August Smart Lock Pro Hands-On Review
August sent us an August Smart Lock Pro for testing, which we originally set up with our Frontpoint system. We were not impressed. Our lack of satisfaction had less to do with the lock itself and more to do with the implementation of the integration, so instead of giving up on August Smart Lock Pro, we decided to test it as a standalone device.
What is August Smart Lock Pro?
The third generation August Smart Lock Pro is a smart lock that retrofits your existing deadbolt. From the outside, nothing changes—even your bolt remains in place. On the inside, your deadbolt mechanism will be replaced with August’s intelligence.
The August Smart Lock Pro replaces the original Smart Lock, which was first introduced in 2014. Since then, they’ve had a lot of time to improve. Pro’s most notable feature is the addition of Z-Wave Plus, allowing it to connect to third-party hubs. Also, when purchased online, the lock ships with an August Connect, a device which acts as an internet bridge. With the bridge, you can now control your lock from anywhere, not just within Bluetooth range. Finally, it ships with a DoorSense sensor which calibrates to the lock and reads your door’s status, ensuring that you don’t lock the door when you accidentally leave it ajar.
Our first impression of the August Smart Lock Pro was that it’s huge. Seriously, huge. We’ve seen it before at CES, but the vastness of Las Vegas can apparently miniaturize things. While testing the lock, we had a few guests stop by to visit. Their comments ranged from, “What is this?” to, “How do I get out?” and even, “IT’S HUGE!”
The lock measures about 3.4″ in diameter and is made to retrofit your existing deadbolt.
Installation was a breeze. All you need is a Phillips screwdriver and a little bit of patience1.
It’s important to note that before you install, you’ll want to ensure that your deadbolt is compatible. August has a compatibility chart which you’ll find in the instruction manual linked above, or you can check out a comprehensive list of compatible deadbolts2. Also, the lock is not weatherproof. This shouldn’t be a deal breaker as its designed to go on the inside of your door, but it’s still necessary for us to mention.
In general, August works with most single-cylinder deadbolts. It will not work with mortise style, rim cylinder, or interconnected locks. Also, some locks like Baldwin and Kwikset deadbolts installed before 1997 will require a little extra effort, which August will gladly walk you through if you give them a call.
Installing the August Connect is even easier than installing the lock. The Connect just plugs into an outlet. The hardest part is finding a suitable outlet as it needs to be as close to your lock as possible.
The August Smart Lock Pro is battery-powered, which we found concerning at first. The issue decreased as time went on. The lock ships ready to use, batteries included. In reading online, we were afraid that the battery life might be unreasonably short, but the lock we tested lasted 15 weeks (almost 4 months).
According to August, if the lock is installed correctly, the battery life should be around 6 months. The downside here is that they will eventually die and they are not rechargeable.
August runs on four AA standard alkaline batteries. They specifically note that you should use non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. Also, there is no way to check the lock’s battery status using the mobile app. If you’re planning a long trip, there’s no way to know if you should replace them now or later. When the batteries are close to depletion you will get an alert through the mobile app. Our first “low battery” notification came four weeks before it died or at the “20% capacity mark.
Using the August App
The real beauty of a smart lock is app control, and the August app is easy to use, responsive, and organized.
First things first, there’s Keychain. From here, you can click in to control individual locks if you happen to have multiple locks. Once you click in, you will be presented with four tabs.
From the first tab, you can lock and unlock the door.
From the second tab, you can view a thirty-day activity history. You can see when the lock was locked/unlocked both manually and by a user.
The third tab is your guest list. You can add multiple users and divide them into two categories: Owner and Guest.
|Lock/Unlock Via August App|
|Control All Lock Settings|
|View Activity Feed|
|View Guest List|
|App Access||Always||Always, Recurring, Temporary|
First of all, though Owners have ultimate access, you can have multiple owners. Second, you can also have multiple guests, and each guest can have settings unique to their access.
In digging into the guest access settings, you’ll find “always”, “recurring”, and “temporary” access. Recurring is great for cleaners or dog walkers or people who visit on a regular schedule. You can set their access by day of the week and time. For example, Mondays and Thursdays between 4 PM and 7 PM. The downside here is that recurring means weekly, so this doesn’t work great if you have a monthly or bi-weekly cleaning crew.
“Temporary” has a set start and end date. For example, start access on August 16th at 4 PM and end it on the 16th at 7 PM.
If you happen to have anAugust Keypad , you can also invite guests with Keypad Only access, allowing them to use a provided code for entry, and not the August app. All of the other options, unfortunately, do require that your guests download and use the August app.
The final tab is the settings tab. You can tweak settings like your House Name, dig into the settings for your August Connect, turn on offline notifications, and dig into the lock’s settings, which are tied to its features.
August Smart Lock Pro Features and Performance
|August Smart Lock Pro + Connect||August Smart Lock|
|Color||Silver or Dark Gray||Silver or Dark Gray|
|Lock/Unlock From Phone Within Range|
|Lock/Unlock From Phone Anywhere||Requires August Connect|
|Auto-Unlock As You Approach|
|Auto-Lock As You Leave|
|Works with Amazon Echo and Google Home||Requires August Connect|
|Works With||August Doorbell, August Smart Keypad, August Connect (Included)||August Doorbell, August Smart Keypad, August Connect|
|Buy Here||Buy Here|
Lock and Unlock From Anywhere
Let’s start at the beginning: You can lock and unlock the door from anywhere. This is a feature we’ve used a lot since we started testing the lock and it works great. The feature is both responsive and fast.
If you're an iOS user, you can create both Widgets and take advantage of the app’s 3D Touch feature. Both features are huge timesavers. Instead of opening the app and navigating to the home screen to lock and unlock, you can simply press and hold the app to lock and unlock the door.
Auto Lock Using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
Of course, the beauty of a smart lock is automation, and there are ways to automate the process so that you don’t have to do anything at all.
The August app will search for the best connection, be it Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. There’s nothing you need to do for that to happen. This ability also ties into the auto lock and unlock features. To set these features up, you will need to head to the Settings menu and then “Lock Settings” and scroll to the section titled “Automation.”
The first feature you’ll come across is called Auto-Lock. When enabled, your lock will automatically lock itself if you’ve left it unlocked. The process is time-based and customizable. You can set the timer to a set time somewhere between 30 seconds and 30 minutes.
Next up, you’ll find Auto-Unlock. This feature is tied to modes: Home and Away.
When in Home Mode, nothing happens. The lock determines that you are away when you leave your “neighborhood” which is defined as 200 meters. When this happens, the lock will start listening for your presence using Bluetooth. When you step back into short range (within 15′ of your door), your lock will automatically unlock.
While we tested this feature, we didn’t test it for long. We usually leave and arrive through the garage door, not the front door where we had installed August. What we found is that when we arrived home, August would unlock the front door, as we asked it to, but we would often forget to lock it back. Unless you happen to have an August Lock on the door you use for entry, this feature is probably one you want to avoid.
Wirecutter also gave this specific feature a thumbs down, but for a different reason. They fear that the ease of using auto-unlock might lead to accidental unlocks, which is a security concern. According to the Wirecutter, the only way around this is to connect the lock to HomeKit, which will then ask for permission before unlocking when you arrive home.3
And finally, while we didn’t have any problems beyond what we shared, this is perhaps the most complained about feature with several users calling it ‘glitchy’ in that sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
If you’re concerned about an accidental unlock, you can set up notifications. You can ask for a notification when an auto-lock is attempted and another when your lock marks you as Away.
Speaking of notifications, August also supports Smart Alerts which allow you to setup push notifications for custom “alert me when” events. There are four events you can choose from:
- The door is locked or unlocked manually
- The door is locked or unlocked by a specific user
- The door is left ajar
- The door is Auto-Locked
Once you have your event notification setup, you next choose a time. There are two options here: any time it occurs and within a time range.
Choosing a time range allows you to set a schedule based on the days of the week and time of day. For example, you can set an alert to let you know if the door is left ajar on weekdays between 8 AM and 6 PM.
The “door is left ajar” smart rule is tied to DoorSense, a sensor that ships with your August Lock. From the app, you can set the “Door Ajar Timing” between one minute and 30 minutes, which means that the notification will be sent after X amount of time has passed.
DoorSense will also affect the status shown within the August Lock. When DoorSense is disabled, there are two visual statuses: an open green circle and a closed red circle. The green circle means the door is unlocked. The red circle means it’s locked.
With DoorSense enabled, you’ll see two new visual statuses: dashed yellow and dashed red. A dashed yellow circle means that the door is open and unlocked. A dashed red circle means that your door is opened and “locked,” a.k.a you didn’t close the door before locking. As you can technically lock the door even when it’s open, it’s nice to have this added visual reminder that things are quite right.
August Access and August Works With
August Access is a way for others to access your home, and we’re not talking about friends and family. Think in-home delivery people, service providers, and repairmen.
Currently, the following companies are a part of August Access:
August Works With
In addition to August Access, August has a Works With program. August works with:
- Amazon Alexa
- Apple HomeKit
- Google Home
- Ring Alarm
- Logitech Pop
- Xfinity Home
- Liberty Mutual
- Z-Wave Alliance
- Alarm.com Security Systems
We didn’t test all of the integrations, but we tested some. Most are self-explanatory, but some aren’t and some are underwhelming.
For example, we connected August to Nest, hoping that we would be able to unlock the door when someone rings the Nest Hello doorbell. Turns out, we can’t. Instead, all we can do is view Nest Cam motion events and home’s temperature from the August app. From the history tab, you can click to view motion activity, but you’ll just find a short clip of events, not a full video. To view a full view or live feed, you’ll need to head to the Nest app.
August Smart Lock Pro also works with Ring Alarm. Ring Alarm is a DIY security system that incorporates security sensors, Z-Wave, Zigbee, and Ring cameras. With the integration, you create rules for your lock and security system to follow. For example, you can set it to arm your system when the door is locked.
Our favorite integrations were voice integrations. We enjoyed using our voices to lock and unlock the door.
Overall, the August lock is feature rich and offers plenty of integrations. The features we disliked (auto unlock, laggy Alarm.com integration, and DoorSense) paled in comparison to the overall stellar performance of the lock. And remember, some of our issues were self-created thanks to Door Armor.
The August Smart Lock Pro executes on its promises and earns a thumbs up from us. You can buy your own August Smart Lock Pro here.
Other August Products
The Smart Locks
|August Smart Lock Pro + Connect||August Smart Lock||August Smart Lock with HomeKit|
|Size||3.4 x 2.2 x 3.4 inches||1.6 x 2.6 x 4.8 inches||3.4 x 2.2 x 3.4 inches|
|Color||Silver or Dark Gray||Silver or Dark Gray||Silver or Dark Gray|
|Works With||HomeKit, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant – Connect or Doorbell Required for Both||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant – Connect or Doorbell Required for Both|
|Compatible August Accessories||August Doorbell Cam Pro, August Smart Keypad, August Connect (Included)||August Doorbell Cam Pro, August Smart Keypad, August Connect||August Doorbell Cam Pro, August Smart Keypad, August Connect|
|Wireless Protocols||Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Included, Z-Wave||Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Ready||Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Ready|
|Lock/Unlock Near Home||Phone, Auto-Lock, Auto-Unlock||Phone, Auto-Lock, Auto-Unlock||Phone, Auto-Lock, Auto-Unlock|
|Lock/Unlock Away From Home||Connect Included||Requires Connect or August Doorbell||Requires Connect or August Doorbell|
|]Buy Here||Buy Here||Buy Here|
August Smart Lock 2nd Generation (HomeKit-Enabled)
The August 2nd Generation Smart Lock offers the same basic features as its predecessor. You can unlock it with your phone if you’re within Bluetooth range, you can provide temporary access to guests, and it auto-locks/unlocks when you arrive or leave.
The only major change is HomeKit compatibility. The August Smart Lock 2nd Gen was one of the first products to be added to the HomeKit compatibility list. You can control the lock using your voice via Siri or by using the Apple Home App. Here’s the catch: You can only use Siri within Bluetooth range. If you want to control August lock with your voice remotely, you’ll need to buy the August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge, and you’ll need an Apple TV or iPad to function as a HomeKit hub. Aside from HomeKit, the smart lock also works with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.
The second generation August Smart Lock retails for $199 though you can often snag it for around $175.
August Smart Lock 3rd Generation
August has also released a new entry-level smart lock that replaces the 1st Gen Smart Lock. The most significant change is the design. It’s a traditional-looking deadbolt with a thumb turn mechanism instead of a knob. While it’s not as visually appealing as other August locks, the new design is much less expensive to produce, allowing August to offer the lock at a lower price point ($149).
Feature-wise, August Smart Lock 3rd Gen covers the basics. You can lock and unlock it using the app, assuming you are within Bluetooth range, or remotely if you own an August Connect. You can also provide access to other people temporarily and monitor who comes and goes. The lock can even lock or unlock automatically as you arrive and go. Finally, it features DoorSense. What’s missing? HomeKit compatibility.
Smart Lock Accessories
August also sells several lock accessories.
Their first smart lock accessory is the August Connect ($79). August Connect is a Wi-Fi bridge designed to plug into an outlet. It connects to your August lock via Bluetooth, and then it bridges the connection to your home Wi-Fi network. While it’s a simple device, it makes it possible for you to control and monitor August locks from anywhere in the world. You’ll also need an August Connect to enjoy voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
Their second accessory is the Smart Keypad ($79). It lets you unlock your door by punching in a unique PIN. It’s particularly helpful to people who are not comfortable using their phones as virtual keys. The Smart Keypad can also accommodate temporary access codes given to guests.
Finally, August announced August Smart Lock Mortise Kit a couple of years ago. It lets you install an August Smart Lock on your Mortise-type door lock. However, it's been held off by August with an indefinite launch date.
The Doorbell Cameras
August has also expanded their product line to include doorbell cameras. Their first doorbell camera was called the August Doorbell Cam. It had a 720p resolution, motion sensor, live streaming, ring alerts, and cloud storage ($4.99/month for 30 days of storage). However, the unit had several downsides, especially when compared to successful smart doorbells like Ring. For one, motion detection and cloud storage were seriously delayed features. Second, the camera lacked night vision. Third, it required an existing doorbell wire setup.
As August Doorbell Cam turned out to be a bit of a flop, August launched the August Doorbell Cam Pro. It’s better than the original Doorbell Cam for several reasons.
First, all promised features were ready to go at launch.
Second, it has night vision… sort of. Instead of IR LEDs, it uses an actual light. The lights turn on when the camera detects motion or if the doorbell has been pressed. On one hand, it can finally see in the dark, which is awesome. On the other hand, as most visitors are friend not foe, flooding them with a bright light at night seems inconsiderate.
Third, Cam Pro comes with a feature called August HindSight. This feature is related to video recording, so a cloud storage subscription is required. With HindSight, instead of starting the recording after an event occurs, August goes back a few seconds and includes a clip of the person approaching. This way, you’ll get to see the entire story.
Finally, its motion sensor is sensitivity adjustable.
The August Doorbell Cam Pro is available for $199. However, we’ve seen the new doorbell sell for as low as $140.00.
August also recently updated their cloud offering for Doorbell Cam. They’ve launched a free cloud service tier, which enables users to store videos in the cloud without paying a monthly fee. The catch is that videos only stay in the cloud for 24 hours. The paid tier has remained the same. It costs $4.99 per month and includes 30 days of cloud storage.
August has launched a new video doorbell: August View. On paper, it looks like the best doorbell they’ve launched thus far. For one, it actually looks like a video doorbell, unlike the square-shaped Doorbell Cam and Cam Pro. It’s also slimmer and has interchangeable faceplates.
Looks aside, August View is the first battery-powered doorbell made by August. Because it’s wireless, it’s a viable option for renters and homes that have wiring setups that are not compatible with wired August doorbells. However, View won’t connect to your existing chime so you’ll need to use the included indoor chime. According to August, August View has a rated battery life of 3 to 6 months, depending on usage and other external factors. When the battery is low, it will send you an alert. Charging the battery should be a semi-simple process as August has built the doorbell with a removable battery pack. Instead of removing the doorbell and charging it indoors, you can simply remove the battery. Extra battery packs are available for purchase.
On the more technical side, August View packs a better camera under its hood. While most battery-powered cameras offer a 1080p resolution or lower, August View offers a 1440p resolution. It also features IR night vision, motion detection, and digital zoom.
August View is an improvement over Doorbell Cam Pro, but it also has drawbacks. First is cloud storage. For free, it only offers a 24-hour event history and each event clip is limited to 5 seconds in length. If you want more cloud storage, you’re going to have to pay for a monthly subscription. $2.99 per month will give you a 15-day video history. Paying $4.99/month will expand your cloud storage space to 30 days.
Second, August View is not (and will likely never be) HomeKit compatible. Again, this is because it runs on battery.
August View retails for $229 with an indoor chime included.