As our homes are getting smarter and more connected, how we access our homes is also adapting. Smart locks are growing in popularity, (read about Weiser Premis here) and one of the most well known is the August lock. I recently had the chance to test and review the August Smart Lock Pro in my home.
Hands on with August Smart Lock Pro
August is an easy to install locking mechanism that converts your existing door lock to a smart access device with minimal work and no need to change your lock or re-key.
The device consists of a grapefruit-sized round metal locking mechanism that fits on the inside of your door. The August Smart Lock Pro kit has that same locking mechanism along with a DoorSense sensor which can tell you if your door is ajar, plus a Wi-Fi bridge to allow remote access to the lock when you’re not in Bluetooth range.
What’s in the August lock box?
Inside the nicely packaged box is the August lock mechanism, which is much larger than I thought it would be, plus the DoorSense sensor kit and a Wi-Fi hub.
You’ll need to download the August app to get instructions on how to install your lock. Annoyingly, you must set up and verify a cell phone number with the app, which I find absolutely maddening and of a violation of privacy. August say they require this info for my safety.
“While this may seem annoying, it is really about safety. Since your phone is now the key to your door, your phone number is a critical element of confirming you have been granted access to the lock,” writes Lisa Auslen, Communications Director at August. “Our process is similar to lots of other account set up processes today that use two-factor authentication, like gmail, for example.”
Once the phone number and email are verified you can begin the set up process.
Installation couldn’t be easier
This is probably one of the simplest locks I’ve ever had to install. You just remove the back plate from your existing lock and slide the August lock over top. All you’ll need is one of the included adapters and in my case even my rather old lock was able to accept the August lock easily.
The step-by-step instructions include little video vignettes and detailed explanations, so it couldn’t be easier. Even a complete novice can get this done in under 10 minutes, as I did.
Adding the DoorSense sensor takes just a couple of minutes more. This small add-on device can alert you if your door is left ajar. It can be installed outside the doorframe or flush-mounted inside the frame. Instructions for both options can be found here .
With the lock installed, you’ll move on to setting up the wireless connectivity in the app.
The lock operates a bit differently than a traditional thumbolt lock. With August, you don’t turn a lever, you rotate the entire locking mechanism.
Of course, this being a smart lock, you can also operate it remotely from your smartphone. Just open the app and tap the button to lock or unlock the door if you’re in Bluetooth range.
To access the lock from outside your home, you’ll need to have the Wi-Fi bridge connected. This accessory is added separately, but easily after you have the lock installed. Plug it in, press and hold the pairing button and it begins the setup process right away. After it connects to Wi-Fi, you’re ready.
Connecting with August app, Android, or Apple’s Siri
With the lock installed you’ll configure your account and access to the August lock. You can operate it using the iPhone or Android app or add the lock to Apple HomeKit or Amazon Alexa. As of the writing of this review, you can’t quite use your August lock easily with Google Home. August says it’s enabled the functionality, but the option to add August doesn’t yet appear in Google Home. (There’s a way to get around this; essentially install the Google Assistant app on your phone and use the Assistant to install a workaround on Google Home. Read how to do this here.)
Adding the lock to HomeKit or Home will let you use your voice to ask Siri or the Google assistant (Alexa isn’t available in Canada, so I’m ignoring it for now) to lock or unlock the door for you, and you can check the door’s status in your app.
With the August App, you can lock or unlock your door from anywhere in the world, provided you’ve added the Wi-Fi hub.
To operate via Wi-Fi, just click the small button in the top right of the app that says ” Remote Connect” and you’ll get your door’s status in seconds. In my testing the lock engaged in about 5 seconds.
The August lock is very quiet. When it’s operating it’s virtually silent, and even when it chimes to indicate it’s successfully locked/unlocked it’s very subtle.
How to Auto lock/unlock with Geofencing / location
Make sure you’re standing near your lock before you begin. Make sure Bluetooth is on.
Tap on the menu button, choose Settings (after selecting your House, it’s the gear in bottom right corner), then Lock Settings for your house. Tap Auto-Unlock.
Since Auto-Unlock uses your device’s location to function, your phone may ask you to allow the August Home App to access your location. You can set the proximity you need to be within for the lock to engage/disengage.
Choose if you’d like to receive notifications about Auto-Unlock’s status messages.
How to turn off Auto-Unlock
Navigate to your Lock Settings and select Auto-Unlock. Tap the switch next to “Auto-Unlock Enabled” to turn off the Auto-Unlock feature.
Active Monitoring Alerts/Smart Alerts
Your August lock can alert you when your door lock is used. Whether that’s unlocking, locking or if it’s left ajar, you can get notifications to your smartphone so you’ll always know what’s happening with your home.
Temperature fluctuations & August lock
Living in chilly Calgary, Canada, we experience extreme temperature fluctuations. That’s played havoc with my locks. In the cold, my basic deadbolt is all but impossible to open because of swelling/shrinkage of the door itself and I need to push/pull on the door to allow the lock to slide free.
This will affect operation of the August lock, since when it gets cold, the battery-operated mechanism won’t have the force necessary to engage. This is not a criticism of the lock, it’s a problem with the door that I know countless others will have. I still think a smart lock can be a valuable addition to your home however, because I can tell remotely if the door is open, and I can give remote access to others like the neighbour or a delivery person. But if you already experience problems with opening your lock in very cold or hot weather, adding August won’t change that. It’s just something to be aware of.
Overall Review of August Smart Lock Pro
The lock operates simply, and though the twist to unlock feature involves turning the entire mechanism as opposed to a bull for a lever, it’s easy enough to adapt to.
In terms of connectivity, functions perfectly and works every time. The app is quick and responsive, and I’ve had no issues with the lock not being able to communicate with either the app or Wi-Fi.
In short, if you’re looking for a smart lock for your home that is easy to install and does exactly what it’s supposed to, the August Smart Lock Pro is an excellent choice.
August Smart Lock Pro sells for about $279US/$349CAD and is available from places like Best Buy and Amazon.
August Smart Lock Pro 3rd Generation+ Connect Bundle – Dark Gray, Works with Amazon Alexa