Smart locks, along with intelligent lights, are the standard bearers for today’s home automation movement with some of the biggest names in security—looking at you Schlage and Kwikset — offering internet-connected locks. But a San Francisco-based upstart may have just beaten these industry titans at their own game.
Normally, installing a smart lock on your door demands serious dedication. These locks are usually designed to be permanent replacements; in that you’ve got to fully disassemble the existing lock, potentially bore out a larger hole in the door to accommodate the new lock’s additional girth, then install and wire up the new electronic system. This requires a degree of time and skill that the neophyte DIY’er (or renter) might not possess, which means that they must then find, hire, and pay a handyman to do it for them and generally negate whatever perceived day-to-day convenience the smart lock provides.
In short, smart locks can be more trouble than they’re worth.
But the August Smart Lock is a little bit different. Instead of using a proprietary deadbolt and front plate (the bit that sits on the outside of the door where you stick the key), which increase both the cost of the product and the amount of skill needed to install them, the August lock simply hooks into your existing lock assembly. Instead of demanding a handyman armed with a 2 3/8″ bore bit, the August lock requires about 10 minutes out of your day and a single Phillips head screwdriver to install.
Plus, it’s dead simple. You unscrew two screws holding the thumb-turn (the bit that sits on the inside of your door where you flip the lever back and forth to engage the deadbolt), pull off the thumbplate, slap on one of three included adapter plates in its stead, slide an adapter ring around the deadbolt spindle, and securely clip the smart lock unit onto the adapter plate. That’s it. All of the internal locking mechanisms remain unchanged. You can still use your key. You’re simply adding what is essentially a powered, Bluetooth-connected thumb-turn. It’s fantastic.
Once you have the lock installed, it’s simply a matter of installing the August app on your smartphone (it’s available for both iOS and as a slightly borked version for Android), setting up an account, and pairing the lock to your phone via Bluetooth connection. Bluetooth is especially helpful for a number of reasons. It can automatically unlock your door based on how close your phone is to the lock (if only it turned the handle for you too), or automatically engages the deadbolt when it see’s that you’ve left the house and are out of Bluetooth range once again. It also eliminates the possibility of the lock being remotely hacked over the internet, and frees up a port on your router since it doesn’t require a Wi-Fi bridge. And you never have to take your phone out of your pocket.