Following the Smart Home Week Forum, I attended a few months ago Yale was kind enough to send me one of their Keyless Connected Smart Locks to review.
In the UK, as it currently stands, Yale is the only reputable company producing smart locks for the home, there are a few random Chinese brands on Amazon but nothing I would trust for something so important. In the US you have a few more options, with the famous August being owned by Yale.
I am surprised more companies have not jumped onto the smart lock niche I feel like it is the perfect thing to make smart with the home. Carrying around keys feels archaic, and while I can appreciate there are some serious security concerns with a smart lock I am pretty sure the odds of someone hacking you lock is lower than someone bumping a mechanical lock, or just smashing a window. I suppose your mileage may vary depending on where you live though, in Mayfair lock hacking might happen, but I feel reasonably safe in Blackpool.
Yale currently does two smart locks which should cover most of the locking options in the UK. The flagship product is the Conexis L1 Smart Door Lock which is used on multipoint locks found on UPVC doors and is what is what most home use as their primary lock.
The second, and the one I was sent to review is the Keyless Connected Smart Lock, this is a night latch style lock and usually works as a secondary lock on wooden doors that have mortice locks. It is reasonably priced at £129.00 but it only includes the parts to replace the lock section, so if you are fitting a new latch or need to replace your old one, you will need to factor in that price.
Yale offers professional installation for £109.99, and I think it could be a worthwhile investment for many people as I had some issues installing it myself.
Yale offered to install it for me, but for the sake of the review, I opted to do it myself. In theory, it is quite a simple procedure and depending on your current night latch and the door it very well could be.
I should point out that my DIY skills are shoddy at best, so I probably found the process more difficult than most.
In my home we have an old kitchen which we plan to completely redo in the next couple of months, it has a UPVc lean-to but then an old wooden inner door. I figured it didn’t matter if I messed up the install on the wooden door as it will be replaced in the next few months. It would also be handy for when I go out for a run or bike ride, I can just lock that and leave my keys.
Upon inspecting our old nightlatch, which I had not used for 20 years, it needed replacing, so I bought the Y3 Nightlatch which is the one referenced in the installation manual.
Once I had everything ready it is not quite a simple swap over processes, the smart lock requires 2 holes, the one that should already be present for the lock, but then a second smaller one so you can feed through the power cable.
Once this is done in theory, you can just swap things over, but it is likely you will need to trim down the tail bar that slots into the existing nightlatch. This was a surprisingly tricky task as the metal was hard and the tail bar has a tendency to move around a lot while you use the hacksaw. Some form of clamp will help a lot. The Yale installtion video shows a good guide on the best way to do this.
Then you need to get the tail bar into the nightlatch, upon reading the instructions correctly during this review, they recommend enabling the lock so the tail bar doesn’t move around. I did not do this and spent about 20 mins messing around with it.
Lastly, when it came to fitting the battery pack, I came to the terrible realisation that the handle and mortice lock above the nightlatch is too close so I couldn’t mount the battery pack properly. It is now mounted to the side of the handle exposing the hole and cable. If the latch is above the main handle, you will not have this issue. It is not pretty but it works, and the door will be replaced in the (hopefully) near future.
Overall, there was nothing overly challenging but definitely read the instruction before you buy the lock and decide if it will fit your door and if you can do it yourself.
Once you have everything installed, you can start setting up the lock. Out of the box you have 3 options for unlocking the door, either a pin code or via the 1 included fob or 1 included card.
Set up is much easier than the physical installation, you wake up the lock by pressing your hand to the dial pad, then you need to type in the default master password. From here, following some simple button presses, you can assign the fob to the lock and set up additional users.
You will naturally want to keep the master user restricted to just managing new users, but you can then create up to 20 users on the system. With the pin codes, you can have a permanent user or you can create a 1-day passcode. This is where the system really shines, as you can give certain people 1-day codes if you are out for the day, or if you go on holiday you could give a neighbour a code rather than a key.
From what I can tell, the tags and cards provided are just NFC, however, for some reason, you can’t use your mobile as an NFC option. No doubt this has some security related reason but it would be handy to be able to use my phones contactless to unlock the latch.
I mainly used the lock as a daytime lock, night laches are not the most secure, so I used the outer multipoint door at night or when I was out for a day or more. During the day I am out a lot and my neighbour receives a lot of my packages, so it was a great chance to give them the code so they can drop off the package when they get it. During my review period, they only had to use it a few times, but it always worked fine. Similarly, I used it several times when I went out for a run, saving me having to carry a key, again it worked flawlessly each time.
One concern with a smart lock will always be what happens if the batteries die. Well, the smart lock warns you prior to this, but if you forget to change them in the meantime you can provide external power via a 9v battery plugged into the 2 terminals at the bottom of the lock.
I was only sent the basic lock, but the battery pack has a small upgrade port that will allow you to do one of 3 upgrade options. You can upgrade the lock to work with Z-Wave systems, or the SR-Hub & Module 2 Kit which then allows management via your phone and integrates the lock with the Yale Smart Home Alarm System.
With the Yale Smart Home Alarm System, you can have the lock automatically disable the alarm on the home, and you can control the lock via the Yale app on your phone. The app will allow you to enable or disable the lock from anywhere in the world, so if you used it in conjunction with the Yale CCTV or doorbells such as Ring, you could grant access to anyone whenever you need. This system will also provide audit trails and notifications when a door is unlocked.
With the Z-Wave module, you can integrate it into a much more complex system if you wish and control the lock via third-party apps and set up all the various triggers you could possibly want with Z-Wave. I have not used this system but you could have it create an audit log, switch on the lights, or power up sockets when you enter your home.
Overall, if you have a door that can fit this lock, it is a great option to modernise the way we access our home. While it may seem a little disconcerting to give up your machinal key for a smart lock, the chances of someone bypassing the smart lock are lower than someone bypassing a mechanical lock.
Being able to have multiple users and temporary users is perfect for busy households or times when you are away.
While I only reviewed the basic set-up, if you are willing to spend a little more you can vastly improve the smart credentials while also being able to monitor who comes and goes, which is something I would like to do with users I give a temporary number to.
Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock Review
Product Name: Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock
Offer price: 109.99
Ease of Installation - 70%
Features - 85%
Performance - 85%
Price - 85%