Wife Acceptance Factor: Choosing Kevo over August


Back in July, we reviewed the Kevo smart lock ($220) in light of the newer features that had just been released (scheduling, guest keys, performance improvements). Later in 2014, August, another Bluetooth based lock ($250), started to ship both pre-orders and to retail stores. Being the curiously obsessed gadget guy that I am, I had to at least try the August to see how it compared with the Kevo.

Fundamentally the Kevo and August work the same. Using your phone’s Bluetooth as a key, you can lock and unlock the device. Whereas you need to replace your entire door lock for the Kevo, with the August, you just need to replace just the inside portion of the lock. Installing the August was very simple and a much quicker than the Kevo as you are just removing the back of the lock.

This highlights the design difference between the two locks. To activate the Kevo, you must touch the outside portion of the lock. The Kevo uses capacitive sensors to know when you have actually touched the lock to begin the unlock/lock process. If you are inside, it’s a simple lock switch to swing back and forth. On the other hand, because the August just replaces the back portion of your lock, if you want to be able to engage the lock you must either allow for auto-unlock as you approach the door, or you must go directly into the August app to unlock/lock the door. If inside, you must twist the entire cylinder to physically lock the door. As clean as the August looks, both the Mrs. and I found twisting the entire lock could be cumbersome at times, especially compared to the inside lock switch of the Kevo.

With these two different designs, you either gravitate towards one or the other depending on your comfort level of “is my house really locked”. As much as we liked the August software and certain features (auto-unlock, EverLock), we ended up preferring the direct interaction of the Kevo, both from a security perspective and ease of use. Both the Mrs. and I felt more comfortable that our door was locked with the Kevo as you had to physically touch the lock to activate it.

August, on the other hand, could be activated without ever having to touch the lock. As you approach your house/door, August will use auto-unlock so you can just open it when you get home. This is accomplished by using your phones location services. When you enter the area of your August lock, it will start the auto-unlock process. We found this worked most of the time, but it wasn’t 100%. For locked, August will use the Everlock feature to automatically lock your door after a certain amount of time has passed. Everlock also means that you need to make sure your door is actually shut all the way, or else August will try to lock and fail.

In the end, and to gain the WAF approval, I swapped the August lock back to the Kevo. She is much happier now, especially the fact that it’s easier to just lock the door from the inside with the Kevo. For some reason, she really found it difficult having to turn the entire cylinder of the August, which was not as smooth as Kevo.

Both these locks have announced remote capabilities in the near future. For the August, you will need to purchase August Connect which is a small device you plug into a wall outlet near your lock. The device bridges the connection from WiFi to Bluetooth to provide remote access. Kevo also announced the Kevo Plus which is basically the addition of a hub you plug into your router to accomplish the same thing as the August Connect. Both locks also announced integrations with the Nest thermostat. The idea that as you lock/unlock your door, a message will pop up in the app to set your thermostat to home or away…but those features are for another post.  :-)

16 thoughts on “Wife Acceptance Factor: Choosing Kevo over August”

  1. Not surprised anyone picked any lock over the August. Can’t say I understand anyone who likes it, other than those who are not allowed to change out the lock (apartment, etc).

    I’m also disappointed in the Kevo’s integration capabilities. If it supported integration with a real security system without a connection to the Internet, I’d but a couple of them already — who really thinks connecting to your lock via the internet is a good idea?

    Maybe I’m weird, but the main driver towards smart locks for me is the ability to check if the lock is locked without being anywhere near it (in bed, or half a mile away) and then to be able to lock it remotely. Using a key to unlock isn’t anywhere near as inconvenient as getting out of bed in the middle of night or heading back to the house because I forgot to lock it.

  2. I’m sure you’re probably done testing smartlocks, but did you ever take a look at the Lockitron? It comes with WiFi built in, however that’s only activated when the door is interacted with (like knocking). It works similarly to the August, but with a more conventional control mechanism. (rotate a latch, not the whole device) I personally haven’t used one, but given recent updates it seems to be a solid product.

  3. Not sure about Adam, but I thought Lockitron was done. We’ll have to take a look.

    I agree the Kevo’s biggest current limitation is not being able to check or change status from beyond Bluetooth range… and bummed their upcoming Bluetooth-to-Ethernet bridge will require a service fee along with other advanced capabilities. Having said that, despite its limitations it’s been quite practical for our home. (Kwikset does sell some purely Zwave locks and such.)

    We heard from another with August who had complaints similar to Adam and his wife in turning the knob so to speak… with the cover pulling off an unacceptably high percentage of the time.

  4. If you have widows on your door the August lock provides slightly more security. Even though it is through obscurity. A thief would have a harder time figuring out the August quickly, thinking it requires a key from the inside too. Sadly both locks keep the honest people honest. Anyone really wanting in your home could easily physically defeat any deadbolt.

  5. @A, yeah, I had a preorder in to Lockitron, but gave up after it didn’t ship a year and a half that order. Looks like they are starting to get them into people’s hands now which is good. The functionality looks to be very similar to the August, which is what actually drove us away from that type of lock.

  6. You should have a look at the Danalock, it’s the original that August copied…
    They have a touch to lock/unlock feature and they also have a Z-Wave version that can be integrated with a wide range of home automation gateways.

  7. TLS, the reviews of the Danalock look even worse than the August. Think I would pass, even though having Bluetooth and Z-Wave would be a nice bonus.

  8. I just want a keypad deadbolt that can also be remotely locked/unlocked over the internet and codes created/changed/deleted from an app. I don’t need bluetooth capability or integration into any expensive system. I don’t want my phone involved with every lock/unlock. It just becomes another key at that point.

  9. Elan,

    You don’t need to use your phone with the Kevo as they have key fobs instead. Once Kevo releases the Kevo Plus hardware, you should be able to check if your door is locked or unlocked.

  10. I’ve been a fan of the Schlage keypad locks back before they added smart functionality. A proven lock maker, works simply. The new touchpad devices look better than the older button-driven ones. The highest end models are Z-Wave devices. Paired quite easily with my cheap Wink hub. It allows me to check the status of the lock, lock or unlock it, and receive notifications when the door state changes.

    It might not be as “magical” as a lock that just unlocks when you get near it. But, it’s the right mix of connected and familiar for me (and my wife).

  11. Hey Joe,

    Are you able to set up a robot that opens the door via location services on the Wink app? So as you approach the house, i could unlock the door? I know it works for certain things like lights, but not others, like the Chamberlain MyQ.

  12. My experience: wife wanted the auto-lock/unlock August, but the time delay on locking and the small failure rate were not totally acceptable for me. In the end, we went with the Kevo for the same reasons as you.

    Both seem fairly solid, with some cracks in their armor. It’s probably a couple years before we get truly mature offerings.

  13. Mirk,

    August is about to release remote access via their wifi plug-in adapter. Wonder if that will help with the auto unlock. Say your phone joins your home network as you pull into the driveway and pings the August lock via wifi and bluetooth to unlock. That would be ideal.

  14. Hi Adam,

    Since you have used August before. In your blog you mentioned to lock the August lock from inside, it has to be turned manually, is it?

    May I know in details when you were mentioning about the August auto-unlock zone, does the door unlock before you ever see the door or when you are a few feet from the door?

    How does August auto-lock work (not referring to Ever-lock) when you leave the house? Does it mean u have to go out of the zone for it to auto-lock or trust that it will lock by itself?
    P/s:Are you staying in the apartment or a terrace house?

    Thanks. I’m considering whether to get Kevo or August.

  15. Hi Stanry,

    To lock the August from the inside, you can either manually turn the knob, or use the app on your phone. Either way will work.

    For Everlock, the August will always engage the lock after a certain period of inactivity. So if you were leaving the house and just closed the door (not lock it), Everlock would automatically lock after say 5 mins.

    For auto-unlock, you first need to leave your “home” zone for it to work. Based on the geo-fencing of your home, the August auto-unlock will become active as soon as you leave that home zone. Once you return, August will sense that you have returned to your home zone via your phone and begin the unlock process.

    We currently have a detached house, not an apartment.

  16. Hi Adam, really thanks for your detail explanation. I am now pretty sure I won’t be getting August smart lock.
    For most reason of getting smart lock is the convenient. Having to take out phone and look for the app to click Lock when you are inside the house is absolutely not convenient and it take more time to just lock the door manually. I thought there is a button to press to lock just like any keyless mortise lock.

    I am staying in an apartment building, the GPS will not work properly as I was always told to be in another building. My reluctant to believe August work for me is true. What if as soon as I open the door, August immediately lock the door for me as the GPS signal in building is not reliable. If the GPS is not accurate, I supposed August lock will not open the door for me and I need to take out my phone when my hands are full with bags of groceries.

    Based on what yiu have mentioned about Everlock functions probably lock me out before I return from the corridor.

    I will go for Kevo, the function is more like a key but access without a key but touch. I feel safer seeing the door lock and unlock in front of me. Once Kevo plus is out, I think I can remote monitoring the door status.

    The reason i am interested in this Bluetooth activated lock as I read about the convenient, best still, I dont even need to take out Access Card from wallet, no button the press, no number to key in. It takes me shorter time to enter the house and exit the house.

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