Smart locks: What you need to know before buying
Smart locks: What you need to know before buying
Before you buy a smart lock, you need to consider whether this will actually make your life easier. Chances are the answer is almost always going to be yes, but you also need to think about how you’ll be using the lock. Do you want to grant a lot of guests access, and are they tech-savvy? If not, you’ll probably want a smart lock that has a keypad. Also, it might seem a strange thing to suggest, but it’s worth checking if your door actually shuts perfectly, a problem on older houses with wonky doors – this might cause problems down the line. Also bear in mind that smart locks come in different shapes and sizes. In some cases this means that not all locks will fit between the lock and the handle, and in the case of others, you might want to think about how a gadgety-looking lock or a keypad will fit into your home’s look. You might think it’s a big installation job but many of the smart locks we’ve tried have been self-install with a screwdriver and a spare 15 minutes. But while every lock is different, some installations go smoother than others. A slightly wonky install can leave in-built lock motors struggling for traction, and we’ve had professional fitters scratching their heads, doing battle with some locks. Whether the smart locks is compatible with your smart lock also needs to be a consideration, but bear in mind that the depth of integration varies across the board; some locks can be unlocked/locked using voice assistants, while some can only be locked. Finally, if you’re renting a house or flat, it’s best to check with the landlord. We’ve found already that some landlords are more likely to allow smart doorbell installs than smart locks. So before buying you should consider with smart locks than you might initially think.
Here is our ranking of smart locks for 2020:
1. Nest Yale smart lock
In the rich assortment of Nest’s smart home products, the Nest x Yale Lock doesn’t fit in. It looks more like a Yale product than Nest’s. There is no even a Nest logo here, just a Yale one. From the improvement become clear that Yale’s hardware and Nest’s software have collaborated.
The lock is actually two parts, one on either side of the door. The outside is the keypad. If someone tap that Yale logo he can use the one-touch lock feature and a 9-digit keypad that lets to input the code. There is no space for keys, so the opening the door by the traditional method is impossible.
On the inside, the Nest x Yale looks like a large, tall deadbolt. It’s not attractive but it looks fine.The best thing about everyday use with the Nest x Yale Lock is that it never failed. The Nest app has very little crashes and slowdown.
The Nest x Yale Lock is super easy to use. When you get to the door, you can do one of two things: Input your code or pull out the Nest app. You will be able to see the status of your Nest Secure and Nest x Yale Lock and by clicking on the Lock, you’ll be taken to a screen that lets you either lock or unlock the door by holding the big button.
It’s one of the most reliable lock.A downside is that they are missing features like GPS unlocking and integration with the three major smart assistants.
2. Schalge Encode
Following on from the Schlage Connect (Zigbee and Z-Wave versions) and the Schalge Sense (HomeKit version), the Schalge Encode is a Wi-Fi lock, requiring internet connection. It’s an excellent companion to the Ring video doorbell, and will pair with the camera and let lock or unlock the door while talking to a visitor at front door through the Ring app.
However, Schalge hasn’t really improved the design, just put some smarts on to its existing keypad locks. The Encode is a full deadbolt replacement lock, which means you completely take out your old lock and replace it with this. There are two parts -the front facing keypad and the rear housing that contains all the electronics and mechanics. It’s a pretty up front but not a good looking one behind
The most practical feature is Wi-Fi, but you still can use Bluetooth to communicate when you’re nearby or the internet is down. If you want to control it away from home, there’s no need to plug in a separate hub or pay for an additional piece of hardware. Instead, you can control it remotely just using wireless router and smart phone. Schalge Home app has a very detailed step-by-step introduction, and short videos. It is easy to use but a bit too simple especially when it comes to setting up those much touted smart home integrations. The Encode doesn’t work with SmartThings, Wink, HomeKit or any eco-system that isn’t entirely cloud-based.
A great, simple lock that anyone can install and set up – no hub required. The smart home integrations are a little difficult, and clearer instructions are needed. Connecting it to your Ring Video Doorbell is excellent.
3. Schalge Sence
The Schlage Sense offers a deadbolt replacement with a keypad on the outside, and Bluetooth connectivity. You can control the lock from your phone only when you’re within Bluetooth range. Like other Bluetooth-only locks, you can also get a Wi-Fi adapter, which will give your lock Wi-Fi access but you must pay extra.
The Schlage Sense is compatible with Apple’s HomeKit, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and also has its own app that can be used to control the lock and add access numbers with a few taps on your phone.
The design will appeal only to those who like large locks and will appreciate its beautiful brushed metal construction and sleek black highlights. The lock is available in two different finishes: Satin Nickel, and Aged Bronze.
The Schlage lock works very well. You will have to wait for the app to sync with the lock when you first open it, and that can take a few seconds – but once synced will never ran into any issues with the app. We were also able to add multiple access codes quickly and easily, meaning you’ll be able to add and remove users but you have to be in range to do that if you don’t get a Wi-Fi adapter.
4. August Smart Lock Pro + Connect
The Smart Lock Pro is now in its third generation. It looks very similar to the previous model – big, circular and bulky design hasn’t changed a lot.
Тhe newest Smart Lock Pro is easy to install. You just need a Philips head screwdriver and to follow the step-by-step instructions in the August app (on iOS and Android, natch). It will took about 10 to 15 minutes to get the Smart Lock Pro installed. It is basically replacement of the outside deadbolt switch with the Smart Lock Pro, leaving the inside mechanics intact.
There’s also the DoorSense sensor, which need to install on the door frame and an August Connect bridge, which just plugs into a wall outlet which role is to give full control of the lock from everywhere. And thanks to the DoorSense sensor you’ll be able to tell if your door is fully closed or not. If it’s not, you’ll get a notification on your phone telling you that you might want to shut it properly. There’s also an auto-lock. So when you leave the house, the door will automatically lock – only if it is completely closed. Smart Lock Pro is one of the few locks that supports the Big Three: Apple’s HomeKit, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. You can both lock – and unlock – your door with voice commands. It also plays nice with Z-Wave Plus-compatible security systems. August’s smart tech is also versatile and you can create keys for anyone who might need temporary access.
The Smart Lock Pro really is smarter than the average lock. While it’s bulky and ugly and comes at a high cost, that cost is worth it for all those extra features including Toss Alexa, HomeKit and Google Assistant.
5. Yale Assure Lever Lock
This smart lock goes on any standard door that doesn’t have a deadbolt. So, you can add smarts to your basement door, your home office – anywhere without a handle and deadbolt pairing but no sliding doors or doors that use something other than a regular strike plate and handle combination.
It’s a simple, nice-looking lock with a lever instead of a deadbolt cylinder. The interior part is large and quite bulky, to accommodate the 4 AA batteries needed to keep it running. Available in rubbed bronze, satin nickel and polished brass, this lock doesn’t seems like a smart one because on its own it’s not. The Lever lock needs a smart module to do any of the smart features.
There’s also no keyed option, but if the batteries run out on you there are two metal contacts on the front that you can jolt with a 9-volt battery. The lock has two options for the keypad – acrylic push button or touchscreen. Both have backlit numbers, and which one you’ll use comes down to personal preference.
When you starting the installation the best can do is to go straight to the Apple App Store or Google Play store and download the August App. Its video-based instructions are very easy to follow. During installation you can also set up the DoorSense sensor, which is optional but highly recommended: there’s no point remotely locking your door and feeling secure, only to come home and find it wide open with the bolt extended. You also need to install the included August Connect unit (plug it into a nearby outlet and connect it to Wi-Fi) to enable remote access.
There is also a Z-Wave Plus module you can use instead of the August Connect – which makes the lock compatible with Z-Wave smart home systems, including SmartThings and Ring (and its Ring Alarm system). Zigbee, Control4 and Crestron modules are in the works.
This lock lets you turn any regular, non-deadbolt door smart instead of only the front and back doors. While it’s nothing fancy to look at, the Assure has a ton of great use-cases in the home, and just by popping in a smart module it becomes the ideal smart lock for whatever smart home set-up you have. HomeKit, Alexa, Google, Z-Wave – it’s all on offer.
If you find it difficult to choose one or you think that replacement is an impossible task for you, it is best to trust professionals like us.