When I was looking for a smart lock that can help me automate my self check-in process for my Airbnb home, I came across the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect.
Advertised as the most advanced in the manufacturer’s line of smart lock products, the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect (3rd gen. Technology) possibly has the features many homes and property owners will find as must-have upgrades to their deadbolts and locks.
It works with Siri, Amazon Alexa, and the Google Assistant and is compatible with Z-Wave network. It can also allow you to communicate with a variety of smart home devices such as a smart thermostat.
But as an Airbnb host who will mainly rely on a “smart lock” to let our guests in our home without our presence, I was highly skeptical and unconfident that it would do its job 100% of the time.
August Smart Lock Pro + Connect Ideal Use
The August Smart Lock Pro + Connect is an ideal product for you if you:
- wish to have complete control of locking and unlocking your door
- wish to provide your guests with keyless access
- wish to monitor through your smartphone who enters and leaves your home
- want to keep the deadbolt already installed on your door while upgrading it to something technologically advanced. For retrofitting, please see if your deadbolt is compatible with this product by visiting this link.
What’s Inside The August Smart Lock Pro + Connect Box?
- August Smart Lock Pro
- August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge
- DoorSense sensor
- 3 Lock Adapters
- Mounting Plate
- Adhesive Strip
- 4 AA Batteries
What Else Do You Need?
- Phillips screwdriver
- Download August Home App from the AppStore or from GooglePlay
- Smartphone with iOS (9.0 or higher) or Android (5.0 or higher) in which the August App will be installed and setup
- Power outlet (within 15 feet from the door where the Smart Lock will be installed) with 110-240V for the Connect Wi-Fi Bridge
- 2.4Ghz 802.11 B/G/N network that the Connect Wi-Fi Bridge could connect to if you want to control the lock via Wi-Fi when you are away from home
How To Install The August Smart Lock Pro + Connect?
Download and install the August App on your smartphone because this app will provide you with a visual guide on how to mount and install your Smart Lock Pro.
Smart Lock Pro Hardware Installation
- Put the adhesive tape on the keyed side of the lock to secure it in place.
- Unlock the deadbolt first and then remove the thumb turn part of the existing deadbolt lock. We must remove screws and additional back plate.
- Insert the screws of the thumb turn into the front part of the mounting plate of August Smart Lock Pro. You will see that the plate has 2 adjustable screw holes that you can reposition.
- Once the screws are properly placed, tighten them with your fingers or with a screwdriver.
- From the 3 included adapters, choose one that is compatible with your deadbolt lock. Look at this compatibility chart to select the correct adapter.
If the brand of your deadbolt is not in the chart, try sliding each adapter on the tailpiece until the correct adapter is found. The correct adapter is one that has a tiny nub that points upward. The installation manual states that the adapters may be placed backwards in the mounting plate. This means you could flip the adapter around if it appears backwards even though the shape is correct.
- With the adapter in place, you may now open the wing latches of the smart lock (as shown in this video at around 1:21).
2. Attach the Smart Lock Pro by sliding it over the tailpiece. The back of the smart lock has to be flush with your door then secure it in place by clamping down the wing latches.
Remove the smart lock’s faceplate by pressing down on the August logo and then grabbing the top part of the faceplate. Hold the batteries in place as you take the plastic tab away. Without the plastic tab, the battery could now supply power to the smart lock.
There are two ways to install the DoorSense, according to this support article. One is by Surface Mount Installation where you may leave the magnet enclosure inside the housing. You will need a Phillips screwdriver for this method. You may refer to this video at 7:26 or visual reference of Surface Mount Installation.
The other method is the Flush Mount Installation. It requires the removal of the magnet from the housing and you will also be using an electric drill plus a ⅝” drill bit. You may watch this video at 3:56 for visual reference of Flush Mount Installation.
For setting up the smart lock/calibrating the DoorSense via Smartphone, you simply browse through the app and follow the prompts.
Connect Wi-Fi Bridge SetUp
The Connect Bridge has to be plugged into a 110-240V power outlet that is within 15 feet from the door or the Smartlock Pro.
The use of Connect Wi-Fi Bridge is actually optional. Remember that the August Smart Lock Pro is Bluetooth enabled so you need no Wi-Fi/internet connection to operate it with the Bluetooth of your smartphone. However, if you are away from home or if you are in an area in your house where you are too far from the door, Bluetooth might not be available for use so the Connect Wi-Fi Bridge will then be a great help. With this Connect Bridge, you can also establish a connection among other smart devices in your home.
How Do You Remotely Grant/Revoke Access To Other People?
As an Airbnb host, you may provide your guests access to your property by doing the following:
- Connect your Airbnb Account to your August App.
- Pair the lock to your Airbnb Listing.
- Choose the access type you wish to provide for your guests.
Home Access via the App on Smartphone – Guests will receive a text message instructing them to download the August App and create their account. Through the App, guests can lock/unlock the door during their rental stay.
At 1:23 of this video, you will be shown how you can send a virtual key and add a guest through the August App.
You need not set up the Connect Bridge for this access method. Still, the Connect Bridge is required if you prefer to remotely operate your Smart lock, as mentioned earlier. A perfect example is when you are not at home and your guests ask you to remotely open your property for them.
Home Access via the Keypad – This requires setting up your Connect Wi-Fi Bridge so that the personal entry code may be generated automatically. Access via keypad requires no installation of the App so it will be favorable to guests who have no compatible smartphone to use or those who prefer to use a keypad instead of their phones.
If you are an Airbnb host, it will definitely be a plus if you can offer both access methods. It is also recommended to have the “One Touch Lock” feature to be enabled so guests will have no difficulty locking the door when they leave.
To learn more about Airbnb integration with August Smartlock, you may read more here.
Types of Access
- The “Unlimited Access” is for people who can go in and out of your house, anytime, like your co-host.
- The “Recurring Access” is for people like hired professional cleaners who need to go inside and clean your home at specific dates and time.
- The “Temporary Access” is what you need to set up for Airbnb guests. This will allow you to prearrange the limited access for a particular guest to reflect the exact date and time for their reservation to your rental property. The virtual key for that guest will be deleted once the date and time limit is over and this key cannot be reused.
To revoke access for whatever reason, you simply select the guest whose access you wish to revoke from the Guest List on your App and choose the option “Remove User”. Follow succeeding prompts to complete the process. You could also read here about how this can be done and other helpful information.
How Can August Smart Lock Pro + Connect Secure Your Home’s Safety?
This product has several features that can give you peace of mind regarding your home’s safety and security.
- Smart Alerts – When set up with the Connect Bridge, “you are supposed to know” who enters and exits your home even if you are far away with a 24/7 activity feed.
- DoorSense feature – It will detect when your door is opened/closed, locked/unlocked or even if it is ajar or not.
- Auto-Lock capability – You can set up the smart lock to automatically lock itself after your selected duration (after 30 seconds, 30 minutes, etc. – you decide)
What Existing Users Like About It?
- Very quick and easy to install within 10-15 minutes using just a Phillips screwdriver.
- Lets you retrofit with existing deadbolt locks on your door; can even trick others outside the home that your door is protected only by a deadbolt lock.
- Very convenient auto lock/unlock feature.
What Existing Users Dislike About It?
- The auto-unlock feature can be unpredictable. Some users said they have at least one experience of being unable to unlock the Smart Lock. It could be because of varying reasons like low battery.
- Unreliable functionalities like inability to properly connect to Wi-Fi, App cannot detect the smartlock, poor Android phone integration
- The lock and the door can be jammed.
- Incompatibility with some locks.
- Smart lock might not work well in cold weather (battery drains fast when its cold).
Expectations From Airbnb Hosts
- no more lost keys, which can reduce costs for the lost key replacements
- guest log and status
- no need for key transfer from host to guest and vice versa
- no need for a lock box
- great integration with Airbnb
Realities for Airbnb Guests
- Guests need to have a compatible smartphone (if you did not purchase and set up the individually sold August Smart Keypad). You may provide your guests with a list of compatible devices based on this reference .
- They need to have iOS (9.0 or higher) or Android (5.0 or higher) smartphones so the App can be installed. Some phones like those made in China might be incompatible.
- User confusion. Not all guests are “techy” and some, especially first-time users of Smartlocks and Airbnbs might have a stressful time using such method of access to your property.
- Guests might get locked out if the smart lock fails to unlock.
All the features of the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect are awesome, only if they will work well. Personally, however, I think that these features are not favorable in real life.
- It is a technological gadget, so it has to work on a particular set of specifications. The Connect Bridge can work only on a 2.4 Giga Hertz network. The app will only work on at least iOS 9.0 or Android 5.0.
- You must have a power outlet that is in close proximity to the smart lock so it can connect to the Wi-Fi via Connect Bridge.
- The Auto-unlock feature will only work if the App is working in the background of your phone and this can eat up a lot of power from your smartphone battery.
To cover for these inconveniences and problems, the August Smart Keypad must be included in the purchase and setup, which will add up to the total cost.
As a host of a home in a third world country, I do not think I can rely on smart locks that need wifi, smartphones, and even the basic power source. Let me elaborate further.
- For me to open the door when a guest arrives, I need a reliable wifi connection in my Airbnb home so the “Connect Bridge” will work when I open the door from my phone, wherever I am in the world. But what if my home’s internet connection becomes intermittent? Also, nobody wants to be a “doorman” especially when your guests arrive at a time of the day you are already sleeping. It is scary for hosts to have guests waiting at the door, especially if they came from long, tiring flights.
- Assuming your Airbnb guest has a reliable smartphone, but the cylinder that relies on AA batteries died/malfunctions, your guest will still not be able unlock the door. If you live in cold places, be reminded that batteries drain faster than normal.
POSSIBLE POWER INTERRUPTION
- The “Connect Bridge” which lets you remotely access and see logs from your App relies on the power source in your Airbnb home. If there is any power interruption in your Airbnb home, you are left blind on what’s happening unless you sync from a Bluetooth range, which is not ideal for hosts controlling their homes from miles away.
SUPER INCONVENIENT FOR GUESTS
- Some Airbnb guests can be the most demanding people you will meet, lol. Don’t expect that they will fully cooperate with you if you ask them to download the App, have the compatible OS installed, or even ask them to make sure that they do not drain their phones up upon reaching your home.
I guess this product is a good buy only if I will include the August Smart Keypad as a back-up. However, that defeats the purpose of having the Smart Lock Pro + in the first place.
I’d pass on it.
What do you think? Share your thoughts below the comments section! 🙂