Smart locks that you can open with your phone are becoming a larger segment of home automation products. And while many of these locks have similar features and aesthetics, the August Smart Lock stands out. It's simple to install, lets you use your existing deadbolt and is compatible with Apple's HomeKit, meaning you can lock your door using your voice. It also comes with several add-ons, such as a wireless keypad, that increase its functionality.
The way August packaged its lock was minimalistic and clean, and every piece included has its own compartment, very similar to the way Apple presents its products. The lock itself looks very modern, and it's available in silver, champagne, dark gray or red.
Image: AugustThe August Smart Lock is very different from any other smart lock in the marketplace today. For starters, hardware is installed on the interior of your door only; there is nothing to install on the exterior.
Image: AugustAnd rather than the long rectangular box I'm used to seeing with the interior of other smart locks, the August is a circle, just more than 3 inches in diameter and only 2 inches thick. The smooth face of the cylinder is plain, except for a small ring of lights that blink red or green to indicate the lock's status.
The August Smart Lock offers add-on components (purchased separately) that augment its features: a wireless keypad ($79), a doorbell cam ($199) that allows you to see and speak to visitors, and the August Connect ($79), which acts as a bridge between the lock and your Wi-Fi network.
The August Smart Lock is easy to install than other smart locks, because the only installation needed is on the interior part of the door. You will continue to use your existing exterior deadbolt, replacing only the thumb turn on the inside. I found that because I was matching this new thumb turn to an existing deadbolt, it took a few tries to get the deadbolt aligned correctly, but the whole process still took only 15 minutes.
There are several mounting plates and color-coded adapters to make it easier to decipher which kit will fit your current deadbolt. Because there is no need to remove the front of your deadbolt, August includes handy painter's tape so that you leave no marks as you secure your lock in place while you detach the thumb turn.
The app installation was just as smooth. Whether you are using an Android or Apple phone, simply go to the store and download the free August Smart Lock app. You will be asked to upload a picture and authenticate your account with both a text and an email code. If you plan to use the smart lock only, you can access the lock using Bluetooth within about 15 feet, depending on the strength of the signal.
The August Smart Lock with Connect is very versatile and can be opened a few different ways. Most traditionally, you can use the key you would normally use to unlock the deadbolt, as only the interior hardware is being replaced.
Second, if you are not using Connect, or if your Wi-Fi is down, you can access the smart lock via Bluetooth, using your smartphone as the key. All you need to do is make sure your Bluetooth is turned on, and allow it to find the device.
The August Smart Lock is easy to install because it doesn't replace the entire existing deadbolt, but it also doesn't add extra security features, unless you purchase the tapered deadbolt separately.
When you pull up the August Smart Lock app on your phone, you'll see a big, red circle on the screen. Just hit the circle, and as long as you are within Bluetooth range, the circle will turn green and the door will unlock.
I experienced a lag time of a couple of seconds between when I pressed the lock on the app and when the door unlocked. If you are in a rush or you don't want to wait at the door when you could just as easily fumble for your keys, this delay could be frustrating.
Currently available only for Apple users, Auto-Unlock will unlock the lock automatically if you walk more than 100 yards away and then return. However, there's no way to adjust this distance.
Everlock, on the other hand, is a feature available to all users. If you choose to enable Everlock, the deadbolt will lock automatically 30 seconds after the door has been opened and closed.
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You can assign guest access to the lock right through your smartphone, as well as schedule time limits for certain "keys." August doesn't limit the number of virtual keys you can give out, so you avoid the hassle of having to delete old codes to make room for new ones.
Many locks either limit the number of codes you can hand out or allow a small number of codes and make the user pay for any additional ones. Unfortunately, unless you also have the August keypad, you (and anyone else you allow to access the lock) must download the app.
As far as hardware goes, your deadbolt won't be any more or less secure than it was prior to the installation of the August Smart Lock. Because you are using the pre-existing exterior hardware and keyhole, that part of your deadbolt stays exactly the same. August offers tapered deadbolts (for an extra price) to make for easier installation on misaligned doors.
Image: AugustHowever, there is no built-in alarm as there is, for instance, on the Schlage Connect. What the deadbolt lacks in security functions, the app almost makes up for. Provided that you also purchased the $79 August Connect, you can grant, change or remove access via the owner account from anywhere using the app. As with other smart lock apps, from the owner account, you can view a history of when and by whom the door was unlocked, and whether it was locked behind them.
Smart Home Capability
The August Smart Lock works with Bluetooth technology, so you can unlock your door with the click of a button on your smartphone, as long as you are in range of the lock.
If you want to connect to the lock remotely, you'll need to link it to a smart home hub of some sort. The lock is HomeKit compatible, so iPhone owners can connect it via Bluetooth to their Apple TVs. Otherwise, you'll need to purchase the August Connect, which acts as a bridge between the lock and your Wi-Fi network. Even if you own an Apple TV, the latter approach may make more sense if your Apple TV isn't within Bluetooth range of the lock.
You can unlock your door with the click of a button on your smartphone, as long as you are in range of the lock.
The Connect is compatible with both Android and Apple devices, and its companion app is intuitive and user-friendly, allowing you to lock and unlock the door, create virtual keys for guests and view a 24/7 activity log of who's been using the lock.
August's lock is one of the few smart locks that currently work with Nest products, so you can program your Nest Learning Thermostat to turn on when you unlock your front door. However, it doesn't work with any other smart home hubs.
The August Smart Lock is easy to install because it doesn't replace the entire existing deadbolt, but it also doesn't add extra security features, unless you purchase the tapered deadbolt separately. As with other smart locks, you'll need to purchase or connect the August lock with a hub of some sort to get remote-access features.
For the money, and the trouble of replacing your existing lock, you might instead consider the Schlage Connect, which includes a built-in keyboard and a burglar-deterring alarm. But as one of the only locks that currently work with both Apple's HomeKit and Google's Nest products, the August has a leg up on the competition.