August Smart Review
Pros: Easy to install, simple operation, inexpensive
Cons: Requires separate hub to access advanced features
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The August Smart is easy to install and provides simple access to basic smart features, making it perfect for budget shoppers that aren't looking for a lot of bells and whistles.
The August Smart is one of the minority of locks on the market that offers basic functionality without purchasing an additional smart hub that links the lock to the internet. In our opinion, this basic functionality is where it shines.
Without a smart hub you can use your phone as a Bluetooth key for your lock. This is nice for those who want to be able to leave their keys behind when they go for a run. Additionally, you can use the August app to share access to the lock with other people, turning their phones into Bluetooth keys as well. This process isn't as convenient as it could be — recipients of your access sharing will have to download the August app, create an August account, and verify that account via text/email in order for the system to work. However, you can put time constraints on this access, meaning you can give a dog walker temporary access to your home only at a certain time of day. Plus, since the August installs on top of your existing lock, your existing keys still maintain their functionality — no need to make new keys for any technophobic family members. You can also set the lock to automatically lock anywhere from immediately to 30 minutes after your phone leaves the lock's Bluetooth range, so you'll never forget to lock the door again.
If you want more advanced features, like being able to check the status and control your lock from anywhere with an internet connection, you'll have to purchase the Connect WiFi Bridge. While those advanced features work decently, we think they are a bit clunkier than with some competing models. Additionally, the extra cost takes the August Smart out of budget territory.
We found the August Smart's Bluetooth key to work well. The lock generally unlocked when via commands from the or when we approached the door with auto-unlock engaged. However, when we connected it to a hub and tried to unlock remotely, there were often long lag times before the door actually unlocked.
You can't really pin down the security level of the August Smart since it installs on top of an existing deadbolt. Therefore it adopts the security rating of whatever deadbolt you use it with. We can say that the auto-locking feature of the August Smart is reliable, so it's pretty much impossible to forget to lock the door with this device. Just remember not to get locked out if you go to get the mail sans phone.
This is the one area where the August Smart really excels. Since it simply sits on top of an existing deadbolt, all you have to do is undo a couple of screws, remove the backplate, and screw the August Smart on. The app setup is simple, and we found linking it and the lock to various smart hubs to be fairly straightforward.
The August Smart lists for $150, but requires purchasing a separate smart hub if you want to use its smart features. If you are ok with its basic features and thus will not be purchasing a hub, we think it is a great value per dollar. If you do purchase a hub, we think there are better, more fully-featured smart locks that offer better values.
The August Smart is a great choice for those that want a spartan smart lock experience. If you're thinking of pairing it with a smart hub to unlock more advanced features, we think there are better options on the market.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata