Smart door lock offers key-free security without replacing your deadbolt

You’ve probably seen sci-fi flicks that show how convenient it would be to just approach a house and have the door automatically open for you. While that might sound like the ultimate convenience, our current reality is far from reaching that idyllic future scenario. Never mind security concerns against hackers or, worse, software bugs, the requirements for installing smart door locks alone are enough to frighten off all but the most tech-savvy and capable of homeowners. Having to replace existing knobs and locks is a daunting and expensive task, which is why this “retrofit” smart door lock is so noteworthy as it allows almost anyone, especially those without much DIY experience, to install the lock in just minutes and still keep the same deadbolt they’ve been using for years.

Designer: Yale

On the one hand, it’s understandable why installing a smart door lock would require removing the old, not-so-smart one. Not only does it require electronic parts, it would also be advisable that all the parts actually work well together. On the other hand, it might not always be economical or practical to replace existing deadbolts, especially if you have quite an expensive design or are renting out rooms or houses. Retrofit locks try to bridge these two extremes and Yale just launched its first attempt at making life easier and less stressful for such people.

The new Yale Approach with Wi-Fi is a deceptively simple kit that promises you’ll only need around 10 minutes and a single screwdriver to install it over your existing deadbolt, depending on how familiar you are with some handiwork. It’s an indoor-only design so you only need to change that part of the lock and that’s all there is to it. Of course, you still need to plug in the wireless Yale Wi-Fi bridge somewhere near the Yale Approach and connect it to your network, but that’s pretty much on par with any other smart lock.

Once that straightforward installation is done, you can enjoy the key-free and sometimes hands-free experience of having a futuristic lock for your home. You can have it lock the door automatically once you’re out or even unlock it when you’re near, all without having to even pull out your phone. You can also give other people access, permanently or temporarily, to the lock, which is important for renters. Best of all, you can still use your old keys as a backup in case things go awry.

The Yale Approach with Wi-Fi arrives along with a new Yale Keypad that adds an extra layer of security to your new smart home system. This wireless backlit keypad can simply be stuck to a wall near the lock, allowing authorized users to simply enter a code to unlock the door. A future model will even come with a fingerprint sensor so you can stop worrying about memorizing all those numbers (or using an insecure sequence like “1234”). Depending on the situation, this new Yale combo might still be inadequate as far as smart security systems are concerned, but it’s still better than the alternative of going through all the work and costs of installing a new lock that you might end up not liking anyway.