro Review

At first glance, the August Home Smart Lock Pro doesn’t look like much, but don’t let that fool you. This hockey puck shaped will make sure your doors lock when you leave in a hurry or forget to lock up. And as an added bonus, it comes with loads of compatibility, making it the best smart lock out there.

Why We Like It – August Smart Lock Pro Review

The August Smart Lock Pro with August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge provides all the functionality necessary for a smart lock while being easy to install and a breeze to use. If you’re not fully sold by this smart lock, take a look at our Kwikset SmartCode lever review to compare.

Pros
  • Can lock and unlock your door anywhere
  • Supports WiFi, Bluetooth, and Z-Wave
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • A little pricey

Performance

What’s nice about the August Home Smart Lock Pro is how hands-free it is. You might have noticed it doesn’t use a smart keypad, unlike the Kwikset 909 or Yale Assure Lock SL. You have to come within WiFi or Bluetooth range and it will automatically unlock, and it’s really responsive with it, too. And with DoorSense sensors—which can be installed on the door frame—, you’ll know it’s secure when you leave for the day.

Furthermore, you can set up Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, Apple Watch, or Google Assistant to unlock and lock the Pro August with voice commands. Alternatively, you can allow remote access to friends and family when you’re away by using the August Home app. This is similar to the Genie Smart Lock that lets you unlock your door via your phone even when you’re a million miles away on the other side of the world.

Additionally, the August app will keep tabs on visitors with smart alerts—especially unwanted visitors. It’s worth considering pairing it with the August Doorbell Cam.

Design

The August Smart Lock Pro Connect is a fairly thick device made of anodized aluminum, available in silver or grey. Its hockey puck shape can be attached to your existing lock in a matter of minutes. That means your door lock can still be unlocked via a key.

Around the August Lock are a series of LEDs. When they’re glowing green, it means the door is opened. When the LEDs turn red, it means the door is locked. It uses batteries, but when the device dies, the lock will stay locked, unlike the Ultraloq UL3 BT.

Value

Compared to other August smart locks, the Pro Plus has to be the most comprehensive. Not only does it perform well, it’s ready to connect to most smart home devices and is compatible with Z-Wave Plus. That alone is worth the price of admission. So when you consider all of that, and the August Connect bridge bundled with it, that price tag does not seem so expensive anymore. You’re getting a superb deal. And it doesn’t hinder the owner with its design.

August Smart Lock Pro Review Wrap Up

The August Smart Lock Pro is one of the best options out there for anyone who’s ready to secure their home with a smart home device. It’s so easy to install, and when it’s ready, you gain access to a laundry list of features such as support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Z-Wave. Sure, it leans towards the expensive side, but well worth the cost to lock and unlock anywhere and at any time.

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Best Smart Lock

Prodigy SmartLock Intelligent Interconnect 4000

We are always looking for the best smart lock.

All smart locks are not created equal. I mean, they are all smart in some sense, but they aren’t all Stephen Hawking. Some of them are more like regular old Joes with a typical high school degree. Well, the Prodigy SmartLock Intelligent Interconnect 4000 has a little something extra to offer in with your top rated home security system. It won’t tell you all about wormholes in an electronic voice, but it is impressive. Compare the features on the Prodigy with our Kwikset SmartCode lever home connect review.

A New Smart Lock For Your Home

The Prodigy SmartLock Interconnect Lock 4000 is the only keyless double lock with the ability to lock and unlock an interconnected dead-latch and deadbolt with a single lift of the lever from inside and outside of your home. That may not seem Earth-shattering, but it makes your day just a little bit easier. Which is what technology should do. Our top smart thermostats do this as do our high tech Wi-Fi Smart Air Conditioners.

This smart lock lets you access your home without a key, offering you some freedom, priceless personal security, and convenience. It has a responsive, 12-key illuminated touch and fingerprint resistant keypad programmable with up to 400 user codes that are interchangeable with RFID keycards/stickers.

No Keycard Required

You don’t need a keycard, code or physical key to lock the door from the outside either. Though an optional mechanical key override lock is available as an extra back-up if you want it. It may not be a futuristic fingerprint smart lock, but it’s impressive.

This Smart Lock Is Easy To Install

If you haven’t made the leap to a smart lock yet because you are worried about having to hire a professional to install it, no worries. This lock will install easily without the added cost of a pro to come and do it for you. It installs on most standard doors with 2-3/8 inches and 2-3/4 inches adjustable backset and they give you easy step-by-step instructions. It should only take about 15 minutes. And if you’re interested in knowing how locks work, have a look at our review on this clear acrylic lock: lets you learn how to pick.

After that, you just program your user codes for keyless entry at the lock, and you’re all set. It is powered by 4 AA batteries, so you won’t have to hardwire it and mess with electricity. We like easy to set up and easy to use. This is a great smart lock for anyone new to smart home products. Even if you have a fully decked our smart home with the latest smartphone connected appliances, you’ll still love it. Get more info here.

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Best Smart Lock

Nuki 2.0 Keyless Smartlock For The UK Market Review

Are you looking for the best smart lock?

Nuki has announced the arrival of Nuki Smart Lock 2.0, which is the next generation of the company’s smart lock that turns your smartphone into a key. It arrives with a bunch of new features and includes Bluetooth 5 for further range, better internal processing power for speed. There’s also a door sensor so you can get updates at-a-glance and it has full Apple HomeKit compatibility. And if you’re interested in knowing how locks work, have a look at our review on this clear acrylic lock: lets you learn how to pick.

No More Keys Under The Flower Pot

The Nuki 2.0 smart lock is specifically updated for the UK oval-cylinder lock while keeping the easily-installed retrofitting. This new version fits over the user’s existing lock and key and installs in less than three minutes. Most people can handle this easily. You won’t have to worry about replacing door fixtures either. So the emphasis on this smart lock is ease of use. It also plays nice with your other Smart Home solutions like Ring and Nest, Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.

Pros:
Easy To Install
Easy To Use

Cons:
Limited Color Options To Match Your Door

This is the company’s foray into the ripe UK smart home market. The Nuki Smart Lock 2.0 is compatible with Android and iOS. As with most smart locks on the market, you can use this one to give your friends, family, delivery people and others digital access to unlock your door via the companion app.

With all of the smart lock solutions available to us these days, burglars and other nefarious individuals are going to have a hard time finding a key under a flowerpot. Nuki 2.0 gets even more convenient with the optional Nuki Fob and Nuki Keypad which gives easy access to children, delivery people, or those without a smartphone.

Nuki 2.0 Keyless Smartlock For The UK Market
Nuki installs in minutes.

Nuki Makes This Lock Easy For Everyone To Use

Bottom Line

This new version will be available in November of 2018. Whether you are securing your apartment, house, business or vacation home, Nuki provides a very cool home security solution that anyone can easily install and use in minutes. It has a lot of options via the app, the Nuki Fob and the Nuki Keypad. Folks in the UK are going to love this smart lock solution.

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Best Smart Lock

Smado Smart Lock Review

The best smart lock has smart features and easy installation.

These days it is easier than ever to up your home security thanks to all kinds of cameras, motion detectors, and smart locks. These devices are not only everywhere, but they are easier to use than ever before. Smado has introduced their own smart lock with a variety of features that you’ll like.

No Tools Needed To Install

It fits on all door locks so you don’t need to hire a handyman or even remove your existing door lock to install it. It will work with your existing key or a latch. It is as simple as sticking it, then calibrating it and you are done. No screws or tools necessary. I know that those of us who are not very handy can appreciate that.

Pros:
Easy to install
Effortless to use
Keeps your door secure

Cons:
3 items to buy to make it all work(but priced affordably)

With the Smado opener and your already connected smart device nearby, you can operate hands-free. You don’t have to pull out your phone or touch the door. It connects automatically and opens the door for you. So basically it’s giving you that Star Trek lifestyle that many of us have dreamed about for ages.

Smado will lock and unlock the door automatically. It features military-grade end-2-end encryption for the highest possible security and if you want to use your key and do things the old fashioned way, you can. A 180-degree angle adjustment allows you to fix the Opener for both swing doors and slide doors. Those sliding doors will give you the most Star Trek-like experience after all. That’s one big reason to love this smart lock.

These devices have lithium batteries for a longer life and when those batteries get low, you will get a notification.

If you lose your key, it will no longer be a problem. And you won’t have to leave a spare under the mat outside, which is just asking for trouble. You can control your Smado devices with the Smado Smart App from your phone.

Smado Smart Lock Review
This smart lock is simple to use.

Upgrade Your Door and Your Security

Smado has a trio of products that bring your door, firmly into the future. The Smado smart lock, the Smado smart roller and the smart bell. Together they lock and unlock your door, open it for you and let you see who’s there. This is a nice upgrade to any home security system.

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Best Smart Lock

Gate Smart Lock Review

It’s probably safe to say, but getting in and out of your home unfettered is probably at the top of your list. However, most of the time we don’t think about it. Why? Because rarely does a key and traditional mechanical lock fail us. Save for losing the key or breaking one off in the lock itself.

However, when considering a smart lock, such as the Gate smart lock, it warrants some deeper evaluation then a simple key and lock scenario. So keep reading my Gate smart lock review to learn more.

Overview

Price: $359 (retail)
Available: Soon (currently via Crowdfunding)

Summary: The Gate is probably the most fully featured smart lock to date, as it includes a video camera, doorbell like functionality, mic, speaker and a keypad all built into one. But with that comes the caveat of WiFi only connectivity, which means a shorter battery life.

What We Liked

  • It combines all the “smart” features of most smart locks and smart doorbells
  • No batteries needed; it comes with a rechargeable one built-in to the lock

What We Didn’t

  • Only one rechargeable base included which means a physical key has to be used when charging
  • Easy to incorrectly install it and in turn make the Gate’s smart features disabled
  • No auto unlock as found in our August review
  • Flexible only lasts for about 2 weeks, which means you’ll have to charge it 26 times a year

Gate Smart Lock Specs

Camera720p HD 30fps with 150 degree FOV with H.264 encoding
AudioTwo way (stereo mic & mono speaker)
PowerRechargeable 3600mAh battery via microUSB
Connectivity2.4Ghz WiFi
EncryptionMilitary Grade, 256-bit AES with TLS/SSL
SensorsPIR and Lock Position Sensors

Design

This is my third smart lock and from where I sit it’s the most evident that it is just that: a smart lock. Why? The keypad. You just can’t miss it – plus the exterior part of the lock is fairly large in size compared to traditional hardware. That said, what I like about the August and the Kevo is that most will be none the wiser that you’ve got a smart lock installed on your home’s front door. And while it’s arguably much tougher to “pick” a smart lock, if you’re averse to unwanted attention (on your front door) this may not be the lock for you. But honestly, that’s hardly a reason to go forgo a smart lock, as they can provide so much versatility and in turn safety that a traditional lock can’t.

At the center of the Gate is a traditional lock and key setup. It ships with its own set of keys (mine came with three), so yes, unlike the August, you’ll have to distribute a new set of keys. And speaking of which, you’ll also have to replace your entire door’s deadbolt with the Gate, where as with the August it retrofits to the interior part of your door’s lock. But, more on the installation a bit later. Adjacent to that is presumably a smaller sensor to detect motion, a speaker and mic, and above that a camera that can record video. My Gate was a prototype, so the mic and speakers didn’t work. And surrounding all of the aforementioned is a keypad that includes a call button.

Gate Smart Lock
The Back of the Gate Smart Lock, the battery.

What’s particularly impressive, and fairly sleek is the interior part of the lock. Much like the August smart lock, it houses the battery, yet is much slimmer in depth, allowing it to blend in to the door’s interior hardware a bit better. And that battery, well, it’s rechargeable. The battery’s status is displayed via a small LED light. I’m not sure it ever blinks an alternate color when the battery is almost dead and to that end I never received a notification in the app that it was in need of a recharge. Unlike other smart locks, the Gate battery doesn’t cover need to be unlatched; it just slips off with a slight pull, revealing the interior contact point and the microUSB charging point.

Installation

Gate Smart Lock
Keypad, doorbell, camera, mic and speaker make the Gate full featured.

For full disclosure, Gate shipped the Gate already installed on a piece of wood, complete with all the deadbolt hardware. Now, I’ve installed a number of locks, so I’m no stranger to the process. So naturally I unscrewed a few screws to see how easy it was to reinstall. How easy? Very easy. All the screws, 3- 4 of them in total, are easy to reach and don’t require a balancing act like some other smart locks. That is until the Gate would no longer turn on. So what did I do wrong? Well, after some trial and error I determined that the shaft, the black long piece that turns the actual lock inside the door, had been rotated an additional 90 degrees. After some back and forth, and as mentioned trial and error, I finally found the right position, and I was off to the proverbial races. Why it’s designed this way, I’m not sure, but I could see this alluding most people, so I hope Gate fixes this before shipping to early backers on Indiegogo. But in short, the Gate is super easy to install, save for this one issue.

Last but not least, the app walks you through the steps to pair the Gate with your home’s WiFi.

The App

It works, but it needs some serious spit and polish to contend with the already existing smart locks on the market. I found the UX a bit confusing and from the standpoint of the hardware, the app is seriously behind and largely feels like an after thought. I’ll check with Gate and see if they have plans to significantly update it before they start shipping units. Worse, it’s also a bit slow loading menus, especially when accessing the “history”. To that end, “the videos” load fairly quickly, but I put heavy emphasis on the quotes (see below). That being said, there is no dedicated section to look at all videos as they can only be accessed from the “history” which is in chronological order with no specific call outs beyond a time stamp and size in KB or MB – it would be nice to see a thumbnail so you can perhaps more quickly identify the video.  Here’s hoping. Oh, and Siri, I’m not sure where that stands, and within that HomeKit integration. But that is neither here nor there at the time of this posting.

Before I forget: You can invite others, guests and such, to access the lock by using their telephone number – they receive a text and pretty quickly (within seconds). Within that you can provide a pin to be used with the keypad (although only 4 digits), as well as restrict access based on time and day, though this latter feature didn’t work.

Performance: Lock, Unlocking, Camera and Remote Access

Unlike August, the Gate won’t automatically unlock your door upon approach. But despite that, it does connect via WiFi by default (more on that in a second), so there isn’t any additional hardware for you to buy, which is anything but the case with Kevo or August. In fact, the August requires that you buy the keypad, doorbell and the WiFi-to-Bluetooth dongle separately, costing you an additional $350+ (ouch!!).

Gate Smartlock Review
The battery of the Gate smart lock slides off with easy and reveals the contact point and microUSB port for charging it.

In testing, I left the Gate in my kitchen, occasionally limiting its sensor to movement in the hopes of emulating what would otherwise be the same amount of activity from neighbors passing by my door. Now, keep in mind that the Gate connects to your home’s WiFi, relaying captured video, doorbell rings and remote commands through the cloud. Surprisingly, sometimes it can be fairly quick at doing this, though at other times it can take upwards of 20 seconds if not more. Doorbell rings, while I was at home and on my home’s WiFi, took about 5-10 seconds on the speedier side of things, though as just mentioned can take longer to show up as a Push Notification on my phone. Video or movement notification, with recorded video no less, took about the same amount of time.

However, videos, which I alluded to above, aren’t videos. They’re marked as such, but the net result is simply an image, which was disappointing to see. I’m sure Gate can fix this, but as of now it’s not working.

Also not working is the ability to remotely access the lock when outside of my home’s WiFi. When attempting to lock/unlock the Gate it never reflects a change in the lock’s status. Moreover, you can’t access a live stream of the lock from the app, which would be nice, especially if you want to listen and watch at the same time.

Lastly, battery life: it’s good for up to two weeks (give or take). Again, I did this by emulating what I thought would be the average amount of video and use the lock would get. But to be clear, the majority of the battery was consumed by the motion sensor activating the camera and capturing video. I didn’t go as far as to continuously lock/unlock the Gate until it died, but I don’t really see that being the crux of the battery. In fact, it does give me pause that they opted for WiFi only connectivity, as that was the downfall of the Lockitron, which has never been able to recover after their battery issues. I do applaud Gate for including a very sleek and well thought out rechargeable battery. However, they should include two in the box such that the lock is never without power, though with a key it still operates.

Wrap Up: Gate Smart Lock Review

On paper the Gate is all that. Included is a smart doorbell for capturing and communicating with those at your door, a keypad to remove the need to pull out your smartphone, and a traditional lock just in case you don’t wanna do the digital dance with an unsuspecting landlord or tech inept person. Be that as it may, what’s on “paper” unfortunately has yet to be reflected in the Gate’s actual execution. So fingers crossed these things get updated.

Categories
Best Smart Lock

August Door Lock Review

I’ve lived free of a physical house key for well over 3-years. And boy do I love it.  I know, I know. It sounds like a gross over statement.  But it’s only when you free yourself of the burden of a physical key do you realize, well, how much of a burden it was.

How did I do this? Simple: a smart lock. My quest for a house key free life began with a Schlage keypad. It proved the best of the bunch at the time of its release, as it required no phone; just a 4 digit pin. However, over time I realized that it would be nice to be able to remotely lock/unlock my home’s door, as well as track those that enter. Schlage offers an add-on box for accomplishing this feat, but with it comes a monthly service fee of $10. Hardly worth it, especially in light of the newly announced smart locks.

So I switched to the Kwikset Kevo, and while the experience wasn’t perfect, it worked. Just tap the outside of the deadbolt, and the door unlocks. However, I noticed that my home’s WiFi, or lack there of, was getting in the way of a speedy authentication and the feature set wasn’t as robust as some competitors, namely August. So what did I do?

You guessed it. I switched to August a few months (almost) ago and so far I’m loving it. Sure, I can no longer touch the deadbolt to unlock, but with it comes a host of features not included on the aforementioned, which includes auto unlocking when you arrive home, a more reliable remote lock/unlock, a more timely log update of those entering, and perhaps best of all: a key pad (new in May 2016) in the event my phone dies. There is a doorbell offering, but since I don’t have the wiring in place, or an existing doorbell, I decided to forgo that unit.

So keep reading my August door lock review to find out more!

Overview

Price: $229.99 on Amazon or $199.99 w/out HomeKit
Available: May 2016
Model: ASL-02/Second Generation

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The best smart lock with the best features.

What We Liked

  • Easy installation for even novices
  • Auto unlock negates hands (or feet) involvement
  • Fast at reacting
  • Easy to use app
  • Unlimited Keys and Access + works with 3rd party services

What We Didn’t

  • Auto Unlock can be troublesome
  • Keypad was buggy

August Smart Lock Specs

Security128-bit Encryption
Battery Life6-9 months
Homekit Enabledgreen-check-mark
Siri Compatiblegreen-check-mark
Auto Unlockgreen-check-mark
Apple Watch Appgreen-check-mark
Remote Unlockgreen-check-mark
Size3.39” (H) x 3.39” (W)
x 2.22” (L)
Buy Now

Design

August Smart Lock Review
Only the inside of the deadbolt is replaced by the August smart lock.

Let’s get this out of the way: the August’s interior component is perhaps the largest and most obtrusive of any smart lock. That said, that’s the only part of the August as it replaces the interior portion of your existing dead bolt, the thumb turn, and leaves the cylinder in place. This is important to note, especially if you have a land lord who still needs to access the property, as the existing keys remain compatible, unlike the Kevo. Though in all fairness, the Kevo can be re-keyed (using an old key) in a few steps, though I haven’t done it.

Inside the August

Inside of the August is not only a set of batteries, but a motor that turns clockwise or counter clockwise to unlock or lock your door, respectively. Hidden behind the August’s battery plate, which is held in place via a set of magnets making it easy to remove, are a set of led lights that flash red to indicate when the door is locked, or green when it’s unlocked – it can be seen through the battery cover when in place. The lock also emits a tone when each aforementioned task is completed, allowing those on the exterior of the door to know when to open, or the door has been locked.

Keypad

My unit shipped with the keypad, which must be purchased separately for $79. Right away I noticed how light the keypad is. To that end, it’s not all that sturdy, though the buttons are rubber and should survive rain. Hopefully they’re not impacted by the sun, like my Schlage was, though in all fairness that device had a more touchscreen like facade.

The August keypad is more like a traditional keypad, which makes it an actual tactile button. Because the keypad connects to the August lock via Bluetooth, it can be mounted any where using either a set of included double sided stickies, or two very small screws. I opted for the screws, which I drilled into my door’s wood frame after inserting them through the holes located on the keypad’s battery door. And yes, the keypad can be easily ripped off or removed. But there is little to no motive to do so, unless it’s an attempt at being a nuisance, which could also be achieved by throwing a rock at your door or windows.

Installation

Now, I’ve installed a few smart locks, so I knew what to expect, at least for the most part.

Nevertheless, total installation time for me was just about 20 minutes. This included removing the Kevo and placing my old lock’s exterior parts (something you may not have to do) back into place – just the cylinder.  Tool wise, all you’ll need is a screwdriver.

To install the August, you should start by placing the included strip of blue tape on the outside of the lock to keep it in place. Why? Because when you remove the interior part, the thumb switch, you’ll be removing the plate which keeps it securely in place. I have to note that the included tape is a nice touch on the behalf of August. So kudos to them.

Installing the Actual August Lock

Once the interior part of the existing lock has been removed you’ll need to install the August mounting plate, which fixes on to your existing lock. The instructions indicated that the August comes with three mounting plates, though mine just came with one. Fortunately, the plate I had worked with my lock, lining up the screws – you’ll know you have the wrong mounting plate if they don’t line up straight.

Next, it’s just installing the correct plastic attachment over the axel of the lock – the piece that turns the lock and unlocks the door – as this latter piece makes your existing lock compatible with the August. There are three included and the instructions, as well as trial and error, makes it easy to find the correct attachment. And once this is installed, you’re ready to install the actual smart lock.

From there it’s just a question of flipping up the August’s tabs on either side, slide it into place, and secure the locking tabs. Finally, you’ll want to remove the battery cover – just push on the bottom portion and it will angle out of place – and remove the plastic tabs covering the batteries. And now it’s time to setup your August Smartlock.

Setup

August smart lock side
The August is a bit on the bulky side, but it’s a small caveat.

This is the easy part. Just download the app, fire up the app and it will walk you through getting your lock activated. You’ll of course need to be in Bluetooth proximity to your August, as well as setup an account.  But it shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.

Homekit

And because the new August works with HomeKit, allowing you to unlock your door by speaking to Siri, you’ll need to grant access accordingly on your phone.

If you have roommates, or family members, you can send them admin or guest access via the app (as many as you’d like), as well as provide temporary access to guests. However, only admins can access Siri’s speak to unlock feature.

That said, all guests can have a pin for the keypad – 4-6 numbers. However, they won’t be able to access the lock remotely or auto unlock the August when they arrive at the door.

Keypad and August Connect

To add a keypad and August Connect, the app will walk you through the steps, but you must be in Bluetooth proximity of your the August lock.  The August Connect will provide remote access any where you have an Internet connection on your phone.  With Connect you can not only check on your lock’s status (locked or unlocked) or remotely unlock it, you can also setup Auto Unlock.  You’ll need to purchase the Connect box for an additional $79. Setup is ultra simple, provided you’ve got your home’s WiFi password and free AC plug.

How Auto Unlock Works

Auto Unlock works by using your phone’s GPS to determine your location. When it detects that you’re within 100-300 meters, it pre-preps the August smart lock to unlock. And once you’re in Bluetooth range of your August – because it’s looking of your phone – it will automatically unlock the door upon approach. But I’ll get more into that in minute.

Using the August Lock

Once you’ve got the August lock installed and setup there are two fundamental ways it can be used: open the app, connect via Bluetooth and then tap the circle to lock or unlock your door. The status of the lock is indicated by red for locked, and green for unlocked.  The other method, which I much prefer and is perhaps the best feature of any smart lock, and not found in the Kevo, is the August’s ability to auto unlock.  Yes, you read that right: auto unlock.

Auto Unlocking

To ensure this feature is active just open the app and look for it in the settings menu. There you’ll tell the August lock where your lock lives (i.e. your home address). Once you do that the August lock will continuously check your location. When it detects your within a few hundred meters of your home, it will prep the lock and tell it to begin to look for your phone. And once you’re within Bluetooth range it will automatically unlock your phone. And worry not, as it doesn’t, at least in my experience, have much of an impact on your battery life.

Auto Unlock Troubleshooting

Now, to be candid, I did have issues with the Auto Unlock feature in the beginning. My resolve? I started by searching the August website trouble shooting section. There August’s trouble shooting section instructed me to log out of the app, toggle my iPhone’s location and Fitness Tracking features off then on, – I’m not sure why it needs Fitness Tracking info and then log back into August. It also recommends that you don’t open the app while at home, but avoiding that is very tough. After completing all of the aforementioned steps the Auto Unlock feature has worked every time. Allowing me to come home, car, foot or mini-Segway and seamlessly open the door without removing my phone. Occasionally I’ll reach my door and it has yet to unlock. And rarely does it unlock all together. It seems to work best if I leave the proximity of my home more than a few hundred meters and for longer than 10-15 minutes.

August Keypad

On the other hand, my experience with the August Keypad has been less than stellar when it comes to the keypad. It’s quite buggy and inconsistently works. My housemate was locked out for 10-minutes one night at 2am and was only able to regain access to our house by using the August app. And it would seem that the keypad might be interfering with the August lock’s Bluetooth connection to phones, as he had to wait to use the app to open the door. The keypad is backlit, which is handy, but seems to flash intermittently. And with that emits a buzzing noise, which might be related to the connectivity issues. The August Keypad is a new accessory to the August Lock, so there is a good chance that I got an early batch. Nevertheless, it’s disconcerting how inconsistent it is, especially since it’s a lock and may be the only way to regain entry, especially if my phone dies or I lose it.

August Connect

The Connect is a nice to have and can offer peace of mind. How so? Open the app, tap the WiFi button and the app will connect to your August smartlock where ever you are in the world indicating the status of the deadbolt as locked (red) or unlocked (green). You’ll know you’re not remotely connected if the app’s circle remains gray. But once it lights up in color, you’ll be able to remotely unlock or lock your door with a simple Internet connection. And that’s not all: you can check the lock’s “activity log”, seeing who has come or gone from your home.

August Speed

Compared to the Kevo smart lock, the August is 5x times faster to unlock the door. Sure you can’t tap the outside of the deadbolt to lock or unlock the August, but once the app is open and connected, tapping the red circle almost instantly unlocks the door. And don’t forget: you can just ask Siri to unlock your door.

Other Features

Push Notifications: You can receive notification when someone locks or unlocks your August smartlock.

Guest Book: This will hardly be used, but anyone with access to the app can write a message.

3rd Party Services: Rent your home out to Airbnb guests? No problem. Just connect the August app with your Airbnb account and they’ll gain access once you confirm their booking. Get deliveries from Postmates? Delivery people can receive one-time access.  August integrates with a number of services and is always adding more.

Security and Lost Phone

Now, most people will point to what happens if you lose your phone or it’s stolen. First off, August uses 128-bit encryption. Second, that’s far more secure than a physical lock, that a) can be picked b) copied at any hardware store and c) lost without any way of tracking it down (i.e. there isn’t a find my key feature). If you do lose your phone, and you fear someone may have gained access to it, you can log yourself out of the August app remotely by visiting this URL, entering in your email. Do that an August will email you a code you enter into that page where upon you’ll be logged out.

August Door Lock Review Final Thoughts and Wrap Up

Save for my issues with the Keypad, I’m loving the August lock. It’s faster than any other lock I’ve used, the Auto Unlock feature makes entry almost seamless and while it won’t carry your groceries, it’s a nice feature to have especially if you don’t have a spare hand to reach for your phone.

In my case, installation was ultra simple, largely because the mounting plate that was provided happened to be the right one. It would seem, provided all three are in the box, that it should be none issue, but could add a greater level of complexity to the installation, only because it requires some trial and error to find the right one. That all said, the August should work with any stand alone deadbolt, and for those that are averse to remove the entire lock, it’s a great solution, if only for that reason. Moreover, the August, unlike some other smart locks on the market, works with deadbolts that’s outside handle is a single piece, as it only replaces the inside mechanism.  And finally, existing keys continue to work without any issue, which makes it not only accessible to landlords, but to those that need some time to warm up to the idea of using their phone to unlock the front door.

Categories
Best Smart Lock

Kwikset Kevo Plus Review: Unlock Your Door From Anywhere

You might have heard of Kwikset Kevo and didn’t even know it. It’s founder appeared on Shark Tank under the company name Unikey. Although he wasn’t able to strike a deal with the Sharks, he was able to license the tech to Kwikset and bring the smart lock to market.

I reviewed the Kevo and for the most part liked what I saw. At the time of that review there were features that Kwikset promised would arrived down the pike. One of those features was the ability to remote un/lock the door from any where you had an internet connection on your smartphone. And yes, it’s here and it’s called Kevo Plus.

If you’re a proud Kevo owner you’ll have to invest a bit more money in an additional box, called the Kevo gateway. Cost you ask? About $70, though I can’t find it for sale online.

Setup of the Kevo Plus

Setting up the Kevo Plus base station (or gateway) is a simple affair. Screw on the antenna, plug it into a power socket, and lastly connect the included Ethernet cable to your router.

My front door is down a level and about 25 feet in total distance from the Kevo base station. Thanks to the antenna, or so it would seem, the Bluetooth connection has no problem reaching and talking with the Kevo door lock. This hasn’t been the case with other door locks that depend on Zigbee and Zwave, so I was impressed to see this work.

Update: After months of use, the Kevo Plus connection is probably best described as spotty. It’s hard to tell if it’s the Kevo Plus itself, the structure of my home, the service itself, or a combination of the aforementioned. Keep reading to learn more.

The app will walk you through the process to upgrade your Kevo smart lock – this is called Kevo Plus – to work with the base station. To do this you’ll need to be in very close proximity to your lock where via Bluetooth the app will pass along a software update. Next the app will step-by-step setup the Kevo base station, pairing the two pieces of smartlock hardware together, also using your phone and proximity to complete the process. If things are setup correctly, the LED ring on top of the Kevo base station should glow a solid blue. If it flashes, it has not.

Using Kevo Plus To Unlock

Kevo Plus Smart Lock App review
My Kevo Plus didn’t always show the correct status of the lock.

When Kevo first launched there were clearly short comings. One of them was the inability to unlock your Kevo from any where using the app. However, it’s likely that the company didn’t include this feature due to battery concerns. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at Lockitron.

The Kevo base station, unlike the aforementioned smartlock, uses BLE (it’s also compatible with Zigbee and Z-Wave), or Bluetooth Low Energy to send commands to the lock. This is the same wireless tech that the Kevo uses to communicate directly with your iPhone or Android. It’s because of this, and based on my experience, that there won’t be any degradation in battery performance, netting on average about 10-20 months of battery life. And for those worried, fear not. The Kevo will provide a low battery warning well before they need to be replaced.

Update: I’ve never received a low battery warning despite having to change the batteries and have this notification active in the app.

Now, traditionally speaking, to unlock your Kevo, your phone had to be within Bluetooth range of the lock. From there a simple tap of the lock using one’s finger unlocks or locks the door.

However, with the Kevo Plus upgrade the Kevo can be unlocked from the apps main screen. In my experience it has worked every time.

Update: The Kevo Plus works sporadically and doesn’t always refresh the locks status to its current state. On a number of occasions I’ve received something called a “gateway error”, which could mean a number of things. The Kevo also struggled to update the status of the lock correctly, sometimes displaying “locked” when in fact it’s “unlocked” – I know because I have stood next to when I’ve tested this. Disconcerting? You bet!

Though there is a delay of about 8-10 seconds (sometimes up to 30 seconds) between tapping the un/lock icon to when the Kevo actually locks or unlocks – this is all indicated by the app, though. But this delay should be expeected, as the Kevo app has to send a command through the Internet, verify the credentials to ensure the user is allowed, then to the gateway, and lastly from the gateway to the lock itself over Bluetooth. So in the grand scheme of things it’s fairly quick. Though for full disclosures sake I haven’t had the opportunity to compare the Kevo Plus against another competing smartlock.

Drawbacks to the Kevo Plus

As I already mentioned, the delay is about 8-10 seconds but sometimes up to 30 seconds once you tap the unlock/lock icon in the Kevo app. Nevertheless, it’s, IMHO, a given. So no big deal, especially when guests can most certainly wait for a few seconds before gaining access.

What I couldn’t grow accustom too, was that the lock status’ inconsistencies that I experienced.

The Kevo smart lock is designed to send periodic status updates to the gateway. This allows Kevo owners to view the status of their door as locked or unlocked. Which means that if someone forgets to lock it, it can be locked remotely. However, my Kevo can’t and won’t consistently show the correct status. And I know because I’ve tested it a few times while in the Kevo’s physical presence.

The issues seems to arise mostly from manually locking (sometimes it’s an issue after “tapping” the lock) and unlocking the door from the inside. On occasion it will provide an update within seconds, while at other times it will go for 30 minutes without one, and even then it won’t read the status correctly. For example: I just left home and locked the Kevo by touching the lock. Opening the app now, 2 hours later, the lock status, which was updated “4 minutes ago” according to the app, still reads “unlocked”, which I know to be completely not correct.

Now, for full disclosures sake, I have an older, first gen Kevo. And while this may be the root of the problem, it’s just an potential explanation, but not a resolve.

Kevo Plus Pricing

When Kwikset first announced Kevo Plus they said there would be an annual charge for the addon service. But good news! That’s no longer the case. Kevo plus is now included in the purchase price (aka free) of the Kevo Plus. Why? Probably because there are other smart lock options that aren’t charging a service charge. And after all, there is no reason to charge monthly for a service that to a large degree doesn’t cost the company anything beyond hardware to produce.

What I’d Like To See

It’s likely a battery drain, but I’d like to see the Kevo automatically unlock when it detects me approaching my front door. While I’m no engineer, Kwikset could leverage my iPhone’s GPS functionality (which I have turned off for the Kevo app since it serves no real purpose beyond increased security) to send a signal to the Gateway, which in turn could unlock the door. This would remove the need of the door (and its batteries) to search for my iPhone’s proximity.

Final Kevo Plus Thoughts

Despite ownership of the Kevo Gateway/base station for a few months, I’ve only used it a few times to remotely unlock the door. Why? Now that Kwikset provides unlimited 24 hour keys and more permanent keys (free of charge) it’s really not as much a necessity. That being said, for a $70 investment it does negate any issues that might arise from the tech averse, or don’t own a smartphone, though given the Kevo’s lack of consistency it could be anything but. I know from my own personal experience that it would be near impossible to explain, let alone get my parents to download and register for a temporary Kevo key.