SwitchBot Lock review: A smart lock with seven ways to unlock your door

SwitchBot Lock $99 It is the first smart door lock I have tested and does not replace any part of your existing lock. Instead, it is attached to the back of the door above the thumb roll. This eliminates the main pain point of smart locks: the installation included. But the SwitchBot lock seems really weird – my husband literally just stopped in his tracks and said, “What is that thing?” I had a similar reaction when I first saw it and wasn’t completely convinced that such a large piece of black plastic would have the ability to open the lock.

I was surprised to discover that the SwitchBot Lock drives thumb rotation as far as I can go, and it remained stable during the two weeks of testing, even though it was attached only with double-sided tape. (No word yet on long-term durability, but it looks promising so far.)

The downsides are that it’s not very smart and it misses some key features (haha). You also need about $70 worth of accessories To add smart home control and keyboard. This brings it closer in price to more elegant solutions, like $230 August Wi-Fi Smart Lockwhich takes a bit more work to install but doesn’t leave you with a great piece of plastic on your door.

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SwitchBot Lock is a smart Bluetooth door lock that can lock and unlock your door using the SwitchBot app on your smartphone or Apple Watch. (it’s not Compatible with home key). It attaches to your door with 3M VHB tape and uses a small plastic grabber to secure and turn the thumb lock.

This grabber can overturn anything. Videos in Amazon Reviews Show him even turning a key, which makes this an excellent solution for people who have funky door locks and multipoint locks that they can’t operate any other smart lock (See list here). It is cleverly designed with variable base plates that prevent the lock from twisting itself while the lock is in operation.

This is the SwitchBot thing: making ordinary devices smart. They have The little robot that presses the light switch for you And the Robot crawling along the curtain rod to open and close the blinds. This is a manual door lock mechanism. It comes with three different sized adapters, so you can find the right fit for your setup. SwitchBot Lock doesn’t remove any functionality – you can still use your key, and you can still rotate the deadbolt manually; It just adds the ability to use your phone or watch as your key.

Keypad Touch adds a fingerprint reader for another way to unlock your door.

There are a total of seven ways to control the door lock: Your key, Smartphone/Apple Watch app, NFC tags using your phone, Key code using the keyboard, Fingerprint reader, NFC key card, Smart Home/Voice control. That’s a lot of options – although only the first three work out of the box.

Keypad and door lock.

For keycard, keyboard or fingerprint entry, you will need one of Two Bluetooth keyboards from SwitchBot. They attach with double-sided tape (or screws if you prefer). I tested the fingerprint version, which costs $60, and it worked quickly and reliably.

The non-fingerprint version is only $30, but fingerprint access is my favorite way to use the smart door lock. The keyboards also work with NFC key cards. (One is provided and you can buy a file Three packs for $15.) Although if you have a keyboard, I don’t see a need for the keycard, as you can give permanent, temporary, and one-time codes to anyone who needs access. Annoying, six digits is the minimum here, which is a lot of digits.

If you are not looking for additional keyboards, another option to unlock is to use the two NFC tags that come with the lock. You can pair it with your phone to lock or unlock the door with a single tap from your phone. But you have to use two tags: One to lock and one to unlock. Sticking two pieces of white plastic on your door doesn’t improve the overall look here, and if your phone is already out, using the lock screen widget for iOS or Android is about as fast.

The SwitchBot works with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Siri Shortcuts (but not HomeKit), so you can use voice commands to lock and unlock the door and add the lock to smart home actions (Alexa and Google only).

But you need a file $40 SwitchBot Hub Mini To connect the lock to a Wi-Fi network and perform these integrations; The lock itself communicates via bluetooth. You also need the hub to control the lock or check its status when you are not at home using the SwitchBot app. The hub works with all SwitchBot tools but must be installed close to the lock.

Turn on SwitchBot with Apple Watch via Bluetooth.

I installed a SwitchBot Lock on my back door, which is the main entrance to our house. It leads to our mudroom from our garage and gets a lot of foot traffic. The fingerprint reader and keyboard made it easy for my kids to use the lock – without having to download an app. However, without it, there is no easy way for a child without a smartphone to get to the door.

I was also disappointed that the notifications when the door was opened didn’t show the code or fingerprint that was used. This is a common feature in other smart locks and I personally use it to help keep track of the coming and going of my older kids when I’m at work. I can check the history in the app to see who has unlocked it.

Locking and unlocking is quick when controlled with the keyboard, but the phone app takes more than five seconds to connect – which is pretty annoying if you’re standing in the rain. The Apple Watch connects more quickly, and if you don’t have a keyboard, this is the easiest way to control the lock. All of these interactions are done via bluetooth, so you have to stand by the lock. To control it remotely using app or voice control, you need a hub.

The top of the lock pops out to replace the battery and to adjust the lock to fit your door.

Setup and installation was quick, less than 5 minutes in total. This is one of the lock’s biggest selling points, but it’s also not entirely straightforward. There is quite a bit to do to make sure the lock is spinning before you attach it to the door, and you need to use a small screwdriver (supplied) to adjust the spacing between the lock. Cleverly, it mounts in any direction, vertically or horizontally, so you can fit it around the doorknob. It also comes with a magnet to sense when the door is open or closed, although I can still lock it remotely while it is wide open without any alert or notification.

The SwitchBot app is basic. There is no way to create schedules for locking or unlocking the door at a specific time of day, and the auto-lock feature was very choppy. It only works with both “lock after a specified amount of time” and “re-lock if door is open but not unlocked” working, and even then, it was unreliable. This appears to be a software bug that may be fixed. But it did mean I had to take out my phone to lock the door (there are iOS and Android lock screen tools to make this faster), use the Apple Watch app, or use my key. When I added the keyboard, I could press a button to lock it.

There are some useful notification options, including when the door is locked, if the door has been left open, and if it has been left unlocked after a certain amount of time. Notifications require the hub to work, and in fact, they should only sell this with the hub. It definitely makes it a better smart lock. With the hub, I can connect to Alexa and add the lock to it Alexa routine It automatically locks every night at sunset.

It works, but it doesn’t look like it should.

The SwitchBot Lock is a good option for renters who cannot change their door lock at all or for those who cannot or cannot remove any part of their existing deadbolt. You don’t need to stick the door frame with heavy-duty adhesive, which will likely take some paint with it if you remove it. Similar retrofit options from August, Wise and Bosma require removal of the rear lockout, and all cost more than $100.

But its smart features are limited to controlling the lock locally with your phone, Apple Watch, or existing key. When you add a Wi-Fi hub, you can control away from home and more useful smart home integrations, but only with Google Home and Alexa; No HomeKit support and limited IFTTT integration. (Lock is just a trigger, not an action.)

If you also add the keypad – especially a fingerprint – this becomes a much more useful proposition, but then you knock $170, closer to the price of the less ugly options with better intelligence that doesn’t require all that extra equipment (but does require removing some or all of your door lock ). These include August Wi-Fi Smart Lock Plus Keypad and the Eufy Smart Lock Touch with Wi-Fi (Fingerprint reader and keyboard in one but a complete replacement for the lock).

The biggest benefit of this lock is its versatility. You can even use two on one door to handle a multi-point lock. Its ability to grab any type of locking mechanism, including the key, means it might be the only smart solution that works for your door.

Photo by Jennifer Bateson Tohey/The Verge

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