#10: Review - Smart Locks? August!
Hardware Review

#10: Review - Smart Locks? August!

William Zink

Introduction

After you get into a few integrations setup with your smart home, you might be looking at getting into a smart lock. There are a couple of options on the market but I went with August Lock and here is why...

TL;DR - I review pros and cons of my August lock, my overall review and general thoughts! Stick around for more.

Smart locks

Smart locks are becoming more and more common as the smart home industry gets more market share. One major component of your smart home is being able to get rid of keys! I mean think about it, no more forgetting keys, or wondering at dinner if you locked the door, letting friends in while you are away. Just pull up an app and quickly check  or unlock your doors! Sign me up!

There are quite a few options when it comes to picking the right smart lock. Unfortunately with my current home owner association rules of not being able to change the appearance of my front door my options were extremely limited. For most of you, this limitation won't be an issue and you will be able to look at the keypad options and get an additional feature that I don't have.

Options

August

Ok, don't shoot the messenger but their naming convention is a little weird.

  1. Wi-Fi Smart Lock (4th Generation) - $199.99 - latest as of 1/1/2021
    This lock was released at CES 2020 (January 2020) and has a lot of new features. Uses CR-123 batteries.
  2. Wi-Fi Smart Lock (3rd Generation) - $165.99
    This lock looks slightly different then the other model, but came out roughly the same time. I am not sure if they are going to make a 4th generation of this lock, but just something to keep in mind. Offers a different style if the one above or below are not for you.
  3. Wi-Fi Smart Lock Pro (3rd Generation) - $129.99 on special right now!
    I don't think there is a better lock out there for the money. And this is the one that I will be focusing on in this blog. I purchased this in February of 2017 (almost 4 years ago!) and it's still running strong. The batteries last about 4-6 months depending on usage.

Schlage

  1. BE469ZP - $188.99
    This lock will NOT have a native integration to Home Assistant but supports Z-Wave. Once you get your lock setup with Z-Wave you will be able to setup the lock in Home Assistant. If you have an existing Z-Wave network then this might be a good option for you. Notice that the Schlage app only supports the Wi-Fi models.
  2. Encode Wi-Fi - $211
    This lock also does NOT have a native integration to Home Assistant, it could be coming in the future, but as of now you will need to use their dedicated Schlage app to manage your lock. But this will give you push notification features similar to August. It does support Alexa, but I'm not one to appreciate the voice assistants.
  3. BE365 Camelot - $89.99
    Although this isn't a smart lock per se, it will give you a quick keypad for your lock if that's all you are looking for. This WILL NOT connect to Home Assistant or have any app to check the status.

Sesame

The Sesame smart lock comes in a lot of different colors and for $149.99 this could be another option if you are looking for something more appealing. I guess looks are subjective. Amazon link. This lock supports Google Assistant, Alexa, has an iOS application, and a native Home Assistant integration. Unfortunately the home assistant integration requires the Wi-Fi access point. Although I do not have experience with this lock the reviews seem pretty good overall.

Lock Installation

If you have been following my blog, I do not have possess many Do It Yourself (DIY) skills, but the locks come with fantastic directions to get you through the process.

My August lock took a total of 10 minutes following their guide having never replaced a lock before in my life. The tools required are very minimal. I think I just needed a screw driver to take off the existing lock.

August Lock 'Pro' Review (Generation 3)

After you review the options from above, I chose the August lock. I chose it because it supported multiple protocols (Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth) all with one unit. It also came with a highly rated iOS application that let me customize my notifications. One notification that really sold me is that it will notify me when someone manually opens the lock! This is fantastic for a condo, that way I know when ANYONE else went into my unit! Schlage just wasn't as clear with their marketing and product line as August was. August also allows for 'guests' and you can restrict when it will let them in.

Pros Cons
Device setup is very easy Setup done through proprietary app
Extremely durable product Expensive $$
iOS app is very good Some features like seeing if the is door open only available through app
Battery Life Needing to replace batteries (4) AAA batteries every couple of months
Comes with door (ajar) sensor not able to read this value through Z-wave / Home Assistant integration
Excellent Home Assistant Integration Unit is big and ugly on back of the door
Older generations still supported Not sure end-of life cycle
Z-Wave support Z-Wave support with last update not as stable
Wi-Fi support Generation 3 requires the Connect Hub - Generation 4 does not
If loss of power you are able to still use bluetooth to open your door
Lots of customizable notifications through app
Now offered in black
Automatically lock after a certain amount of time

Issues

This lock has been extremely stable for the past four years, and I don't see any sign of that slowing down. The only issue that I wish it had would be to push me a notification through their app when the battery gets too low. When I initially setup my Home Assistant I was using the Z-Wave integration and the battery sensor was never right. I have since moved to the native Home Assistant integration but it's still not 100% correct. If I open the app it will alert me at about 60% battery to replace immediately, but continue to work pretty well until about 40%.

Switch that determines whether it's below 65% or 40%

The other minor issue I had was when my roommate moved out, I selected that they were an owner of the lock and to get rid of them off the lock entirely I had to completely reset the lock and start from scratch. Again two minor issues, but wanted to let you know what I ran into. Luckily these issues are very minor because the August Warranty is pretty weak at only 1 year.

Pictures

Lock in the distance compared to the size of the handle (I know not best picture)

Conclusion

The newest generation (4th generation) lock is smaller and does not need the Connect Hub accessory for Wi-Fi as it now has Wi-Fi built in. The batteries in the forth generation switched to the CR-123 batteries which aren't as common to have lying around. Both models are a strong recommend for me, just depends whether you want to save a little money and buy the previous generation or go with the latest and greatest and spend the extra money for a sleeker design.

Overall: 10/10

Even though this review is for the third generation with the August Connect Hub, I recommend this lock if anyone is looking at getting into a smart lock. The benefits for this particular lock have always out shined the negatives. Being able to keep the look of your front door, giving people access to unlock your door and smart notifications are all that I need for a lock and it does it with style.

Question

What smart lock do you have? Are there any in this list that you would like me to review?