SwitchBot Lock Review
Compatible with most doors and able to be attached at different angles, the SwitchBot Lock is a retro upgrade that’s easier to fit than most. It’s reliable, leaves your manual lock in place as an override and has an optional Keypad to up flexibility. It’s not the most attractive upgrade and doesn’t have the wide third-party support of its competitors, though.
- Compatible with a wide range of doors
- Reliable and easy to operate
- Keeps your manual door lock in place
- No keyfob option
- Third party support not as good as with the competition
- Uses odd-sized batteries
- UKRRP: £129.99
- USARRP: $129.99
- CompatibilityWorks with most locks with a thumbturn or locks that can be operated with a key from the inside and out simultaneously.
- ConnectionUses Bluetooth with internet control provided via the optional hub.
If you can’t or don’t want to fiddle with the existing door lock on your front door, getting a smart lock that will work with it can be extremely difficult.
The SwitchBot Lock aims to improve the situation and is built to work with almost any door with a thumb-turn or that can operate from the outside while a key is inserted on the inside. It has a decent range of optional extras but currently lacks the third-party support that its rivals have.
Design and installation
- Works with most locks
- Height adjustable
Like many retrofit smart locks, such as the Yale Linus, the SwitchBot Lock is designed to work with an existing door lock. The basic principle is simple: the SwitchBot Lock automatically turns a key or thumb-turn, locking and unlocking your door on demand.
It’s still worth checking if your lock is compatible before buying, as there are some stringent requirements. The biggest restriction is for people with a lock with a key on both sides of the door. If you do, then SwitchBot Lock can be set up to automatically turn the key; however, if you want to get in from outside using a key, you need to have a lock that will work with two keys inserted.
Many locks don’t, although you can upgrade a Euro Cylinder to the Yale Linus Adjustable Cylinder, which has a thumb turn on one side and a new key lock on the other. Of course, that assumes that your door is Euro Cylinder compatible.
The website says that the SwitchBot Lock isn’t compatible with multipoint locks. This isn’t true, it’s just that you’ll have to manually lift the handle before locking, as the SwitchBot Lock won’t engage automatically.
SwitchBot provides three adaptors in the box, each one a different size: just find the one that matches your thumb turn or screw.
Then, comes the mounting. Here, the SwitchBot Lock has a height-adjustable bracket, and the main device can be sat anywhere there’s room for it: below the lock, above the lock, or even to the side.
That’s much more flexible than on the Yale Linus, which can only be installed with the mounting plate below the lock.
The result is a more flexible lock, although it’s not particularly attractive from the inside, particularly with the mounting bracket sticking out.
Once installed, the SwitchBot Lock can be configured through the SwitchBot app, which is home to the company’s other products, such as the SwitchBot Bot. The app uses Bluetooth to connect to the lock, then runs through a quick manual calibration phase. I had to lock and unlock the door manually so that the Lock could learn how many times it had to turn.
- Optional keypad
- Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Supports manual unlocking
One of the benefits of the SwitchBot Lock is that the basic way your lock works doesn’t change. From the outside, there’s still a key, so you and your family can enter and exit your home in the same way that you’ve always done.
This is also good for a backup: if the lock fails, you can just use a key to get back in. A big failing of the Yale Conexis L1 (now renamed the Yale Conexis L2) is that if the lock fails, there’s no way back into your house.
Even if you don’t have a key, the SwitchBot has an Emergency Unlock option, where it will turn clockwise until it can’t turn any further and then, if that didn’t work, anti-clockwise until it can’t turn any further. That can help fix a stuck lock.
From the inside, the SwitchBot Lock gives you a thumb turn to lock and unlock the door, so there’s probably little difference to you there, either.
This being a smart lock, it’s the other methods of entry that really count. First, there’s the app. This works locally over Bluetooth, although you can pair the SwitchBot Lock to a SwitchBot hub if you want remote control.
The app shows what state the door is in, and a tap on the icon locks or unlocks it. That’s fine for remote control, say letting a visitor in while you’re out, but realistically, it’s slower to pull out a phone, unlock it, open the app and unlock the lock than using a key.
Fortunately, there are other options. The lock is compatible with the SwitchBot Remote, although that doesn’t have a keyring option, so it isn’t a good choice if you’d prefer a keyfob.
There is the optional Keypad (£45) or Keypad with fingerprint reader (£100), which sticks to the outside of the door (or it can be screwed into place). This is almost a must, as it has a lock button on it so that you can go out, shut the door and then use the Keypad to lock the door without getting keys out.
There are also automatic locking options. Via the app you can set the door to lock after a set time, and, via the stick-on sensor, you can also set the door to lock automatically after the door is closed after a different period of time.
With the Keypad, multiple passcodes can be added to your account, one for each member of your house if you like. Temporary passcodes expire at a specific date, so can be useful if you’ve got builders and a cleaner, although it would be nice if these codes could be restricted to operate only at specific times, a feature available with the Ultion Nuki smart lock.
There are also one-time codes, which operate the once, and emergency codes. With the latter, an email alert is sent when the door is unlocked to warn someone that you’re in trouble.
You can also use NFC cards with the Keypad, with one provided in the box. Just tap this on the Keypad, and your door will unlock. It’s a nice addition, although a tag you could carry on a keyring would be more useful, as with the Yale Conexis lock.
Sharing the lock via the app is less useful: you can share your entire home and every device in it, but not just the lock itself, which is a shame.
Amazon Alexa and Google Home support are available (you need a voice PIN set up), but the lock doesn’t work with HomeKit and it doesn’t work in SmartThings, even though the other products in the line-up do.
- Works quickly and reliably
- Odd-sized batteries aren’t that helpful
Some SwitchBot devices that I’ve reviewed can be slow to respond, particularly remotely. Fortunately, the SwitchBot Lock isn’t like that. I’ve only had the app time out a couple of times, but a quick refresh has always fixed the problem.
Physically at the lock, the SwitchBot Lock responds quickly to the app, locking and unlocking on demand. Ditto for the Keypad, which uses a direct Bluetooth connection to the lock, so it’s not reliant on the internet connection.
It’s nice being able to use a key, although the only slight issue is that the type of lock you’ve got depends on whether the SwitchBot Lock knows its been locked: if the thumb-turn or internal key turn when an external key is used, the Lock will detect it’s being opened; if the internal parts don’t move, the door can’t sense if it’s been lock or unlocked.
Slightly more of a pain are the batteries. Both the Keypad and Lock run on dual CR123A batteries, which aren’t commonly available. They should last around a year, but it’s worth having a stash of these batteries as a backup.
Should you buy it?
If you’ve got a door that’s not compatible with other smart locks, this model may just work for you.
If you want something neater that’s compatible with a wider range of smart home systems look elsewhere.
A very flexible smart lock, the SwitchBot Lock will work with many doors, and its flexible installation means it’s more widely compatible than many of its rivals. It’s a straightforward operator, working reliably. I like how the external lock is still useable manually, either as an override or in preference of using the app or Keypad.
What the SwitchBot Lock misses out on is wider compatibility with smart home systems and a wider choice of entry options. Opt for the Ultion Nuki, for example, and you get HomeKit support as well, plus the choice of a keyfob, and a wider choice of how access is shared. And, the Yale Linus also has HomeKit support and looks a bit smarter.
Overall, the Ultion Nuki is better, but the SwitchBot Lock may suit if you’ve got a slightly fiddly door that the Nuki’s not compatible with.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every smart home product we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
We test how each product integrates with other smart home systems including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT and Samsung SmartThings
We use each smart home product in a real world setting, integrating it into our home.
You might like…
It will work with most locks that have a thumbturn and can turn an internal key, too: you’ll want a lock that can be operated with a key on the outside at the same time as the one on the inside.
It works with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant.
TrustedReviews holds the fact that global warming is not a myth as a core value and will continuously endeavour to help protect our planet from harm in its business practice
As part of this mission, whenever we review a product, we send the company a series of questions to help us gauge and make transparent the impact the device has on the environment
We currently haven’t received answers to the questions on this product, but we will update this page the moment we do. You can see a detailed breakdown of the questions we ask and why in our sustainability info page.