It was an early spring weekday afternoon and I had decided to head home for lunch. Why? I can’t know for sure. Perhaps it was because I was craving a good homemade turkey sandwich, some tortilla chips, and a couple slices of Irish cheddar cheese. Or maybe it was because I was looking to save a couple bucks and eat in. Whatever the reason, one thing was for certain – I was hungry.
As I pulled into the driveway I could already taste the thin slices of Dietz & Watson oven roasted turkey wedged between 2 thick slices of Jewish Rye. I pulled the parking break on our little red FIAT 500 and made my way to our front door (about a month earlier I had lost my garage door opener. Long story. Don’t ask).
I quickly approached our freshly painted solid wood doorway, reached into my pocket for my house key and pulled out none other than… pocket lint. And that’s when it hit me – I was in such a hurry to make it home for lunch that I had left my key sitting on my desk. Needless to say, I ended up swinging by a fast food joint on the way back to the office.
It was that day that I vowed to one day leave physical keys behind altogether and so began my keyless entry search. With the help of friends I quickly found an iPhone controlled garage door opener by Craftsman running about $275.
The garage door opener is cool (and we’re still considering it one day if done right) but Assurelink has yearly subscription fees and the user experience seems a bit clunky. So I kept looking. And that’s when my awesome mother told me about a product she had seen on Shark Tank called Unikey. It was promisingly affordable (“under $199”) but completely non-existent and unresponsive on their social platforms. While it looked cool it was impossible to get quality information from them.
They actually have more pictures of their founder/CEO than they do of the device itself. After reaching out to them numerous times I gave up and began looking elsewhere. That’s when I found the Lockitron iPhone controlled door hardware kit running a hefty $299.
Unfortunately, none of these were just right for our needs. We needed something with an intuitively user interface, simple and nondestructive installation, and affordable. So I shelved the dream hoping that one day something would come along. And that’s when a buddy of mine (also a reader here on TNIB) pointed me back to Lockitron yesterday.
Initially, I thought I knew exactly what he was sending me and told him that I liked the idea but not the price point Then I actually took a second and checked out the link and that is when I realized that this was an entirely NEW Lockitron.
They had dropped complete hardware kits altogether for a simpler, more modular design that clamps onto your existing hardware. This was the most convenient, most affordable, most intuitive smart lock system on the market. I was sold.
It uses a simple bracket system to clamp over your existing hardware on the inside of your door. Bulky? Yes. Ugly? Not at all. Their attention to detail and design is superb.
Locking functions are controlled through a beautifully designed app or for older phones…text.
You can also share a key with a family member or friend by sending them a temporary or permanent access code.
On top of that, it has a built in lock/unlock and knock sensor. So if somebody uses Lockitron or a traditional key to unlock your door, you will receive a notification and likewise, if somebody knocks, you will get a knock notification.
The unit runs on 4 AA batteries and is incredibly efficient (at least according to their site). With an estimated 365 days of battery life.
And if you use iPhones (which we do) you can enable presence sensing (“sense”). Meaning that when the Lockitron unit recognizes that your phone is within distance the door will unlock providing you access without ever needing to slip your hand into your pocket.
All in all it sounds like a very promising and beautifully designed device. I’m excited to receive ours and add it to our smart home arsenal. I am actually considering ordering a couple more for the other doors in our house. We’ll see what Katie thinks about that idea.
As you know, I will be sure to document our experience both good and bad here on the blog. Stay tuned for more.
Have you found a smart key that works for you? Do you own the old lockitron system? Does a digital key freak you out? Let’s hear your thoughts.
In the meantime check out this video of the new Lockitron in action.
Update 1: There have been quite a few questions on the interwebs regarding monthly or yearly subscription fees. According to Lockitron “the new model of Lockitron will not have monthly fees for normal use, although like the original…we will likely still charge for text-message access.” – Great news if you ask me!
Update 2: Also, for those of you interested in the product dimensions hoping it fits with your current deadbolt kit, they are as follows: 4.1″ Wide x 6.7″ Tall x 1.65″ Deep
See Also: DIY Smart Home, Mission Control, Nesting, SmartThings, and Organization