SwitchBot, a company that makes tiny robotic fingers to flip switches for you, is taking a step further into the smart home space. The new SwitchBot Lock ($99.99) sticks to your door and automatically turns your thumb to lock and unlock it. This is the easiest retrofit smart lock solution I’ve seen. SwitchBot says it can be installed in seconds because there is no need to remove any part of the existing door lock. But it does look a little weird.
The SwitchBot Lock will be available at Amazon and the SwitchBot Store on June 20, along with two compatible keyboards – the SwitchBot KeyPad ($29.99) and the SwitchBot KeyPad Touch with Fingerprint Reader ($59.99).
As a Bluetooth lock, you can use your smartphone or Apple Watch to control the SwitchBot lock when you are near the door. It also has an automatic locking function. To add voice control via Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa and use the SwitchBot app to control the lock when you’re not home, you’ll need to pick up the SwitchBot Hub Mini ($39) and plug it into a USB outlet near the lock.
The company says the lock is compatible with most deadbolt locks and comes with three thumb turns of different sizes to accommodate a variety of designs. SwitchBot is also developing other accessories to improve compatibility. The thumb turns into the SwitchBot Lock to “grab”, then the thumb turns the lock automatically. You can also control it manually.
The simplicity of installation makes it a good choice for renters. The SwitchBot lock uses 3M VHB to stick to the door, you don’t need to screw anything onto the door or touch the existing lock. It is powered by two CR123A 3V batteries, which guarantee a six-month battery life.
In addition to app control, voice control, and a keypad, you can continue to use your existing key to unlock your door, with the option to pair the SwitchBot’s NFC tag with the lock.
There aren’t many retrofit door lock options on the market (you don’t have to replace the entire lock). Leading the pack is the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, which is much more expensive at $230 but doesn’t require a separate hub, and the $125 Wyze Lock. However, both require removing some existing locks. The SwitchBot Lock is a unique and innovative way to create a smart door lock, if not the most elegant option.