- Easy to setup and install
- Relatively affordable
- Good mobile app
- Auto-lock/-unlock feature
- Attractive design
- Requires August Connect or August Video Doorbell for Wi-Fi connectively (i.e. out of the box it just uses Bluetooth)
- No Siri or Apple HomeKit support
- No Z-Wave or ZigBee support
- Minor bugs here and there
The August Smart Lock 3rd Generation is a solid lock, especially for the price. It is, however, somewhat limited without the August Connect Bridge or August Doorbell, which provide Wi-Fi connectivity, access to Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT.
The Smart Lock 3rd Generation is August’s entry-level smart lock, priced at $149 [check price on Amazon]. There’s also the Smart Lock Pro 3rd Generation, which is $229 [check price on Amazon], but we’ll compare them directly later in this post. So what can you expect from the August Smart Lock?
August Smart Lock Review – Setup & Design
Rather than replacing your existing deadbolt, the August Smart Lock (and all other August locks) replace only in the hardware on the inside of our house—from the outside, no one can tell you have a smart lock. You will still use your existing keys. Installation is very simple, as long as you have a single cylinder deadbolt (not compatible with others). Installing and setting up the locks takes about 10 minutes and requires only a screwdriver.
Once the lock is in place, it has the thumb turn like your traditional deadbolt, but the unit is much larger since it houses electronics, batteries, and connection equipment. The total size of the lock is ~5 inches tall. It’s big, but not ugly. It actually looks quite nice, even high tech and it comes in silver and dark grey. The lock is powered off four AA batteries and August says the battery life will be anywhere from 3-6 months. At the time of this review, we’ve been using the lock for a month or so. No issues whatsoever with the battery life. The lock will also tell you when the batteries need to be replaced.
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Features of the August Smart Lock 3rd Generation
Out of the box, this is a Bluetooth smart lock. It does not have Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, or Zigbee built in and therefore you can only control and check up on the lock when you’re within Bluetooth range of it (i.e. 30 to 40 feet). As such, you’re fairly limited with what you can do with the lock since you’re bound by that range. You can lock, unlock, check door status (i.e. open or closed), and adjust settings when you’re within Bluetooth range. I can see it being helpful if you want to leave your keys behind or just allow access to additional users, but you can’t remotely lock or unlock it if you’re not physically at your home.
August also gives you an auto-lock and auto-unlock feature. The auto-lock feature locks the door after a set interval of time. Be careful with this, as I’ve locked myself out a few times. Needless to say, I don’t use this feature. The auto-unlock feature, I find to be far more helpful (if you have the Bridge or Doorbell). August will unlock your door as soon as you enter a certain geolocation near your home. That way you don’t need to fiddle with keys in order to get in.
This feature works pretty well. Occasionally there are some bugs and instances where it doesn’t work, but by and large, it’s helpful. With just Bluetooth, however, you need to be within 30-40 feet of your door for it to work and in most cases you need to be right next to the door. Auto-unlock really isn’t helpful unless you have the Bridge or Doorbell.
If you would like to access the Smart Lock remotely, you’ll need to purchase the August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge, which is about $60 [check price on Amazon] or the August Video Doorbell [check price on Amazon]. Using either of those devices in tandem with the Smart Lock will allow you to check (via the August mobile app) if the door is open or closed, locked or unlocked from anywhere, as long as you have internet access. Of course, the Wi-Fi Bridge and Video Doorbell require a strong Wi-Fi connection, but assuming you have that, the system works great.
August also gives you the ability to monitor activity with the lock by user (i.e. you can see who locked/unlocked the door and at what time). If someone unlocks/locks the door manually it will be shown as such. Other than that, if someone opens the door via the August app or a set code using the August Keypad [see on Amazon] it will be labeled in the app. The timeline is a neat feature, especially if you have roommates or kids.
Using the Smart Lock with the Bridge or Doorbell allows you to also control your lock with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. Via the Amazon Echo 2, Google Home, or Echo Plus, you’ll be able to control the lock with your voice, which is pretty neat. With IFTTT, you’ll be able to sync up the Smart Lock with other smart home products such as Philips Hue. One neat use case is having your smart lights turn on whenever you unlock your door.
August Smart Lock vs Pro
The devices clearly have a different design, but beyond that, why would you pay extra for the August Smart Lock Pro since it too is a Bluetooth lock that requires the Bridge or Doorbell for Wi-Fi connectivity. Well, there’s really only two things.
- Siri and Apple HomeKit Compatibility — This is only available with the August Smart Lock Pro, not the Smart Lock. If you decide that you want to control your lock with Siri (which actually is highly convenient) the Smart Lock Pro is the way to go in this comparison.
- Z-Wave Support — This is a separate mesh network technology that is common with smart home products. In a nutshell, if you have too many devices on your Wi-Fi network it can slow speeds down for everyone. Further, if you have issues with Wi-Fi range, Z-Wave can be a solution to get a more stable connection. Z-Wave devices daisy chain together to create a strong connection and then connect to a bridge that in turn connects to the internet. This way you have only one device accessing the internet and the others are working together to form a mesh network. If you get, for example, a Samsung SmartThings Hub [see on Amazon] or Wink Hub 2 [see on Amazon] you’ll be able to add your lock into their respective apps to unlock/lock it remotely. You’ll really only want to use Z-Wave unless you’re (a) worried about Wi-Fi connectivity and have a lot of Z-Wave products or (b) have a smart bridge already. Otherwise, it probably makes more sense to just get the August Wi-Fi Bridge.
Knowing all of that, the August Smart Lock Pro makes sense for Apple and smart home enthusiasts. Otherwise, you might consider saving your money and getting the Smart Lock 3rd Generation.
SEE ALSO: Amazon Echo Dot vs Echo 2 vs Echo Plus