What are the best smart locks for Apple Home? There’s only a handful of this type of smart home product but we’ve used most of them and can definitely tell you which one is better. In fact, did you know there are three different types of smart home locks?
You’ve got retro-fit locks, keypad locks and replacement locks. Which is right for you? Read below!
Looking to upgrade the locks on your doors with smart locks?
Weʼve been using smart locks on our own home for several years now and honestly, they are neat but not completely necessary. And unlike other smart home gadgets, smart locks may not actually work with your door. Most locks are Bluetooth based which realistically only has a range of approx. 30 ft so these locks need to be in close proximity to your Apple Home hub
At Smart Home Reviews Eh!, we do reviews based on actual usage. With smart home locks, we’ve actually installed them in our own homes. It’s fine when the product is wonderful but having to suffer through weeks of usage of a bad product gets fustrating.
If you like how we do our reviews, please consider buying the products on the links scattered on this article.
The Best Smart Lock
- Able to re-key to your existing locks
- App allows for time-based expiring codes
- Has a keypad for true keyless entry
- Keypad is a little easier to see
- Push button lock
- Locking mechanism isnʼt as fast as other locks
- Requires more finger movements to lock the door
Our go to Apple Home smart lock is the Kwikset/Weiser Premis. However, the reasons why we prefer the Kwikset/Weiser Premis over the runner up, the Schlage Sense is miniscule. The deciding factor for us was the ability for us to re-key the Kwikset/Weiser Premis to use our existing home keys. Our test home only has one key so being able to keep the same key without adding another is great. If thatʼs not important to you, you might be able to get away with using the Schlage Sense in your home (it is cheaper).
We didnʼt have any issues when installing the lock. The Kwikset/Weiser Premis included all the parts necessary to install a new door latch. Weʼre not terribly handy at Smart Home Reviews Eh! so if we can install the lock, weʼre pretty sure that youʼd be able to as well.
The Kwikset/Weiser Premisʼs glossy keypad is also easier to see in the bright daylight and requires you to enter in two random number before your code to ensure that your fingerprints are evenly spread across the entire screen. Locking and unlocking your door requires to power on the screen by tapping on it once. In general, it will take your 2-3 extra finger movements to lock/unlock your door.
The Kwikset/Weiser Premisʼs locking mechanism is a little slower than the average smart lock. However, this shouldnʼt be a big deal for most people. We didnʼt notice how slow it was until we swapped out the Kwikset/Weiser Premis for the Schlage Sense.
The most attractive thing about the Schlage Sense is the door open/close notifications. This feature is going to be handy for people with small children as it gives an immediate audible notification that somebody may not be where they should be.
The biggest shortcoming of the Schlage Sense is the inability to easily re-key the lock. Itʼs not impossible but youʼll need the help of an experienced locksmith in order to use existing keys. Even if you get two Schlage Sense locks, youʼll end up with two different keys!
Installation of the lock was simple and like the Kwikset/Weiser Premis, Schlage Sense included all the necessary parts, adapters and instructions for any deadbolt setup.
The Schlage Senseʼs keypad automatically lights up when touched so you donʼt have to activate it like the Kwikset/Weiser Premis. However, the numbers are hard to see in direct daylight. Locking the door through the keypad is the quickest out of this group of smart locks as you only have to press the Schlage symbol on the keypad. The actual locking mechanism when used remotely is faster and quieter than the Kwikset/Weiser Premisʼs.
Also Schlage Sense is cheaper than the Kwikset/Weiser Premis. If having an extra key doesnʼt bother you, youʼll be well served with this smart home lock.
The Best Retro-fit Smart Lock
The Danalock V3 is quite similar to the August Smart Lock. Danalock V3 uses your existing lock and is compatible with oval lock Scandi cylinders, drop-shaped Euro cylinders and US deadbolt locks. Aside from that, Danalock V3 is also compatible with Apple Home, Z-wave and Zigbee. However it should be noted that the security protocol of the Danalocks differ from the version of the product you will get. For our Danalock V3 review, we had the Apple Homekit version and it had the ChaCha20+Poly1305 while the Z-wave and Zigbee have the AES-256 instead.
We really like the design of the Danalock V3. Not only that it does not look like a huge jar lid but it is also smooth and scratch resistant. The battery life is very long. It can last in a year and half with at least 10 unlocks per day. This is a very long battery lifespan considering the battery life of August Smart Lock only lasted 8 months with 0 unlocks on us. The Twist Assist, on the other hand, is a very good feature that you can use almost every day.
The only downside we have with the Danalock V3 is the application on the smartphone and Apple Watch. Configuring the Danalock V3 by poking a hole on the product is pretty backwards to us. This configuration settings should be included with application. Aside from that, the application does not provide enough flexibility when it comes to sharing your digital keys to anyone.
Thoughts on other locks
August was one of the first companies to introduce a smart home lock. One of their biggest selling features is the ability to keep the front-facing aesthetic portions of your deadbolt setup. This initially seems like a great benefit but after using the August lock and comparing our experiences with other Apple Home smart locks, this benefit is overblown. The keypad on products like the Schlage Sense and Kwikset/Weiser Premis is very handy as it allows for a “true” keyless experience.
The August Smart Lockmight have an “Auto-lock” feature (the Schlage Sense and Kwikset/Weiser Premis do as well) but weʼve grown accustomed to actually listening to our doors lock before leaving them. In order to get this sense of security with the August Smart Lock, you have to use your physical key. If this doesnʼt bother you, you can have the August Smart Lock auto-lock after 30 seconds and be done with it.
The lack of keypad also reduces the ability to easily share your home access to other people. You canʼt just give a family member a 4-digit code to unlock the door, you actually need to have them use the August app to enter your home. During our testing phase, we didnʼt have much success convincing the parents of the test home to use the app. They still preferred to use the physical key.
Installation of the lock is simpler than the Kwikset/Weiser Premis and Schlage Sense because youʼre using your existing deadbolt. No need for hammers or scrap wood!
Our biggest issue with August Smart Lock is the size. If youʼre trying to picture what your door might look like, take one small grey tub of Philadelphia cream cheese and hold it over your existing deadbolt. Thatʼs what your door is going to look like. We couldnʼt actually install the August Smart Lock on the rear door of the test home as the large window beside the existing deadbolt got in the way of the lock.
With the Kwikset/Weiser Premis and Schlage Sense, the control of your home resides solely with Apple Home. Youʼre not required to sign up with any 3rd Party services unless you really want to. With Augustʼs products, you need to use their 3rd Party service to use the lock. During our testing phase, we had to reset the lock in order to use it in our August app. This required a 20-minute conversation with August support in which they reset the lock in their system before we could use the lock again.
Weʼre not against 3rd party services but given the frequency in which companies are being hacked, weʼre quite wary having our home information reside in somebodyʼs elseʼs servers. It seems like an unnecessary risk to take.
Smart Lock Reviews weʼre working on
We came across the Yale Assure Lock on our last trip to the Apple Store to replace a broken iPhone X that we used in our liquid screen protector video for Mobile Reviews Eh!. What stood out to us about the Yale Assure Lock is the fact that the lock had a keypad but no keyhole. Out of all the locks on this list, it sits alone as the only product that promises to forgo the keys completely.
The first question we had was: What happens when the batteries die in the lock?
Well, apparently you can charge the lock (from the outside) with a 9V battery. So instead of carrying a spare key, you need to carry a spare 9V.
The Friday Lock is another retrofit style lock that is the size of a tea cup. It seems to operate in the same manner as the Dana Lock and August Smart Lock though their website advertise a feature called “Friday Assist”. “Friday Assist” means the lock is smart enough to detect your device. “Friday Assist” would unlock the lock as you approach. This feature would be quite handy given that the current way to do this would be to use a geo-fence in a Apple Homeʼs automation.
The Friday Lock uses a rechargeable 1/2 AA battery (it sounds like Friday includes a charger for the battery) so youʼll never have to worry about running out of power because of dead batteries. However, weʼre concerned that the Friday Lock wonʼt be strong enough to turn sticky deadbolts. Weʼve found from our test home that doors with older weather stripping or misaligned door frames donʼt work well with the small motors in smart locks.