Review: The new August is the best Wi-Fi connected HomeKit smart lock around

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 21
The new HomeKit-enabled August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is a reliable and secure way to protect your home and fixes near all of the grievances from previous designs.

The new August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
The new August Wi-Fi Smart Lock

The new August

We've used August locks for years with it being one of the very first to support Apple's HomeKit, but they always had minor annoyances that irked us. With the new 2020 August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, it seems August has listened to its customers.






Over the years as we've reviewed the previous generations of August -- all of which have largely looked identical -- we've heard three criticisms. First, is that the lock itself is too large. Second, users hate to use the Connect bridge. And three, that it isn't that intuitive.

Closeup of the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
Closeup of the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock


The last one is a hard pill to swallow but one we've heard from users in our own homes. Some people don't realize that this large cylinder is the lock and they have to twist it to unlock the deadbolt. Fortunately, all of these are resolved with the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock.

August was able to shrink the size considerably, and purposefully made it about the same size as a standard doorknob. August says it "screams turn me" when users encounter it, making it much more intuitive.

A pair of CR123 batteries in the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
A pair of CR123 batteries in the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock


The knob still follows a similar design before, of a round cylinder that sits near flush to the door. The front of the lock has a metal plate that can be removed when the August "a" logo is depressed.

That "a" is also where the status light shines through. Green as it unlocks and red as it locks -- same colors as displayed within the August app.

Tucked away behind that plate is a pair of CR123 batteries used to power the lock, which easily come out when they need changing, with the app alerting you when that time comes. The only issue with these is that they are less prevalent than a common AA battery, so we recommend keeping a backup set on-hand for when the batteries inevitably do run dry.

Installation

Installing August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is simple, taking us about 5-7 minutes and needing nothing but a screwdriver.

August mounting plate
August mounting plate


To install August, you tape the front of the deadbolt in place, remove the interior throw, screw down the mounting plate using the lock's original screws, place the correct adapter in the center, and then secure the August via its wings.

Use a screwdriver or drill to install August
It was easy to install August with a screwdriver or drill


It was easy and quick and still lets you keep the existing hardware on the outside of the door, which means you can continue to use your existing keys as well if you so choose. If you use your keys, the August lock will work just as it always has, but you can at least receive notifications when it is locked or unlocked.

As the new model is so much smaller, an optional cover place is also included. Some doors may have a hole larger than the new August this plate hides that from view.

August DoorSense sensor
August DoorSense sensor


The only part that took a little more work was installing the DoorSense sensor. This small contact sensor will be able to alert you if the door is open or even left slightly ajar.

It can mount on the outside of the door in most cases, but for us, it wouldn't fit due to the door being so recessed behind the frame. This meant we had to mount it in the door frame which involved drilling a hole to house it.

Using the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock

On a basic level, the lock can operate the same as any deadbolt where you manually throw the bolt closed, use a key, and so on. How it differs is that it can be controlled from your phone, from your Apple Watch, via Siri, and even Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.




It is also possible to have the lock work on its own, automatically locking and unlocking as needed. Virtual keys can be shared with friends and family that can just as easily be revoked when necessary.

August adds a wealth of security features to your home as well as much convenience.

Rotating the lock feels much smoother than it has in the past. Previous models felt almost mechanical, while the new model feels fluid and smooth as it is turned. DoorSense also works great, preventing us from ever allowing the door to stay open.

HomeKit controls

Just as with prior generations of August, the new August Wi-Fi Smart Lock works perfectly well with HomeKit. A pairing code is kept right behind the faceplate of lock which makes it easily accessible but not in the way.

The August lock appearing in the Home app
The August lock appearing in the Home app


Once scanned and added to the Home app, you can choose the icon that you prefer -- such as the door handle option, give the lock a name, and assign it to a room.

Where it becomes very powerful is when it is combined with other HomeKit devices. For example, arriving home your door unlocks, the porch light turns on, and your interior lights turn on. When you leave, the door locks, the TV turns off, and your blinds close.

Goodnight scene with the August
Goodnight scene with the Augus


Our favorite scene though is probably our goodnight scene, to make sure we always have our door locked before heading to bed. Routinely we tell Siri "goodnight" on our phone, Apple Watch, or HomePod, and a myriad of devices all start to engage.

Our garage door shuts, our August door lock locks, our shades roll down, the lights turn off, and the AC adjusts. It is smooth and is a perfect way to ready the house for the night.

Siri checking the status of our front door
Siri checking the status of our front door


It is easy as well to check the status of the lock. You can look in the Home app but we just use Siri. If we are away or already turned in for the night, we can just ask Siri if the door is locked or unlocked.

The August app

In the August app, there are a ton of controls to configure that differ from what is available inside of HomeKit. HomeKit allows the August to lock and unlock as you leave and arrive, but it does so as part of a scene and requires user interaction.

It pops up on the Lock Screen asking if you would like to run your arrival scene or your "now leaving" scene.

In our experience, the August app is quicker and requires no user interaction to pull off. Whenever we arrive home, the lock automatically unlocks for us without having to do a thing.

We also like to use auto-lock which is the reverse, in that August will automatically lock itself after a set period. With HomeKit, we can receive notifications on the August so we get alerted as well when it locks or unlocks.

Controlling the August in the August app
Controlling the August in the August app


The August app also makes it easier to share access to the lock. You can send keys to anyone and they can have temporary or restricted access or full access. Smart alerts can be configured so you know when they lock or unlock the August too.

For more insight, there is the DoorSense module, a small magnet that alerts you when your door is left ajar. We do wish that what is basically just a contact sensor was exposed to HomeKit too, but alas not.

DoorSense has been a lifesaver for us in the past. We live near a busy road and are always concerned with our dogs escaping.

On occasion, our door isn't closed all the way and our dogs have escaped before. DoorSense helps prevent this by alerting us to the door being left slightly open before a gust of wind takes it the rest of the way or the dogs figure it out.

The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock in the August app
The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock in the August app


Finally, the August app has a convenient timeline for the lock, showing anytime a user interacts with the August.

Outside of the August app for your iPhone is the August app for Apple Watch. The app is simple and cleanly laid out, and when launched, it shows all your August locks and lets you secure or unlock them at a tap.

What we love about this app though is that when the lock is nearby, the Apple Watch connects directly to the lock rather than routing through the iPhone. This makes it faster and easier to use when your iPhone isn't around.

Compared to August Smart Lock Pro

There are likely many users out there who currently have a first-gen, second-gen, or Pro version of August and are wondering what is the real difference between this new version and theirs.

From a high level, functionality is almost unchanged. All functionality that existed with the August Smart Lock Pro is represented here with the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. It just does much of it better than it did in the past.

August Wi-Fi Smart Lock compared to August Smart Lock Pro
August Wi-Fi Smart Lock compared to August Smart Lock Pro


Take remote connectivity. For previous generations, if you wanted to access the August lock remotely from the August app, you needed the August Connect module. This was the bridge to connect the purely Bluetooth-based August to the internet.

As the name suggests, and as we've already touched on in this review, Wi-Fi is baked right into the smart lock itself. No Connect module is needed whatsoever, and this may or may not be a big deal for users.

If you are only relying on HomeKit and the August is near your Home Hub, then Wi-Fi isn't crucial. The August will work and can even connect remotely all via HomeKit and the Home app, but if it is in a more far-reaching part of the house, or you do more control from the August app, Wi-Fi is key.

The second major change is the new form factor. It is now far smaller than the previous generation.

Should you buy the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock?

If you already have the August Smart Lock Pro, it is a tough sell to upgrade to the new August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. Functionality-wise, they are identical in what they offer.

It depends on how much you want to rid yourself of the Connect module or need that smaller form factor. If you have an older August, then the prospect becomes more enticing.

For those who have no smart lock and are looking to pick one up, the August is a phenomenal choice. Wi-Fi gives it connectivity from anywhere, the smaller size is welcomed and makes it more intuitive to use.

DoorSense is great to make sure your door isn't left open, and the August app and Apple Watch app are reliable and feature-rich.

Not to mention HomeKit which is a must for any die-hard Apple user.

Pros
  • Much improved design and size

  • Smoother rotation

  • Constant Wi-Fi connection without bridge

  • Reliable auto-lock and auto-unlock

  • Full HomeKit support

  • Use your existing keys

  • Easy installation

  • Direct connection on Apple Watch app

  • Other great features like activity feed and guest keys

  • Alexa and Google Assistant support
Cons
  • High price tag

  • Still not 100% identifiable as a door lock

  • DoorSense doesn't show in HomeKit

Rating: 5 out of 5

Where to buy

The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock normally retails for $249.99, but it is currently on sale at Amazon.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    longpathlongpath Posts: 356member
    Given its size, relative to a normal door knob, can it be used as one side of a locking door knob? I’m asking because I’ve been unable to find a HomeKit compatible locking door knob, and every home I've lived in, including my current home, has both a deadbolt and a locking door knob on the exterior hinged doors. The traditional solution seems to be to forego the locking door knob in order to gain keyless entry & HomeKit compatibility; but I’d rather not lose the locking spring latch of a lockable doorknob.

    I’m also still looking for a HomeKit compatible lock for a sliding glass door, as well. Know of any?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 35
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 466member, editor
    longpath said:
    Given its size, relative to a normal door knob, can it be used as one side of a locking door knob? I’m asking because I’ve been unable to find a HomeKit compatible locking door knob, and every home I've lived in, including my current home, has both a deadbolt and a locking door knob on the exterior hinged doors. The traditional solution seems to be to forego the locking door knob in order to gain keyless entry & HomeKit compatibility; but I’d rather not lose the locking spring latch of a lockable doorknob.

    I’m also still looking for a HomeKit compatible lock for a sliding glass door, as well. Know of any?
    I talked to this company earlier this year. They make a lock for sliding doors and he said HomeKit was on the roadmap. It was called the Wayzn


    longpathwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 35
    evolutevolut Posts: 23member
    The article title says “the best”... Is it serious or just a sales pitch?

    I get it that August fixed flaws of previous models, but that makes it only the best of... August locks!

    How is it “the best” of all HomeKit locks on the market? Have you tried and compared them all?

    I bought the original August HomeKit lock, and it now sits in a drawer... ouch!
    The price tag is high and it may very well be worth that much, but I wish to have a serious comparison with competing models, before I commit again. 

    Please don’t call it “the best” without some justification. 

    Thks
    watto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 4 of 35
    f5bf5b Posts: 5member
    It's too expensive, to begin with. The story doesn't even mention how good of a lock it is. I buy a lock primarily as a lock; HomeKit functionality is second. There's been many videos posted on how easy it is to bypass these electronic locks. I'd like to know how someone like the "lockpickinglawyer" would handle these locks.
  • Reply 5 of 35
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 466member, editor
    evolut said:
    The article title says “the best”... Is it serious or just a sales pitch?

    I get it that August fixed flaws of previous models, but that makes it only the best of... August locks!

    How is it “the best” of all HomeKit locks on the market? Have you tried and compared them all?

    I bought the original August HomeKit lock, and it now sits in a drawer... ouch!
    The price tag is high and it may very well be worth that much, but I wish to have a serious comparison with competing models, before I commit again. 

    Please don’t call it “the best” without some justification. 

    Thks
    Personally, I’ve tested nearly all of them. Other than the price, not a single thing I’d change here. That’s the justification. Love the design, love the reliability, love the connectivity, and it has some of the most robust features on the market with things like DoorSense. Even it’s Apple Watch app is slick by connecting direct to the watch to get rid of the phone completely which is great if you leave the house without your phone and makes the app faster. My runner up is the Level Lock, but as I said, this is my favorite internet-connected HomeKit lock. 
    watto_cobrajavair
  • Reply 6 of 35
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 466member, editor
    f5b said:
    It's too expensive, to begin with. The story doesn't even mention how good of a lock it is. I buy a lock primarily as a lock; HomeKit functionality is second. There's been many videos posted on how easy it is to bypass these electronic locks. I'd like to know how someone like the "lockpickinglawyer" would handle these locks.
    Nothing for him to do. This relies 100% on your deadbolt you own. So there is NOTHING to go over how it is in terms of a lock because it doesn’t do that. It does actually make your existing lock safer by alerting you when it is unlocked, how it was unlocked (manually or by someone?), and when the door is opened. No way to bypass this. 
    longpathwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 35
    f5bf5b Posts: 5member
    That's not entirely correct. Defeating the lock doesn't mean going thru the deadbolt, those are usually hardened and rarely break. You bypass smartlocks primarily by raking their cheap lock cylinder or by interfering with their Bluetooth or wifi signal. So, yeah you might get an alert when the lock is bypassed or you might not. The goal of a lock is to prevent access, not make it so easy to access that you need to rely on the secondary notifications.
  • Reply 7 of 35
    f5bf5b Posts: 5member
    Andrew_OSU said:

    Nothing for him to do. This relies 100% on your deadbolt you own. So there is NOTHING to go over how it is in terms of a lock because it doesn’t do that. It does actually make your existing lock safer by alerting you when it is unlocked, how it was unlocked (manually or by someone?), and when the door is opened. No way to bypass this. 
    That's not correct. Defeating the lock doesn't mean going thru the deadbolt, those are usually hardened and rarely break. You bypass smartlocks primarily by raking their cheap lock cylinder or by interfering with their Bluetooth or wifi signal. So, yeah you might get an alert when the lock is bypassed or you might not. The goal of a lock is to prevent access, not make it so easy to access that you need to rely on the secondary notifications.
    edited July 2020
  • Reply 9 of 35
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,743member
    Cons
    High price tag
    This is purely subjective. The price is $249. Period. For some people that's expensive. For other's it's a bargain. In my case, I need a reliable way to let healthcare workers in my house to take care of an elderly relative while we are at work. Installation was a breeze, doesn't change the appearance of my door from the outside, still works with a key for the elderly relative on those rare occasions when she needs to use it and integrates with Home Kit. A grand slam in my books. I did find that locking/unlocking with the app is quicker than using HomeKit controls. I still like to hear the motor locking the door when I leave the house and with Bluetooth, the app is near instantaneous, where the Home app takes about 5 seconds to react.


    Still not 100% identifiable as a door lock.
    I might have missed this in the review, but not sure what you mean. Mine shows up as a Lock in HomeKit.

    edited July 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 35
    neilmneilm Posts: 900member
    The reviews of the new August lock on Amazon are considerably less complimentary. Problems with setup, WiFi connectivity and more. However a recent response there from the manufacturer says, "We have recently released new firmware that should help with Wi-Fi connection issues."

    It would be useful to know whether the AI reviewed August lock had the updated 
    firmware, and also what the procedure for installing a firmware update to it might be.
    caladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 35
    neilmneilm Posts: 900member

    mike1 said:
    Still not 100% identifiable as a door lock.
    I might have missed this in the review, but not sure what you mean. Mine shows up as a Lock in HomeKit.

    I think they mean that some people not familiar with the August apparently do not identify it as a lock knob that can be turned manually.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 35
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,743member
    neilm said:

    mike1 said:
    Still not 100% identifiable as a door lock.
    I might have missed this in the review, but not sure what you mean. Mine shows up as a Lock in HomeKit.

    I think they mean that some people not familiar with the August apparently do not identify it as a lock knob that can be turned manually.
    Ahhhhhh! Thank you.
  • Reply 13 of 35
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 466member, editor
    f5b said:
    Andrew_OSU said:

    Nothing for him to do. This relies 100% on your deadbolt you own. So there is NOTHING to go over how it is in terms of a lock because it doesn’t do that. It does actually make your existing lock safer by alerting you when it is unlocked, how it was unlocked (manually or by someone?), and when the door is opened. No way to bypass this. 
    That's not correct. Defeating the lock doesn't mean going thru the deadbolt, those are usually hardened and rarely break. You bypass smartlocks primarily by raking their cheap lock cylinder or by interfering with their Bluetooth or wifi signal. So, yeah you might get an alert when the lock is bypassed or you might not. The goal of a lock is to prevent access, not make it so easy to access that you need to rely on the secondary notifications.
    See, but in that case you are back at the same spot you are with a regular deadbolt. The user also doesn't SEE from the outside it is a smart lock. So your average thief won't even know. The person breaking in would have to know you have a smart lock in there, block the signal, and then still attempt to pick the deadbolt. That still makes this MORE secure than a normal deadbolt and harder to defeat.
    mike1caladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 35
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 466member, editor

    neilm said:
    The reviews of the new August lock on Amazon are considerably less complimentary. Problems with setup, WiFi connectivity and more. However a recent response there from the manufacturer says, "We have recently released new firmware that should help with Wi-Fi connection issues."

    It would be useful to know whether the AI reviewed August lock had the updated firmware, and also what the procedure for installing a firmware update to it might be.
    I had no issues with setup at all. It all worked flawlessly, but I can't speak for other's experiences. I did see a comment on the video as well saying they had issues with HomeKit configuration which was solved by resetting the lock with the red button on the back.

    We just picked ours up and there was no firmware update so it seems mine was updated prior to me reviewing it. Firmware is updated -- as with all HomeKit products -- through the manufacturer's app inside of settings.
    watto_cobrajavair
  • Reply 15 of 35
    dkhaleydkhaley Posts: 56member
    f5b said:
    It's too expensive, to begin with. The story doesn't even mention how good of a lock it is. I buy a lock primarily as a lock; HomeKit functionality is second. There's been many videos posted on how easy it is to bypass these electronic locks. I'd like to know how someone like the "lockpickinglawyer" would handle these locks.
    The August does not change the mechanical components of your existing lock. The only part that is replaced is the interior knob. So as far as mechanical lock-picking, there should be no difference. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 35
    f5b said:
    It's too expensive, to begin with. The story doesn't even mention how good of a lock it is. I buy a lock primarily as a lock; HomeKit functionality is second. There's been many videos posted on how easy it is to bypass these electronic locks. I'd like to know how someone like the "lockpickinglawyer" would handle these locks.
    LOL oh no! YouTube videos! Might as well pack it in now. Cancel smart lock infrastructure.

    No one is bypassing any electronic locks. You can however pick a mechanical lock that opens with a key with 5 minutes and a couple simple tools.

    I have a Yale smart lock that uses an August Module and Home Kit. Keypad entry only. No key. You're not picking this, or bypassing it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 35
    tokyojimutokyojimu Posts: 487member
    longpath said:
    The traditional solution seems to be to forego the locking door knob in order to gain keyless entry & HomeKit compatibility; but I’d rather not lose the locking spring latch of a lockable doorknob.
    I just always leave my door knob in the unlocked position. In fact I even glued it so that no one can accidentally lock it. So you just unlock the smart deadbolt and turn the knob.
    edited July 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 35
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,743member
    tokyojimu said:
    longpath said:
    The traditional solution seems to be to forego the locking door knob in order to gain keyless entry & HomeKit compatibility; but I’d rather not lose the locking spring latch of a lockable doorknob.
    I just always leave my door knob in the unlocked position. In fact I even glued it so that no one can accidentally lock it. So you just unlock the smart deadbolt and turn the knob.

    I have tape over mine for now. I might glue it or just replace the doorknob to one without a lock.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 35
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,743member
    f5b said:
    It's too expensive, to begin with. The story doesn't even mention how good of a lock it is. I buy a lock primarily as a lock; HomeKit functionality is second. There's been many videos posted on how easy it is to bypass these electronic locks. I'd like to know how someone like the "lockpickinglawyer" would handle these locks.
    If it's too expensive for you, you are free not to buy one.
    This doesn't change your deadbolt or cylinder. The lock is the same as it always was. Since nobody looking at your door would know you had the electronic lock, they wouldn't know to try and bypass.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 35
    f5bf5b Posts: 5member
    f5b said:
    It's too expensive, to begin with. The story doesn't even mention how good of a lock it is. I buy a lock primarily as a lock; HomeKit functionality is second. There's been many videos posted on how easy it is to bypass these electronic locks. I'd like to know how someone like the "lockpickinglawyer" would handle these locks.
    LOL oh no! YouTube videos! Might as well pack it in now. Cancel smart lock infrastructure.

    No one is bypassing any electronic locks. You can however pick a mechanical lock that opens with a key with 5 minutes and a couple simple tools.

    I have a Yale smart lock that uses an August Module and Home Kit. Keypad entry only. No key. You're not picking this, or bypassing it.
    It’s good that you got one without a physical key.  That makes it much harder to bypass, although it’s not impossible to get passed electronic locks.  You appear to have a good one, which is what you expect from Yale.
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