Smart door locks are among the most popular connected home upgrades, but where do you start on the process of selecting one? We’ve been testing these devices for years in our labs, and below are three of our top recommendations based on extensive, hands-on evaluation and usage. And better yet, some of them are available at special holiday 2020 season deal prices. Be sure to click the “Check Price” links to get the very latest pricing, since they can vary from day to day.
August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
This is the very latest iteration of the August smart lock, and we’ve been testing one in our labs over the past few weeks. The entire smart lock mechanism is contained inside the cylindrical, door knob-like locking module, which is designed to replace the inside portion of your deadbolt. After installation, it can still be rotated by hand like a standard door knob to lock or unlock your door. And, since you retain the key lock on the outside, your physical can can still be used.
If you are turned off by the oversized dimensions of the August Smart Lock Pro, this lock may fit the bill nicely. It’s about 30% smaller than its bigger brother, and has the Wi-Fi radio built in so there is no need for the separate August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge. Out of the box, it supports the August app as well as Apple HomeKit, Apple Watch, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Samsung SmartThings.
Furthermore, it gives you a nice dose of smart home stealth, since you will retain the exterior side of your existing deadbolt and other door hardware. Only you will know the smart lock resides safely inside, unless you elect to share a digital key through the August app with friends and others.
Are there any downsides with this smart lock? Very few that we have discovered. However, if you are considering integrating your smart lock with Z-Wave, you will have to look elsewhere since it’s not supported. Instead, consider the August Smart Lock Pro (see below) since it has an onboard Z-Wave Plus radio and can be integrated with all standard Z-Wave hubs.
August Smart Lock Pro + Connect
Consider this to be the industrial-strength August smart lock. We have tested and used these locks extensively and highly recommend them. The August Smart Lock Pro + Connect is available at a special holiday price, and you would be hard pressed to find a more highly connected and secure lock. These locks are machined from solid metal, and exude quality from the moment they come out of the box.
Like the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock above, the Smart Lock Pro + Connect (the on-wall Wi-Fi bridge) also supports the August app as well as Apple HomeKit, Apple Watch, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Samsung SmartThings. Then it goes beyond by supporting the Z-Wave standard, making them a favorite of many system integrators since the lock can be securely connected with Z-Wave hubs as well as whole-home security panels. Furthermore, they are certified by the Z-Wave Alliance at the S2 level, an industry first.
For much more detail on these locks, see our in-depth content series:
We have also been exhaustively testing and using the Yale line of smart door locks since the first Yale Assure locks arrived several years ago. The latest iteration of this lineage is the Yale Assure Lock SL, which completely replaces your existing deadbolt with a locking mechanism on the inside of your door and a sleek, backlit keypad on the outside. This lock is entirely key-free.
These locks are ideal when you desire to have tap-and-go PIN code access to your home, while also having excellent connectivity to most connected home ecosystems. That connectivity is achieved through the Yale Access Kit (formerly referred to as the Connected by August kit), which consists of the Yale Connect Wi-Fi Bridge (again, the same product as the August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge).
Why the apparent affinity with August, you ask? That’s because Yale and August both have the same parent company, Assa Abloy, and there is significant sharing between their respective technology platforms. That’s good news, since it means many August and Yale smart locks can be controlled from the same app, either the August app or Yale Access app. That also means these Yale locks—when used with with the Yale Access Kit included in this bundle—support Apple HomeKit, Apple Watch, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant out of the box.
Another plus with the Yale locks is a wide choice of door hardware that can be purchased from Yale to perfectly complement the lock finish and decorating style you prefer. These include handsets, levers, paddles, and more to complete the look you are after in the same satin nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, polished brass, or black suede (yes, black suede) finishes the smart lock can be ordered in. This includes the Ridgefield Handleset bundle shown below.
Check Price on the Yale Assure Lock SL with Yale Access Kit and Kinkaid Lever:View Priceon Amazon.com (Commissions earned, see policy).
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC, the publisher of Digitized House | Guide to the Connected Home. When he isn’t writing about smart home technology, sustainability, and high-performance architecture, you’ll find him exploring faraway destinations with his family.