December 1, 2020
Best smart locks of 2020: Yale, August, Schlage and more

Best smart locks in 2020: August, Yale, Schlage and more


Having a smart lock on your door could change your life, particularly if you’re the kind of person who never knows where your keys are hiding. Paired with a mobile app, the best smart locks allow you to remotely lock, unlock and monitor your front door.

You can unlock it for a service provider or a friend with the tap of a button or with a voice command, and have peace of mind knowing you won’t be locked out if you lose your keys. A smart lock offers convenience, security, automation and peace of mind. But which smart lock option is right for your door? 

Picking the best smart lock for your home depends on a few things. For some, scheduling and user code limits will be important. For others, having a door lock that can be retrofitted instead of replacing the existing deadbolt on a door is a must-have. We’ve tested the best smart locks on the market today and these are our favorites, which we’ll update regularly as we review new products. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock includes a retrofit August lock and a DoorSense open-close sensor. Wi-Fi is built into this model, so you won’t need to purchase an $80 Connect module to enable remote access. 

The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is 45% smaller than previous August models, too. It works with Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa for voice control and smart home integration. You’ll get unlimited user access and codes, as well as a log of every action that happens at your front door. 

Wi-Fi enables remote access to lock and unlock your door from your Android or iOS devices when you’re not home. The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is a capable, easy-to-install smart lock and the winner of our CNET Editors’ Choice Award.

Read our August Wi-Fi Smart Lock review.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

August’s $200 third-gen Smart Lock and Connect bundle comes with a DoorSense open-close sensor and Connect Wi-Fi module. The low profile, retrofit design means you won’t need to replace your deadbolt lock, and installation is easy, offering convenience for renters. 

The August Smart Lock with the Connect setup works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa and is controllable remotely through the August mobile app. You won’t get Apple HomeKit compatibility or Z-Wave smarts to connect to a smart hub. Still, this August Smart Lock is a moderately priced, capable smart door lock for keyless entry. It’s the best smart lock if you live in an apartment.

Editor’s Note: In August 2020, PCMag and Bitdefender released a report alleging that August and Yale Android apps when working with Connect modules were vulnerable to a hack during setup mode that could give away Wi-Fi credentials. In August’s latest response to CNET, it states, “If the Connect’s firmware is up-to-date and the user’s August Android app is up-to-date, their device will not be vulnerable to the original attack even if the unit enters into setup mode.” 

Read our August Smart Lock (2017) review.

Best smart lock design

Yale Assure Lock SL Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt

Chris Monroe/CNET

Yale’s SL Touchscreen Deadbolt has a small, sleek design with a touchscreen keypad that looks good on nearly every door, and it comes in three finishes. The newest $299 smart deadbolt bundle includes August smarts with a Connected by August Kit (Wi-Fi module and DoorSense sensors) to connect with the August app to unlock your door or for locking it. This keyless lock works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit. 

There’s also a version with interchangeable modules for Zigbee or Z-Wave if you need to connect your door lock to smart home devices. Those modules cost $50 each. Read our Yale Assure SL Touchscreen Deadbolt review

Editor’s Note: In August 2020, PCMag and Bitdefender released a report alleging that August and Yale Android apps when working with Connect modules were vulnerable to a hack during setup mode that could give away Wi-Fi credentials. In August’s latest response to CNET, it states, “If the Connect’s firmware is up-to-date and the user’s August Android app is up-to-date, their device will not be vulnerable to the original attack even if the unit enters into setup mode.” 

Tyler Lizenby

The $235 Schlage Encode doesn’t do it all. You won’t get HomeKit compatibility, and you’re limited to 100 user codes. Still, I’m a big fan because you won’t need Z-wave devices or a Zigbee hub or Wi-Fi module to connect this door lock to your smart home. 

It includes built-in Wi-Fi and works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant with simple account linking through their apps. It’s also compatible with Amazon Key providing convenience for in-home delivery services. The sleek keypad design is available in both modern and traditional styles and multiple finishes.

Read our Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt review.

Other models we’ve tested

In our search for the best smart lock, these are some of the other products we’ve tested out:

Nest Yale Lock: Nest and Yale partnered up for a Google-centric smart lock with a touch keypad. This $279 smart door lock has the good looks of Yale’s earlier models, but it isn’t quite as capable as other keyless locks when it comes to smart home integration. 

Array by Hampton Connected Door Lock: This $299 lock has solar-powered battery backup and built-in Wi-Fi, but it’s expensive and doesn’t have the option to work with HomeKit or Google Assistant yet. 

Kwikset Kevo Bluetooth Deadbolt: Kwikset’s $222 second-gen Kevo is a good Bluetooth smart lock and a simple answer to smartening your door if you don’t need remote control access. If you do, you’ll need to purchase the Kevo Plus connect module. You can use the mobile app or the key fob for keyless door entry. 

Schlage Sense Bluetooth Deadbolt: Schlage’s $175 Sense smart lock is affordable but clunky, and not as simple to set up as its Encode sibling. You’ll also need a Schlage lock Wi-Fi adapter to connect with Google Assistant or Alexa

Things to remember

Smart lock technology adds convenience, but it’s important to remember that this option is first and foremost a security device. It’s important to take security features seriously. Use a PIN code for any voice control unlock, and make sure you only give access codes to unlock the door to people you trust. Enabling the auto relock feature is also a good idea, so the door will lock behind you if you forget. 

If your smart home is based in Wi-Fi voice assistants and you don’t use hubs, I’d recommend a lock that works with your Wi-Fi network (or at least a Wi-Fi adapter). Consider whether you’d like a keypad and can replace your existing deadbolt (you’ll need a new physical key for locking), or prefer a simpler, retrofit design. 

No matter which smart lock you choose, adding one to your smart home offers a lot of advantages. With these tips and the best smart lock on your door, managing access for family members, roommates, service providers and guests is a breeze. 


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