Best Smart Lock: Nest x Yale vs. August Pro vs. Schlage Sense
After months of testing, I determined August is the best smart lock system because of its auto-unlock feature and smart home compatibility. Nest x Yale is great keypad option, but it doesn’t have auto-unlock. Schlage Sense is a decent budget option, but it makes design sacrifices.
I’ll explain how I reached my conclusion by comparing three smart locks (Nest x Yale vs. August Pro vs. Schlage Sense) while evaluating six categories: setup, unlocking, locking, interior design, exterior design, and software.
- Unlock Options: Auto-unlock, August App, Google, Alexa, or Siri.
- Lock Options: Auto-lock, August App, Google, Alexa, or Siri.
- Design: The inside looks like a hockey puck. The outside uses your previous lock so it works with your old key.
- Software: DoorSense warns when the door isn’t completely shut. Auto-unlock is amazing.
Best for you if...
You want easy setup and a smart out-of-the-box lock that auto-unlocks when you arrive home. It's compatible with all smart home ecosystems.
August Lock (non-Pro) has a more traditional look, but it won't work with smart home devices. It's $100 less than August Pro.
Nest x Yale
- Unlock Options: Nest App or keypad. There's no auto-unlock.
- Lock Options: Auto-lock, Nest App, Yale button, or Google Assistant.
- Design: The inside is slim and looks fine. The outside has a beautiful and low-profile keypad with no keyhole.
- Software: The Nest app is great, but it’s not compatible with HomeKit or Alexa.
Best for you if...
You want a brilliant design, and you have more than one entry door. There's no auto-unlock, HomeKit or Alexa support, but it's a great system for those in Google's ecosystem.
Yale Assure SL Connected by August looks similar, but it uses the August app instead. It combines the best hardware and best app.
- Unlock Options: Schlage App, keypad, or Siri. It’s way too loud.
- Lock Options: Auto-lock, Schlage App, Schlage button, or Siri.
- Design: The inside part is huge and attracts attention. The outside has a push-button keypad with a keyhole, but it's ugly.
- Software: You get guest access codes, but the app is messy. It works with Siri/HomeKit.
Best for you if...
You’re on a budget and not bothered by ugly aesthetics. It's bulky and loud. The app is poorly designed, but you won't need the app much if you rely on Apple's Home app instead.
Schlage Connect has the same look, but it works with Google and Alexa instead of Siri.
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Things To Know
- I’ve tried seven smart locks over two years, but I only include the three best platforms (August, Nest, and Schlage) in this post. Once you pick a platform, you have multiple lock options to consider too. Check out my power rankings page to see the seven locks that I’ve tested ranked in order.
- I wrote about Kwikset Premis and Kwikset Kevo, but I’d stay away from them because they have issues.
- What are the benefits of a smart lock?
- You can leave your keys behind.
- You can give houseguests, babysitters, nannies, or housecleaners temporary or recurring scheduled access.
- You can record who comes and goes.
- They provide peace of mind.
- Smart locks aren’t for everyone and they’re not perfect. But they’re a must if you’re a parent who wants to track when your kids get home, someone who doesn’t want to carry keys around, or an AirBnB host.
- Ideally, a smart lock should secure your home while you’re away without making it difficult to enter when you return.
- Smart locks only work with deadbolts, and only if your door is shut completely and well-aligned.
- Bluetooth can be challenging, and all smart locks use it in some capacity. Smart locks should use NFC, fingerprint or facial recognition, but there isn’t anything on the market that does this well.
- HomeKit support for iPhone users is nice but not a necessity.
- Automations in the Home app (i.e., locking the door automatically when the last person leaves home) aren’t fully automated like they are with lights and thermostats. You get a message on your iPhone asking, “Would you like to run this automation?” when it’s time to run the automation. If you don’t tap “run” after five minutes, it doesn’t run.
- Asking permission to unlock is fine, but why does an automation need my permission to lock? Where are the bad guys who LOCK doors?
- If you want to use Siri to unlock, your iPhone needs to be unlocked first. Although, your phone doesn’t need to be unlocked to lock the door.
- To control a smart lock with smart assistants, you’ll need a smart hub (i.e., SmartThings, Wink) or a HomeKit hub (i.e., Apple TV, HomePod, or iPad).
- Smart locks have an auto-lock feature that triggers after a specific amount of time has elapsed since the door was last unlocked. It’s a solid feature in certain circumstances but not perfect in real life. For example, if you go outside for quick tasks like taking out the trash or getting fresh air, you might find yourself locked out if the timer is too short.
- You only need a screwdriver to install it, and you get to keep your previous lock setup. The only thing you’re changing is the deadbolt lever on the inside. This makes August the most compatible and easy-to-install smart lock on the market.
- The app is well-designed and walks you through a 13-step installation with video gifs for each step. It took a combined 10 minutes to set up the hardware and software.
- “Auto-Unlock” unlocks your August when you arrive home, but this only works if you leave your home. For example, if your August locks while you’re hanging out in your yard, it’s not going to Auto-Unlock because you never left the geofence. You’ll have to use the app in that situation.
- August is the only smart lock with a auto-unlock feature. After using it for a year, it automatically unlocked 95% of the time. For the 5% of failed auto-unlock attempts, I ask Siri on my Apple Watch or type in my code on the keypad.
- The more secure “Auto-Unlock” method (if you’re HomeKit hub owner), is to create an automation to unlock the door when you arrive home. The notification is waiting for you when you get to the door and you tap one button on your phone to unlock. You don’t open any apps.
- You can unlock with the August, Apple Home, Google Home, or Alexa apps after your phone has been unlocked and you’ve provided your access code.
- You can unlock with your original key.
- You can buy the optional August Keypad for $50 and create entry codes. (It’s another device that needs batteries. I got around seven months from the two AAA batteries.)
- August gets a “C+” for this category because I’m assuming you don’t buy the optional August Keypad. With the keypad, it gets an “A” because you can lock with one button on the keypad.
- There isn’t a way to automatically lock your door with with geofencing after you leave the house like August implies.
- You can set it “Auto-Lock” after a set amount of time passed since it was unlocked.
- You can lock with the August, Apple Home, Google Home, or Alexa apps.
- You can ask Siri, Google, or Alexa to lock.
- You can lock with your original key.
Inside Design (B):
- It sticks out from the door more than the others, but it’s unobtrusive and doesn’t take up much space.
- It looks futuristic, but it’s not as intuitive as an old-school (dumb) lock. Guests don’t know they can turn it to unlock.
- The magnetic metal battery is easy to remove but it’s not going to fall off on its own.
Outside Design (B+):
- You use the same external keyhole lock and latch that you used on your previous lock, meaning you get to use your old key.
- It’s discreet, so no one has to know it’s a smart lock.
- None of the technology components are outside. This means you don’t have to worry about temperatures, humidity, or rain affecting the operation.
- Most people only know of the August lock that looks like a hockey puck, but August collaborated with Yale at the end of 2018 to make “Yale Assure SL Connected by August.” You get a great design and keypad from Yale (similar to Nest x Yale) and it uses the August app for software and setup. It’s the best way to get a nice looking keypad along with the auto-unlock feature of the August app.
- My roommates struggle with shutting the door completely. DoorSense warns you in the app that the door isn’t shut. When that happens, it won’t use the Auto-Lock feature.
- You can do cool integrations with IFTTT, like turning on certain smart home devices when August is triggered.
- You can check the status of your lock when you’re not home if you buy August Connect for $50. Or if you have a HomeKit hub like Apple TV, iPad, or HomePod.
- You can grant one-time access at a specific time or recurring access (i.e. every Tuesday from 5-7) to anyone. Guests have to download the app and confirm with their phone number and email. It’s too much work for a guest. If you want to grant temporary or recurring access, it’s best to get the August Smart Keypad for $50.
Nest x Yale
- Getting the hardware on the door was easy with a walkthrough video from Nest.
- For installation, you need to remove the existing deadbolt setup. Then, drill a bigger hole if the existing one isn’t 2-⅛” (most are 2-⅛” already), install a new deadbolt latch, mount the front and back plates, and attach the wires.
- Once the lock is on the door, the speaker gives you voice guidance and the final steps take place in the Nest app.
- Yale’s strike plate for the doorway is unique and smaller than anything I’ve seen. It’s required because Yale won’t lock fully with other strike plates. This frustrated me because my pre-existing deadbolt hole was bigger than the entire Yale strike plate.
- The four AA batteries will last five months in my testing.
- You can place a finger on the Yale logo on the keypad to activate the screen.
- Once the keypad lights up, you tap in your code followed by the check mark. The check mark seems like an unnecessary extra step.
- There’s no auto-unlock based on geofencing or NFC.
- You can unlock with the Nest app.
- You can unlock with the Google Assistant if you provide your access code.
- The keyhole is normally the failsafe option for smart locks when things don’t go as planned. Yale thinks differently. If your batteries run low, you hold a 9-volt battery to the bottom of the lock while typing in the code.
- I know what happens when the battery is dead, but what happens if the software fails or the system dies, or the motor gets locked up? How do I get into my house if I only have one exterior door? I haven’t had these problems, but it’s something to consider.
- You can tap the Yale logo.
- You can set it to auto-lock 10 seconds, 1 minute, and 5 minutes after you’ve unlocked it.
- You can use the Nest app.
- If Nest detects you’re not home, it puts itself in Away Mode and locks if it’s not already. In my experience, Nest doesn’t go into Away Mode until at least an hour passes. You shouldn’t rely on Away Mode to lock your house, but it’s HUGE if you forget to lock before you leave.
- You can use Google Assistant and the Google Home app.
Inside Design (A):
- It’s the best-looking of the locks I tested and doesn’t stick out as far from the door as the others.
- The batteries are easily accessible with one screw.
Outside Design (A+):
- It’s beautiful, featuring a sleek, well-built, low-profile keypad. It’s a piece of art and everything I could ever hope for in a design aesthetically speaking.
- The touchscreen has a better touch response than most I’ve tried and even works brilliantly in cold weather.
- The numbers are bigger and brighter than Yale Assure.
- There’s no keyhole, which adds to the minimalistic look.
- The touchscreen works while wearing gloves.
- I wrote about Yale Assure’s hideous app previously, but luckily you don’t need Yale’s software with Nest x Yale. The lock and setup are controlled with the Nest app.
- The Nest app is great. You can control the lock away from home and do cool integrations with your other Nest products. For instance, when you unlock Nest x Yale, Nest Secure alarm system can disarm automatically.
- Nest needs an auto-unlock feature. Here’s an idea: The Nest Hello video doorbell can recognize familiar faces and put names to the faces. What if Nest x Yale auto-unlocked each time Nest Hello saw a familiar face that you registered? There are lots of security risks and the software would have to be flawless. This is probably why it isn’t a feature. But in a couple years? I can see it! At the very least, Nest could implement the same system that August uses.
- Nest x Yale works with Google Assistant, but you can only lock the door or add it to an automaton.
- There’s no HomeKit or Alexa support.
- When your batteries are low there’s an indicator on the touchpad and in the app.
- You can set schedules for when you want people to have access or create permanent codes for each household member.
- You can see a history of who’s opened the door and can turn on notifications for when certain people unlock the door.
- There wasn’t a walkthrough tutorial in the app, but the paper instructions were fine.
- For installation, you need to remove the existing deadbolt. Then, drill a bigger hole if your previous hole isn’t 2-⅛” (most are 2-⅛” already), install a new deadbolt latch, mount the front and back plates, attach the wires, and install a new strike on the door frame. It took 30 minutes from start to finish.
- You hit the Schlage button and type in your 4-8 digit code. There’s no need to tap any other buttons afterward.
- Locking and unlocking is loud. It’s annoying and can be heard throughout the house.
- You can unlock with the included key.
- If you have Schlage Sense, you can use Siri to assist after your phone is unlocked.
- If you have Schlage Connect, you can use Google or Alexa once you’ve authorized.
- The easiest way to lock is to tap the big Schlage button.
- You can lock with the included key.
- With Schlage Sense, you can ask Siri, use the Home app or the Schlage app to lock.
- With Schlage Connect, you can ask Google or Alexa or use their respective apps.
Inside Design (F):
- It’s huge, ugly, and definitely attracts attention.
- There’s only one small screw to get battery access, but the battery case doesn’t slide out well because it’s connect by a wire.
Outside Design (D):
- The keypad is not a traditional touchscreen. It’s more of a push-button display, so it works well with gloves or in the cold.
- It’s ugly and looks like an old-school keypad.
- From far away, you can’t tell it’s a keypad because there isn’t a screen and the numbers don’t light up until you tap the Schlage button.
- Other users have reported issues with moisture (from humidity or rain) causing the lock to malfunction. Make sure your lock has overhead coverage and don’t use this lock if you live in a humid climate.
- The app is messy, but you can make it work.
- You can create scheduled times for certain codes to work for specific guests. They don’t need to download an app, just know the code.
- Schlage Connect and Schlage Sense have the same functionality. The one minor difference is the keypad design, but the only major difference is that Schlage Connect can work with Z-Wave devices like Alexa (if you buy a $100 hub), while Schlage Sense works with HomeKit out of the box.
- There’s an alarm that sounds when a forced entry is detected.