Just about everything in your home, from your thermostat to your refrigerator to your coffee table, has received the smart home treatment. While many smart home gadgets are designed for convenience, others are designed with security in mind.
Nothing more than smart locks, which can often be easily locked or unlocked via an app and alert homeowners if something goes wrong. They are also known to be convenient for vacation rental hosts as a way of letting people enter homes from a distance.
This review is about such a smart lock that you install on your front door, as well as another type that secures a cabinet inside your home. Read on to find out if these two very different smart locks are worth it.
August Smart Lock Wi-Fi
If you’re not familiar with August, it’s a company that was founded in 2012 in San Francisco and released its first smart lock in May of the following year. In 2017, it was acquired by the Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy AB.
Still operating under its original name, last year the company released the fourth generation of its August Wi-Fi Smart Lock – a lock that replaces part of an existing deadbolt. This is August’s first lock with built-in Wi-Fi (no hub required) while being considerably smaller than previous generations. Here is a list of key specs:
- Installation in 10 minutes
- Control the lock from anywhere via a phone app
- Compatible with voice assistants including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
- DoorSense lets you know if the door is open, closed, locked or unlocked
- Optional automatic locking and unlocking capabilities
- Grant permanent, scheduled or temporary access to others
- Priced at $ 229.99 (optional August smart keyboard costs $ 59.99)
Installation of the lock was as easy as described. This involved downloading the August smartphone app and going through the setup (scan the QR code or enter the serial number) and installation instructions, which as you can see below involved securing the side deadbolt key and remove the button side.
The physical installation took about 15 minutes, and the rest of the time was to connect the smart lock to Wi-Fi and calibrate the DoorSense sensor which can detect if the door is left ajar. Once everything is set, you can configure several custom settings and notifications in the app, such as:
- Smart alerts – when the door is locked / unlocked manually or by a certain user and at certain times of the day
- Access verified via biometrics and access codes (ideal for visitors and in vacation rental scenarios)
- Auto-lock (after a certain time) and Auto-unlock (unlocks the door when you get home)
Is this August lock worth it?
The August Wi-Fi smart lock was simple to install and use. Just turn the physical lock one way to lock and the other to unlock. Customizing settings and alerts was just as easy thanks to an intuitive app. Enabling the August skill in the Alexa app also allows me to lock and unlock it using my voice.
Overall, I had a lot fewer issues with this one compared to my existing Schlage Sense lock.
At $ 229.99, it’s a bit more expensive than similar locks, some of which require the purchase of an optional hub or adapter for Wi-Fi connectivity. It’s also cheaper than a few. other options from brands like Schlage and Kwikset, but this one doesn’t require replacing your existing deadbolt – not all anyway.
Like all other smart locks, this one is battery powered. But this one can still be locked and unlocked with a good old fashioned key if the battery dies. It does come with a battery, but it’s a good idea to keep a few extra CR123 batteries on hand.
And keep in mind that the optional keyboard costs an additional $ 59.99 if you want that added convenience and the ability to create unique codes through the app.
Bottom line: it’s a smart lock worthy of a front door to your home.
Yale smart cabinet lock
Then there’s Yale Home, which is August’s sister company. Yale also manufactures several locks, including a smart cabinet lock.
It is intended to lock a medicine cabinet, liquor cabinet or any other that you want to secure for privacy or security reasons. It also works on most types of drawers.
Here are some other highlights:
- Also installs in minutes
- Can be locked / unlocked automatically or manually via the Yale Access app
- Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
- Remote access requires Yale Connect Wi-Fi Bridge (included in the box)
- Glow-in-the-dark emergency escape button
- Priced at $ 79.99 (Bluetooth only; no Wi-Fi) or $ 129.99 with the included Wi-Fi hub
This was even easier to set up than the August lock. Like the last one, it starts with downloading the Yale app and setting up the lock by scanning a QR code or typing in the serial number. And if you’ve ever set up an August lock, you can log in using these credentials because they’re all part of the same business family.
After much thought, I decided to add the lock to an office cabinet. Pick the location, then determine which station to use – long or short – based on the distance between the cabinet door and the actual lock.
Ten minutes later, after using the supplied adhesive strips, this lock was installed.
This particular Yale lock also comes with a Wi-Fi hub, which I then set up, again by scanning a QR code. Just make sure you plug the hub into an outlet that’s not too far from the smart lock.
Then you can pair it with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, similar to August lock.
Is this Yale cabinet lock worth it?
The thing to consider here is that this is not a lock that will prevent a person from entering a cabinet or drawer if they really want to get in; it is mostly plastic. Pull hard enough and one side will come off, probably the adhesive.
This lock is meant to deter, and of course, to let you know if and when it is opened and closed.
For this role, the Yale smart cabinet lock does the job very well and could add peace of mind in securing a medicine or alcohol cabinet, especially if you have children.
Before choosing a smart lock, do your research to find the one that best suits your needs and situation. And remember, if you’re looking for a complete home security system that includes a smart lock, check out our sponsor, SimpliSafe.
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