The August Smart Lock Pro is an interior Bluetooth device that upgrades an existing deadbolt.
Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored review. August did provide an evaluation unit to make this review possible. All opinions and thoughts expressed within this review had no bias or outside influence. We may earn a commission on referred sales, but content integrity is our top priority.
Having used the August Smart Lock Pro on the main entrance of my home for over 90 days, I found the device to work well most of the time in its primary functionality through the native August mobile app.
In some cases, I have experienced sluggish performance on the “auto-unlock” functionality and difficulties when typing more than a digit per second on the Smart Keypad accessory.
August lists the Smart Lock Pro to offer quite a lot of third-party compatibility with Apple's HomeKit/Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. Unfortunately, Alexa was the only one of the three that I could get to work reliably.
Despite its flaws, it still beats the rest of the smart lock competition while leaving some further reliability to be desired. Based on our experience and the feature differences, we think the base August Smart Lock is a better buy for the majority of consumers.
A Good Buy
The Ideal Buyer
The August Smart Lock Pro is the ideal smart home solution to replace a traditional smart lock for consumers who want the convenience of operating and securing their primary entry point digitally. While it offers more features and works better than the competition, the inconsistency supported third-party smart home services like Google Assistant & Apple HomeKit/Siri make it a tough sell for those who rely on those services regularly.
The smart home industry is booming, and new technology beginning to reach every facet of a house, whether practical or not. One area where new integrated technology is adding great convenience to a household is the introduction of Bluetooth smart locks.
There are several of these smart lock models on the market, but today we are going to take a look at the August Smart Lock Pro (3rd Gen). August did supply us with a review unit to make this review possible, but this is NOT a sponsored review.
All opinions and experiences expressed within this review are based on my hands-on use of the Smart Lock Pro within my home for a period exceeding 90 days. Rest assured, we are consumers ourselves and will dive as deep as we can into the whole August Smart Lock experience throughout the remainder of this review.
August Smart Locks: Variations, Pricing & Compatability
August currently offers two different smart lock models that sell in four different bundles so it may be confusing as a consumer. We will explain the four different price-points and their small differences below.
Model Variations: August Smart Lock vs Pro
When it comes down to it, August offers two versions: their regular Smart Lock and their Smart Lock Pro. The main differences between the two models are in their look.
The standard Smart Lock is a larger rectangular shape and harnesses a manual locking knob near the bottom of the device. The Pro is a more compact, circular shape with a manual locking ring around it.
When it comes to features, the potential of both Smart Locks is the same besides two small differences. The Pro model offers support for Z-Wave Plus. If you have no idea what Z-Wave is, then you won't need this feature.
Secondly, the Smart Lock Pro supports Siri and Apple's HomeKit integration, which the base August Smart Lock only offers Alexa and Google Assistant (using the Connect Wi-Fi Bridge).
August Offers Four Different Smart Lock Bundles
Depending on your needs, there are two different ways that August sells with their Smart Lock and Smart Lock Pro devices. You can buy the base Smart Lock model which includes only the device, or the bundle with the Connect Wi-Fi Bridge.
The Connect Wi-Fi Bridge provides remote access to be able to lock or unlock your door from your phone from anywhere with an internet connection. It also enables support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Here are the current Amazon prices for these four August Smart Lock options:
- August Smart Lock (standalone) – $120.00
- August Smart Lock + Connect Wi-Fi Bridge – $139.79
- August Smart Lock Pro – $151.79
- August Smart Lock Pro + Connect Wi-Fi Bridge – $152.98
For the remainder of this review, we will be directly referencing our experience using the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect Wi-Fi Bridge. However, much of our experiences using the Pro version will still carry over and apply to the standard August Smart Lock.
Design & Build Quality
What makes the Smart Lock Pro different than a lot of Bluetooth or smart connected deadbolts on the market is that it utilizes your existing (or most modern deadbolts) exterior faceplate and only requires you to replace the interior backplate with the August Lock.
There are pros and cons to this approach, but I particularly like it as it won't catch the eye of a potential burglar to try and manipulate the device from the outside. It also allows you to keep the exterior look or decor to your liking while still being able to reap the most important features and functionality available within the powerful smart home device.
What's In The Box?
Included within our $279.00 Smart Lock Pro kit was the following:
- Smart Lock Pro
- Connect Wi-Fi Bridge
- DoorSense™ Sensor
- Lock Adapter and Mounting Hardware
- 4 AA Batteries
Design & Form-Factor
After unboxing the August Smart Lock Pro, I was impressed. The circular design of the lock is rather compact in height and width, but the depth of the device is still relatively thick.
The outer ring is textured with a notch to indicate the position of the deadbolt. When the deadbolt is engaged or released (whether electronically or manually), this notch will shift its position.
On the back of the Smart Lock Pro, there is a removable magnetic backplate which covers the battery housing (which stores the 4 AA batteries required for use). In the marketing materials, you'll see 8 LED lights in a circular pattern although these are rather faint and can only be seen when the lock mechanism is in operation.
The Connect Wi-Fi bright is just a small square wireless adapter that can be plugged into any traditional power outlet (2 pronged, US) and will remain stationary so it won't need to be moved or adjusted once you get it configured.
Lastly, there is a DoorSense Sensor which is optional (we will get into this later). This is a tiny rounded rectangle that is mounted close to the lock. The interior magnets help the August Smart Lock Pro determine whether the door is in the open or closed position.
Build Quality & Durability
In terms of the craftsmanship of the Smart Lock Pro, it doesn't appear that August skimped on the build quality. The outer components of the device are comprised of aluminum, including the battery cover and physical locking ring. It feels substantial in hand, although it isn't overly burdensome in the sense that it would apply tension when mounted on your door. Turning the physical locking ring is a satisfying feeling that is tactile and smooth when properly installed.
The Connect Wi-Fi Bridge, Smart Keypad, and DoorSense Sensor are not as high quality comprised of primarily plastic. However, given the nature of these accessories, you won't be seeing any regular movement or anything that should pose a concern over time. The buttons on the Smart Keypad aren't that tactile with rubber keycaps but feel decent when pressed.
At this point in the smart home market, there is some hefty competition for the August Smart Lock Pro. This competition makes the feature set a critical aspect to ensure the best value on the dollar. Fortunately, the Smart Lock Pro is featured packed with technology and integrations to existing smart home services of which we'll get into below:
- Local access via Bluetooth connectivity can operate the lock when in close proximity
- Remote access (via Connect Wi-Fi Bridge) supports lock operation from anywhere with an active internet connection
- Auto-Lock after entering your home or auto-unlock as you approach your front door (both optional)
- Unlimited virtual keys allow you to provide access to the lock to friends, family or workers (cleaning lady, construction, realtor, etc.)
- DoorSense is August's proprietary method to determine whether the Smart Lock equipped door is open or closed (optional)
- Z-Wave Plus support (a wireless communication protocol used for home automation) allows those technically inclined to incorporate the August Smart Lock Pro into their existing Z-Wave setup
- Homekit & Siri compatibility allows those within the Apple ecosystem to communicate with the August Smart Lock Pro via Apple devices
- Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant support allows for voice control via these popular voice assistants (requires Connect Wi-Fi Bridge)
Feature Comparison: Kwikset Kevo vs August Smart Lock Pro
When comparing the Kwikset Kevo vs August Smart Lock Pro, the feature set of the August outweigh that of Kwikset's offering in many areas. Beyond this, the base Smart Lock Pro is comparable in price, and the add-on device for remote access is $20 or 20% cheaper when bought standalone or just $50 (50% savings when compared to Kevo Plus) if you bundle it in with your original Smart Lock Pro purchase.
It is important to remember that the August Smart Lock Pro and Kwikset Kevo (2nd Generation) are pretty significantly different designs. The Kevo offers both an interior and exterior components which make it able to be opened when touched a compatible Bluetooth device is present.
August only utilizes a rear segment for their operation thus keeping the original front deadbolt assembly. While you don't get the touch to unlock feature of the Kevo, there is an automatic unlock feature which will open the deadbolt as you approach the entry from an “away” state.
August Smart Keypad (Optional $59 Add-on)
Unlike the Kevo, there is no external contact point with the August Smart Lock, so the company sells an optional Smart Keypad to solve this. For $59, you can secure a battery operated keypad outside your mounted Smart Lock Pro to turn the deadbolt using unique entry codes or press the bottom key once to lock the bolt from the outside (if you have auto lock disabled).
Installation & Setup
One of the potential worry points about buying a smart lock is the potential for a complicated installation process. While this is the case with some products, the August Smart Lock Pro isn't difficult to install in most cases. The manufacturer states that it can be installed “in about 10 minutes with just a screwdriver”.
A big reason why this is the case is the high compatibility with existing deadbolts (see the full list of supported models) and the fact that you won't need to attempt to rekey any exterior lock yourself or hire a locksmith to do so.
This initial installation process for August's Smart Locks is well-organized and executed through the August apps step-by-step guidance which includes diagrams, photos, and video elements to ensure you know what you are supposed to be doing. It also helps those who insist on avoiding the manual, actually read the manual as you'll need to view it to get to the device configuration.
Our Dilemma Installing The Smart Lock Pro In A Tight Space
When the August Smart Lock Pro officially arrived on my doorstep, I was excited to install it on my side door as it is the main access point for my home. This would make my life a lot easier as I regularly spend a minute or two a day fiddling with my bundle of keys trying to get the door open, especially at night.
However, unlike my front door, this side door has a window, and the availability of space surrounding the existing deadbolt was tight, unlike my front door which lacks a window and has much more area surrounding the deadbolt.
While I could have opted to install it on my front door instead and save the trouble, I rarely use this door for entry, and the practicality of a smart lock just isn't warranted in this location, so I vowed to make it work.
Holding the August Smart Lock Pro up to the existing deadbolt area, it seemed to fit without an issue although as I began the process, I realized where the bottleneck would occur with this limited amount of space to work with.
After removing the old deadbolt's rear assembly, I installed the back mounting plate as instructed. To secure the August Smart Lock Pro to the mounting plate, you need to open up the “wings” which temporarily extends the width of the lock from 3.4″ up to 4.75″.
This became an issue after I realized the distance from the edge of my side door to the frame of the window was only 3.75″. Due to this, it didn't allow both of the wings to collapse all the way to secure it into place properly.
Weighing my options, I found that I could temporarily pop off the lower corner of the window's frame from my door and slip the left wing under the frame to ensure proper clearance and secure it into place.
Now, in my case, I got lucky that my door's window frame was able to be removed and that I was willing to take the time and effort to do so. If you are looking to install an August Smart Lock into a spot with an existing deadbolt that has a tight space around it, then I'd measure before you buy to make sure there is a way to work around the limitation as I was able to.
DoorSense Installation Troubles
Once the August Smart Lock Pro was installed, I thought I was in the clear with the rest of the installation although I ran into another potential problem when I went to install the DoorSense sensor.
While optional, it was important for me to take advantage of the DoorSense technology to properly evaluate the device overall. If you don't think you will need the DoorSense functionality, feel free to skip this part of the review.
Given the side door that I chose to install the August Smart Lock Pro on opened out instead of in, this door has a 3-inch thick frame that surrounds the interior entryway.
The easiest way to install their DoorSense sensor is using their Surface Mount is ideal for a doorway where the interior frame and door sit flush when closed. This allows you to mount the Surface Mount near the Smart Lock without an issue.
A DoorSense sensor operates using magnets so the mounting of the sensor must be within a small distance from the Smart Lock Pro and cannot be disrupted by too much space or material which will negatively affect the magnetic values.
Due to this, I had to mount it on the interior of the door frame, which is a bit awkward. I was worried that it might get accidentally knocked off. Fortunately, it hasn't been much of an issue and remains close enough to get accurate readings, so I can't complain.
Smart Keypad Installation
Installing the Smart Keypad is a pretty simple and straightforward process. There is a backplate that requires two screws (anchors included for mounting to certain surfaces) as well as a two-way adhesive pad that secures to the back of the keypad and the wall for greater security. This process only took a few minutes, and I didn't face any installation troubles.
August Smart Lock Pro, Connect Wi-Fi Bridge, DoorSense & Smart Keypad Setup
Once everything was installed, it was time to set up and configure these devices and sensors to work with my smartphone which will be prompted once you complete the installation steps that are given to you through the August mobile app.
The configuration and calibration process is rather straight forward, and all instructed through the mobile app, step-by-step. To enable some features like DoorSense, you'll need to carry out specific actions such as opening the door all the way and then shutting it so the Lock can determine the correct magnetic values for future reference.
I do want to note that for the Connect Wi-Fi Bridge to work, I did need to move the device just one room away (about 5 feet) from the Smart Lock Pro to work correctly. I tried to place it about 12ft away in my dining room (though obstructed by a wall and closet), and the setup process kept failing.
This may be something to keep in mind as you'll need to make sure you have an available power outlet close to your Smart Lock Pro free from any significant wireless signal obstructions (primarily metal, brick or stone materials).
Performance & Function
I officially received the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect Wi-Fi Bridge with Smart Keypad on May 13th and installed the devices the following weekend so I've been relying on their daily use for just over a month and a half. So far, the experience has been convenient and positive, but there are some minor gripes that I've faced.
Auto-Lock, DoorSense & Remote Locking Performance
Given that I am a bit obsessive about making sure my doors are locked (whether they are my car or home doors), the auto-lock feature was something that I enabled immediately. You have the option to have it auto-lock instantly (requires DoorSense) or on a timer ranging from 30 seconds to 30 minutes after the initial unlock.
The remote locking performance via the Connect Wi-Fi Bridge has worked flawlessly during my review period. This goes for both the actual operation (unlocking and locking the deadbolt while away from my home) and the lock/door status.
I can quickly pull up my August mobile app and determine whether the deadbolt is in the locked or unlocked position, the door is open or closed and see the full history of the Smart Lock Pro's activity throughout the day. Gives me some added piece of mine upon leaving the house that my side entrance is secure and monitored.
My Auto-Unlock Reliability Concerns
Where I saw the most significant issue was with the auto-unlock feature as the way it is implemented isn't ideal for some situations. How the August programmed the auto-unlock setting to work is via a geofenced area which is configured through the application (geofencing is typical to be used in smart home products).
However, the circular range of this geofence isn't adjustable, and it's rather large. Due to this, when I go to my grocery store (which is only a block from my home) the August app never determines my location as away.
Due to this, it won't auto-unlock the door when I approach with my hands full of groceries and thus requires me to use my physical key, pull out my phone to press the unlock button (through the app) or use the Smart Keypad.
While my case is a bit extreme and not a normal situation, the ability to adjust the geofenced location would have been appreciated so I could avoid this situation. I'm assuming some of it has to do with the reliability of a smartphone's GPS tracking, but it is worth noting in case you may find yourself in similar circumstances.
Beyond the geofencing issue, I found the actual auto-unlock reliability of the August Smart Lock Pro to be mediocre. While it always initiated an auto-unlock when I approached from an “away” state, the time in which this action was carried out by the August Smart Lock sometimes left much to be desired.
I'm not sure what the variable is that causes it, but when testing using an iPhone Xs Max, the August Smart Lock Pro would auto-unlock anywhere from as soon as I entered my driveway all the way up to nearly 30 seconds standing outside the door waiting for the action to happen.
Most of the time it is instantaneous or very short duration before it auto-unlocked, but the fact that I sometimes had to wait at the door past the 15-second mark for the app to register my arrival is a bit disappointing considering the price of the lock.
It is likely the case that August can improve this reliability over time by pushing out firmware updates and bugfixes, but for now when it lags behind my arrival, I just rely on the Smart Keypad to bypass the wait time despite requiring a bit more effort on my part.
Smart Keypad Performance
I live alone, so I'm the primary user of the Smart Keypad (admittedly I'm relying on it most for the slow auto-unlock response times). However, given the nature of the product, I made separate codes for myself and one for each of my parents, who will often stop unexpectedly by when they are in town.
It's much easier for me to implement a physical number code for the Smart Keypad than make my parents (who aren't the most tech savvy) download the dedicated August mobile app and issue them a virtual key.
At first, I found the Smart Keypad wasn't working very accurately when I entered in a supported code (I've seen several complaints of this in online reviews). Upon further testing, the issue lied in how fast I input the supplied code into the Keypad. If I did it too quickly, the combination wouldn't properly register, and the Smart Lock Pro wouldn't release. If I were to press the buttons in a more slow manner such as one every second or so, the Smart Keypad almost always responded appropriately.
To see if I was the only one experiencing the same initial impression, I had both of my parents test the lock, and both of them experienced the same dilemma upon first use. Naturally, I think we as a society are used to typing quickly on smartphones or computers so the average consumer won't be as likely to take a significant pause between key presses, but you'll get much better reliability doing so with the Smart Keypad.
Apple Siri & HomeKit Performance
Upon installing my August Smart Lock Pro, I configured it to work with Apple's HomeKit, and the setup went off without a hitch. Since installing, my Apple Home app notifies me when my lock has been used and works as expected.
However, when viewing the lock under the Home app, I am often receiving a “No Response” error message. Using Siri for voice control does work, but it takes 10-30 seconds for the Smart Lock Pro to respond all while displaying a “Some of your devices are not responding” message on the Siri UI.
Most of this likely has to do with proximity to the Smart Lock Pro when trying to interact with HomeKit, but even from a distance of about 15 feet, I was getting these not responding errors.
If you own a 4th generation Apple TV within Bluetooth range of the Smart Lock (I don't), HomeKit performance may be improved. This is how you get Siri voice commands to work remotely, though an expensive investment.
All-in-all, I wouldn't consider the HomeKit reliability to be up to what I expected and for that, I'd say this might not be the right product if HomeKit compatibility is one of your primary concerns.
Amazon Alexa Performance
I'm a big Amazon Alexa user and have an Echo of some sort in virtually every room of my home, so the voice support was a convenient feature. For those familiar with adding new skills through the Alexa app, but process is just like any other that requires you to pair and authenticate with your August account.
Once that relationship is established, I could link the Smart Lock Pro to my Amazon Alexa account and manually enable the “unlock by app” or “unlock by voice function.” Upon the voice activation, it asked for a four authentication code that must be verbally given to Alexa to grant permission to unlock the door.
If I want to check the status of the lock or engage the lock from an unlocked state, then I can do so via voice commands without the need for any authentication codes. Amazon's Alexa support is the only voice assistant integration that has worked flawlessly so far with my August Smart Lock Pro.
Google Assistant Performance
While my Alexa voice integration was successful, the Google Assistant experience was quite the opposite. I was able to add the August Smart Lock Pro to my Google Home & Assistant apps, but from there, I wasn't able to accomplish much. Due to this, I wouldn't recommend buying an August Smart Lock if you need Google Assistant support to be working.
It does say on August's documentation that there is no voice unlock feature supported in Google Assistant, but it states that I should be able to lock my door and check the status. Using the correct voice commands from the documentation, Google Assistant responds “Sorry, I'm not sure how to help” or “Sorry, I can't help with that, but I'm always learning.”
It's far too early in my evaluation to be able to accurately gauge the battery life of the August Smart Lock Pro. The manufacturer states that the 3rd generation locks offer approximately six months of use before the batteries need to be swapped out.
Considering I'm only 1.5 months into ownership, I don't know if the Smart Lock Pro lives up to the manufacturer's estimated battery life until a later date. As of right now, there is no way to check the current battery life via the August app. I'll update this when I have a more concrete number.
For some reason, they did implement a battery life indicator for the August Smart Keypad, which shows I'm at ‘medium' battery level after 1.5 months with the power saving mode enabled. Keep in mind, the Smart Keypad is in the Florida summer sun 90% of the day so that could attribute to increased battery loss.
August Smart Lock Pro Review - Final Verdict
On paper, the August Smart Lock Pro is a true winner surpassing the feature set and third-party smart home integrations of all the current competition. In actually, some of these features or integrations do not work reliably enough as we'd hoped or in the Google Assistant's case, doesn't work at all.
However, the core functionality of the Smart Lock Pro through the August companion app worked as expected with the auto-unlock being the only questionable feature in terms of reliability. Even then, it functioned as expected around 80% of the time and the times where it was sluggish to acknowledge my arrival is not a dealbreaker when it still surpasses the closest competition.
Based on our experience and the average consumer's needs, we think the base August Smart Lock is likely a better buy for most than the Pro version. However, the Pro issues that arose during our review evaluation can likely be remedied through a simple firmware update so we will update this review should these issues be resolved over time.