The Best Smart Lock for Key-Free Entry to your HomeThe Best Smart Lock for Key-Free Entry to your Home

The Best Smart Lock

Or how to not waste time searching for your keys each morning.
Sarah Idle
Words by 
Sarah Idle
Updated 
Aug 27, 2020
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At a glance

You might have thought growing up that The Jetsons, all robot housekeepers and luxury clever homes, was just a bit of entertainment. Team, we’re kind of there. Sure, flying cars might not quite be a reality (although we’re sure Elon Musk is beavering away on that), but the rest of it has arrived. Sort of.

No robot housekeepers, but we have robot vacuums. We’re smashing video calling, especially now (here’s looking at you Zoom). And our homes are getting smarter. This includes the humble door lock. Getting rid of keys, a smart door lock lets you unlock or lock your door through a keypad, app or even your phone’s voice assistant. It also lets you create pin codes or eKeys for anyone, including visitors, tradies or the cleaner. These can be restricted to certain minutes, hours or days and deleted once the visit is over. This means no more spare keys floating around. For a fully connected home entry system, a smart door lock is a good companion to a video doorbell.

There is a glaring downside to smart locks currently though, or those that use a keypad. That’s multiple potential germ-carrying hands touching your door lock every day. Those supermarket trips and neighbourhood strolls are going to add up when you have to disinfect your smart lock every time.

If you’re ready to wave goodbye to fumbling with your keys, read on for our guide to the best smart locks in Australia. It’s been compiled from hours of research, including international insights and real Aussie consumer opinions, bringing everything you need to know into 1 handy place.

Best for most

Yale Assure SL Lock

The Yale Assure SL Lock has a clear, easy to use touchscreen keypad which can handle up to 25 unique pin codes. 100% key free, it has additional Network Modules to create a fully connected smart home. It’s highly rated internationally but doesn’t yet have any Aussie consumer reviews.

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Yale Assure SL Lock
Top
Pick

How we picked

Not easily. Normally we begin by looking into expert testing, like CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group. But with the use of smart home tech still a rising area in Australia, they hadn’t reviewed smart door locks. We tried Consumer instead, the Kiwi equivalent. Although they too hadn’t tested any smart locks, they did have a first-hand account of using a smart lock, by one of their technical writers. Which was a start. 

We then tried the US-based Consumer Reports (yep, the US equivalent of CHOICE). They had reviewed them! Which was great. But further digging revealed that the models they reviewed weren’t available in Australia. Sigh. 

Our next tactic was to try ProductReview.com.au to read about Aussies’ experiences with smart locks. You’ve guessed it – there were barely any reviews. We found 3 possibles. One was quickly discounted as it was no longer available in Australia. The other 2 had quite good reviews, but from a  tiny number of reviewers.

This brought our total up to 3. To widen our search, we headed to reputable international sources, including Safety.com and The Wirecutter. After discounting any not available in Australia, we found 2 other contenders.

Normally we like to narrow our picks down by looking for must-have features and ensuring we cover a range of price points. We didn’t need to this time.

Best for most -> Yale Assure SL Lock

Yale Assure SL Lock

The Yale Assure SL Lock has a clear, easy to use touchscreen keypad which can handle up to 25 unique pin codes. 100% key free, it has additional Network Modules to create a fully connected smart home. It’s highly rated internationally but doesn’t yet have any Aussie consumer reviews.

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Sleek, modern and unobtrusive, the Yale Assure SL Lock is the perfect fit for every smart home. RRP $329, it’s 100% key free. Instead, you open your front door by entering your pin code via the touchscreen keypad. Tap the keypad to lock up.

You can create up to 25 unique pin codes for sharing with friends and family. These can be restricted or deleted, as needed. This is handy if you’re running an Airbnb or have someone who regularly accesses your home, like a cleaner. It has a 9V battery backup if the batteries die. It’ll warn you when the batteries are running low too.

What we really like about the Yale Assure SL Lock is the option to upgrade it to create a fully connected smart home. Standalone, it’s a great simple smart door lock. But pay around $90 for a Network Module and you can control your door lock from your smartphone or tablet. 

There are 3 versions which are compatible with a range of home automation hubs, including Apple HomeKit. This includes opening and locking your door, wherever you are. It’ll also send you notifications when someone uses a pin code. The Apple HomeKit compatible network module (that’s the Yale iM1) allows you to create ‘dynamic scenes’. This means you can set up routines of daily activities, like going to bed. When you trigger that routine, your Apple HomeKit will lock your door and trigger other connected devices by turning lights off and lowering the thermostat. 

Although it doesn’t currently have any reviews on ProductReview.com.au, a Consumer NZ Technical Writer has put one through its paces and enjoyed the experience. Plus, it’s the number 1 pick of both Consumer Reports (the US equivalent of CHOICE) and The Wirecutter (a US product review site). These expert backings give us confidence that currently, the Yale Assure SL Lock is the best smart door lock in Australia.

Why buy the Yale Assure SL Lock

Multiple pin codes

You can create up to 25 unique pin codes which you can restrict or delete as needed.

Clear keyboard

The touchscreen keypad is easy to read and use.

Simple

With a smartphone not necessary to operate it, it’s suitable for all family members, including the non-smartphone using ones. 

100% key free

No more carrying keys about and wondering where the heck you left them.

Low battery warning

So hopefully the batteries won’t die, resulting in you getting locked out of your home.

9V battery backup

More protection against dead batteries.

Smart upgrade

It works well standalone but opt for the additional Network Module and you can create a fully connected smart home, with your door operated from the comfort of your device.

Good looks

It’s sleek, modern and unobtrusive, making it ideal for every home.

Loved by international pros

US-based Consumer Reports and The Wirecutter rate it, which gives you some confidence about how well it performs. 

The not-so-good bits

100% key free

Sure, it has 9V battery backup and a low battery alert but if it’s tipping with rain and the batteries have died, with no key lock you better hope there’s another door you can get in via.   

No ProductReview.com reviews

With no reviews, we don’t know how it performs in Aussie homes.

No CHOICE review

We also don’t know what the Australian pros think of it.

In summary 

If you’re looking for a simple and modern smart door lock, we reckon the Yale Assure SL Lock is your best bet. A clear, easy to use touchscreen keypad makes getting into your home simple. Tap it to lock up as you leave. You can create up to 25 unique pin codes, making it ideal for anyone who has guests or frequent tradies popping in. These can easily be restricted or deleted. 100% key free, it has a low battery warning and 9V battery backup to hopefully avoid getting locked out of your home. We like the additional Network Modules you can buy to create a fully connected smart home. It’s highly rated internationally but doesn’t yet have any Aussie consumer reviews. 


The competition

Currently, there aren’t that many smart locks available on the Australian market. These are the other ones we reckon are worth considering.

Lockwood Keyless Digital Deadbolt

The Lockwood Keyless Digital Deadbolt is the most affordable smart lock we reviewed, coming in around $275. It’s also the ‘dumbest’ of the smart locks. What do we mean by that? It doesn’t have a connected app so you can’t control it via your devices.

Instead, it has 1 master pin code, 20 user pin codes and 1 visitor pin code that lasts from 3 hours to 2 weeks. This makes it ideal for tradies or for neighbours watching your home while you’re away. With the master pin, you can restrict all other pin codes. Additional security comes from the privacy mode. This deactivates the keypad from the inside, stopping anyone using any code to get in.

It has a low battery warning but the good thing about the Lockwood Keyless Digital Deadbolt is that it has an emergency key override. Which makes this the best of both worlds, both keyless and keyed.

It’s 1 of only 2 smart locks we found on ProductReview.com.au. It gets over 4 stars (from just 3 reviews) on ProductReview.com.au. 

Choose this if...

You want a basic, affordable smart door lock that doesn’t form part of a wider connected home but does have great features, including privacy mode and emergency key override, and is liked by a tiny number of Aussies.

Kwikset Kevo Contemporary Smart Lock (2nd Gen)

The Kwikset Kevo is the second of our smart locks which has been reviewed on ProductReview.com.au. It gets a reasonable 3 stars from just 2 reviews. RRP $390, it’s one of the most expensive we reviewed.

That’s because it features touch to unlock technology. It communicates with the app on your smartphone to open and lock the door for you. This means there are no pin codes to enter, it works via eKeys instead. Through your connected device, you can quickly and easily set up, remove and customise access for everyone who enters your home, from wherever you are. These eKeys can be assigned different types and you can set specific time periods for when they can be used, i.e. only for the 1-hour period the cleaner will be at your home. You can also open and lock your door through the app.

The app’s lock history monitors all your eKey activity. This includes sending and accepting the keys and any locking and unlocking of your door. It even sends you notifications when the door is locked and unlocked so you can keep track of who’s at home (or not).  

The Kwikset Kevo Contemporary Smart Lock (2nd Gen) is smart home compatible. It works with smart watches and a range of products, including thermostats, the Ring Video Doorbell and Amazon Alexa+. 

Forgotten your phone? It has a backup key lock too. 

Choose this if...

You don’t want to remember pin codes, would rather use your smartphone to unlock your door and want an app that allows you to create and customise eKeys and monitor all comings and goings through your door.

August Smart Lock

The August Smart Lock transforms your smartphone into your home key. But it’s also a hybrid lock. It fits over your existing deadbolt which means you can use your existing keys, if needed. This also makes it quick and easy to install, unlike most smart locks.

The app lets you lock and unlock your door, grant guest access for minutes, hours or days, either for a one-off event or for regular access, and see when your door is unlocked or locked - all from your smartphone. Opt for the additional Connect Wi-Fi Bridge and you can also let anyone into your home, wherever you are. This additional Bridge (around $150) also lets you pair it with other smart home tech, including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This means you can voice control your front door. 

We like the auto lock feature, which gives you extra security if you’re not sure you remembered to lock the door. It also has an auto unlock feature which recognises you as you arrive and unlocks the door for you – no more fumbling for keys when your hands are full. 

Safety.com has the August Smart Lock as their #1 pick. Currently, it doesn’t have any reviews on ProductReview.com.au. It does have some Australian consumer reviews on Amazon, but we’re not convinced about the trustworthiness of Amazon reviews. A lot of retailers pay people to say good things about their stuff. We can’t find its RRP, but it seems to be around $170.

Choose this if...

You want an affordable hybrid smart lock that fits into your existing deadbolt, with your existing keys as backup, and gives you great control over your door from your smartphone. Up its smartness by buying the separate Connect Wi-Fi Bridge.

Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro

For something that looks straight out of Star Trek, consider the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro. It offers 6 ways to unlock your door, with or without your smartphone: smartphone app, fingerprint, passcode, proximity unlock, magic shake and mechanical key. So even if you forget the passcode or your phone, you should still be able to get in your door. 

If you’ve got guests, you can create temporary codes and eKeys. The app lets you manage users and view a log record of who entered, and when. It also has auto lock and auto unlock. It’s the only smart lock we reviewed that offers the high-end feature of fingerprint ID unlock. 

There’s a low battery alarm plus a micro-USB slot for emergency power. You need to buy the additional Bridge WiFi Adaptor to unlock more functionality, including unlocking your door from wherever you are and receiving instant alerts when someone unlocks your door. It works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT.

All this is going to set you back around $400, with the Bridge an additional cost. That makes the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro the most expensive smart door lock we reviewed. The Wirecutter rates it; it’s their runner-up pick. There are no Australian consumer reviews currently.

Choose this if...

You want a smart door lock that has fingerprint ID unlock and are happy to spend around $400+ for it.

How we picked

Not easily. Normally we begin by looking into expert testing, like CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group. But with the use of smart home tech still a rising area in Australia, they hadn’t reviewed smart door locks. We tried Consumer instead, the Kiwi equivalent. Although they too hadn’t tested any smart locks, they did have a first-hand account of using a smart lock, by one of their technical writers. Which was a start. 

We then tried the US-based Consumer Reports (yep, the US equivalent of CHOICE). They had reviewed them! Which was great. But further digging revealed that the models they reviewed weren’t available in Australia. Sigh. 

Our next tactic was to try ProductReview.com.au to read about Aussies’ experiences with smart locks. You’ve guessed it – there were barely any reviews. We found 3 possibles. One was quickly discounted as it was no longer available in Australia. The other 2 had quite good reviews, but from a  tiny number of reviewers.

This brought our total up to 3. To widen our search, we headed to reputable international sources, including Safety.com and The Wirecutter. After discounting any not available in Australia, we found 2 other contenders.

Normally we like to narrow our picks down by looking for must-have features and ensuring we cover a range of price points. We didn’t need to this time.

Important features to consider

Most smart locks are packing similar features. Here’s what to look for.

Installation

Some smart locks, like the August Smart Lock, work with your existing door deadbolt. This makes installation quick and easy. Others require you to replace all your door hardware and possibly wire it in. Pay attention to the installation to get an idea of how long it’ll take you and how expensive it might be if you need to hire an electrician.

Keypad

Not all smart locks have a keypad. Two of our picks, the Kwikset Kevo and the August Smart Lock, don’t. Using a keypad is easy and works well for people who don’t have smartphones – think your grandma or your kids. But in a global pandemic when we’re all worried about bugs lingering on surfaces, you might not want to have to regularly clean your smart door lock.

Non-keypad smart locks tend to look cleaner and more modern. But they do need you to have a connected smartphone, and a reliable connection, to open your door.

Smart home integration

If you want to create a fully smart home, look for a smart door lock that integrates with other smart home products, like smart light bulbs or smart plugs. Locks that integrate with voice-controlled tech like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant are great too. It means you can create routines, like ‘going to bed’. Say that voice command and your front door might lock, the lights and any music might go off and your thermostat might lower. 

Security

For smart locks that connect to your smartphone, check out the encryption it uses. As your lock will be transmitting data over the internet to wherever you are, you’ll want to make sure it’s got rock solid encryption. Look online to see if the manufacturer has ever experienced data breaches.

Choosing a 100% key-free smart door lock means there’s no lock to pick, which ups the security of your home. Also consider if it has any resistance to forced entry or tampering, or if it uses a hardcore deadbolt. Some smart locks have in-built alarms too that go off when they detect tampering. 

Backup power

Because smart door locks need a constant power source, they run on batteries. Rechargeable batteries are ideal, as it saves dead ones being sent to landfill. Look for a smart lock with a low battery indicator so you know it’s time to charge or change it. Some have a backup battery slot or charging point, in case the battery runs out. 

Keyless and keyed

If you’re getting a smart door lock because you don’t want to mess around with keys, getting one with a key might seem pointless. But it’s a good backup in case the batteries or Bluetooth fail, and you have no way of getting inside your home. If you choose 100% key-free, make sure there’s another door you can enter through.

What you get if you spend more

If you want a really smart, smart door lock, you need to pay more. Here’s what some extra dollars gets you.

Fingerprint ID

Some smart door locks, like the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro, use a fingerprint scanner to open the lock. You can normally programme multiple fingerprints so loved ones can access your home too. 

There are security concerns about fingerprint unlocks with the risk being someone could ‘steal’ your fingerprint using some high-tech wizardry most often some in movies. We reckon if someone really wants to get into your home, they’re going to crowbar the door, not repurpose some clingfilm to steal your fingerprint.

Remote access

Most smart locks offer additional wi-fi bridges or network modules. These give you control of your door, from wherever you are via an app on your device. This normally includes being able to unlock and lock your door remotely, as well as receiving alerts every time someone locks or unlocks your door.

The bottom line

We’re moving steadily towards homes of the future, getting greater control of them through our smartphones and voice commands. A smart door lock is a solid part of a fully connected smart home. No more fumbling with keys, you can lock and unlock it with your smartphone (plus other ways). Ideal for people who rent their home out or who have regular tradies / deliveries / cleaners popping in, you can easily create and share eKeys, including setting time limits on their use. Bye spare keys floating around. A smart lock allows you to monitor who’s entering and leaving your home, making it an ideal companion to a video doorbell.  In short, a smart door lock gives you more control and security over your door. 

We think the Yale Assure SL Lock is Australia’s best smart lock. RRP $329, it’s simple and modern with a clear, easy to use touchscreen keypad. You can create up to 25 unique pin codes, which can be easily restricted or deleted. It’s 100% key free so ensure you have another way in, just in case. Buy the additional Network Modules to create a fully connected smart home. Although it’s highly rated internationally, it doesn’t have any Aussie consumer reviews.

Cover image from Yale.

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