The $99 SwitchBot Lock is the primary good door lock I’ve examined that doesn’t substitute any a part of your current lock. As a substitute, it attaches to the again of your door excessive of the thumb flip. This removes a significant ache level of good locks: an concerned set up. However the SwitchBot Lock is absolutely odd trying — my husband actually stopped in his tracks and stated, “What’s that factor?” I had an identical response once I first noticed it and was wholly unconvinced this massive piece of black plastic would have the facility to unlock my deadbolt.

I used to be stunned to find that the SwitchBot Lock strikes that thumb flip simply in addition to I can, and it stayed firmly put throughout my two weeks of testing, regardless of being hooked up solely by double-sided sticky tape. (No phrase but on long-term sturdiness, but it surely appears promising thus far).

The downsides are that it’s not very good and it’s lacking just a few key options (haha). You additionally want round $70 value of equipment so as to add good house management and a keypad. This places it nearer in value to extra elegant-looking options, such because the $230 August Wi-Fi Sensible Lock, which wants a bit extra work to put in however doesn’t depart you with a honking nice piece of plastic in your door.

How we assessment and price merchandise

The SwitchBot Lock is a retrofit Bluetooth-powered good door lock that may lock and unlock your door utilizing the SwitchBot app on a smartphone or Apple Watch. (It’s not Residence Key suitable). It attaches to your door utilizing 3M VHB tape and makes use of a small plastic grabber to carry on to and switch the lock’s thumb flip.

That grabber can flip something. Movies in Amazon evaluations present it even turning a key, making this a wonderful answer for individuals with nontraditional door locks and multipoint locks who can’t get every other good lock to work (see a listing right here). It’s cleverly engineered with shifting base plates that forestall the lock from twisting itself off whereas turning the lock.

That is SwitchBot’s factor: making common gadgets good. They’ve a little bot that presses your gentle swap for you and a robotic that crawls alongside your curtain rod to open and shut the curtains. This one is a robotic hand on your door lock. It comes with three different-sized adapters, so you will discover the best match on your setup. The SwitchBot Lock doesn’t take away any perform — you possibly can nonetheless use your key, and you may nonetheless flip the deadbolt manually; it simply provides the flexibility to make use of your telephone or watch as your key.

The Keypad Contact provides a fingerprint reader for one more option to unlock your door.

There are a complete of seven methods to manage the door lock: your key, the smartphone / Apple Watch app, NFC tags utilizing your telephone, a key code utilizing a keypad, a fingerprint reader, an NFC keycard, and good house / voice management. That’s plenty of choices — though solely the primary three work out of the field.

The keypad and door lock.

For the keycard, keypad, or fingerprint entry, you’ll want one in all SwitchBot’s two Bluetooth keypads. These connect with double-sided tape (or screws should you favor). I examined the fingerprint model, which prices $60, and it labored rapidly and reliably.

The non-fingerprint model is barely $30, however fingerprint entry is my favourite means to make use of a wise door lock. The keypads additionally work with NFC keycards. (One is equipped and you should purchase a three-pack for $15.) Though, you probably have a keypad, I don’t see a necessity for a keycard, as you possibly can dole out everlasting, short-term, and one-time codes to anybody who wants entry. Annoyingly, six digits is the minimal right here, which is plenty of digits.

In the event you don’t go for the additional keypads, one other unlock choice is utilizing the 2 NFC tags that include the lock. You possibly can pair these to your telephone to lock or unlock the door with a faucet of your telephone. However you must use two tags: one to lock and one to unlock. Sticking two white items of plastic in your door doesn’t enhance the general look right here, and you probably have your telephone out already, utilizing the iOS or Android lock display widget is sort of as quick.

The SwitchBot does work with Amazon Alexa, Google Residence, and Siri Shortcuts (however not HomeKit), so you should utilize voice instructions to lock and unlock the door and add the lock into good house Routines (Alexa and Google solely).

However you want a $40 SwitchBot Hub Mini to attach the lock to Wi-Fi and make these integrations; the lock itself communicates over Bluetooth. You additionally want the hub to manage the lock or verify its standing if you’re not at house utilizing the SwitchBot app. The hub works with all of SwitchBot’s devices however must be put in close to the lock.


Working the SwitchBot with an Apple Watch over Bluetooth.

I put in the SwitchBot Lock on my again door, which is a essential entryway to our home. It leads into our mudroom from our storage and will get plenty of foot visitors. The fingerprint reader and keypad made it simple for my youngsters to make use of the lock — no have to obtain an app. With out these, although, there may be not a simple means for a child with out a smartphone to entry the door.

I used to be additionally disenchanted that the notifications when the door is unlocked didn’t present which code or fingerprint was used. This can be a widespread function on different good locks and one I personally use to assist preserve monitor of my older children’ comings and goings once I’m at work. I may verify the log within the app to see who unlocked it, although.

Locking and unlocking are quick when controlling it with the keypad, however the telephone app takes over 5 seconds to attach — very irritating should you’re standing within the rain. The Apple Watch connects extra rapidly, and should you didn’t have a keypad, is the simplest option to management the lock. All these interactions are over Bluetooth, so you could stand by the lock. To manage it remotely with the app or voice management, you want the hub.

The highest of the lock pops off for battery alternative and to regulate the lock to suit your door.

Setup and set up had been fast, beneath 5 minutes in all. This is without doubt one of the lock’s largest promoting factors, but it surely additionally wasn’t fully simple. There’s a little bit of lining as much as do to ensure the lock will flip earlier than you tape it to the door, and it is advisable to use a small screwdriver (equipped) to regulate the spacing of the lock. Cleverly, it attaches in any course, vertically or horizontally, so you possibly can match it round your door deal with. It additionally comes with a magnet to sense when the door is open or closed, though I may nonetheless lock it remotely whereas it was huge open with none alert or notification.

The SwitchBot app is fundamental. There’s no option to create schedules to lock or unlock the door at a set time of day, and the auto-lock function was very spotty. It solely labored with each the “Lock after a set time frame” and the “Re-lock if the door has been unlocked however not opened” toggles on, and even then, it was unreliable. This looks like a software program bug that will get fastened. But it surely did imply I needed to get my telephone out to lock the door (there are iOS and Android lock display widgets to make this faster), use the Apple Watch app, or use my key. Once I added the keypad, although, I may hit a button to lock it.

There are some helpful notification choices, together with when the door is locked, if the door has been left unlocked, and if it’s been left ajar after a sure period of time. Notifications require the hub to work, and actually, they need to simply promote this with the hub. It positively makes it a greater good lock. With the hub, I may hook up with Alexa and add the lock to an Alexa Routine that robotically locked it each evening at sundown.

It really works, but it surely doesn’t seem like it ought to work.

The SwitchBot Lock a great choice for renters who can’t change their door lock in any respect or for individuals who can’t or gained’t take away any a part of their current deadbolt. It does want to stay to the doorframe utilizing a heavy-duty adhesive, which is able to possible take some paint with it should you ever take away it. Related retrofit choices from August, Wyze, and Bosma require eradicating the rear deadbolt, and so they all price over $100.

However its good options are restricted to controlling the lock regionally together with your telephone, Apple Watch, or current key. If you add within the Wi-Fi hub, you get away-from-home management and extra helpful good house integrations, however solely with Google Residence and Alexa; there’s no HomeKit assist and restricted IFTTT integration. (The lock is barely a set off, not an motion.)

In the event you additionally add within the keypad — particularly the fingerprint one — this turns into a way more helpful proposition, however then you definately’re knocking on $170, nearer to the worth of much less ugly choices with higher smarts that don’t require all this additional gear (however do require eradicating some or all your door lock). These embrace the August Wi-Fi Sensible Lock plus Keypad and the Eufy Sensible Lock Contact with Wi-Fi (fingerprint reader and keypad in a single however a full lock alternative).

The most important good thing about this lock is its versatility. You possibly can even use two on one door to take care of multipoint locking. Its skill to seize just about any kind of locking mechanism, together with a key, means it might be the one good answer that works on your door.

Pictures by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge



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