Updated Jul 14, 2020

Nest x Yale vs. August (4th Gen & Yale Assure SL): Best Smart Lock

Cam Secore

After a new month of testing, I determined August is my favorite smart lock platform because of its auto-unlock feature and smart home compatibility, but the hardware of Nest x Yale is superior.

Because of this, I found that Yale Assure SL Connected by August was the best of both worlds and my preferred smart lock system.

Want to learn how I reached this conclusion? Read on to see the detailed breakdown of software, user-friendliness, and design that informed my overall impression.

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Software

  • NestC
  • AugustA

Features: August (4th Gen)

Overall impression: Being the two best smart lock platforms on the market, Nest and August have a lot of similarities. However, August has an edge due to its auto-unlock feature and in-app warning if your door isn’t fully shut.

Key features:

  • You can control the system when you’re not home.
  • You can see a history of who’s opened the door.
  • You can give people recurring scheduled access, temporary access, or permanent access. Unfortunately, codes only work on August systems that have a keypad… so if you don’t have a keypad, guests will need to download and use the August app.
  • August’s “Auto Unlock” feature puts the system in “away mode” once you leave your house, then unlocks your August when you come back home.
  • DoorSense always knows the status of your door and warns you in the app when the door isn’t shut fully. When your door isn’t shut fully, the Auto-Lock feature is disabled.

Personal experience: August is the only smart lock that I’ve ever tested with an auto-unlock feature. It’s the most convenient feature of any smart home product that I’ve ever tested. Auto Unlock works perfectly about 95% of the time, while the other times it still works, it’s just slow.

Auto-Unlock is a magical experience when you come home from the grocery store with five bags on each arm. When Auto Unlock works correctly, it’s like your door doesn’t even have a lock.

Features: Nest x Yale

Overall impression: Both Nest and August share a lot of features. August has an edge in terms of feature quality, but I like that guests don’t need to download an app to use Nest, which might give it a slight edge for Airbnbers.

Key features:

  • You can control the system when you’re not home.
  • You can see a history of who’s opened the door.
  • You can give people recurring scheduled access (houseguests, babysitters, nannies, house cleaners), give one-time temporary access (Airbnb guests), or give permanent access to the people in your household.
  • If Nest detects you’re not home, it puts itself in Away Mode and locks if it’s not already.

Personal experience: While I love Away Mode (and it’s HUGE if you forget to lock your house), Nest doesn’t go into Away Mode until at least an hour passes. You shouldn’t rely on Away Mode to lock your house for you.

Smart Home Integration: August (4th Gen)

Overall impression: August (4th Gen) works with almost every smart home platform out of the box and doesn’t require a bridge or module to do it.

Compatibility:

  • IFTTT. For example, you can turn on the Hue lights in the living room whenever your door is unlocked.
  • Alexa. For example, you can create an Alexa Routine that plays music on your kitchen speaker each time your door is unlocked.
  • HomeKit. You can see the status or lock the door while away from home with the Home app or Siri if you have a HomeKit (Apple TV, iPad, or HomePod).
  • Google Assistant. You can lock the door.

Personal experience: Alexa commands usually work right away, while anything involving the Apple Home app or Siri can take up to ten seconds.

Smart Home Integration: Nest x Yale

Overall impression: Nest x Yale doesn’t play nice with any smart home platforms outside of Google’s ecosystem.

Compatibility:

  • Nest’s biggest weakness is its lack of compatibility with popular smart home systems. They expect you to use it exclusively within the Nest ecosystem.
  • Its only real integration is with Google Assistant. When you say, “lock the back door” your door will lock without authentication.
  • You can also integrate it with your other Nest products. For example, when you unlock Nest x Yale, your Nest Secure alarm system can disarm automatically.

Personal experience: While you can unlock the door with Google Assistant, it’s annoying that you can’t lock and unlock inside the Google Home app.

User Friendliness

  • NestC
  • AugustA

Installation: August (4th Gen)

Overall impression: The August app is well-designed and walks you through a 13-step installation with video gifs for each step. It has less moving parts than Nest and you won’t have to drill any holes, but it can be a pain if you have a unique deadbolt.

How to install:

  1. You keep your existing deadbolt setup and just replace your existing deadbolt lever with August’s mounting plate.
  2. Match your existing deadbolt brand to one of the four colored deadbolt adaptors.
  3. After placing the correct adaptor on the lock, slide the August lock over the mounting plate.

Personal experience: I’ve installed August three times. In my latest install, it took 15 minutes to get the August positioned and properly calibrated. But later in the day, my lock was trying to lock while already locked.

I showed the August support team a video of the issue, and they said I should’ve used the yellow deadbolt adapter, rather than the blue one that the August app suggested. Everything was fine after I used the yellow adaptor.

While August seems like an easier process because you’re only replacing one part, their makeshift solution might complicate matters for those who have a unique deadbolt. Plus, August’s lock calibration usually takes more than a couple tries.

Installation: Nest x Yale

Overall impression: Installation is relatively painless. The Nest app will lead you through all of the installation steps. Once the lock is on the door, the speaker gives you voice guidance, while the final steps take place back in the Nest app.

How to install:

  1. Remove your existing deadbolt setup.
  2. Drill a bigger hole if the existing one isn’t 2-⅛” (most are 2-⅛” already).
  3. Once you have a proper sized hole, you install a new deadbolt latch.
  4. Put the keypad though your hole.
  5. Attach and mount the backplate to the keypad.
  6. Attach the wire from the keypad to the lock lever base.
  7. Mount the lock lever base to the backplate with three screws.

Personal experience: I’ve installed the Nest twice. In my latest install, it took 20 minutes to take the old lock off and have the Nest running on the latest firmware.

Locking & Unlocking: August (4th Gen)

Overall impression: You want options? August (4th Gen) gives you options. The downside is that August (4th Gen) doesn’t have a keypad. August sells an optional keypad, but I don’t recommend it because it doesn’t work perfectly and it’s ugly.

How to unlock your door:

  • With Auto-Unlock. It unlocks your door after you’ve left your house and come back.
  • With the August app. Tap the giant red circle.
  • With the Apple Home app. Find the page that has your lock, then tap the icon.
  • With a HomeKit Automation. A more secure auto-unlock method (if you’re HomeKit hub owner), is to create an automation to unlock the door when you arrive home. When you get to the door, your phone will get a notification that asks your permission to unlock the door. You can tap the “run” automation button, and unlock your door, once your phone is unlocked via Face ID.
  • With the Alexa app. Go to your devices, tap on locks, locate your lock, then tap the lock icon.
  • Ask Alexa or Siri. When you say, “unlock the back door” Siri and Alexa will ask for your authentication (either Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode depending on the device).
  • With your original key. You keep your existing deadbolt system in place and the keyhole works as it did without the smart lock attached.
  • With the August Apple Watch app. Locate the app, tap the green circle to unlock.

How to lock your door:

  • With an auto-lock timer. August can automatically lock after a set period since the door was last shut. You can pick a time between 30 seconds and 30 minutes.
  • With the August app. Tap the giant green circle.
  • With the Apple Home app. Find the page that has your lock, then tap the icon.
  • With the Alexa app. Go to your devices, tap on locks, locate your lock, then tap the lock icon.
  • With Alexa, Google, or Siri. When you say, “lock the back door” your door will lock without authentication.
  • With your original key. The keyhole works as it would without the smart lock attached.
  • With the August Apple Watch app. Locate the app, tap the red circle to unlock.

Personal experience:

I use the 10-minute timer. It gives me enough time to put out the trash or flip the burgers without getting locked out, but it’s still not ideal. I turn this feature off when I have friends over for a cookout or I’m hanging out in the backyard longer than normal.

If the door auto-locks and you’re still in your yard, you won’t get bailed out by “Auto-Unlock.” If you don’t leave your house, August won’t put the system in “away mode,” which means that “Auto-unlock” won’t trigger.

Locking & Unlocking: Nest x Yale

Overall impression: Locking and unlocking your door is easy… right up until it isn’t.  Nest x Yale is that it doesn’t have a keyhole. If the batteries die, you need to hold a 9-volt battery to the bottom of the lock to activate the screen, then type in your code.

How to unlock your door:

  • With the keypad: place a finger on the Yale logo to activate the keypad, then you tap in your code, followed by the checkmark.
  • With the Nest app: tap on the lock icon, then hold the lock button for a full second.

How to lock your door:

  • With an auto-lock timer. You can set the timer to lock 10 seconds, 1 minute, or 5 minutes after you’ve unlocked it.
  • With the keypad. Just tap the Yale logo. This is the best way to lock the Nest, as you don’t inadvertently hit the button when closing the door.
  • With the Nest app. Tap on the lock icon, then hold the lock button for a full second.
  • With Google Assistant. When you say, “lock the back door” your door will lock without authentication.

Personal experience: The lack of a keyhole makes Nest x Yale risky for anyone with only one entry door. Technology can break. If you experience a software malfunction or a weakened motor from long-term use, you may find yourself locked out of your house.

That said, the touchscreen has a better touch response than most I’ve tried and works brilliantly in cold weather (even while wearing gloves).

Locking & Unlocking: Yale Assure SL (w/ August)

If you want the best of both worlds, you should consider Yale Assure SL (w/ August). It combines (almost) all of the lock/unlock methods of August (4th Gen) with a sleek keypad that gives you an additional way to unlock your door. The only downside is that you lose the keyhole, so you run the same risk as Nest x Yale.

Aesthetics

  • NestC
  • AugustA

Appearance: August (4th Gen)

august 4th gen

Overall impression: August (4th Gen) is the slimmest and best looking of all the native August devices. It’s a great design but not necessarily as intuitive as Nest x Yale.

Size & shape:

  • Inside dimensions: 2.8″ x 2.8″ x 2.75″
  • From the inside of the house, it’s shaped like a hockey puck and looks futuristic, but it’s not as intuitive as a traditional deadbolt lever.
  • From the outside of your house, no one will know that you have a smart lock; it uses the same external keyhole lock and latch from your previous lock.
  • None of the technology components are outside, so you don’t have to worry about temperatures, humidity, or rain potentially affecting the operation.
  • The magnetic battery door is easy to remove but won’t fall off on its own.

Personal experience: I like that you can retain your key. I also like the look of the lock from the inside of my house, but guests sometimes didn’t realize that they could turn it to unlock the door. It wasn’t the most intuitive.

Appearance: Nest x Yale

nest x yale lock

Overall impression: It’s one of the best looking smart locks that I’ve tested. It’s sleek, intuitive, and minimalist.

Size & shape:

  • Inside dimensions: 2.8″ x 7.1″ x 2.1″
  • Outside dimensions: 2.6″ x 5.6″ x 0.67″
  • It sticks out from the door about a half-inch less than August, and it’s not as tall as Kwikset and Schlage smart locks.
  • The batteries are easily accessible with one screw.
  • There’s no keyhole, which adds to the minimalistic look.

Personal experience: This is the only category where Yale blows August out of the water. Its sleek and low-profile keypad has huge, bright-blue numbers. It’s a piece of art and everything I could ever hope for in a design, aesthetically speaking.

Appearance: Yale Assure SL (w/ August)

yale assure august

The same great, minimalist design and responsive touchpad as Nest x Yale, but it’s not quite as tall. So I guess it’s… even more minimalist? It’s hard to find anything to criticize with the look of this smart lock from inside or outside your home.

  • Inside dimensions: 3″ x 6.9″ x 2.1″
  • Outside dimensions: 3.6″ x 2.6″ x 0.67″

The Verdict

yale assure sl connected by august

Yale Assure SL (August)

10

Get Yale Assure SL (w/ August) if you want your door to automatically unlock when you get home or to know when your door is open. August (4th Gen) is great because the platform is great, but you lose out on the amazing keypad for the same price.

nest x yale lock

Nest x Yale

7

Get Nest x Yale if you own lots of Nest products and you don’t want to download another app. Nest x Yale is well-built and works as intended, but it’s missing lots of smart compatibility (Alexa, IFTTT, HomeKit) and smart software features compared to the two August locks.

 

I’ve been obsessed with gadgets since I was eight years old. I buy each device reviewed with MY money and don’t have insider access. I’m just like you, the everyman.

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