August Smart Lock: A Locksmith’s Review

Over the past several years, I have noticed a proliferation of electronic locks for the residential market. Anyone who has read my previous articles will know that I am not a big fan of these light duty electronic locks. In my professional opinion, they offer convenience but sacrifice too much in terms of security. In the end, doesn’t a lock need to provide security foremost, then convenience?

Among the myriad of different electronic locks currently available, the August Smart Lock is one of the more popular ones. I see it quite often in the Vancouver market. So here’s a quick review discussing its pros and cons. Finally, I will give my verdict on whether the August Smart Lock is worth your hard earned cash.

As always, if you have any questions, please call or text me at 604-363-2760 or email me at Or, you can drop by our Downtown Vancouver Key Store located at 555 West Hasting St by Gastown. We are inside the SFU/Harbour Centre Mall next to the BC Liquor Store. Our Key Store now also provides Key Fob Copying Services. Please contact me to find out more!

Overview of the August Smart Lock

The August Smart Lock provides many of the typical features you would expect to find at this price level. It has things like:

  • Auto Lock
  • Bluetooth and Wifi capabilities
  • Home and Auto Unlock 
  • Etc
August Smart Lock: A Locksmith’s Review

The one thing that makes the August Smart Lock different is that it is meant to work with your existing deadbolt. It is mounted on the back of the lock on the inside of the door. To lock or unlock the door, you can simply use your existing key or use the August Home App on your phone. It does not come with a keyless keypad though you can purchase a bluetooth keypad separately. 

I won’t be spending a lot of time discussing the common features it shares with other similar electronic deadbolts. Instead, I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the rear mounted August Smart Lock.

Advantage #1: Does not change exterior trim or presentation

For one reason or another, most of us live in condos or townhouses these days. This means that we have to deal with strata corporations and strata bylaws. One of the most common strata bylaws in Vancouver is that we cannot alter the exterior look of our units without written permission from the strata council. 

This usually encompasses things like:

  • Can’t have window coverings different from your neighbours
  • Restrictions on what you can have on your patio
  • Can’t install a heat pump without permission
  • Etc

One of the other things that can be prohibited is the type of locks on your unit door. Most strata require a similar looking lock with the same finish and shape.

So unless your unit already came with an electronic deadbolt installed, the August Smart Lock allows you to maintain the same exterior look by using the existing deadbolt’s outside parts. 

August Smart Lock: A Locksmith’s Review

The August Smart Lock allows you to have a discrete electronic lock. Your neighbours and Strata Council won’t know you have an electronic lock unless they are inside your unit.

Disadvantage #1: Works with only the worst locks on the market

As you can imagine, there are a lot of different deadbolts available for use in the North American market. They all have little quirks that make them not interchangeable with each other. If the lock company wants to differentiate their product from the rest, their lock has to be unique in some way.

That uniqueness means that August Smart Lock cannot accommodate many types of locks. So the company made a strategic decision to provide parts to work with only the cheapest and worst locks you can buy.

Generally, the cheaper your lock, the better the chance the August Smart Lock will work on your door. As a result, you cannot pair the August Smart lock with decent locks like the Schlage Grade 2 Medium Duty Series or great locks like the Schlage Grade 1 Heavy Duty Series. 

However, it does work great with Light Duty Locks like Defiant, Titan, Facto, Weiser Smart Key, and so on. Basically, the stuff that is sold at DIY stores like Home Depot and Rona.

So if Home Security is your primary concern, the August Smart Lock is not the lock for you. On the other hand, if you really want the convenience of an electronic deadbolt but your strata have strict bylaws, the August Smart Lock may be the only solution you have. However, you may need to downgrade to a lower class of lock to get it to work which itself may violate the strata’s rules on uniformity.

Yale Deadbolt

While the August Smart Lock will work with a number of cheap locks, it was designed to specifically work with the Yale Single Cylinder Deadbolt.

Unfortunately, the Yale Deadbolt is not sold locally and needs to be custom ordered online or via a locksmith. Frankly, it’s a cheap lock representative of all Grade 3 Light Duty Locks. Not great in terms of security, but it is listed on the company’s website as the deadbolt of choice for the August Smart Lock.

Disadvantage #2: Poor craftsmanship and design choices

I first encountered the August Smart Lock about seven or eight years ago while servicing a client who had just purchased a loft near Gastown. They wanted to upgrade from Weiser Smart Key to a decent Medium Duty Deadbolt, so I recommended the Schlage B560 which is the go-to standard for many locksmiths.

The wrinkle in the plan is that they wanted to use the unit as an Airbnb and wanted me to install an August Smart Lock Gen 1 that they had purchased online.

At this point in time, the August Smart Lock was a fairly new product. The Gen 1 came with 3 tailpiece adapters and had no wifi capability. However, the worst thing about the first generation August Smart Lock is that it was made almost entirely of plastic. The metal components it did have were cheap cast metal parts that were a bit soft and brittle.

The biggest problem with all of this was that the “wing” tabs that held the fairly heavy “hockey puck” sized lock to the door plate was made of this plastic. The tabs were too easy to break/bend during installation. In addition, they also provided only a tenuous grip which meant that the whole thing could fall off the door if the door was jolted sharply.

Plus, the door mounting plate could not accommodate the thicker side bolts of the Schlage B560. To get the bolts mounted, I had to drill out and modify the door mounting plate to get it to work. This was easier back then as the plate was basically made of soft metal and plastic moving parts.

Recently I had the displeasure of working with the newer Gen 2/3 version and it’s only marginally a bit better.

I guess that enough people complained about the Gen 1’s lack of compatibility so it now comes with 4 different tailpiece adapters. In addition, the door mounting plate and wing tabs are made from hardened steel which is a definite plus. The lock itself felt lighter but I think that it had a lot more to do with its power source. More on that later.

The Gen 2 version’s new tailpiece adapter now allows it to work with cheap Home Depot deadbolts like Facto and Defiant. However, the door mounting plate still does not work with better deadbolts like the Schlage B560 or B660. Since it’s now made of hardened steel, it is not harder to modify and is, in fact, makes it totally incompatible with higher grades of deadbolts.

As such, you are stuck using the cheaper Light Duty Deadbolts.

Advantage #2/Disadvantage #3: Use of C123A Batteries

In my opinion, the change of power source from the Gen 1 version to the Gen 2 version is both a positive and a negative feature.

Besides the cheaper plastic like materials, you can tell an older August Smart Lock from a newer version by the batteries it uses as the power source. The older locks used four AA batteries while the newer ones use two C123A batteries.

If you have never seen a C123A battery, it looks like a shorter stubbier AA battery. I usually use it for high power applications like my Surefire flashlight that can light up the darkness like the Sun. This lithium battery was developed first for the camera industry before it became popular with the tactical gear industry in products like rangefinders, night vision scopes, and so on.

The August Smart Lock is the only electronic lock I’ve encountered that uses the C123A battery.

I suppose the main advantage is that the new power source weighs much less. The reduced weight most likely increases the lock’s motor life and reduces the time it takes to lock or unlock the door.

However, there are three disadvantages that outweigh the positives.

First, C123/C123A batteries cost more and can be more difficult to find. I usually get mine from the local tactical gear store that supplies the local Police Departments. It’s not something you will find in most convenience or retail stores. I have never seen them at any Costco.

Second, C123/C123A batteries cost more than your standard alkaline AA battery. Even on Amazon, they cost five to six times more than an AA battery. Do they last five to 6 times longer? Unfortunately they do not. In fact, they may expire twice as fast as the load is spread over just 2 cells vs the 4 cells if you were using AA batteries.

Finally, there is a reason why most lock manufacturers recommend alkaline batteries for electronic deadbolts and levers. Even Grade 1 Commercial Heavy Duty electronic locks use alkaline batteries. 

The foremost reason is that alkaline batteries provide a gradual power depletion curve. This means that when the lock detects low voltage, it will give you a warning two or three times before becoming inoperable.

Lithium batteries have a much steeper power depletion curve. As a result, you will likely not get any low battery warning before the lock dies. The onus will be on you to check the app regularly to make sure the batteries have enough juice to lock or unlock the door.

For this reason, no one uses lithium batteries in electronic locks. If a tactical flashlight dies, it’s easy to change out the batteries. If your August Smart Lock loses power, you may need to call a Professional Locksmith to unlock your door as this lock does not have an override battery terminals on the exterior.

Disadvantage #4: The lock may damage your walls

This is a problem that will more likely affect customers living in condos and townhomes. However, depending on your home design it may affect detached home owners as well.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that the August Smart Lock’s high profile can extend it past the knob/lever below it. So much so that if you have a wall next to the door, it can leave a hole or dent on that wall.

If you plan to use an August Smart Lock, I highly recommend installing a spring style door stopper on the baseboard next to the door. I have had a couple of customers, who smashed a hole in their drywall and damaged their electronic lock much to their chagrin.

This is not a problem that affects most other smart locks as they have a much slimmer profile as parts of the lock are split between the exterior and interior of the door. However, with the August Smart Lock, it’s all on the interior as it has to work with a mechanical deadbolt.


To conclude, if you are living in a strata with very strict bylaws and you cannot change the exterior look of your doors, the August Smart Lock may be your only option.

In other cases, I don’t think it’s worth the money. You would be better off buying an electronic lock like the Yale Nest Lock. I generally find a lot of my customers who use the August Smart Key ending up using their mechanical key quite often as there is no integrated keypad. As such, it’s kind of pointless.

As always, if you have any questions about which electronic locks are best for your situation, please call or text me at 604-363-2760 or email me at Or, you can drop by our Downtown Vancouver Key Store located at 555 West Hasting St by Gastown. We are inside the SFU/Harbour Centre Mall next to the BC Liquor Store. Our Key Store now also provides Key Fob Copying Services. Please contact me to find out more!

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