Keeping your home secure at all times is of paramount importance. Home security components such as locks and cameras have undergone huge transformations enhancing their capabilities. Adding sensors, actuators, and connectivity to locks has granted users unprecedented control, management, and ease of use to their home security.
This article aims to provide information to assist you in deciding what smart lock is best for you and inform your purchasing decision. First, an overview of smart locks, their purpose, and their benefits are aimed to give you some grounding knowledge. Following that, the best smart locks on the market will be explored with an overview of the major similarities and differences being shown. These smart locks are:
- August Pro+ Connect
- Schlage Sense
- Yale Assure Lock SL
- Kwikset Kevo
What Is A Smart Lock?
- 1 What Is A Smart Lock?
- 2 Best Smart Locks
- 3 Similarities
- 4 Differences
- 5 Final Word
A smart lock is a lock or lock system that is controlled remotely, without the conventional key. This electromechanical locking system has a built-in wireless connection to that provides the signal to lock and unlock your door. Different smart locks have different approaches to achieving remote control of the lock.
Smart lock systems will typically use either a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for wireless control. Most often the smart locks come with an accompanying IOS or Android app which is the main user interface. The app acts as a dashboard for the monitoring, controlling and maintenance of settings of the lock. The app is a control point for distributing access among friends and family, who are also able to have their own version of the app.
When it comes to the actual unlocking, each smart lock may use slightly different methods. The main methods used are either a passcode, a virtual key or a fingerprint scan. These may be done in the app or use hardware on the lock itself.
Best Smart Locks
The smart lock market is comprised of both older well-established security appliance firms, as well as a few more recent tech startups. Older brands such as Schlage, Yale, and Kwikset have successfully adapted to the new technologies, whilst recent startups such as August have swept in and cemented itself as a leading name in the market. Each model has its own approach to building a reliable, secure and well designed smart lock, although there are some clear similarities and differences that are visible.
August Smart Lock Pro+ Connect
Founded in 2012, August represents the classic tech startup from San Francisco, spurring impressive innovation in existing technology. August is a home automation firm with a specific focus on smart locks and video doorbell cameras. They have sold over one million smart lock and cameras making them one of the most popular options in the market.
The August Smart Lock Pro+ Connect, the latest model, is installed by simply attaching to your existing deadbolts. Users can, therefore, use their existing keys to ensure a hard backup in case of reliability issues. An accompanying August Home iOS and Android app is the user interface and control panel for the lock, mediated by a Wi-Fi connection.
August is a leading choice of smart lock thanks to being especially digitally-advanced in its use of digital keys that owners can send to friends. There are ongoing notified digital alerts for every change in their locking mechanism, whether it is opened by a virtual and real key.
A few other neat features and functions include:
- Autolocking behind you
- 10-minute installation
- DoorSense provides update status
- Voice control – Alexa, Siri & Google Assistant
- Z-Wave compatibility
Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt
Schlage is a relatively old and established name in the security industry, founded in 1920. An exclusive focus on locks has cemented its name as one of the best known and reliable options in the market. Despite being an older firm with a history of relatively traditional values, it has been able to adapt and keep up with innovation in the industry and creating a smart lock range.
The Schlage Sense is one of the most technological enhanced locks they offer. Much like the August Pro+ Connect, installation takes just minutes. A resistive touchscreen with a matte finish to prevent fingerprint smudging ensures that outsides can't see evidence of the passcode left. The lock has a motorized bolt which automatically locks after a short period in order to resist a delayed entry by an intruder.
Schlage has ensured the Sense has a highly secure grade 1 lock build that can last years and survive a hammer attack. There is an inbuilt alarm technology to deter users who attempt a forced entry. A smartphone app available on IOS and Android is a control hub for assigning up to 30 access codes to friends and family so you can track who has used the lock and when.
In addition to assigning access codes, the user may also schedule when they are valid in order to limit access to certain times. The Schlage Sense works through either Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or with voice control through Siri. In March 2019, Schlage is also releasing a newer Encode model which expands the features and limits of the Sense.
Yale Assure Lock SL
Yale is another well-established name that incites a degree of trust. Founded all the way back in 1868, these specialists in door locks, padlocks, alarms, and safes, have successfully transitioned into the Internet of Things with their own smart devices.
The Yale Assure Lock SL is the most complete smart lock from Yale which utilizes a similar touchpad approach as used by the Schlage Sense. Using the Yale Secure app, you can set up to 250 unique codes! It also provides the basis for :
- Operating the lock
- Monitoring lock status
- Live notifications
This smart lock is the slimmest touchscreen deadbolt currently on the market, making it more appealing to those users who want the least noticeable amount of bulk on their door. Installation is simple and done within minutes by simply screwing the Assure Lock into your door.
The features of Yales finest smart lock are comprehensive and ensure that the lock is secure and reliable. An automatically locking system covers your back in the event you forget to manually lock it again. There is a 9V terminal for emergency charging in the event of dead batteries.
Yale was set on making the Assure Lock widely compatible with a range of smart home systems and protocols. It exclusively uses the Z-Wave protocol and therefore requires smart hubs such as Wink Hub 2 and Samsung SmartThings.
Kwikset Kevo Contemporary Lock
Finally, we have Kwikset which has been around for many years with an exclusive focus on locks. The Kwikset Kevo Contemporary is their most advanced smart lock and features a comparatively modern design to their older locks. Like the Schlage and Yale models, the Kwikset Kevo comes with a deadbolt to replace your existing one.
Bluetooth technology provides the basis for touch-to-open unlocking, the easiest method of operating the lock. When you're in your home, Kevo can tell and correspondingly lock the door to keep you safe.
As with every other smart lock overviewed so far, Kevo has a dedicated app which is the control panel for managing the lock. There are many functions that come along with the app which include:
- 25 eKeys for friends and family
- Anytime, Schedule or Guest eKey settings
- View history of lock/unlock events
- Live notifications
Kwikset works hard to maximize the security of the hardware and software of the Kevo. This involves PKI encryption and an ANSI Grade 2 build.
All of these smart locks use deadbolts as the locking mechanism. Their addition is complementary to a traditional lock and is an enhancing technology.
All of the smart locks use wireless protocol for connecting the smartphone app and the corresponding data to the lock. Whether it is to monitor the current status or keep track of guest keys, a wireless connection of one kind or another as defined by the smart lock is essential for its smooth operating. Wireless protocols are also the basis for remote control of the lock. Such remote control can be activated to let users in when there is an emergency.
Each of the four models overviewed above come with a free accompanying app available on iOS and Android. This is mandatory in setting up the smart locks and getting the most features possible. The apps for each of the models are:
- August Home
- Schlage Sense
- Yale Assure
- Kevo App
Each of the locks, when remotely operated, turns a motor or spring mechanism to unlock or lock the deadbolt. Even when the locking mechanism is spring operated, the actuation of the spring is through an electrical trigger. Electric supply is necessary to take advantage of all the locks discussed. Whether to connect to the wireless signals or to actually move the deadbolt remotely.
Each smart lock has a different style. Given that smart locks are highly visible and noticeable, it is important to consider this when deciding on which model to purchase. The most effective way to compare these is look at product images side by side, as well as the dimensions.
One of the most prominent differences is the presence or a keypad, which the Yale Assure and Schlage Sense have.
The Schlage Sense has is available in a traditional Camelot style or a relatively modern Century style. Color options Satin Nickel, Aged Bronze, and Matte Black.
The Yale Assure SL is the most compact smart-lock out the lot, sticking out by just one inch. The three color options available are Oil-Rubbed Bronze, Polished Brass, and Satin Nickel.
The August Pro+ Connect is available in Silver and Dark Gray has a minimal round look which causes little offense. There is a secondary small white piece which plugs directly into a wall outlet.
The Kwikset Kevo is the most substantial and thick lock, available in Satin Nickel, Iron Black, Polished Chrome and Venetian Bronze.
Each device has their own way to control the deadbolt in your lock. There are two main approaches to making the deadbolt automated with the locks. This is to either use the existing deadbolt or replace it with one that is part of the smart lock. Deadbolts are a crucial piece of the smart lock that holds responsibility for its security. August locks find compatible deadbolt manufacturers, whereas all others use their own deadbolts.
The August Pro+ connect is therefore limited to the quality and functionality of the deadbolt installed. If the door is jammed or one needs to pull or push the door to open, August Locks have a rough time operating properly. Deadbolt travel is another factor as the cavity is not sufficient for complete deadbolt travel, and in such cases, the actuating motor rapidly heats up and damages the lock. Of late, the company has offered universal mounting plate to make it compatible with any deadbolt, but this does not change the strength of the existing deadbolt. If you need to upgrade your deadbolt anyway, one of the different smart locks may be a better option.
With each new model, Kwikset Kevo lock declares the improvements they have made to the deadbolt. This assurance satisfies the user that even when all goes wrong, the deadbolt will stand. It also highlights the importance of the deadbolts and how they are consistently being improved. This may make it more worthwhile to go with this model or one of the other deadbolt replacement smart locks.
Yale Assure impresses with its lack of bulk, but this often results in more frequent issues with the deadlock automation. The locking device is robust, though often falters in digital actuation, it locks soundly and fast.
Whilst all of the locks have the option to control some of their functions with voice control, the compatibility of the virtual assistants is varied. Here is a quick list to show you which ones they are compatible with:
- August Pro+ Connect: Siri, Alexa, Google Home
- Schlage Sense: Siri, Alexa
- Yale Assure: Siri, Alexa
- Kwikset Kevo: Alexa
Each lock uses a different form of connectivity for both interacting with the data in the smartphone app, as well as the mechanisms that open the door.
The final unlocking of Kwikset Kevo is through the touch of a hand. A Bluetooth connection is used to identify when the user is approaching the door and prepare the Touch-To-Open feature. To generate keys and send them to friends, the lock uses Wi-Fi in place of the touch. Once inside it automatically locks the door behind you.
August uses Wi-Fi for the triggering of the door lock as well as the monitoring of the door. August is, in fact, much ahead of others in providing digital features accessible. remotely through Wi-Fi They offer lock, unlock as well as awareness alarm, extending access, delayed lock, visual monitoring, as well as other features.
Schlage sense lock pairs the lock with a smartphone through Bluetooth. The user can also enable Wi-Fi access to the lock by installing the Schlage sense adapter in their home, making the lock remotely accessible. To get this feature, the user just has to install the Schlage Sense app.
Yale Assure SL uses Z-Wave to as its exclusive connectivity method. This means you must have a Z-Wave hub like Wink 2 or Samsung SmartThings in order to be able to operate the lock.
August is the easiest one to install as it just attaches to the existing deadbolt with a universal mounting plate.
Kwikset Kevo, Schlage Sense, and Yale Assure SL all require a bit more effort, thought and some expertise as the deadbolt needs to be replaced.
Locks that use battery-operated Wi-Fi, consume the most power. The batteries drain in a period of three-four months. It is more ideal to have the smart lock connected to power mains as to avoid a smart lock that is out of power.
The battery of August lock drains relatively fast compared to the others. You need to replace them almost every quarter.
Yale has a 9V battery back up which prevents a scenario where the user is completely locked out.
Schlage has Wi-Fi options with its lock for the app but they are connected to the main power.
Kwikset Kevo exclusively uses Bluetooth with the lock and so runs a long time without any problems.
Different situations or brand loyalties prevail to determine which is the best smart lock is the best for you. If your deadbolt needs updating then avoiding August may reduce the cost of the lock. Another major factor is the design, which is very much subjective. It also includes the style of the lock as some models have keypads whilst some don't.
We hope you now have the information you need to make the right purchase for you.
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