Smart locks were decent for a while, but this year they seem to have gotten a lot better. From looks to functionality, there is almost no reason not to consider adding one to the door of your home now. The comfort for guests and multiple owners is enormous. The new Yale Assure Lock 2, with its sleek looks, multiple unlocking methods and virtual access release, makes a compelling case for being the first choice for homeowners.
Aiming to be everything for everyone, this latest smart lock from Yale offers multiple configurations in the form of colors, button types and wireless technology. The Assure Lock 2 is available in either a touchscreen or keypad configuration, with or without buttons. There is a possibility of having a physical keyhole or not. After that, you’ll have to decide if you want Wi-Fi support for remote access or if the local Bluetooth connection is fine. Each of these options is available in black, bronze, or satin nickel finishes.
All of these choices might make some people happy, but I found them confusing, at least at first. I’m also concerned that consumers will like what Yale has to offer, but won’t be able to decipher the subtle or minor differences between the choices. Still, the one I tried (black, touchscreen, keyless Wi-Fi) quickly became one of my favorite locks.
- Chic and attractive
- Extensive feature set and platform support with Wi-Fi connectivity
- The touch screen can be difficult to press at times
- No support for Apple Home Keys
- No Amazon Key support
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Secure Lock 2 variations
It seems like there are multiple variations of the Assure Lock 2, because honestly, there are. It can be a bit difficult to evaluate the hardware when there are slightly different variants. For example, while I wasn’t initially blown away by the performance of the touchscreen number pad, I’m not sure how the keyboard (with actual keys) feels. In my experience, the touchscreen required a firm press. I usually started with too light a touch and occasionally had to try a second time to enter my code.
The touchscreen option probably looks better on a blank slate when not in use. The touchscreen is also not difficult to use once you get used to it. Your priorities and uses for the lock really determine which is the best. If you have many guests or run a rental business, the keypad option can help you avoid technical hurdles or frustrating entries.
I would recommend that people spend most of their time contemplating the choice between the touchscreen and keyboard variants. The key option might be important for certain contexts, but I wouldn’t want it. I realize I have a penchant for technology, but I think keyless is trending for most people.
The one area where you don’t have to decide right away is connectivity. If you don’t get the Wi-Fi version with purchase, a module can be purchased and inserted into the lock at any time to give it Wi-Fi support. The feature unlocks plenty of niceties, including access to Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Phillips Hue integration.
Using the Assure lock 2
I replaced my August’s Wi-Fi smart lock with this new Assure Lock 2. As much as I liked the Smart Lock in August, I was blown away by its unique battery, which had to be replaced every three months. The Assure Lock 2 with Wi-Fi still only has three to six months of battery life depending on usage, but it uses at least four AA batteries, which I find more reassuring in case I need to pick up some in a pinch.
The installation of this new lock presented only one small problem. Whenever I locked it from my phone, it would perform the task but then make a grinding noise like it was stuck. I knew it was a simple mistake because whenever I locked it manually with the turning knob, the latch slid smoothly into its hole. When I had a chance to look into the problem, I found that the hole for the latch wasn’t deep enough. I spent a few minutes deepening its depth and the sounds and reports of the lock blocking stopped.
Once it was up and running as usual, I mainly used the lock through Apple’s Home app. I would also ask Siri to lock or unlock it from time to time. And although it could sometimes take up to 30 seconds via voice command, it worked great. The most noticeable missing feature for me was support for Apple’s new Home Keys. It allows HomeKit to create virtual key cards for Apple Wallet, which can then be used with Near Field Communication (NFC), allowing you to use an Apple Watch to unlock it.
Yale advertises for use with the Apple Watch, but that mostly means there’s a separate app on the watch. There was no NFC support at launch. Yale’s mobile Access app is perfectly fine — but not amazing. It is identical to the August app if you used that. I like that Yale’s mobile app shows a running history of all activity taking place with the lock (if you have Wi-Fi). This includes whether it was unlocked manually or what platform was used to perform the action and by whom.
If you want to be notified when the door is unlocked by a specific person or when the door is left open, you can create a smart alert in the Yale Access app. In the app’s guest list you can create access codes with permanent access; with specific dates and times; or with a recurring timeframe for input. I found Yale’s use of numeric codes to be quite intuitive to create and share via text.
On the lock’s touchscreen, you can tap the Yale logo for a one-touch lock. This is a feature that you can turn on or off in the mobile app. And as a note, if the batteries run out while you’re outside, there’s a spot on the bottom where you can grab a 9V battery and charge it if necessary, so you can get back inside.
Yale, August, Schlage and Level, Oh My
As a side note, I wanted to mention the current smart lock landscape. I’ve tried several top-of-the-line smart locks over the last year and I think Yale, August, Schlage and Level are among those to consider. Each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses, but generally these companies produce compelling offerings.
I liked the compact, modern look of the Yale Assure Lock 2. It’s not as invisible as Level’s products, but still has a clean aesthetic. The Assure Lock 2’s locking mechanism wasn’t quite as buttery smooth as the Schlage Encode Plus lock, but it’s quiet and moves well. August is in a class of its own because it attaches to an existing latch, but again I appreciate Yale’s use of more standard batteries.
Should you buy the Yale Assure Lock 2?
After spending a lot of time with it, I’m convinced that the Yale Assure Lock 2 is a great smart lock choice for both beginners and seasoned smart home veterans. The different variants of the Assure Lock 2 allow people to keep costs down if they really don’t want the extra functionality. The selection also seems to cater to renters who need a variety of options to meet the needs of their guests.
I wish this lock would support Apple’s home buttons for unlocking with an Apple Watch, but beyond that there’s not much else I was missing. Smart home platform reliability could be a wild card depending on each person’s software setup, but otherwise I think the Assure Lock 2 should be a top consideration for people looking for a new smart lock.
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