August Smart Lock Pro Review: A Top Pick

At my house, setting up any new smart-home gadget involves an extra installation step: Convincing my less techie family members to use it. With the $249 August Smart Lock Pro, that was easy. First of all, you don't have to replace your keys, so you can lock and unlock the door just like you always did.

However, after about a week of watching me use the August's auto-lock and auto-unlock features and Siri integration, my husband put the August app on his own phone and joined me in the future. Having a lock that unlocks itself as you approach and locks itself again if you forget is just too convenient to pass up.

Installation

August includes everything needed to install the Smart Lock Pro, right down to the piece of masking tape you'll need to keep the front half of your existing deadbolt from falling down when you remove the back half. The Smart Lock Pro is only compatible with deadbolts that are separate from the doorknob, called a single-cylinder deadbolt. (Mortise, rim cylinder and interconnected locks aren't supported — August has full compatibility info.)

The previous version of the Smart Lock included multiple adapter plates, and you had to figure out which one worked best for your deadbolt's shape. But this new version includes a single universal adapter plate, which simplifies the process a lot.

All you'll do is tape the front half of your deadbolt to the door, then unscrew the back half. You'll use the same screws to attach the adapter plate, and add one more piece to extend the part of your deadbolt the lock's built-in motor needs to turn. Finally, you'll raise up two arms on the sides of the Smart Lock Pro unit, fit the unit over the adapter plate and extender, and snap the unit's arms back down to firmly grab the adapter plate, resting flush against the door.

Once the Smart Lock Pro unit is installed, you'll just insert the four included AA batteries and fire up the app to connect the device to your Wi-Fi network. The Smart Lock Pro is round and pretty bulky, at 3.4 inches across, and extends from the door about 2.5 inches. A rotating piece around the outside lets you manually lock and unlock the deadbolt — just grab and twist — and a raised bar on the rotating piece even gives you a visual clue as to whether the deadbolt is locked.

Accessories

August also includes an optional DoorSense module. This is a sensor you'll stick  on the door frame near the lock, and then after you calibrate it, the distance between the sensor and the lock can tell the app if you've left the door open. My son still needs to be reminded to close the door after him, so it was nice to get a ping on my iPhone or Apple Watch when the door was left open for a set amount of time, which can be as little as 1 minute.

The Smart Lock Pro ships alone for $199, or for $249 with the Connect module (which is $79 if purchased separately, and is pictured above). The Smart Lock Pro uses Bluetooth, and the Connect module acts as a bridge between the lock and your Wi-Fi network. That way, you can see the status of your lock, lock it and unlock it remotely, from anywhere. However, if you have a fourth-gen Apple TV within Bluetooth range of your Smart Lock Pro, and you have the lock connected to HomeKit, the Apple TV will also act as that bridge

Still, the Connect module is seamless — just plug it into a power outlet and set it up in the August app — and will allow any Android users in your house to get remote access to the lock from their phones as well, since HomeKit only works with iOS devices.

Everything in the package is sturdy and well-made. The metal lock even has a nice texture on the part you grab and rotate to engage the lock manually. It's worth noting that this lock has no built-in alarm feature, which its competitor the KwikSet SmartCode 916 does, but the Smart Lock Pro is also easier to install and doesn't require a new set of keys.

App design and features

August's cleanly designed app is one of the reasons the company's Doorbell Cam Pro is our favorite video doorbell, and the same app controls the Smart Lock Pro. In fact, the app lets you link the devices, so when you get a notification that someone's at the door, you can tap a button to unlock the door for them. Unlocking takes a couple of seconds, but seemed fast enough to me, and took less time than it would for me to get off the couch and unlock the door.

While the screen that controls the lock is beyond simple — a huge circular button that's red when the door is locked and green when it's open — the Guest List screen and Settings are where the magic happens.

The app lets you link the devices so that when you get a notification that someone's at the door, you can tap a button to unlock the door for them.

In the Guest List screen, you can invite other users. They'll receive a text or email with instructions to install the August app and set up an account. Then they can use the app on their phone to unlock your door.

There are two kinds of guests: Owners are able to lock and unlock the door, plus invite other users, set up auto-unlock for themselves, change the other settings, see the activity feed and control the lock remotely. Guests, on the other hand, can only unlock and lock the door, and you can restrict their access by time, either temporarily or recurring.

Deep Settings Options

Besides little things like changing the lock's name, or disabling its locking and unlocking sounds, and restoring it to factory condition, here's what you'll find in the settings.

  • Smart alerts: Want an alert when a certain person locks or unlocks the door, or when it's left ajar? Smart alerts let you set that up.
  • Auto-Lock: You can set the door to lock itself instantly as soon as it's closed (assuming you're using the DoorSense sensor), or after a set number of minutes. Auto-Lock can also re-lock your door if you unlocked it but didn't open it for whatever reason.
  • Auto-Unlock: This feature unlocks the door for you, and it's quite cleverly designed. When you leave your house (with your phone, of course) and get a couple hundred yards away, your lock will go into Away mode, which just means it's watching for you to return. Once you're back in Bluetooth range of your lock, it unlocks for you, and switches back to Home mode until you leave again. This feature works great, but I had to extend the time for Auto-Lock to wait until it re-locks the door from 1 to 3 minutes, because sometimes the door would auto-unlock when I pulled into the driveway, but then re-lock by the time I got all the way to the door.
  • Door Ajar Timing: If you're using the DoorSense button, you can adjust the timing before you get a door-ajar notification.
  • HomeKit Settings: This lets you connect the lock to Apple HomeKit and specify which HomeKit home and room it's assigned to.
  • Z-Wave Settings: This lets you connect the lock to a Z-Wave hub, using the Z-Wave Pro S2 protocol.
  • Calibrate Lock: If your lock isn't turning the deadbolt all the way, you can recalibrate it here, but you shouldn't need to. My lock worked flawlessly from the initial calibration process.

The August Ecosystem

As we mentioned earlier, Smart Lock Pro pairs seamlessly with the $199 Doorbell Cam Pro, which lets you unlock the door from the doorbell's live-video view.

The $79 August Smart Keypad lets you set a code to let yourself in. It connects to the lock via Bluetooth, and both the Smart Keypad and the Smart Lock Pro run on batteries, which means the keypad can send a signal to the lock even if the power is out and your Wi-Fi network is down.

The August app also lets you set up and revoke access codes for the Smart Keypad, so other people can let themselves in with the keypad, instead of having to set up the August app on their own smartphones. These access codes can be temporary (I used this to let my friend drop something off inside the house while I was out.), recurring (a scheduled window for your dog walker, for example), or permanent. It's very handy, especially if you have kids or houseguests.

The Keypad even has a One-Touch Lock feature that I found incredibly convenient, letting me lock the door with a single press of the keypad's Enter button. Although I eventually went with the lock's own Auto-Lock feature instead.

Smart Home Integration

The Smart Lock Pro works with Apple's HomeKit, which means you can add the lock to Apple's Home app and control it there, or in the iOS Control Center. But the best part is, you can also ask Siri if the door is locked, and have Siri lock or unlock the door for you. Apple's Home app also lets you set up scenes that group multiple devices together — your "good night" scene, for example, could shut off lights, lower the thermostat and make sure the August Smart Lock Pro is locked.

Of these abilities, Siri control is the most convenient. I loved being able to double-tap an AirPod while strolling up to the house, tell Siri, "Unlock the door," and hear the deadbolt unlatch with a cheerful tone just as I reached for the doorknob. The only drawback was that I started getting notifications from both the Home app and the August app. It would be great if the Home app let you disable notifications for individual HomeKit devices, but it doesn't, so I wound up turning off its notifications entirely.

Alexa fans will appreciate the Smart Lock Pro's integrations with Amazon's platform. When you enable the August skill, you can ask Alexa to lock and unlock the door, or just get the status. The phrasing required is a lot more specific than Siri: "Alexa, ask August to lock the door," and "Alexa, ask August to check the door," both work as soon as you link your Alexa and August accounts, which gives Alexa permission to control your lock.

The best part is you can also ask Siri if the door is locked, and have Siri lock or unlock the door for you.

If you want Alexa to be able to unlock the door, too, you have to set a PIN code when linking the Alexa and August accounts. That way, someone standing outside your door couldn't just yell for Alexa to let them in. If you give Alexa the wrong PIN code three times in a row, you'll have to reset the PIN code before Alexa will be able to unlock the door.

Confusingly, your August lock can be covered by the more generic Smart Home skill as well. That way, you can just say, "Alexa, lock the door," or "Alexa, check the door," without having to "ask August to" do it. But the Smart Home skill can't unlock the door at all; you need the custom August skill and a PIN for that.

Google Assistant (including the Google Home speaker) can also lock and check the Smart Lock Pro, but it can't unlock it just yet. First, you say, "OK Google, talk to August," which will enable the August action and prompt you to link your Google and August accounts. Then you'll be able to check or lock the door using your voice, either with a Google Home speaker, the Google Assistant app, or other Google Assistant-enabled device.

If you use a Z-Wave hub to automate your home, the Smart Lock Pro supports Z-Wave Plus with the S2 security protocol, but we didn't test that as part of this review. August even has an IFTTT channel, which lets you set up all kinds of integrations. You can have your Hue lights turn on when you unlock the door, for example, or arm your iSmartAlarm system when you lock up.

Connect your Nest thermostat, and you can program it to go into Away mode when you leave the house and lock the door.

In the August app's hamburger menu, you'll also find an August Access screen that describes other integrations. Connect your Nest thermostat, for example, and you can view your home's temperature inside the August app, and program the thermostat to go into Away mode when you leave the house and lock the door. You can view Nest Cam videos inside the August app too. Other integrations include Airbnb and HomeAway (provide keyless entry to your guests), Logitech Pop (unlock the door with a press of the Pop button), and Wink and Xfinity Home (control your lock from those apps).

Bottom line

The August Smart Lock Pro performs its tasks well, and its settings are so flexible that it's easy to get it to do just what you want. Additionally, August's other products (such as the keypad and doorbell cam) further add to the functionality of the lock, and its deep integration with other smart-home systems (such as Alexa, Google, and Siri) make it the most-connected of all the smart locks we've tested. Although we wish it had a built-in alarm, August otherwise has covered all the bases, making this smart lock our top pick.

Credit: August

Create a new thread in the Off-Topic / General Discussion forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
No comments yet
Comment from the forums
    Your comment