When Yale Keypad Entry Locks first arrived on the Canadian Home Automation market late last year, I thought it was about time. While other competitor brands had done a great job to date, I was really interested in seeing what the Yale company was capable of doing. After all, it’s not often that a company tasked with keeping bank vaults secure would have an opportunity to bring a smaller scale level of high security to homes. Outside of some small installation-based issues, I wasn’t disappointed with the first wave of Yale products, and when I found out I’d get the opportunity to show you Yale’s new offerings, I was pretty excited.
Why is a Smart Lock essential to your home?
If you’re still a Home Automation novice, a smart lock is the perfect way to start off. They’re really easy to install, really easy to utilize, and are a tremendous convenience. Locks like the Yale Real Assure series give you the freedom to take bulky keys off your keychain, as well as ensuring that you don’t have too many of them floating around to begin with. The Yale Real Assure series, for example, gives you access to multiple electronic keys and pin combinations that you can give to your various family members, homesitters, or dogwalkers and control access by deletion, pinpad change, or even time access. This ensures that you’ll always have complete control over who has access to your home.
Unboxing the Yale Real Living Assure Series
In the video reveal I’ve provided, you will see me unboxing the Yale Assure Key Free Smart Lock (with Bluetooth,) which is one of the two different models. As the name states, it’s completely key free and works solely through the touch pad on the door as well as the accompanying app.
The second model is the standard Bluetooth Smart Lock, which comes with a set of keys. This and the other lock are both all-inclusive base units, which means that you’ll be replacing your existing front door keys and cannot use your current lock setup.
Both units come with two main pieces and innards: The padded front face and the thumbturn/back end piece. Both pieces come with an interesting privacy/do not disturb feature, which is the first I’ve seen in a smart lock series. The Bluetooth Smart Lock also speaks to you to notify you if you’ve taken too long and the request has timed out.
Finally, both units also come equipped with batteries and brand new latch and strike units so that you can do a full cycle replacement of your door’s locking hardware.
How easy is it to install Yale Real Living Assure locks?
Installing a smart lock nowadays should be a 30 minute job, even for the most inexperienced handyman. As somebody with basic at best handyman skills, these jobs only take me about 10-15 minutes nowadays. Yale Real Living Assure locks are almost no exception. My experience with the first generation of lock, however, was that the hardware install wasn’t quite as easy because of the fact that the install required a bigger hole installed in the door than I had available.
These new models may have addressed the issue, however. The box states that it can be installed in standard doors 1 ⅜” to 2 ¼” thick. As with most locks, the only tool you’ll need to replace your deadbolt is a screwdriver. The Key Free model (which you’ll see unboxed in the demo video) contains extra new latch plates should you wish to replace them. They’re a fairly standard size, and replacement consists of literally unscrewing the old plate and screwing in the new one, so it’s a 2 minute job at best.
Operating the Yale Real Living Assure Locks
The two Yale Real Living Assure locks have multiple ways in which you can operate them.
The key free lock is an intriguing proposition considering it has no actual keys attached to it, not even as a backup, which most smart locks have. In order to operate the locking mechanism, you simply touch the lightup keypad. The numbers will illuminate and you key in your access code in order to lock and unlock the door. You do have to apply touch to the keypad though. Unlike some other smart devices that will illuminate when it senses your presence, this one requires you to actually touch it to activate. The keypad is extremely responsive otherwise, and you can operate it with relative ease.
The Bluetooth Smart Lock features the similar approach with the keypad above, but also comes with a set of keys for those that want to ease into the new technology or are just comfortable operating with keys.
Both locks can be powered through the Yale Real Living app, however.
Installing the Yale Real Living Software
The minimum system specs for these locks are fairly simple. You need to have an iOS device running iOS 9 or later or an Android device running 4.3 or later. The Android devices shouldn’t be a surprise, but Yale’s smart devices have always been near the front of the pack in terms of iOS requirements. They were one of the first home automation companies that required you to run iOS 9 (with their Yale Look Door Viewer) and it wouldn’t surprise me that future generations may require iOS 10 or newer.
Software installation is a breeze. Just locate the software in the appropriate app store and follow the instructions to install and sync up via Bluetooth.
The app gets a bit cute with the motions required to operate the lock too. While providing you up to 5 electronic keys to distribute from the get go, it requires you to twist your phone to operate the lock, almost mimicking a virtual key. It’s a silly step considering there are locks out there that have tried things like just unlocking when it senses your bluetooth presence approaching it from the outside, but it’s fun nevertheless.
What if the battery dies?
One of the most worrying things about having a keyless battery powered smart lock is the fact that, despite multiple warnings, laziness, forgetfulness, or apathy could overrule at any given moment (or moments) and your batteries can dry. I ran into this problem with the Weiser Kevo attached to my garage, and even worse, the smart lock on my front door ran dry without even so much as sending me a notification. Both had key backups though. The Real Living keyless Bluetooth lock is a solid front face. What do you do in that case? Thankfully, Yale has you covered. There are two unassuming little exposed nubs at the bottom of the front face. It’s actually a battery terminal. You can temporarily power your lock using a 9 Volt battery and then get back in the house. It’s a fabulous way to ensure you’re never locked out.
Why is the Yale Real Assure series the smart lock you should get?
There are few smart lock brands out there with a name as reputable as Yale, and perhaps it’s their brand reputation that excites me the most. Yale is arguably as big a name (if not bigger) in the lock market as Weiser/Kwikset. While the technology is largely expected nowadays, the combination of savvy home automation with locks as reputable as Yale’s is a rare combination and definitely a bonus for your home. For example, Stats Can noted a rise in Break and Enters between 2014 and 2015. Nearly 160,000 were reported last year across the country, which is an approximate rate of 458 B&Es per 100,000 residents. You can attribute a lot of these to poor locks or picked locks. Yale gives you the opportunity to operate a keyless household and completely eliminate the idea of picking locks.
If you are concerned about the fact that this is electronic data now being exchanged, Yale has patented encryption onboard for the purpose of secure digital key housing.
There is a case for not adding the Yale Real Assure series locks to your home, however. If you already have an established partner network (ie. Works with Nest,) running most of your smart home, you may want to do a bit of research before jumping into this lock if you want it to partner with the rest of your home network. While Yale is continuously growing the number of partner networks their locks work with, they aren’t all standard, and what you need may require additional hardware and/or may cost extra.
If you’re buying your first product or don’t have any of the worries above, I think the Yale Real Assure locks are a really fun twist (no pun intended) on the smart lock, and I quite enjoyed its professional look and finish. You can find both versions of the Yale Real Assure Living Series locks now available at BestBuy.ca