Smart Locks are frustrating

For me, this is one of the most frustrating categories in the Smart home market within the UK.

There are several incredible smart lock brands out there; Yale, August, Kwickset, Friday, ERA, Schlage to name several. All of them come with their own designs, technology, ease of integration, power and configuration issues. Some look awesome and others look like something from a 1980’s hotel room door. And they are all available on Amazon.co.uk and other lock outlets in the UK. Yet, of those 6 smart lock brands, only 2 actually provide UK support and have a UK presence, Yale and ERA (a British company.) While they might say they work in the UK, all of their websites state that they offer none to limited support and do not warrant them for use in the UK. In fact Amazon is particularly tricky, showing reviews from their US site (amazon.com) against the products on sale in the UK without making it clear that the manufacturer offers limited to no UK support.

So why is this frustrating?

If this was just a lock, then I am all for sourcing the physical lock you want from anywhere in the world. This is because competent lock smiths can work on them and don’t necessarily need to be trained on the lock in order to either get you into your home with minimal damage or to fix the lock. This is not true of a smart lock, if this goes wrong and the company has no UK presence and a warning it will not support it outside of the USA, then you will have spent several hundred £ on a product that you cannot fix. At the same time, this is the security of your house and if it goes wrong you might lock yourself out or as bad, you might leave the door unlocked and unlockable.


It really does bug me. So when I am talking with clients and friends and looking at some stunning locks (August, Yale USA, Friday) I have to explain that though you might be able to buy them in the UK, they are not supported. So the only ones we recommend are Yale and hopefully ERA when they launch theirs. Yale is almost doubly frustrating as they have a huge selection of locks in the USA and have brought over only a tiny subset of them to the UK. Hopefully now they are part of Assa abloy this might change.


But rant over now, what’s been our experience with Yale in 2 different installations?

We have installed both the Yale Conexis L1 in a uPVC front door and a Yale Keyless in a wooden external playroom door. Both have worked smoothly and keys have been shared with family and friends. Yale lets you have 10 free digital keys, these have all been used and work well opening the locks. However, they are Bluetooth based. So, we installed the z-wave module from Yale into the Conexis L1 front door lock. What did this do?

It enabled the Nifty brain® to integrate this lock into our app. providing us with several additional benefits to the ones offered by the standard smart Yale lock.

The first, was that our app could open and close the door. Meaning we can share the Yale keys with friends and use our app within the family to close and open the door.


The second is that we are able to open the door remotely from anywhere in the world. So if I lock myself out again and lose the key fob, I can contact my wife and she can unlock the door remotely for me.
The third is integration into the Nifty Brain™ means I can easily check the lock status from the app, no more getting out of bed to check the front door is locked.


The third is integration into the Nifty Brain™ means I can easily check the lock status from the app, no more getting out of bed to check the front door is locked.


The final one is the integration means that if you used our app to open the door, you can automate a number of other functions, such as lights coming on, alarm systems being turned off and more when the door is locked or opened.


Smart locks are incredible and will only get better over time. But be careful about what you buy, we do think it is vital that you fully understand the consequences of buying a smart lock that isn’t authorised for the UK.

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Nicholas