In December 2021, I had a first look at a (then) prototype of the SwitchBot Lock – a new robot from my favourite IoT robot-making company. Instead of leaving consumers wondering if they need to fit a new door to get a smart lock (I still haven’t installed the Aqara smart lock which basically needed a new door to work), SwitchBot continues its mission of retrofitting smarts into existing living spaces. This time, you can improve your security with easy-to-deploy SwitchBot Lock & Keypad Touch.
SwitchBot Lock, Keypad and Keypad Touch
What sets SwitchBot Lock apart – is the ease of installation with compatible locks. It’s an add-on to your existing lock changing into a smart lock in minutes. At least in theory, for compatible lock types.
That effortless installation had been ruined by my non-standard lock. I picked the garage for my first smart lock installation. The house is older than the planet Earth itself every upgrade is never simple. I ended up fighting with non-existing standards for 3h before my garage door had a lock compatible with this century and therefore with SwitchBot.
Anyone with a modern lock (especially with self-locking bolts that are often fitted in apartments) can deploy this automatic lock opener in a matter of seconds. The best part is: even if you are renting the apartment, the process is non-invasive and it’s unlikely that your landlord will mind. If it wasn’t for my door, the whole upgrade would have taken about 15 min.
I have been praising SwitchBot for catering to the rental market for some time, as I understand that home ownership is tricky, but we all would love a taste of living in a house in the future. You can get that for as little as £159.99 for the basic security starter kit. The kit will open up the possibility to unlock your house in 7 different ways. From remote unlocking to secure fingerprint entry.
SwitchBot Lock 129.99
There is a lot to unpack here. The lock comes with 3 knob twisters and 10 key-shaped adapters to maximise compatibility with speciality deadbolt style locks. Looking at the size of the slit in the narrowest adapter, it would be possible to twist the key too, but be very mindful of this. My lock, cannot be unlocked from the outside by a key if the key is already inside the lock on the other side. Any failures in this particular case would result in a very expensive visit from a locksmith.
With that said, a correctly installed SwitchBot Lock won’t cause any hassles as the door lock can still be unlocked with a key (in event of a catastrophic failure or dead battery). SwitchBot Lock is powered by CR123A batteries and promises up to 6 months of locking and unlocking. Do check out the full compatibility guide included on their page to make sure your door is SwitchBot compatible. Some of the supported locks include:
- Knob cylinder
- Euro Profile Double Cylinder
- UK oval
- Swiss Round
- American Deadbolt
In principle, your locking mechanism has to be flush (or close to) with the surface of the door, with the unlock knob/handle fitting underneath the arch of the lock. Note that SwitchBot Lock can be fitted in any orientation (including sidewise). A raiser plate is included to add extra height to your lock especially to use the butterfly fittings. It takes about 4-5 seconds to unlock the door – which is slower than a dedicated smart lock, but quick enough even for impatient people.
The SwitchBot Lock can be unlocked from the inside with a twist of the knob – and after proper calibration, the lock will reflect the manual and automatic unlock in the app. My only complaint is about the included door sensor magnet. If you are using the lock with the raiser plate, you have almost no chance of adding the door magnet to take advantage of extra features. If that’s the case, you can always fall back on the dedicated SwitchBot Door sensor.
SwitchBot Keypad & Keypad Touch
This sleek Bluetooth-enabled keypad comes in 2 variants. The only thing that sets them apart is the presence of the fingerprint sensor so I cover both of them here and you keep that in mind. It’s powered by the same CR123A (included) as the lock batteries and SwitchBot promises up to 2 years in operation. Something I can’t verify considering the fact, that not a single SwitchBot device had its battery changed yet – I’m inclined to believe it.
How to unlock your house
SwitchBot Keypad isn’t just a key entry console. Equipped with a numerical keypad (with a highlight) device comes with an RFID reader, fingerprint sensor and all the smarts to make keyless entry a breeze. There is even an accelerometer inside that will trigger a warning and notifies you when the SwitchBot Keypad is moved from its location.
Each SwitchBot Keypad can be paired with a lock (or multiple of there off) and used to unlock the door. It’s simple, elegant and built-in key highlight, status indicator and beeper provide additional feedback without looking at the app.
SwitchBot Keypad works offline, but if you want access to all the features including app/cloud controls, voice assistant integration and remote access management, you will need a SwitchBot Hub.
The keypad stores 100 access codes of min 6 to 12 numbers. These are split into several types:
- permanent – the usual passcode is valid until revoked
- temporary – passcode with a start and expiration date (up to 5 years in duration)
- one time – revoked once used
- emergency – unlocks the door, but also sends an alert email to dedicated contacts
One neat thing about the code entry is possible obfuscation to prevent others from memorising it or checking for the wear on your SwitchBot Keypad. The feature allows users to enter the passcode encoded in a string of random numbers before and after the code – making it hard to decode by bystanders. As long as your sequence contains the right access code – the door will open.
The keys have a good feel to them and ambient aware highlight eases the key entry at night.
SwitchBot Access card was included in the set and you can train the lock to open with an NFC-enabled card (*or smart device). It stores up to 100 cards. These can be saved as permanent or temporary.
Voice and app
If you link your SwitchBot Lock with a SwitchBot Hub and enable cloud access, you can open the door using an app or voice assistance. As SwitchBot Lock uses smart lock API, apart from the command, you’ll need to provide a pin to authorise the status change.
It works in a pinch, but as the SwitchBot Keypad has other access options, it’s often quicker to use a code or fingerprint than to take your phone out. Especially since it takes several seconds for the lock status to update before you can unlock the door. That’s my only usability complaint at this point.
Probably the most used by me method of gaining entry. In my humble opinion, the fingerprint version of the SwitchBot Keypad is worth having. Is as accurate as your phone fingerprint reader and prone to the same shortcomings (not working well when wet). The library of fingerprints can be added to the lock through the app.
SwitchBot Keypad stores only fingerprint signatures work offline and will let you in with great accuracy. While fingerprints can only be added with someone physically present next to the lock, owners of the SwitchBot Hub can disable and enable access for individual fingerprints remotely. You can add up to 90 fingerprints and 10 emergency fingerprints.
SwitchBot Keypad also comes with vibration detection, which sends an alarm if a removal attempt is detected. The same goes for breach notifications – failure to provide correct authentication results in the lock being disabled for 5 min and a notification issued to the owner (this can be reset in the app).
Battery-wise, SwitchBot promises about 2 years of use for 3 people. As I’m the sole user of my garage, I expect to change my batteries one day! For now, the lock still reports 100% after a month of use.
Shop for Switchbot
Get Switchbot devices in the following stores:
I simply love it. My previous garage keys were big and bulky and simply annoying. Now I can pop into the garage without taking the keys with me. The built-in auto-lock makes sure that the door is always locked. As an extra bonus, my partner stopped asking me if I closed the garage door on each visit. Are you looking for a smart lock? SwitchBot Lock has my recommendation – even with all the labour I needed to put in to get it installed properly! Let me know what you think in this Reddit thread.
🆓📈💵 – See the transparency note for details.