SwitchBot, the company that makes tiny robotic fingers to press your switches for you, is branching further into the smart home. The new SwitchBot Lock ($99.99) sticks to your door and turns the thumb turn automatically to lock and unlock it. This is the simplest retrofit smart lock solution I’ve ever seen. SwitchBot says it can be installed in seconds since there’s no need to remove any part of your existing door lock. But it does look a bit odd.
The SwitchBot Lock will be available starting June 20th at Amazon and the SwitchBot store along with two compatible keypads — the SwitchBot KeyPad ($29.99) and the SwitchBot KeyPad Touch with a fingerprint reader ($59.99).
As a Bluetooth lock, you can control the SwitchBot Lock with your smartphone or Apple Watch when you’re near the door. It also has an auto-lock feature. To add voice control through Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa and control the lock when you’re away from home using the SwitchBot app, you’ll need to pick up a SwitchBot Hub Mini ($39) and plug that into a USB outlet near the lock.
The company says the lock is compatible with most deadbolt locks, and it comes with three different-sized thumb turns to fit a variety of designs. SwitchBot is also working on additional accessories for more compatibility. The thumb turns pop into the SwitchBot Lock to “grasp” and then turn the lock’s thumb turn automatically. You can also control it manually.
The simplicity of installation makes this a good option for renters. The SwitchBot Lock uses 3M VHB to stick to the door, and you don’t need to screw anything to the door or touch your existing lock. It’s powered by two CR123A 3V batteries that promise six months of battery life.
In addition to app control, voice control, and the keypads, you can continue to unlock your door with your existing key, and there's the option of pairing one of SwitchBot’s NFC tags with the lock.
There aren't a lot of retrofit door lock options on the market (where you don’t have to replace your entire door lock). The leader is the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, which is much more expensive at $230 but doesn’t require a separate hub, and there’s also the $125 Wyze Lock. However, both of these require removing some of your existing lock. The SwitchBot Lock is a unique and innovative approach to creating a smart door lock, if not the most elegant option out there.