2016 appears to the be year that smart home automation takes over, with smart door locks, smart thermostats, and almost any household feature you can think of gaining “intelligence” to make your home “smart”, allowing you to control any number of home automation features with the touch of a button via your smart phone or tablet.
Don’t get us wrong, there’s no substitute for quality when it comes to an all-mechanical lock, but some of these new smart locks are definitely worth a look.
Enter the August Smart Lock, which is actually a deadbolt accessory that gives your home added smart functionality. Off the top, you should know that this is NOT actually a lock.
The August Smart Lock – What Does It Do?
As part of this next generation of smart home automation products, the August Smart Lock is a sleek, slightly high-tech, and simple device. Although not a lock itself, it helps to make your non-smart lock a smart one.
Essentially, the August Smart Lock is a blue-tooth enabled locking system which hooks up to your current deadbolt, and allows you to use your smart phone to lock and unlock the door from within a certain range. More on that in a bit.
Another great feature of this lock is that if you are approaching the door with your phone, the phone communicates with the lock via a “presence sensor” and automatically unlocks your door for you. Pretty smart, right? Let’s take a closer look.
Out Of The Box
August has put together a very aesthetically-pleasing package here with their August Smart Lock. From the looks of things, when you open up the box for the first time, you get a sleeve with a guide to getting started, as well some more documentation that comes standard with most products.
You also get three individual metal mounting plates, which will attach your August Smart Lock to your current deadbolt system.
Relatively Quick Install
No need to replace deadbolts – this lock is basically an add-on, which makes it somewhat different from other keyless deadbolts in that it only involves changing things on the inside of your door.
As a result of these mounting plates taking up the bulk of installation time, there isn’t a whole lot you need to do.
We have found that the installation is fairly quick and painless. Even if you haven’t done any sort of “smart” technology installations in your home, we don’t think you should have a problem here.
The next thing you get out of the box are three different-colored plastic adapters, which are meant to give you the flexibility to attach the August Smart Lock to any deadbolt brand you might already have.
You should definitely consult with the August Smart Lock compatability chart first to make sure this device will work with your current set up.
August Smart Lock Compatibility Chart
Color Selection & Design
The lock itself is a large puck-shaped device that is more substantial than you might think by seeing a picture of it. Its definitely heavy duty and it comes in a variety of colors to suit the color scheme of your home, so choose your color of lock wisely!
It has some nice markings on it such as small grooves for gripping, but overall its fairly conservative looking, unless you get a really bold color.
Popping the lid off of the lock, you see a neat little compartment where your four AA batteries sit. Batteries are meant to last up to a year with this smart lock, as they are powered by Bluetooth which doesn’t sap their energy too quickly.
Style is a fairly subjective thing, but we really do like the design of the August Smart Lock. Its simple, and is very much utilitarian for a digital device. The nice part of the design for us is when you hear some of the little sound effects it makes upon locking or unlocking, and the lights that flash as well.
This is really where the design on the lock shines, as you get a pleasing circular pattern of lights and some friendly sounds that really suit the character of this lock. On its own it may not seem to glamorous, but once you start using it the personality of the lock becomes clear.
Flexible Guest Access
One of the cool features of this smart lock is its guest access capabilities via the app. Once your August Smart Lock is up and running, its easy to provide friends and family with different types of access for a certain period of time, which will then expire when you want it to.
Of course, whoever wants access will need to register with the app and download it, meaning that your handyman probably isn’t going to be using this feature as they would have to register as well. Its more for friends and family, presumably.
For added security, guests have limited admin access in that they can’t do anything like invite other guests or change any settings. This seems appropriate.
Because Bluetooth isn’t hooked up to wifi or your electricity, if your power goes out, your August Smart Lock stays on, which is handy.
On the downside, you can’t unlock your door from “anywhere in the world” as with some locks, you need to be within about 60 feet of the lock. It is at this point that we run into one of the major flaws of the device, due to Bluetooth’s limited range. This is a problem, but August already has a solution which is…
August recently announced their “August Connect” adapter (check out the latest deal on Amazon), which will allow further integration with different home automation platforms such as Nest, Samsung, Logitech Harmony, and SmartThings.
August has a feature called “Everlock” which allows you to set how long it will wait before it automatically locks your door again for you. This will allow you to perform certain tasks while the door stays unlocked, and then afterwards, securely lock itself.
Many other smart locks offer something like this, but we find that August’s system is one of the easiest to understand and execute.
In addition, Everlock works regardless of how you unlocked your door, which is to say you can’t confuse “Everlock”. It will always relock your door no matter what after a certain time has passed which you have set.
This feature is great for when you are returning home and maybe are carrying something. The August Smart Lock basically senses your approach (via the phone you’re carrying) and unlocks the door for you, meaning no fumbling with keys to unlock the door while you’re carrying stuff.
As we mentioned about what you get here out of the box, there isn’t a whole lot included in this package from August. And that’s a good thing, because that means there isn’t a whole lot to install. Here we can break the process down for you, and hopefully this is something you can have completed in under 10 minutes barring any interruptions.
Once you refer to the instruction book or website to see which adapters you’ll be using, you are ready to get started!
- On the front of your door where the lock is, put a piece of tape over the lock so that its taped to the door – this will prevent the lock falling out when you’re working on it from inside
- Grab a screwdriver to remove the screws from the interior part of your deadbolt – often they are located on either side of the thumb latch
- Now your deadbolt is exposed and you’re ready to mount your August Smart Lock
- Identify the correct mounting plate for your lock and thread the screws through
- If everything looks good so far and things are lining up, feel free to screw the mounting plate onto your deadbolt lock
- This is where the adapter comes in – just by looking at the lock, you can quickly see which one matches your lock and you can then attach it (with the small nub facing up)
- Now for the lock itself – take the lock and fan out the wings on the inside of the lock (these are actually clamp)
- Now you can move the adapter over to the August Smart Lock itself – putting it on the door first was just to see if the adapter fits, but ultimately that adapter should end up on the Smart Lock
- Attach the August Smart Lock to the interior side of your door
- Open the lid of the lock to get to the battery compartment, where your four AA batteries are sitting
- Pull away the plastic tab on the battery, and you should see a green light
Here’s a relatively short video which goes through the installation process, if you need a visual aid here:
Because the August Smart Lock is so easy to install, and really just replaces the thumb latch on the inside of your door, its simple enough to take it off and use it on any other deadbolt in the house.
As simple as some smart deadbolts to install, they really don’t come close to how easy it is to put this on any door in the house in just a few minutes. In that sense, it really feels almost like a portable device, although technically you’re probably going to be leaving it on whatever door you first decide to use it on for quite a while.
Another thing we like about the August Smart Lock is that you can just use the same keys you’ve always used. There’s no need to re-key since this lock simply attaches to the inside of your door.
- Go to the app store and get the August Smart Lock app (creating an account is needed if you don’t have one)
- Authentication has a two-step process, sending you two separate pass codes – one by text, and one via email
- The app will scan for any locks in range, and then instruct you to lock, and then unlock the door by hand – this will set the positions which August will then remember when locking and unlocking your door
- Done! Now you can unlock or lock your door using your smart phone
No Added Deterrent To Bad Guys
One thing this smart lock does not do is act as any kind of new deterrent to intruders or unwanted guests. The intimidation factor is left to the deadbolt you already have prior to getting the August Smart Lock, whether is a Schlage, Kwikset, or Yale deadbolt.
Some people buy deadbolts with the idea that if someone were to be staking out your house, they might see a Schlage lock on the front and be deterred, whereas this lock accessory is more focused on making your home essentially more convenient, plus, its located inside so no one will see it from the outside.
Works With Some (But Not All) Deadbolts
The August Smart Lock is compatible with single-cylinder deadbolts, but not: Integrated Lock & Handle, Mortise, or Rim Cylinder.
Mr. Locksmith Video
In the above video, Mr. Locksmith gives the August Smart Lock a resounding “no thanks!” The reason? If you watched the video, you can see that he thinks its overpriced, and doesn’t work properly. While he does raise some good points about the device, we think that he didn’t really give the lock a fair shake.
Maybe he was having a bad day. For starters, it looks like he was using some batteries that were running out of charge, resulting in poor performance. In any case, you should look over the video for yourself and decide if you agree with him.
For us, we think the August Smart Lock is a decent product. If used correctly, we think it can add more than just convenience to your home – it can also add security when paired the August Connect.
There are electronic locks on the market currently that you should look at, because they may make you think twice about purchasing the August Smart Lock, which is a bit pricey, although that will require a full installation of those locks. In the end, its obviously up to you, the consumer, to decide whether or not this is product that will add something to your home.
Our rating for the August Smart Lock is 3.5 STARS