SimpliSafe smart lock review: Slim and simple, but just for Simplisafe

Good on security features, but light on smarts; this is one for SimpliSafe fans

SimpliSafe smart lock
The Ambient is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Our favorite smart door locks are ones that don’t take away any functionality from a regular door, and the new lock from SimpliSafe certainly fits that bill.

You can unlock it with a pin code, smartphone, or your regular key, share codes with friends and service people, and always know when someone unlocks your door.

The SimpliSafe Smart Lock is also the slimmest, quietest smart door lock we’ve tested, plus it integrates seamlessly with the SimpliSafe alarm system, letting you disarm the system when you enter your code on the keypad, and lock itself when you arm the system.

But, and there had to be a but, it only works with the SimpliSafe alarm system (although the company has said it may roll it out as a stand-alone product at some point), and it's lacking in any really cool smart features.

We’ve been living with the SimpliSafe Smart Door lock for two weeks. Read on for our full review.

Simplisafe smart lock review: Slim and simple, but just for Simplisafe

SimpliSafe Smart Door Lock: Design and installation

The Simplisafe Smart Door Lock is designed to blend in. Where similar style, over-the-back deadbolt turns are all shiny and loud, SimpliSafe's just wants to mesh with your door. It comes in white or black and is just 0.9 inches thick, so doesn't stick out like the proverbial thumb.

Installation is very easy: you don’t need to remove your entire lock, just the thumb turn on the back. Unscrew it, screw on SimpliSafe’s plate using your existing screws, choose the right adapter for your existing deadbolt's tailpiece, pop it on, slide the lock over the mounting plate, and latch it in place.

That's it. It's very similar to the install of the August Smart Lock Pro, only it's a much slimmer lock - presumably because it doesn’t require bulky batteries.

Simplisafe smart lock review: Slim and simple, but just for Simplisafe

An included Bluetooth-enabled pin pad goes on the outside of your door and can be stuck anywhere, thanks to heavy duty double-sided tape, or fixed with screws for a more permanent install. The pin pad is also very small, although not as slim as the lock. It's almost too small though, and if you have big fingers you may find yourself hitting the wrong buttons occasionally.

Simplisafe smart lock review: Slim and simple, but just for Simplisafe

Overall, we liked the feel of the pin pad, a smooth, matt plastic that is similarly unobtrusive due to its diminutive size.

Once the lock and pin pad were installed we use the SimpliSafe keypad to add the device to the system, you can also do it in the smartphone app, but the audible confirmations from Miss SimpliSafe in the base station are more helpful and reassuring than the rather barebones SimpliSafe app.

Simplisafe smart lock review: Slim and simple, but just for Simplisafe

SimpliSafe Smart Door Lock: Features

Beyond being able to unlock your door with your phone and a pin code, SimpliSafe's smart features are mainly tied to its alarm system.

For example, you can have your system arm automatically when you lock your door using the pin pad (there's a lock button on it), and have it disarm when you unlock the door.

The lock can also be set to auto lock after 30 secs, 1 minute, or 5 minutes. Adding a separate door sensor can help determine the door's state when you're away - so you don't inadvertently lock a door that's wide open. But that needs to be purchased separately for $14.95.

All of the above features work with SimpliSafe's standard plan with professional monitoring ($14.99 a month), but if you want to access the door lock remotely through the app or use voice assistants, you'll need to subscribe to SimpliSafe's Interactive $24.99 a month plan, which gets you remote access to your system, professional alarm monitoring, and cloud video storage, among other things.

While it's one of the only door locks you need a subscription to use, the lock costs significantly less upfront compared to the competition, which takes some of the edge off.

Simplisafe smart lock review: Slim and simple, but just for Simplisafe

SimpliSafe Smart Door Lock: In Use

After we'd installed the lock we were surprised to realize we hadn't been prompted to create a code for the pin pad. It turns out your alarm system's master code also unlocks your door.

This makes sense, but also means if you are giving someone a code you are sharing with them the ability to turn off your alarm system, which may or may not be something you're comfortable with. However, they don't need to download an app and the codes don't give them access to any of your settings, and you won't need to remember to disarm the system remotely when a service person comes over.

To give a user a code you need to set up a custom code in the PINS section of the app, not the Door Lock settings sections, and you can only give out a total of four custom pins.

While you assign a name to the pin when you create it, when it's used to unlock the door the notification just tells you "Pin 1" unlocked the door, not the name of who unlocked it. However, the activity log - called Timeline - in the SimpliSafe app does show the name and what time they used the code.

Once we figured out the code issue, using the door lock was very simple. Enter your code on the pin pad to unlock, press the lock button to lock, or if you're in the house, just turn the thumbturn. Using the app, just tap the locked/unlocked symbol on the main dashboard to change the door's state remotely.

All of these options worked quickly and reliably, although there is a few seconds delay when using the pin pad, but not when using the app. Notifications were instant however, which is reassuring.

Voice control with Alexa and Google can lock and unlock the door when you arm or disarm the system, although you can't just control the door lock. When it is locked or unlocked remotely however, it is incredibly quiet, by far the least noisy smart door lock we've tested.


Simplisafe Smart Door Lock
The SimpliSafe smart door lock is an excellent addition to the smart security system but as it's not designed to be a stand-alone smart lock you can't integrate it into your larger smart home through routines or automations. There's also no auto-unlock feature (although there is an auto-lock feature), but if you are a SimpliSafe user who wants a smart door lock, this is definitely the lock for you.
PROS
  • Slim design
  • Super quiet
  • Easy installation
  • Good integration with alarm system
  • Very responsive
CONS
  • Fee for remote access
  • Only works with SimpliSafe
  • Unintuitive app
  • No auto-unlock
  • Weak Alexa/Google integration

TAGGED    smart home

Related stories

google ​Google Nest Wifi review: It's a Mini speaker and much more
smart home Philips Hue Smart Plug review: For the HomeKit fans only
amazon Smart home privacy: What Amazon, Google and Apple do with your data
smart home Control4's Neeo Remote Control is the fanciest way to take charge of your home
deals Smart home Black Friday 2019 deals: The Ambient predictions
smart home How to ​smarten up your record player with Sonos
What do you think?
Reply to
Your comment