SwitchBot, the company that makes tiny robotic fingers to press your switches for you, is getting more into the smart home. The new SwitchBot Lock ($99.99) sticks to your door and automatically turns your thumb to lock and unlock it. This is the easiest smart lock solution I have ever seen. SwitchBot says it can be installed in seconds because there’s no need to remove any part of your existing door lock. But it looks a little weird.
The SwitchBot Lock will be available from June 20 on Amazon and in the SwitchBot store with two compatible keyboards – 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 are near the door. It also has an auto-lock feature. To add voice control via Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa and control the lock when you’re away from home using the SwitchBot app, you’ll need to grab a SwitchBot Hub Mini ($39) and plug it into a USB socket near the lock.
The company says the lock is compatible with most deadbolts and comes with three different sized thumbturns to accommodate a variety of designs. SwitchBot is also working on additional accessories for more compatibility. Thumb rotates in the SwitchBot lock to “grab”, then automatically rotates the thumb of the lock. You can also control it manually.
The simplicity of installation makes it 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 is powered by two CR123A 3V batteries that promise six months of battery life.
In addition to app control, voice control, and keypads, you can continue to unlock your door with your existing key, and it’s possible to pair one of SwitchBot’s NFC tags with the lock.
There aren’t many 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 Wyze Lock at $125. However, both of these require removing part of your existing lock. The SwitchBot Lock is a unique and innovative approach to creating a smart door lock, if not the sleekest option out there.