I’ve had the opportunity to play with and install more than a dozen different smart home devices in my home. There’s smart technology for almost every room of my home now, but the thing that matters most to me is actual entry into the house. I’ve had the opportunity now to install and review the Weiser Kevo and the Ok-I-Dokeys system. Both are great and have positives and negatives to each. However, I was approached to review the new August lock and one of the messages I kept receiving from my peers was how swift installation was with this device. As one whose handyman skills can be about as useful as scuba gear in the desert, easy installation is appealing. However, taking this claim with a grain of salt, I set forth on my August journey.
As mentioned, one of the biggest sticking points (rightfully so) with smart home entry products is the installation. The August Lock really doesn’t look difficult to install. In fact, there are so few parts inside the box that it looks like it takes no time at all. The box itself says to leave about 15 minutes to install and advises that all you need is a Phillips Head Screwdriver. This is comparable to the Weiser Kevo, and a bit easier than the Ok-I-Dokeys, which required precision screwdrivers of all sizes (though to their credit, they were included in the box.)
The first thing to know about buying an August is that it only supports a standard thumbturn deadbolt. If you have a setup using the integrated lock and handle with a combination strike plate, you can’t use August. You also cannot use August if you have the older style rim cylinders because it doesn’t come with hardware to support it. If you have a pre-1997 Weiser/Kwikset lock, you MIGHT have trouble piecing the installation together. August has included a phone number in the installation guide that you can call, and they will troubleshoot you through. Still, for 70-80% of you, August is good to go.
Installation is do it yourself if you know how to replace the deadbolt in your home. In this case, you’re only doing the inner half. Before you get too far, one thing to remember here is that once you pull the old thumbturn off the door, there isn’t any resistance for the exterior half of the deadbolt to remain in place. If it isn’t attached securely to the door, it might fall off, which could cause you a world of hurt. The August lock comes with a long piece of adhesive if you need it, but you might need something stronger, especially for a metal entry door. I normally use electrical tape for something like this, as I find that it leaves less sticky residue than duct tape, and is stronger than masking or painter’s tape. Depending on how much work or force you need to line the mounting plate to the old lock piece, you might want to use a lot of tape to keep the whole thing in place. Nothing’s worse than finishing the job and seeing that the lock is sticking outward a couple inches and isn’t flush to your front door anymore.
Simply remove your old thumbturn device, screw the new applicable mounting plate to your door, match up the pegs and then affix the main August housing to the door using the side wings. Be really careful with that last step, however. The wings, while metal (and thus sturdier than plastic) aren’t on a track and could break off the housing if you force it too much.You’ll also want to be aware that if you feel too much resistance with affixing the wings that you may have tightened the screws and the mounting plate too far. If you find this is the case, simply remove the housing and loosen the screws a bit. Lastly, remove the magnetic battery housing lid, pull the plastic battery cover off and then slide the housing back in.
If that sounds simple, it is. It’s so ridiculously simple that when my wife was filming the installation video with me, she said “That’s it?” when I walked away after affixing the housing. The total installation time including reading the instructions through AND taking my time to film? Around 5 minutes. This whole thing literally took me 5 minutes to install. The batteries already come included in the housing, so even that step is done for you.
It’s not App-solutely Perfect though
Setting up the app is another question, and was a bit too high strung for my liking. While the app itself is easy to download, there are too many points of verification in my opinion. My original password was deemed too weak (it won’t let you past that step unless you have one that’s “minimum” in August’s eyes.) Then I had to wait for a text message, followed by having to do email verification. In fact, it took me longer to set up my August account than it did to install the actual hardware. On a positive note, I suppose it is good that the system has as many verification points as it does so that it cuts down on the probability of fraudulent signup as much as possible.
From there, it’s really simple setup. Just hold your phone near the lock and follow the steps to calibrate it. All it wants you to do is simply lock and unlock manually, and it does the rest. You can lock and unlock with the tap of your finger, but you can do so much more. You can send eKeys, or even have the lock recognize that you’re approaching the door and unlock it automatically. Removal is easy too, though you’ll probably need a flathead screwdriver to do it. The wings end up very close to the door on the backing plate, and the average fingers can’t undo them without some assistance. Keep this in mind if you ever move and need to take your August with you.
Funnily enough, the only thing I don’t like about the August is the one thing it does better than its competition: The look. Other battery operated smart home entry products basically feature large masked consoles that sit flush to your door. While you understand the purpose, it’s hard for the consoles to be small while hiding batteries simultaneously. August finds a way to bypass the need for wide consoles by putting all of its technology into the new thumbturn itself. This means you do end up with a much more protruding look than the competition, but it also means that there isn’t as much hardware that goes it.
The August also has one more quality that I’m not really a big fan of. I’m really not a fan of the way the smart lock “feels” when you’re manually applying it. The hardware feels really sturdy, but I feel like it could be sturdier, especially since you can’t tighten the backing plate to the door without compromising the overall effectiveness of the unit.
August is still a winner in my books
Between August and its competitors (the Weiser Kevo and Ok-I-Dokeys,) this is by far the easiest to install and I’d put it right up there with the Kevo in terms of easiness in calibration. If I could do this in 5 minutes while filming a video, a handy person could probably get the job done during a TV show commercial break.
I can say honestly that while the August is not my favourite smarthome gadget of all time, it is definitely the most user friendly and by far the easiest to install. Keyless entry into your home isn’t a cheap endeavor right now, but it is easier now thanks to the August lock system. August locks are now available at Best Buy and online at BestBuy.ca in an assortment of colours.