Categories
Smart Locks

Best ADT Smart Locks

When trust takes precedence over targeted advertising, you need a brand that has been around for decades. ADT home security solutions have been ranked on the top for years.

For many Americans, it has been an automatic choice when it comes to home security. So many brands successfully forayed into smart locks in the past few years. The trust factor and security of smart locks have been the topic of discussion on and off for late adopters of smart home technologies.

Whether you are an existing user of the ADT home security system or a new one, the important question is which smart locks are best and compatible with ADT?

In today’s article, we will delve into some of the leading smart locks that work with ADT. If you are planning to buy a smart lock, this latest option is worth considering.

ADT endorsed Kwikset 914 Deadbolt

ADT is in a partnership with Kwikset for incorporating smart locks in their home security solutions. The top recommendation for ADT smart lock is Kwikset 914 deadbolt with Z-Wave Plus.

Please make a note that Kwikset 914 is available in the Z-Wave model as well in some color variants. We urge you to buy only Z-Wave Plus smart lock which is a more advanced protocol than a regular Z-Wave.

Kwikset ADT smart lock has many features that are smart as well as usable in daily life. Here are the features that stand at par with the competition.

  • It has 30 user access codes to allow entry into the home.
  • The smart lock automatically locks after 30 seconds.
  • One-touch lock feature.
  • Smart key feature is exclusive to Kwikset locks that help to rekey an existing Kwikset key using the SmartKey tool.
  • Works remotely using ADT Pulse app.
  • Works with voice commands using Alexa.
  • Use 128-bit encryption security.
  • Illuminated backlit keypad, helpful when the light is low.
  • SecureScreen patented technology to guard against smudge attacks common with touchscreen smart locks.

ADT provides security packages that help you monitor the security of home 24/7. ADT smart lock is one of the ways to make your home smart and safe.

The choice of technology and service provider is important as your smart home will see more smart gadgets becoming part of your life in the future. The compatibility with other smart devices will define and limit your choices. So make an informed choice or you will have to re-invest in existing smart devices.

How Smart Lock works with ADT Pulse? 

With ADT Pulse, the home automation is on your fingertips. The ADT Pulse app gives complete control of your home security remotely. 

ADT recommends an ideal combination of smart lock and camera so that you have a full view and control when you are not at home. So if you are only interested in ADT smart lock, you may find executive upselling it with a remote camera.

The ADT Pulse works using the Z-Wave protocol and is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It enables your smart lock to be locked and unlocked remotely using the Pulse app or voice-assisted commands.

Additionally, you can arm and disarm your alarm in case of an emergency. You can view live footage of your home using a smartphone if a live camera is part of the package. You can also connect other smart home devices so that you can operate them virtually from anywhere.

ADT Pulse is also operational through your apple smartwatch.

ADT is well-known for its trained technical staff for a smooth installation. Our recommendation for ADT comes from the fact that the quality of service provided by ADT is unmatched.

Why ADT compatible smart lock and is it better?

We began the article with the word “trust”. Many people have been using ADT services for many years. It is the trust that this brand has developed and hence loyal fans.

Most of the leading smart locks have their proprietary apps that are fully functional and ADT Pulse does not provide any extra features you are going to miss in others.

You need to buy a smart lock that works with ADT if you are an existing customer of ADT or for the sheer value of service they provide.

ADT does not set itself apart from other brands on technical specification sheets. They are better and different when it comes to the quality of service that gives you peace of mind.

Secondly, you need to buy the smart locks that are covered under their service contracts. It is an equally essential part when it comes to compatibility.

Categories
Smart Locks

Best SmartThings Smart Lock

There are around 44 smart locks that are compatible with SmartThings. The confusing issue is when as a customer you feel stuck and unable to decide which is the best SmartThings smart lock.

We have shortlisted top smart locks that work with SmartThings. We have also highlighted the standout features that will help you to shortlist the one best suited to your needs.

Why SmartThings Hub?

SmartThings by Samsung is a central controller through which all your smart devices including smart locks can connect wirelessly and remotely. The smart devices connected to the SmartThings can be operated remotely through SmartThings routines and voice commands using Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It works on following protocols and requires a smart device supporting at least one of these protocols.

  • ZigBee
  • Z-Wave
  • Z-Wave Plus
  • ZigBee3

The above protocols also enable the smart lock/device to send real-time status notifications remotely and help you stay updated.

August Smart Lock Pro compatible with SmartThings

August Smart Lock Pro is a 3rd generation smart lock by August. It is the only lock from August compatible with SmartThings. In April 2020, August launched its 4th generation wifi smart lock that connects directly to Wifi but it does not require any hub for remote features. Hence you don’t need SmartThings hub per se.

Here are some of the notable features of Smart Lock Pro.

  • Single cylinder deadbolt lock.
  • Z-wave compatible.
  • Works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit using SmartThings, or August Connect WiFi bridge.
  • August Smart Lock Pro provides excellent privacy and data security using two-factor authentication and two-layer encryption using AES 128 bit and TLS encryption.
  • DoorSense™ technology by August notifies you if the door is open or close.
  • Full remote access and control of your front door from anywhere once connected to SmartThings hub or August Wifi Connect.
  • Through Smart Lock Guest Access in the SmartThings app, you can manage and assign access codes remotely. It also provides the status of the lock and recent activity.
  • Complete activity and notification feed are also available in your August app if it is connected to August Wifi Connect Hub.
  • Supports auto-lock and auto-unlock feature.

Yale Assure Lock SL with Z-Wave & Samsung SmartThings Support

Yale Assure Lock SL is one of the slimmest and quiet smart lock available right now. Yale Assure enables you to go 100% key free locking so no more worries about losing your keys. The slim smart lock is a beautiful piece of art if you don’t like bulky deadbolts.

It is available in four color variants i.e satin nickel, bronze, black, and brass. It can also be combined with different handles or levers available with Yale.

Here are some standout features:

  • It is a BHMA Grade 2 certified deadbolt.
  • Works on the Z-Wave protocol.
  • Fully compatible with Samsung SmartThings, Wink, and Ring.
  • Works remotely with SmartThings.
  • Supports voice commands through Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.
  • Enter access codes with keypad or using your phone.
  • Touchscreen keypad with backlit numbers.
  • Access code management through the SmartThings app.
  • Easy One-touch locking by tapping the keypad with 3 fingers.
  • Optional setting to automatically lock the door.
  • Battery back-up from a 9v battery, easy to power terminal below the keypad.
  • Weather-resistant gasket and tamper-resistant battery cover.
  • Easy to install and setup. Voice-guided instructions to help you with setup and pin creation.

Schlage Connect™ Smart Deadbolt with SmartThings

Connect™ is a top seller smart lock along with Encode™ from Schlage. The Schlage Encode™ is a hub free Wifi Smart lock whereas Connect™ is designed to work with Wifi bridges like SmartThings. 

The Schlage Connect™ is available in two styles (Camelot and Century) and five color options. Each style with 5 colors give you ample option to chose one that suits your decor.

The Connect™ is available with Z-Wave Plus and ZigBee protocol support but the model number for both of them is different.

We reviewed Connect™ with Z-Wave protocol and here are some important features of the Schlage Connect™.

  • Works with SmartThings, Ring, Wink, Nexia, and other Z-Wave supported smart home automation systems.
  • Supports remote operation via SmartThings hub and SmartThings app.
  • Shareable 30 access codes that can be managed through the SmartThings app.
  • 100% keyless entry and ability to access door lock remotely.
  • Supports Z-Wave Plus protocol with S2 enhanced.
  • Built-in alarm to alert you if someone tries to meddle with the lock forcefully.
  • Easy to install thanks to the Snap ‘n’ Stay technology that lets you free both hands as deadbolt snaps in the door.
  • Works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri.

Kwikset SmartCode 916 Touchscreen Deadbolt Door Lock with SmartThings and Z-Wave Plus

With most of the smart locks getting upgraded to superior Z-Wave plus from Z-Wave. The SmartCode 916 is a strong contender for a smart lock that works with SmartThings

It has a unique feature of SmartKey rekey similar to other Kwikset smart locks. You can rekey any old Kwikset key in a jiffy using the SmartKey feature.

The SmartCode 916 is available with Z-Wave protocol as well but we recommend buying the upgraded Z-Wave plus protocol model. It is available in three color variants and an option to buy a combo deal of deadbolt + handle set. The pricing may vary with different color variants.

Here is a quick view of other important features of Kwikset SmartCode 916.

  • Reliable integration with Alexa using SmartThings hub and app.
  • Does not support Keys by Amazon or Affinity.
  • Lock and Unlock door remotely via SmartThings hub and app.
  • Up to 30 user access codes that can be managed through SmartThings home automation.
  • Dual option of keyless as well as a physical key entry.
  • Responsive touchscreen keypad.
  • SecureScreen™ (patent pending) technology that jumbles the position of numbers on screen making it difficult to guess for intruders.
  • Single touch locking and auto-lock so that the door automatically locks after 30 secs.
  • Also compatible with other Z-Wave hubs like Wink and Vera.
  • Easy to install.

Update: Issues with Danalock V3 Bluetooth & Z-Wave Smart Lock

[Not Recommended]

When we published this article few readers asked our views on the Danalock V3 model. They wanted to know why it is not on our list although some websites are already recommending the lock.

There are a few parameters we evaluate the products on before recommending and we came to the conclusion that this smart lock cannot make it to our list of best SmartThings smart locks.

-https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07929XGW3/

The Danalock V3 looks good on the specification sheet and works well on few parameters. Here are a few reasons why it is not on our list:

  • Price factor – It is a little expensive as compared to the competition. In fact, more established companies are selling locks with similar features that are priced lower than Danalock.
  • Bulky Design: This is clearly the fattest smart lock we came across. Once installed on the door, it stands out visually and may interfere while walking in and out. This is purely based on aesthetics and some readers may not fully agree with us.
  • Build Quality: Build quality left us wanting for more. It looks a little cheap and very plastic. Smart locks are for security but it is a lifestyle gadget as well so the aesthetics do matter.
  • Unpredictable locking: In our survey with existing customers, we found that they occasionally faced failure in auto-lock and unlock. 

How to enable the Smart Lock Guest Access using SmartThings App?

The smart lock guest access is available through the SmartThings app if you are using a compatible smart lock. The feature is available in the new app as well as a SmartThings classic app.

Setup Smart Lock Access Card on your Home Screen:

Using the new SmartThings app, open home screen, and press “plus (+)” icon. Select SmartApp followed by Smart Lock Guest Access. Continue and touch “Allow” to confirm smart lock guest access added to the Home screen.

New guest codes can be added and managed through the smart lock access card on the home screen.

Categories
Smart Locks

Best Smart Locks that Work with Ring

There are limited smart locks that are compatible with Ring alarm and a video doorbell. If you already own a Ring product and planning to install a smart lock. Opt for a smart lock that works with Ring alarm.

The integration of smart lock with Ring alarm comes at no extra cost. All you need is a compatible smart lock.

Ring is an industry leader for its smart alarm and a smart doorbell. Your move to step into the world of making your smart home should come with making sure your existing and future smart devices can “talk” to each other.

Connecting your smart lock with Ring will increase your security and you can lock/unlock through Ring app.

The smart lock and Ring alarm/doorbell are made compatible via a physical hub that supports Z-Wave technology. If you already own a hub or you own Ring base station, you don’t need to buy another one.

Ring alarm supports around 35 smart locks and it can be quite confusing to choose the best smart lock. After reviewing the smart locks from all the leading brands, we have shortlisted the safest smart door locks that work with Ring.

Let us go through each of them and share our findings on why they are on our recommendation list.

Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt with Camelot Trim

The Encode is the latest smart lock from Schlage and is a Ring certified smart lock. Available in two colors including matte black. This is our top pick for a smart lock that works with Ring.

Along with Ring Video Doorbell and security camera, it is one of the most secure smart locks that provide seamless integration. 

  • It is a WiFi smart lock that does not require an additional hub. It does not support Z-Wave protocol but it works well with Ring through Keys by Amazon.
  • The Ring compatibility provides the ability to lock and unlock the door with a live view from the Ring app. The Encode smart lock is also compatible with Alexa, SmartThings, Wink, Keys by Amazon, etc.
  • The Ring video provides video in 1080p HD picture quality.
  • Get real-time notifications.
  • Use Alexa for voice commands to open/close the door.
  • In-home deliveries enabled by Keys by Amazon.
  • 100 Access codes
  • Easy installation and quick setup with Ring via Keys app.
  • The lock has an in-built alarm.

Schlage Connect Smart Deadbolt with Z-Wave Plus (BE469ZP) 

The newer Schlage Connect model is an upgrade to the existing connect model. The major difference is the upgrade from Z-Wave to Z-Wave Plus technology in the new model.

The connect is a Ring Certified smart lock that works with Ring Alarm. It has stiff competition with Schlage’s own Encode model. The key difference being the usage of the hub to connect to other smart home devices in Schlage Connect.

  • Easy to install. All you need is a screwdriver. Snap ‘n Stay technology makes it easy to install with both hands and is free to use for installation.
  • Built-in alarm that triggers when there is a forced entry attempt.
  • Easy integration with Ring. Scan the QR code at the back of the lock to pair the Ring Alarm.
  • Use Ring skill on Alexa to operate the door lock through voice commands.
  • Automatically arm the Ring alarm when you lock the door and disarm when you unlock.
  • Locking and unlocking the door works from Ring app.
  • 30 Access codes for accessibility.
  • It also supports Google Assistant, SmartThings, Wink, and Nexia. 

Kwikset SmartCode 910 Smart Deadbolt Door Lock with Z-Wave Plus

The lastest Z-Wave supported smart deadbolt lock by Kwikset is a great option for a smart lock with good compatibility with Ring. It is one of the cheapest options around worth every dollar spent. It comes with a price tag of around $100 which is almost half the price of other smart locks.

  • It supports the Z-Wave Plus technology.
  • Quick access to lock status on Ring Alarm dashboard of Ring app.
  • Creation of access codes available in the Ring app.
  • Use Alexa for locking and unlocking the door.
  • Arm/disarm the Ring Alarm by linking the lock with Ring Alarm.
  • Single cylinder deadbolt comes 30 access codes.
  • Kwikset SmartKey feature for the backup keyway.
  • Quick install but few customers can find it little noisy in operation. 

Yale Assure Lever Lock SL with Z-Wave Plus

Yale Assure Series is one of the successful smart locks with consistent sales. Yale Assure series have few smart locks that work with Ring. They work on Z-Wave technology.

We have selected the latest and one of the best smart lock with handle/lever that works with Ring. This is for customers exclusively looking for a smart lock with a handle instead of a deadbolt.

Here are some standout features of the lock

  • 100% key free 
  • Alexa compatible with a Z-Wave plus supportive hub like Yale smart module or Ring Base Station.
  • It can be easily replaced by an existing lever or knob with a single hole.
  • A good option for garage entry, side door, basement, or home office.
  • It comes with a touchscreen option ( keypad option available with a different model number).
  • Voice guidance for programming the smart lock.
  • Auto unlock feature.
  • Ring compatible and certified.
  • Shareable Access codes for providing access to visitors.
  • Lock/unlock feature available through Ring app with arm/disarm the alarm.

How do Smart Lock and Ring work with Alexa?

Make sure you buy a smart lock compatible with Ring and support Alexa. Check our recommendation list for the same.

  • Now open your Alexa app and go to Skills and Games (under three horizontals bars).
  • Search for “Ring” and press the “Enable” button.
  • Link your Ring account with Alexa by signing into Ring account.
  • Now tap “discover devices” or Ask Alex – “Alexa, discover my devices”.
  • You will see your Ring product connected to Alexa.
  • Press “Forget” if you want to remove the integration.

Now your smart lock is connected through Ring Alarm and ready to take voice commands.

Categories
Smart Locks

Sliding Door Smart Lock

Sliding door smart lock has a good demand among the consumer with home automation. This segment of the patio door smart lock has not seen the innovation expected.

Most of the solutions fall into DIY smart locks. The sliding doors lack standard compliance and hence most manufactured are not ready to invest in this segment. The sliding door comes in various designs and frameworks. So it is difficult for manufacturers to come up with a standard smart lock design that caters to all sliding doors.

In 2016, an attempt was made to manufacture true smart lock for sliding doors through PadioLock, a Kickstarter campaign but the funding was unsuccessful.

Further in this article, I will share the following things to mimic some smart lock features in a sliding door

  • Automatic Slide door opening/closing.
  • Key-less entry.
  • Remote Access.
  • Integration with Google Home & Alexa.
  • Smart Bolt Lock for extra security.

AutoSlide – Automatic Slide Door Kit

AutoSlide automatic slide door kit is an excellent solution to providing hands-free opening and closing automation to your sliding door. AutoSlide provides two ways to integrate it. You can either use motion sensors or you can connect it with your infrared device.

It has a DC motor and electronic controller that runs on 24volts supply. The company supplies two buttons to be mounted on each side of the door.

If you are a pet owner, AutoSlide has a pet-friendly version. It comes with an RFIF tag that can be installed on the collar of your pet. AutoSlide has a two-year warranty for any manufacturing defects.

Upgrade: AutoSlide system can be further upgraded at an additional cost to WiFi add-on. You can download the AutoSlide app and control the system via your smartphone.

Some key smart features available through WiFi are

  • Open and close your sliding door.
  • Leave your pet out
  • Notifications when the door opens or someone approaches the door.
  • Share access.
  • Program your door remotely.

Connecting to Alexa and Google Home

Add a Z-Wave relay and a controller hub to connect to your Google Home and Alexa for voice commands.

This entire setup will have most of the features you may be looking for in a smart lock for the sliding door.

CAL Smart Bolt Lock for Sliding Door

The lock provides an extra layer of security to your sliding door. We also recommend adding a flat jimmy plate over the sliding door frame so that it prevents the accessibility of the door in the frame. Most of the sliding doors are compromised by removing the door from the rails. 

Back to Cal smart lock, it is a double bolt patio door lock that can be attached to your existing sliding door. As per the specifications, it has been tested for 1000 pounds of force. 

Additionally, it can be used with french doors. It may not be a smart lock but an essential layer of security your sliding door needs.

Categories
Smart Locks

Best Smart Locks for Vacation Rentals

The use of smart locks for vacation rentals like Airbnb, Vrbo, and HomeAway has seen a substantial increase in numbers. They make the rentals easy to manage, secure, and gives upmarket tech feel.

In a recent survey, the hosts of the rental properties felt that the smart home devices provide an edge and unique value to guest as compared to other properties.

We checked with few property managers in New York and they responded in affirmation on the rise of smart lock usage in rental homes. No one wants to manage physical keys now. Smart locks provide home access at the touch of the button without physically meeting. Does it promote social distancing? yes it does

We tested out the latest smart lock and listed our favorite smart locks for vacation rentals.

Important note: We have stayed away in listing keyless smart locks that cannot be operated remotely. They may cost you half the cost but the inability to assign or delete access code remotely defeats the big advantage of a smart lock.

[Top Pick for Vacation Rentals] August Wifi Smart Lock ( 4th Generation )

4th generation Wifi smart lock was launched in April 2020 by August. It works without any bridge or hub and connects directly to the home wifi. August has reduced the size of the lock that makes it aesthetically more attractive.

We connected the lock to two networks to test its compatibility. It connected to 2.4Ghz wifi within seconds but it took little more time to connect with the 5Ghz network. After the connection, it worked like a charm. If you share the same SSID for two networks, try turning off the 5GHz and then connect the lock. Once connected, switch on the 5Ghz network.

It easily attaches to an existing deadbolt and you can continue to use door lock with key as well as a keyless door entry.

Auto-unlock is a handy feature. It locks the door automatically when the guest arrives. The door sense feature allows you to know the status of the door in the app.

August Wifi smart lock is fully compatible with voice commands using Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa.

Battery life has improved from previous generations and will last easily from 9-12months. It is available in two color trim.

Kwikset SmartCode 914 with SmartKey Security and Z-Wave Plus

One of the hottest sellers in the Kwikset SmartCode 9xx series. The SmartCode 914 works on Z-Wave Plus. It uses Z-Wave 500 chipset inside the lock and is responsible for providing extending wireless range. A perfect smart lock for bigger rental homes. 

It has 30 user access code that is enough for any Airbnb or vacation rental property. Assign access code and delete once the guest checks out.

Keyless door entry through the back-lit keypad comes handy for the low light situations and the guests will appreciate it. It also features an auto-door lock after 30 seconds.  

The SmartCode 914 lock features key entry as well and the smart key is a useful feature of all Kwikset locks. With the help of the smart key, you can re-key an old Kwikset key into a new key for this lock.

 Kwikset SmartCode 914 is easy to install and one screwdriver is all it takes. It has a latch with an adjustable backset that works on standard doors (2-3/8 to 2-3/4 inches). 

It can be operated through the voice with Alexa but will need a compatible (Z-Wave Plus) hub. Make a note here on the protocol it uses, hence it will not work with existing devices on other protocols like ZigBee.

Yale Assure Lock SL – Key-Free Door with Touchscreen for Airbnb or Vrbo

Yale Assure SL impressed us with a few notable factors. One of them is the combo options it provides from an aesthetic point of view. You can buy a standalone lock or combine it with Ridgefield handle, Valdosta, Jamestown handle, Navis or Norwood.

We reviewed the SL model with a touchscreen and keyless door entry. There are two more options such as touchscreen with key and keypad with a key. We also recommend keypad with key as it tends to bring more touch satisfaction to guests as per our small survey with property managers.

The lock provides 25 unique access codes sufficient for your Airbnb or Vrbo property. It is a weather-resistant (not water-proof) lock with an option to enable auto-relock.

The touchscreen with cover is of high quality and won’t wear out easily. It has a back-up battery option below the touchscreen in case you run out of battery. Voice assistance for setup guidance on the menu can be helpful for a few readers. 

It is one of the sleekest smart locks we have tested. It has one-touch locking that can be activated with three-finger tapping on the keypad.

Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt 

Before we begin a point of note for readers, we have a detailed review Schlage Encode Wifi lock that is priced around $200 and is neck to neck with August Wifi smart lock. There are cheaper options from Schlage but with a price difference of $20 make them expensive to own when you can have an upgraded Encode with better features.

The Encode is available in two aesthetics: Camelot and Century. It is a second option if you are looking for a Wifi lock with inbuilt Wifi. It does not require any additional hub to connect and use all the smart features.

The Encode has a built-in alarm in case of any attempt to security breach. It is easy to install and uses snap ‘n’ stay technology. The technology helps you to install keeping both your hands free during the installation.

The Encode provides 100 access codes with time-based access. It works with Alexa, Keys by Amazon, Ring, etc. It has a low battery warning so that you can change your old batteries on time. 

Igloohome Smart Electronic Bluetooth Deadbolt 2S – Airbnb Preferred Partner

Igloohome has partnered with Airbnb to provide smart home devices including a smart lock that has direct access to Airbnb APIs. This innovative collaboration help in encrypting and synchronizing the data. Hence the smart lock can work without the internet in offline mode. 

The Airbnb API integration also helps in synchronizing the Airbnb listing calendar with access codes generated automatically and sent to guests free of cost. Please note that these functions are also available through third-party apps at a monthly fee.

The Igloohome deadbolt has an above-average battery life and usually lasts around 6-7 months. The status of the battery is available in the app so that you can replace the batteries on time. 

The recommended door width for Igloohome Deadbolt 2S is 1-3/8″-2-3/8″. It has an auto-relock feature and an emergency battery backup connectivity option in case of an emergency.

The door can be unlocked by guests via PIN/Access codes, Bluetooth keys, or a physical key.

Things to Consider for Buying a Smart Lock for Airbnb, Vrbo or any Vacation Rentals

Integration with Airbnb: As more and more guests prefer locks with remote access. It is essential to understand the kind of compatibility they provide when it comes to remote features. The rental property listing providers like Airbnb have made their API accessible for enhanced utility.

Many third-party companies have joined hands with Airbnb to develop customized apps to support direct lock access within the app. These services come at an additional cost. Keyless door locks save the hassles of key management if you are handling many vacation rental properties.

Access Codes: All smart locks provide time-based access codes for guests. This is one feature that makes smart lock in the rental property market a super success. The host and guests should be able to access home with the touch of button shared through app or keypad/touchscreen. Avoid buying a smart lock with keyless entry without remote access code management.

Battery Life: Whenever there is a power outage, the smart locks work on the battery. Depending on the daily usage of the door, the battery could last anywhere from 6-9 months. Most of them are advertised to last for 1 year but under ideal usage. The smart locks listed above for vacation rentals are good on battery life.

Right Fitment: There are a variety of smart locks available now. The design varies from deadbolts to handle/levers. All of them cater to standard doors when it comes to thickness. Make sure you re-check and pick up the right size. Do check the additional cost required to fit the smart lock on your door to match your door standards.

Bluetooth or Wifi: The smart locks connect remotely to your smartphone through Bluetooth or Wifi. A Bluetooth smart lock consumes less battery whereas the Wifi smart lock requires more battery power. Wifi is an option to connect via Z-Wave Plus or ZigBee protocols. They both have their pros and cons but we recommend buying Wifi smart locks. The wifi smart locks are internet-enabled locks when connected compatible hub. The host can access and manage the lock remotely anywhere from the world. Few Wifi smart locks like August Wifi and Schlage Encode work without a hub.

Categories
Smart Doorbell

Ring Video Doorbell 3 vs Pro

Are you already planning to upgrade your existing Ring Video doorbell?

or

Are you planning to buy your first Ring Video doorbell for your smart home?

Today’s article is more relevant to the latter ones. If you are planning to upgrade from Ring Video doorbell 2, the doorbell 3 upgrade is not worth the effort.

The Ring has launched its 3rd generation video doorbells – the Ring Video Doorbell 3 and Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus.

We are going to compare Ring Video Doorbell 3 with the popular Ring Video Doorbell Pro. Before we go into the details, let us look into the key differences between the two.

Ring Video Doorbell 3 vs Ring Video Doorbell Pro

Doorbell 3Pro
Under $180Under $250
It is chunky & biggerIt is a smaller ultra-slim design.
Rechargeable Battery powered and can be hard-wired.Wired only.
Easy to installWired so relatively difficult to install
Pre-drawn Zones for motion detectionAbility to draw zones for motion detection
Pre Roll feature in b/w and in lower video resolution to save on battery life.Pre Roll feature in color
Removable battery packDoes not work on battery.
Video quality acceptableSlightly better video quality.

Here are some common features that Ring Video Doorbell 3 and Ring Video Doorbell Pro share.

  • 160-degree horizontal field of view and 90 degrees vertical field of view.
  • 1080p video
  • Advanced Motion Detection
  • Pre-roll feature in Pro & 3 Plus
  • Supports 2.4 and 5GHz
  • Excellent two-way communication
  • Interchangeable faceplates and angled wedges (sold separately)
  • Work with Alexa, Smartthings, and IFTTT
  • Supports smart display like Echo Show and Echo Spot
  • Does
  •  not fully support Google Home or Assistant Devices. Link and connects 
  • Ring account to Google Nest/Home but Video features not available.

The Ring is an industry leader for many years and there are reasons for that. The Doorbell 3 and Plus are good moves in the right direction. 

But honestly speaking, we expected more and we will talk about that in the end.

The Ring Video Doorbell Pro has been a benchmark for Ring Doorbell lineup as well as competition. There have been some improvements from Doorbell 2 to Doorbell 3

Ring Doorbell 2 vs Ring Doorbell 3

Doorbell 3Doorbell 2
Improved Battery life ( new chipset)Battery hogger
Quick Release Battery PackAbsent
Pre-Roll Feature in Doorbell 3 PlusAbsent
Supports 2.4 and 5 GHz wifi connectivitySupports only 2.4 GHz connectivity.
160-degree field of view155-degree field of view

There have been some improvements in this 3rd generation doorbell. Doorbell 3 is being compared with Pro for sheer quality features and proven track record.

How to install Wireless Ring Video Doorbell 3 / Plus

Features of Ring Video Doorbell

The Ring Doorbell Pro to replace your existing doorbell. It is a reliable option as it is a wired doorbell. Although the hard wired option is a 

deterrent for many buyers. The renters will prefer a wireless option so that they don’t have to make changes in the current wiring.

This lead to the idea of a wireless doorbell. The Ring Doorbell 2 is catering to this need but it has its own compromises. 

It thrives on battery consumption and needs to be recharged frequently. The wifi range could be another issue with the wireless option.

With video doorbells, it is more about what compromises you can live with. Some of the drawbacks have been taken care of in Doorbell 3.

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 comes with a brand new chipset that consumes less battery. The improved battery life is easily noticeable. It comes with a quick battery release option that makes recharging convenient.

The Doorbell 3 has an upgraded version called Doorbell 3 Plus that comes with a Pre-Roll feature. The Plus version costs $20 more and is worth upgrading. 

Now Doorbell Pro and Doorbell 3 Plus are two models from Ring that supports the Pre-roll video. But the video footage in Doorbell 3 is black and white and in lower resolution to conserve the battery life.

One of the key differences between Doorbell 3 and Pro is the installation. Doorbell 3 is a wireless video doorbell and can be installed hard-wired.  The Pro version is a wired-only option.

The Ring Video Doorbell Pro works on 16v of power and requires installation Pro Power (included in the box).

We suggest a wired option in either case if possible. These days most of the gadgets require recharging. Removing the doorbell from the list will be a breather. The Doorbell 3 can be wired for continuous charging.

They both have adjustable motion zones ranging from 5ft to 30ft. The field of view in both models is 160-degree, advanced motion detection, privacy zones, and night vision. 

Doorbell 3 allows customizable privacy zones. They can be handy in reducing erroneous notifications that may arise due to moving vehicles or tall plants nearby. It allows flexibility to suggest the focus of motion sensors.

The Ring Doorbell 3 will be a preferred choice for people on rented accommodation. There will be no hassles of altering existing wiring. 

There can be connectivity issues if the wifi range is not healthy. You may end up investing in Ring Chime Pro for an additional $50.

Compatibility

Ring owned by Amazon has excellent integration with Alexa. It also works with SmartThings and IFTTT. If you own Echo Show or Echo Spot, you can watch and talk to the person at the door.

Like other Ring devices, the compatibility with Google Assistant, Google Nest, or Home is limited. It supports voice commands but does not support video.

Hiccup

We did face a small hiccup at one of our test locations where the street LED light was bang in front of the security camera. As the camera lacks dynamic range or HDR to counter bright LED light, the footage in the night was dark.

Ring Video Doorbell 3 Night Vision
Ring Video Doorbell 3 Night Vision

The easy hack for such a scenario is to smartly block direct entering the camera lens and video will be fine. 

Tip:  The quality of the video improves when the subject (person) is well lit. Any light reflecting from a window or white wall on the subject will be helpful.

Ring Video Doorbell Live Footage in App

Live view in the ring app

The Doorbell Pro Advantage

Does the Pro version make sense in 2021?

Absolutely!

Ring Doorbell Pro costs around $250. The pre-roll is a required security feature. The cost of a wireless Doorbell 3 Plus and Chime Pro if needed will be close Pro model.

The only downside is the lack of wireless connectivity and if you can see past this. The Pro version is still better in terms of video quality, color pre-roll, and smaller size (ultra-slim).

The installation process is tedious but the worry-free performance will make it up for you. Once it is installed there is no issue of charging. 

What We Missed?

The competition for the Ring is increasing. We were expecting a higher resolution and more field of view. The vertical or head to toe can be limiting if someone is too close to the door. The HDR video is another useful extra feature.

Final Thoughts

Finally, you are a better judge of the situation. Being a renter and alteration does make things difficult. 

Ring Doorbell 3 and Pro are solid options with pros and cons. You won’t regret buying either.

As we end this article, Smart Doorbell is a must and it will make your smart home more secure.

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Smart Sensors

Best WiFi Door Sensor

Planning to buy a smart wifi door sensor?

There are quite a few options in 2021 but which one outweighs the features you need. The smart sensors are little gems that make your smart home secure and safe.

All the wifi sensors we are listing can be used on windows and doors. They are easy to install and are compatible with Alexa.

Smart Wifi Window & Door Sensors that Works with Alexa

SmartThings by Samsung is a known name in smart home devices. The Wifi sensor provides great value and reliability. It is multipurpose and is not limited to sending notification of door open/close.

The usage of the sensor is limited to your imagination. It can be put on cabinets, drawers, windows, doors, etc. It works on the ZigBee protocol.

It can alert you on a change in temperature. All you need to do is set up automation or routines in your SmartThings app or Alexa app. Being a multipurpose sensor, it is also sensitive to tilt and vibrations. In all these scenarios it sends an alert to your app.

The SmartThings sensor supports IFTTT but the important consideration above all is that you need SmartThings hub to connect everything including Alexa and other smart home devices.

SmartThings smart sensor is good option looking at the versatile usage. It is very well priced, small in size and weight. You won’t face connectivity issues if they are in close range of the hub.

New Ring Alarm Contact Sensor 

Amazon has introduced its second-generation Ring Alarm contact sensor for windows and doors. It works on the Z-Wave protocol and is super easy to install.

The Ring sensor can be mounted on any window or door frame. It connects with the Ring Alarm Base Station and sends alerts to Ring app when you open or close the door.

Additionally, it also activates your alarm if someone tries to tamper with the sensors.

The sensor runs on 2 CR2032 Coin cell batteries and can last easily for more than 2 years. It has a 1-year warranty and a must-have if you are already invested in Ring Alarm System.

One of the smallest sensors that can be placed anywhere. The only con is that it requires the Ring Alarm Base Station.

Sengled Smart Window & Door Sensor

Sengled is one of the most competitively priced smart wifi sensor. It is sold in the pack of two. Sengled works on the ZigBee protocol and requires any ZigBee compatible hub. It works with Alexa and Google Assistant.

 The SmartThings compatible smart contact sensor helps you automate lights depending upon if the door or window is open/close.

The Sengled Home app is intuitive and easy to use. Within 3 minutes we were able to set up the sensor and pair it with Alexa.

The sensor is relatively small and does not catch the attention easily. It comes with a 2-year warranty which is one year extra than the competition. It uses lithium-ion batteries that are already included in the pack.

You can easily check the status of the door/window anytime and from anywhere. Lastly, the installation is as easy as peeling the adhesive cover and stick it on the door or window frame.

Ecolink Wifi Door & Window Sensor

Ecolink Door/Window Sensor (DWZWAVE2.5-ECO) is a reliable option if you already own a Z Wave Plus hub. It works on the Z Wave Plus protocol and is works with a variety of hubs like SmartThings, HomeSeer, and many Vera models.

It is compatible with Alexa and can be controlled by voice if paired with Alexa device and hub. 

Ecolink comprises of two parts: the magnet and sensor. The sensor goes and sticks to the window/door and magnet on the frame. It comes with two casings: white and brown to match the room aesthetics. 

The magnetic field breaks when the door is opened resulting in triggering the alert. It is also sensitive to tampering and sends alert whenever someone tried to tamper.

Ecolink sensors work on lithium batteries and can easily last more than 2 years. It is built with rare earth magnets and can detect gaps up to 5/8th inch. 

If you are looking for a Z Wave option to automate lights using the contact sensor, Ecolink Sensor is your bet. It can be used to turn on/off lights, adjust the thermostat, send notification and alarm when the door closes or opens.

It comes with a 1-year warranty. The chunky size and design is the only con that can bother you.

Things to Consider Before Buying a WiFi Door Sensor

Smart Features

The true smart sensor integrates with other smart home devices. Buy a sensor that sends alert to your mobile and can be controlled from anywhere. Some other useful smart automation features like switching on/off light when you open or close the door.

It should be compatible with smart assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant etc. 

Ease of Installation & Use

Most of the customers prefer contact sensors that are easy to install or DIY install. Most sensors are adhesive based and can be stick easily on the door or window frame.

The smart sensor should be easily installable and work on other options like cabinets, drawers, safes etc.

Battery Life

The sensor tends to consume lot of battery but lately the newer model are frugal in power consumption. Choose new generation smart wifi sensor with good battery life. Changing batteries every 6 months can be a pain.

Connectivity

In our reviews and survey over a while, we noticed lot of smart sensors missed sending alerts as they intermittently lost connection with the hub. The poor wifi range is generally the issue and may require wifi extenders in some sensors.

Types of window and door sensors

There are three basic types of window and door sensors and one specialized type of sensor. Understanding the type of sensor will help you choose the best wifi door sensor for your needs.

Surface-mounted Sensor

Surface mounted sensors are most common and affordable options for door and windows. These includes magnets which forms the core component of the sensor.

Recessed Sensor

As the name suggests, these are fixed into the surface of the door or windows. They are quite accurate as a sensor and are not as visible as other types of sensors. Installation is bit tedious and requires expertise.

Vanishing Sensor

These are the minimal and thin in design. Vanishing sensors are best option if you are looking for a sensor that just blends with the surface and is not easily visible.

Vented Window Sensor

Vented window sensor includes two magnets and allow the window to be open to some extent without triggering the alert. But if the window is opened further it will set the alarm ringing.

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Categories
Smart Camera

Best Wireless Home Security Camera

You have decided to buy the best wireless home security camera for your smart home. But how do you decide which one is best for your needs?

The pricing of home security cameras ranges anywhere from $15-$200. The range is quite broad and finding a feature-rich security camera in the lower end of the range is nothing less than daydreaming.

Arguably, you should buy a home security camera that caters to basic features without any compromise if you are looking for value for money.

The primary function of the smart home camera is to enhance the security layer. With a wireless security system, it becomes easy to install and manage home devices.

Best Wireless Home Security Cameras to Buy in 2021

Arlo Pro 3 Outdoor Security Camera

  • 2K HD video with HDR.
  • 2-way audio.
  • Color and Infrared night vision.
  • Wireless installation.
  • Supports Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Watch.

Arlo Pro 3 is our pick for the best wireless home security camera. It the only camera in our lineup that produces 2K HDR video, a notch higher than 1080p HD cameras.

The camera produces high-resolution footage with a 160-degree field of view. Even on a bright sunny day, you will get a glare-free clean video. 

Arlo Pro 3 has another useful feature of the ability to capture color night vision and infrared night vision. Both these features enable you to have a clear vision even in the pitch dark nights. Night video is devoid of any grains so that you have clear faces in case of any unauthorized activity.

It works with Alexa and most of the other smart home platforms including Google Assistant and Apple Watch.

Some other notable features that attribute to must-buy recommendation are 

  • Integrated spotlight
  • Ability to charge through solar panel (sold additionally).
  • Ability to talk to the person in front of the camera.
  • Subscription-based cloud video storage
  • Custom activity zones to focus on important areas.
  • Package detection.

The Arlo Pro 3 is an expensive camera to own as it requires an Arlo base station if you want to install more than two cameras. Arlo Smart subscription is optional but if you want additional features it has a recurring monthly cost.

Battery life is poor and it almost made us drop Arlo from top pick in the list. 

Blink XT2 Outdoor/Indoor Smart Security Camera

  • Good battery life.
  • 2-way audio.
  • Custom motion detection.

Blink Xt2 is a nifty outdoor wireless smart camera. It is one of the affordable wireless options with an extremely good battery life. 

It records in full HD (1080p) and provides 2-way audio communication with visitors on the front door through the Blink app (not Alexa). The viewing angle is 110-degrees which is a bit restrictive.

It has an inbuilt motion sensor when triggered starts recording the event. Cloud storage is free and part of the deal and does not require any monthly subscription. This is a huge advantage for people who hate any recurring costs associated to use a service.

XT2 captures video footage in color during the day but night video is in black and white. It is equipped with infrared night vision.

Blink XT2 has a unique feature of temperature monitoring which in our review is more accurate than popular weather apps.

Being an Amazon product, it works only with Alexa and does not support Apple.

The Blink becomes more economical if you plan to install multiple cameras. And there is further cost saving as it comes bundled with Blink Sync Module or hub.

Wyze Cam Indoor Wireless Smart Home Camera

  • Affordable Wireless Indoor Security Camera.
  • Supports Live Streaming.
  • Free Cloud Storage.
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant.

Wyze Cam is a perfect budget indoor security camera with many useful features under $30. It has some decent features like live HD streaming, night vision, and 14-day free limited cloud storage.

It comes with a microSD card for local storage so that you can capture time-lapse or continuous longer videos. There is no subscription model but it allows only 14secs of video storage on the cloud.

 It works with Alexa and comes with a good feature-rich app. It has a limited field of view but looking at the price point it has superseded our expectations.

Google Nest Cam Indoor Home Security Camera

  • HD Live streaming over wifi.
  • Great video quality including night vision.
  • 2-way audio.
  • 2-year warranty.

Google Nest Cam is an affordable indoor home security camera with many useful features you can find in his elder sibling. 

The most standout feature of the Google Next Cam is video quality. It provides clear HD quality videos even in the night. It has a night vision powered by 8 infrared LEDs for superior video.

It is easy to set up without any professional help. There is a guided setup through the Nest App and you can mount on the wall, place it on the table or use the magnetic base.

The Nest Cam will send you smart mobile notifications whenever it spots some activity in the room. The 2-way audio makes the smart camera interactive and you can talk to your kids or pet through the app.

It works with Alexa as well as Google Assistant. There is a 30 day trial period of Nest Aware, a subscription that features 10-day video history, custom activity zones, and intelligent alerts.

Although the video recording is not available without a subscription and 130-degree of field view is a downer. But being an indoor camera and under $130, it makes a strong contender to be on our list.

ecobee Indoor Wireless Security Camera

  • Wide 180-degree field of view.
  • Smart Focus that adjusts focuses on a moving person.
  • Built-in Alexa.
  • AutoPilot option: turns off the camera when family members are at home.

We were quite impressed with ecobee as a brand when we were testing thermostats for our article Best Thermostats for Multiple Zones. Hence we are always excited to test any product from ecobee.

Ecobee smart camera for indoors lived up to our expectations. The camera has an HD video quality and among the best available in this price range. 

What makes ecobee standout is the 180-degree field of view! No, it is not just a number. You will be surprised by the amount of view it covers.

Let us talk about a couple of savings it does. AutoPilot is another feature that seems borrowed from smart thermostats for good. The camera switches off when a family member and automatically start when no one is home.

If this makes you a little uncomfortable on security camera getting switched off in “any” situation than AutoPilot is optional and can be turned off. It will continue to work 24/7 but will record only when it detects any motion.

The ecobee has a brand new 8-core processor that saves bandwidth for better connectivity.

The camera can smartly focus on people. With a smart focus feature, it adjusts the camera’s focus as soon as a moving person enters the frame.

It has a window mode that will turn off the infrared LEDs. It enables the camera to see through a glass windowpane and avoid any glare. So go ahead and point it towards your porch through the window.

It not only works with Alexa but has a built-in Alexa. Use your voice to command Alexa for operating other connected devices.

So where is the catch?

It allows video recording and 14-day video history but that is included with a monthly subscription. Although the subscription is affordable than the other similar products.

ecobee smartcamera gives a new dimension to your privacy. 

Google Nest Cam Outdoor Surveillance Camera

  • HD surveillance camera with 8x zoom.
  • Outdoor camera with a 24×7 Live view.
  • 2-way audio.
  • Great video quality.

Google Nest Cam is a capable yet affordable outdoor camera. It is a weatherproof camera that provides a 24/7 live view on your phone.

It does support HD footage but additionally supports 8x zoom for better details. 

It has some smart features like sending alerts based on motion and sound. The camera detects any motion or strange sound and sends a phone alert.

Like many other home security cameras, it supports 2-way audio with a built-in speaker and microphone. 

Night vision supports black and white video and is crystal clear. 

Most of the features are very similar to Nest Cam Indoor camera we have already reviewed above. It does record video but you will need Nest Aware subscription. 

The subscription plans also include intelligent alerts based on a familiar face, dog barking, smoke alarm, or glass breaking.

The quality of video and pricing is the highlight of Nest cameras.

Ring Spotlight Cam Battery operated Security Camera

  • Quick-release rechargeable battery.
  • 2-way talk.
  • Siren alarm
  • Motion-activated spotlight.
  • Supports charging through Solar panel.

Ring products are popular in many smart homes. If you already own a Ring smart home device, we highly recommend this.

Even if you don’t own a Ring product, it has some useful features you may want in your smart home security camera. We have featured a battery-operated camera. A wired version of the same is available at a similar price point if recharging a battery is a hassle.

It delivers a 1080p HD resolution video and is equipped with night vision using infrared LEDs. The field of view of 140-degree is above average.

Being an Amazon product, it’s integration with Alexa is absolute love. You can talk to your visitor at the door as it supports 2-way audio. You can talk using the Echo device and command Alexa for the same.

It gets power from a rechargeable battery and also supports charging through the solar panel. In our opinion, it is an unbeatable combination.

An optional Ring Protection Plan subscription is available that enables video recording.

An interesting offer with each camera is theft protection. If your camera gets stolen, Ring will replace it with a new camera free of cost. All you have to do is share the police report after filing.

It has built-in motion sensors, LEDs for the spotlight, and a siren in case of emergency. It sends motion-activated alerts to your phone in case of any trespassing.

Ring smart camera is a great product. All you need to decide is to power through wire or battery. We recommend connecting to a $25 solar panel, it is a life and energy saver.

How to Choose the Best Wireless Home Security Camera?

Most of the security cameras connect to your phone or laptop through wifi and can be operated wirelessly through the apps/website.

There are some considerations to keep in mind while choosing the security camera for your home.

Power Source

There are many options available now where the camera can be powered through a battery. We suggest you look for a viable option as the gadget will be on power source 24/7.

Battery seems to be a convenient option but it requires recharging and a backup battery option. 

If wiring the camera is not tedious, it is a recommended power supply to save some hassles. We also strongly recommend solar panels to source power as the panel can cost you as low as $20-$30.

Make sure you buy a security camera that supports solar panel connectivity and can be a good option if in future you decide to use solar energy.

Video recording & Storage

Video recording and its storage can be a tricky decision. Many providers don’t provide recording and storage without a subscription plan.

A video recording for an indoor security camera may not be a priority for many but for your outdoor security camera, it can be a useful option.

Some smart cameras may provide the option of local storage on a microSD card but make sure the quality of the video is worth spending the money.

Alternatively, buy a camera with good after-sales service and affordable tiered subscription plans. So that in the future if you plan to subscribe it is not expensive as a monthly expense.

Smart Home Ecosystem

With more and more smart home devices enabling our homes. It is worth considering which ecosystem or brand you are investing in.

Major brands have well-integrated devices. For example, if you already own Ring Video Doorbell, it makes more sense to invest in a Ring camera.

Smart devices provide more value when they support each other properly.

Video Quality

It is no brainer that any camera you buy the video quality will be of paramount importance. In our reviews, we found few cameras managed to match other security cameras in terms of features but the quality of the video was below par.

The video should be clear and without any pixelation so that you can identify the people in the footage if the need arises.

Night Vision

Night vision is another factor related to video quality but there are some additional points you need to consider. 

The video quality has to A grade but there are security cameras that now provide color video footage in the night. It can be a nice upgrade to consider.

Also, some camera sensor works well in daylight but night vision footage does not match the expectations.

Field of View

Wider field of view is worth spending more money in our opinion. The wide view captures more scene and provides more detail. If you are confused between two smart home cameras, we will suggest you choose the one with a wide field of view.

Conclusion

The smart home industry is a fast pace industry. Many new smart home devices and upgrades are launched every year. We try to update our reviews frequently so that you get the latest and accurate recommendations.

Our list will help you choose the best wireless home security camera based upon what your requirements are.

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Smart Locks

August Wi-Fi Smart Lock Review

Things are changing and directing towards a new change with the launch of August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. Launched on 12th April 2020, we are among the first to share the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock review. It might be a little confusing for you if you are familiar with August locks. 

Its name, as well as features, may sound similar to the existing awesome Smart Lock Pro. The smart lock pro was available as a standalone lock and also with wifi capabilities if you buy an additional August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge.

With the launch of the new August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, you don’t need an additional gadget to bring in wifi features. As the name suggests the W-Fi connectivity is inbuilt in the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. But it lacks Z-Wave plus support which was part of Smart Lock Pro + Connect Wifi Bridge combo.

August Wi-Fi Smart Lock Installation

Installing an August Wi-Fi Smart Lock was a breeze. Whether you are installing any lock for the first or an experienced person with mechanical stuff. The installation process would take anywhere between 5 to 12 mins.

Deadbolts Compatible with August Wi-Fi Smart Locks

August Wi-Fi Smart Locks are compatible with a wide variety of brands. It is installed above the existing deadbolts on the inner side of the door. You can check the complete compatibility list over here.

They are compatible only with single cylinder deadbolts. So don’t buy the August locks if you have a single-sided deadbolt, Medeco or Mu-t-Lock. Also, you need to ensure your existing deadbolt works without any issues. Any frictions while opening and closing the door can affect the proper functioning of the smart lock.

Inside August WiFi Smart Lock Change Battery

To begin the installation, remove the existing cover plate of the deadbolt. Remove the two screws and replace the August universal mounting plate. Align the two holes of the screw to fasten the plate with the help of screws. Put one of the compatible plastic blue adaptor inserts provided by August. 

Now align the main cover of the smart lock into the blue insert. Fix the lock cover by closing the two open side wings or flaps. The entire procedure generally takes 5 to 6 minutes.

The last step after installing the unit is to insert batteries by removing the faceplate. 

DoorSense™ Installation: To enable notification to your app about door left open or Auto lock/unlock feature, DoorSense needs to be installed properly.

August Smart Lokc DoorSense™ Installation - Surface Mount and Flush Mount

The positioning of the DoorSense™ varies with the version of the August Smart Lock you are using. There are two ways to install August DoorSense™: Surface mount and Flush Mount. For surface mount of August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, the DoorSense™ needs to be installed 1.5 inches from the edge as well as 1.5 inches within the top of the extended deadbolt.

The surface mount is relatively easy to install and does not take much time but Flush mount which gives cleaner look and may take little longer time and precision skills.

The DoorSense™ will be installed in the frame of the door in case of a flush mount. Again the DoorSense™ should be mounted within 1.5 inches from the top of the strike plate. You will need a drill machine to drill a hole in the door frame. The DoorSense™ requires half inches deep hole to assemble the DoorSense™.

Once you are done head over to your smartphone to set up your account by downloading the August app. Calibrate the lock by following the step by step instructions.

If you are having issues with notification related to DoorSense™, all you need to do is recalibrate the lock again.

Read: How do Smart Locks work?

August Smart Lock App

The August app is available on android as well as on iOS platforms. Install the app and create an August account with valid details. The August app is a common app for August Doorbell Cam Pro (see on Amazon) and all August smart locks.

August Smart Lock App with circular button

The app is fairly intuitive and easy to use. The screen has a large circular button that changes color from Red to green to represent unlock to lock status and vice versa.

To manage the access to your guests, head over to the guest list screen. You can invite the guests via text and email to use the app to unlock the door. The guests cannot provide access to other users.

The entry of guests can be limited by time or number of visits.

Some of the other useful features are

  • Remote Access: Easy to provide remote access to lock and unlock your door through your app.
  • Auto Lock/Unlock: The door gets automatically locked or unlocked when you move in and out. To make this work additionally DoorSense sensor needs to be installed. It is provided in the box by August. It works on Bluetooth of the phone so your smartphone should be with you. The auto-lock and auto-unlock timings are adjustable as per your convenience. 
  • Apple HomeKit: It is fully compatible with Apple HomeKit and you can assign a HomeKit home or room.
  • Google Assistant & Alexa: voice-activated support for locking, unlocking, and to check the status of the door.
  • Smart Alerts: The lock sends alerts on your smartphone in case of any change in the status of the door. 
  • Dual Encryption: It uses dual encryption on the Wi-Fi Smart Lock. Bluetooth energy (BLE) technology encryption and TLS ( app ).
  • Dual Authentication: It has two-factor authentication. August products require an additional verification either by email or phone number.
  • Activity Feed: You can open your app and it will show the entire timeline about when the door was lock and unlocked by home visitors or the guests.

Read: How secure are Smart Locks?

List of ways to Access the door with August Wi-Fi Smart Lock

  1. Using your app on your smartphone.
  2. Using the original key of your deadbolt.
  3. August Keypad ( sold separately ).
  4. Using an Apple watch.

How to disable August App and virtual keys if you lose your phone?

Go to lostphone.august.com and disable all keys, app and any associated devices. You will be asked to enter your email id and a code will be sent to your email id. 

Final Thoughts

The August Wi-Fi is a worthy contender and is surely going to replace his older pal Smart Lock Pro.

Honestly, Smart Lock Pro has been a favorite among the consumers and few customers were not happy about installing another gadget – Connect Wifi bridge to add Wifi capabilities to Smart Lock Pro.

The August team looked into the feedback and came up with a new version of Smart Lock Pro which does not require a bridge to enable Wifi features. The August Wi-Fi already has an inbuilt Wifi into it.

Go ahead and buy with confidence!

Categories
Smart Sensors

Best Smart Smoke Detector

The era of the old traditional smoke detector is beyond the expiry date. Some of the best smart smoke detectors available can instantly send a notification to your phone as soon as there is some smoke.

Smoke alarms are efficient and get triggered but how does it help if you are not at home. Aesthetically speaking, they are clunky and does not gel with your interiors.

The smart detectors send push notifications wherever you are and can exchange information with other smart home devices.

The smoke detector sensors are designed to understand a wide variety of smokes and carbon monoxide. 

We tested out some of the top-selling smart smoke detectors before curating the below list.

Best Smart Smoke Detector

Google Nest Protect Alarm & Carbon Monoxide Detector

  • Easy to Use App.
  • Split spectrum sensor.

The Nest Protect by Google is arguably the best smart smoke detector available right now. It works on battery but the hardwired mode is also available at a cheaper price.

It is one of the modern and stylish looking gadgets better than the ones that look outdated. Functionally, it sends push notifications on your smartphone as well as voice alerts.

The Nest Protect is equipped with a Split Spectrum Sensor that picks up the difference between fast-burning and smoldering fires versus slow-burning like burnt toast in the kitchen.

It has a dedicated carbon monoxide detector (CO) that looks out for any CO in the house. It uses the latest photoelectric and ionization technologies.

The Nest app is easy to use with some handy features. It has an app silence that lets you silence the smoke alarm from the app itself. 

The Nest Protect avoids irritating chirping sound in place of self-tests the batteries to send low battery warning to the Nest app. It also acts as a pathway light as a guide to move around.

Another fair advantage is the ability to set it up easily and its compatibility with other Google Nest products. The detector connected with other smart devices like a smart camera can trigger recording in case of smoke.

Other Notable Smart Smoke Detectors Worth Considering

Onelink Safe & Sound Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm

When we first picked up the Onelink smart smoke detector and saw the technical specifications we were smiling ear to ear.

But by the time we reached the end of the specification sheet, we were greeted with a rude shock. The pricing!

Yes, it is a capable smoke alarm but pricing will be a deterrent. It has its advantages that some people may feel justified to buy this gadget.

OneLink is HomeKit compatible and is integrated with Alexa speaker and can connect to most of the hardwired smoke detectors like First Alert. Onelink is a photoelectric smoke detector equipped with a carbon monoxide sensor.

It sends push alerts to your mobile as soon as it detects smoke. The notifications are instant and we did not experience any delay.

Being integrated with Alexa speaker, it can be used to stream music from Spotify. There are tons of other supported apps and services but linking them is a bit counterintuitive.

It is truly a smart smoke detector capable of Alexa voice services and Alexa skills. It is also compatible with AirPlay and Apple HomeKit. Like other smoke detectors, it has a nightlight feature to light your path in the dark when auto-brightness is enabled.

It works on AC power and has a battery backup in case of power cuts.

First Alert Z-Wave Smoke Detector & Carbon Monoxide Alarm (2nd Generation)

Launched in August 2020, the 2nd generation First Alert smoke detector is a good option as an affordable smart smoke detector.

Clearly, it may not be a cool-looking device but is a feature-rich smoke detector especially when it comes to integration with other systems.

It works with most of the popular z-wave smart devices such as the Ring Alarm, Nexia, SmartThings. Although it is not compatible with Onelink or Wink. Do make a note that it requires a z-wave hub to connect to other devices or send notifications. 

There is a considerable improvement in the second generation that has reduced false alarms. The new photoelectric smoke sensor is capable to distinguish kitchen cooking smoke or steam from the shower area.

The pairing with the Ring Alarm is smooth and if you buy an optional Ring Protect Plus Plan, it can notify the monitoring service. All notifications of smoke detection are sent to the Ring app.

What are you going to miss?

The biggest missing feature is wireless interconnectivity. With multiple smoke detectors installed in a home, they won’t be able to connect to each other or trigger if one detector detects smoke.

The Voice assistant feature is also missing.

Ugly Truth about Current Smart Smoke Detectors

The reason why people are willing to invest in a smart smoke detector is the seamless experience and ability to get notified about smoke wherever you are.

There is misleading info on the internet about smart smoke detectors. Many recommended detectors are mere battery smoke detectors or they lack the features to send notifications to your smartphone.

For example, In our survey, many people had bought Ring Alarm Smoke and CO Listener. It is not a smoke detector with a sensor but a smart listener. Smart battery works (listens) with your existing detector and cannot work independently.

It “listens” to the smoke detector and send information directly to your fire agency. In many cases, people had to pay for false alarm because there was no way to cancel the fire alarm registered with the fire department.

There are many good smoke detectors available with good battery life. They have the latest electrochemical and photoelectric sensor that meets the UL 217 & UL 2034 safety standards. As they are not smart so they are useful only if you are at home.

Is Smart Listener Battery worth your time and money?

No, they are not a replacement for a reliable smart smoke detector. They look good on paper but practically there are many loopholes and we don’t recommend putting your home safety at risk.

They work with non-smart smoke detectors that work on battery. The smart battery has a wifi chip and is replaced with the standard battery.

A smart listener detects the alarm pattern and sends a notification to your phone through wifi. But there are a couple of things you need to consider.

  1. It is not directly connected to your detector and cannot stop the alarm siren.
  2. The software listens to the alarm pattern and notifies but accuracy is where it falters.

There are many smart listeners available now and the Roost Smart Listener battery leads the way. But there are too many issues with false alarms or chirping issues.

The money you save is not worth the hassles and frustration of false fire alarms. You don’t want to put your home safety at risk with a smart battery.

Is Alexa Guard worth buying?

Alexa Guard is not a replacement for a smoke detector. It does mimic some features of a smoke detector but we cannot recommend it as a smoke detector.

Alexa Guard is free if you own an Echo Dot or any Alexa enabled speaker. It can be a tempting option.

It sends a notification to your smartphone when it hears an alarm, glass break, or smoke. The Guard even records a 10-sec audio clip so that you get an idea of the situation. 

Many people buy Alexa Guard as it enables your existing smoke detector into a smart smoke detector. You cannot connect to any smoke detector is what makes it a risky investment.

Imagine a scenario if your Wifi is down or Echo is off for some reason. There are times when people have forgot to activate it before leaving the house. 

This is one of the cheapest solutions if your smart home is already Alexa enabled but the kind of safety it provides can lead to an undesirable situation.

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