No surprises here. The new August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is still our go-to smart lock. But there are some things to consider before purchasing.
The August Smart Lock is back — this time 45 percent slimmer and with built-in Wi-Fi. For anyone that’s a fan of August’s award-winning smart locks, and has been waiting patiently to ditch their August Wi-Fi Bridge, these new specs might feel like Christmas in July.
The new August Wi-Fi Smart Lock also sports a major design overhaul and improved functionality under the hood. And like all August locks, the Wi-Fi Smart Lock is fully compatible with whatever smart home system you’re using — Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit.
Going keypadless might be a hurdle for some homeowners, and the August Wi-Fi isn’t what I’d call cheap. But the $229 price tag is no more, and even less, than many of the top-performing smart locks we’ve tested. And since that’s what it really boils down to — testing — here’s my experience installing the new August Wi-Fi Smart Lock on my own front door and using it for a week.
FYI: August Smart Locks have a reputation for easy installs. One reason for this is that they fit over our existing deadbolts.
Slimmer isn’t necessarily better, but in the case of the significantly leaner August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, it really is — for a number of reasons. First, take a look at that photo above. You’ll notice there’s no traditional thumb turn lock. Instead, the new Wi-Fi Smart Lock has a minimal, circular knob, which is simply a beauty. This isn’t just my own taste speaking. August has won design awards for their Smart Lock reboot.1
Second, in terms of functionality, without the clunky thumb turn, August salvaged prime real estate for a little light that told me whether my door was locked or unlocked. Unlocked flashed red. Locked, green. A small touch, but very handy on the day to day.
Finally, even with all the trunk space they took out, the folks at August still managed to make room for some pretty powerful lithium batteries, not the usual AAs. I’ll have more to say about how the new power set-up did in terms of battery life below. For now, I’ll just say that in the design department, August’s new lighter, smarter Wi-Fi Smart Lock scores straight 10s.
Better design goes hand in hand with better functionality. The key functionality August diehards are going to be celebrating with the release of August’s Smart Lock 2.0 is built-in Wi-Fi. Just to be clear, August has had Wi-Fi functionality for a while. You just needed a separate device — a bridge — that acted as a middleman between your lock and phone. Now you don’t, which was one less link to worry about in my home security chain.
Now that the August Smart Lock was Wi-Fi-ready, it also supported built-in geofencing. Sounds a little cloak and dagger, I know, but geofencing is really just super convenient. With geofencing enabled, my August lock knew when I was within 25 feet of my front door — as long as I was carrying my phone. Bookmark that because it’s important. Once I was on the radar, my Smart Lock unlocked my door automatically. That was a major headache resolved because I hate fumbling with smart lock apps when I’m standing on my stoop.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we dive into the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock on the day to day, let’s take a quick look at how it compares to August’s other premium models.
Pro Tip: The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock uses a combination of GPS and Wi-Fi to open your door like clockwork when you get home. First, the GPS on your phone signals to your lock that you’ve entered the neighborhood. Then, when you’re in your driveway, your August app will tell your lock to switch to “home” mode, triggering your lock to pop open by itself.
|Wi-Fi Smart Lock||Smart Lock Pro||Smart Lock|
|Size||2.8 inches (diameter) by 1.8 inches (depth)||3.4 inches (diameter) by 2.2 inches (depth)||2.7 inches (width) by 4.8 inches (height) by 2.1 inches (depth)|
|Connectivity||Built-in Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi with August Connect||Wi-Fi with August Connect|
|Security||Bluetooth and TLS encryption with 2-factor authentication||Bluetooth and TLS encryption with 2-factor authentication||Bluetooth and TLS encryption with 2-factor authentication|
One quick takeaway from the table above: August isn’t cheap. Even the entry-level Smart Lock is $149.99. If you want to add a keypad, say goodbye to another $60. So, if it’s a cheap smart lock you want, try the new Wyze Lock Bolt. The Lock Bolt is a solid Bluetooth smart lock that sells for $70.
On the other hand, the new August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is very versatile, secure, and easy to use. It’s also compatible with all major smart home platforms so you can integrate it easily into your routines. This is a smart lock, in other words, that you’ll be happy to have on your door for a while.
And at $229, the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock really isn’t that expensive. The Yale Assure, one of our favorite smart locks this year, starts at around $210. The more traditional-looking Schlage Encode, another premium pick, goes for $269. You see where this is going. The $229 for a best-in-class smart lock isn’t coming out of left field.
FYI: Z-Wave is a wireless protocol that uses less energy than Wi-Fi, but has a greater range than Bluetooth. This makes it ideal for communication between our household smart devices.
Installing your August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is a 10-minute job. Check out our August Wi-Fi Smart Lock easy installation guide for a play-by-play tour. Here are the key points to keep in mind.
Did You Know? You need to install the DoorSense sensor if you want to use the Wi-Fi Smart Lock’s auto-locking feature. Once enabled, the August Smart Lock locks itself automatically after 30 seconds (or up to 30 minutes), whether you’re at home or not.
I had a lot of fun using the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, and experienced very few hiccups. But like with every smart gadget you bring into the house, the Wi-Fi Smart Lock takes some getting used to.
Hitting the Wi-Fi Smart Lock’s auto-locking sweet spot took a little tweaking. I’d recommend giving yourself more than 30 seconds to get out the door, especially if you’ve got kids. Mine forget everything — backpacks, water bottles, the shoes on their feet. All that locking and unlocking began to drive me and my smart lock bonkers.
There was one close call when I actually did leave the house without my phone, something I swore I never did and a big no-no when you’re going keyless and keypadless. Fortunately, my wife, who was with me, had her phone with her, with the August app installed. If she hadn’t, that would have been a call to grandma, who has an extra physical key.
Pro Tip: By the way, you can still use keys with the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. You just have to have them in your pocket! If you’re a smartwatch person, you can also connect your watch to your lock and set up auto-unlocking that way.
Now that we’re on the subject of locking our doors, we might as well talk about battery life, because the two go hand in hand. Unlike your cheaper Bluetooth smart locks, which can go a year without a battery change, the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock can only last up to six months tops. I’d actually wager that four to five months is more accurate.
How much life you milk out of your batteries depends on a bunch of factors. How often you go in and out of your house and how much effort it is for your lock to communicate with your network are the two biggies. Lousy connections that cut in and out will reduce battery life. So will locking and unlocking your door 20 times per day.
The bottom line here is that lithium batteries aren’t cheap. A two-pack will set you back around $8 or $9 at the supermarket. So if you fall in love with the new August Smart Lock, you can knock down the battery bills with an efficient home network and a Sam’s Club membership.
FYI: You’ll know when your August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is ready for new batteries. When the battery level is down to 25 percent, you’ll get an alert on your phone.
Smart locks aren’t all great to look at. They don’t all sport flawless auto locking and unlocking, give you remote access, or integrate with your smart home automations. The latest August Wi-Fi Smart Lock checks all those boxes. And, at the end of the day, it doesn’t cost a dime more than any of its Wi-Fi-ready competition.
The only issue I might have with the new August Smart Lock is battery life. I say “might” because I used the Wi-Fi Smart Lock for nine days. If my lock conked out in three months, and it cost $9 to get it working again, I might have a different story to tell.
But that would be a worst case scenario. You can find cheap batteries, and hopefully your Smart Lock will last you four or five months. In that case, I don’t think you could ask for a better addition to your home security arsenal.
Yes, it is. The Wi-Fi Smart Lock uses both AES 128-bit and end-to-end TLS encryption for secure network communication. Plus, the August app now has two-factor authentication.
At $229, the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock isn’t cheap, but it’s comparable in price to other top Wi-Fi-ready smart locks.
Yes, you can. The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock fits right over your deadbolt.
No, it doesn’t, but you can purchase one for around $60.
Yes, the August Smart Lock uses geofencing for automatic unlocking.
The DoorSense sensor, which comes with the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, detects when your lock is closed. Once it does, it will automatically lock your door for you after a period of time that you set.
IDA Design Awards. AUGUST Smart Lock.