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I love the idea of having a smart house, but I’m a renter. This means I always have to think in terms of how permanent something is before I can consider making my house any smarter. One such area that’s been a little difficult is the smart lock.

It seems like such a basic part of a smart house, but if you are a renter, this means you may not have a landlord who is completely ok with the idea of their locks being replaced. When I stumbled across the August Smart lock, I thought that I had found the solution to that particular upgrade snafu, since it only replaces the thumb latch of a deadbolt, but leaves the main workimageings and key the same. This meant that I could use a smart lock on my home, but I wouldn’t have to worry about providing my landlady with a new key or explaining the electronic key concept to her.

When I looked at the site, I did think that the lock looked a little bulky, but I was still surprised how large it is. Even though you can get it in silver, dark grey, champagne and August red, you can’t really successfully make it “blend” in with the rest of your door because of the sheer size.

Installation looked a lot more difficult than it was from the booklet, but it was actually a breeze. A chart was included to tell me which adapter to use based upon brand, so that even the un-handy people can figure oimageut how to install it. They even included the strip of tape that you would need to tape the front of the lock in place while you install it. The only installation issue I ran across was that the front cover is difficult to fit into place. There’s only one indentation on the front to give you any traction to twist it (otherwise, you wind up grabbing the whole mount and unlocking it instead). This piece also gradually works itself throughout manual unlocking, so every so often, it’ll fall off and you have to twist it back into place.

When it came to actually using the August Lock, I liked it. It’s a little slow, which can be frustrating. And since it doesn’t affect the regular door lock, I can either solely rely on it or use a key for my knob lock, so some people who are extra cautious might be wary of that.

The EverLock feature is handy, except that there are no sensors involved to tell it when the door is closed and it operates solely by timer. If you have EverLock turned on but leave the door open while you carry in groceries, you have to take the time to unlock it again just to close the door. Since the August Smart Lock works with SmartThings (which I still need to invest in), one can hope that this is an option for working around that particular snag.

You can also share an unlimited number of keys so if you head out of town and realize that you forgot to give a key to the friend who is going to pet-sit for you, you can just do that from the app. You can also rescind their access, too, so there’s no need to worry about being a new deadbolt just because you don’t want someone to have a key anymore.

Overall, I like this smart lock, but I see many, many areas for improvement. With a current price of $249, it’s a smart house feature that works for renters in the meantime, but they may just want to hold out on till improvements are made.