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Nest Yale Lock review: A great smart lock if you've already bought into Nest

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The Good The Nest x Yale Lock looks good and works with Nest to lock the door when you're away, disarm your Nest Secure alarm system and manage up to 20 passcodes.

The Bad There aren't any ZigBee, Z-Wave or iM1 (HomeKit) modules to add this lock to your smart home. The Nest integrations are underwhelming, and there aren't any voice control capabilities yet.

The Bottom Line If you love Nest products (and especially if you own the Nest Secure alarm system) the Nest x Yale smart lock is a good bet. If you're after voice control or more flexible smart-home hub integration, look elsewhere.

7.2 Overall
  • Features 6
  • Usability 7
  • Design 8
  • Performance 8

A few years back, the tease of a Nest and Yale smart lock began with the promise of the Linus lock. That project never made it to market, and the two companies regrouped for the Nest x Yale Lock. Specifically designed to work with the Nest line of products, the Nest x Yale Lock is designed to do things like disarm your Nest Secure ($399 at Walmart) system when you unlock the door and lock the door when Nest detects you're away.

The $249 lock is a collaborative effort between Nest and Yale, not to mention Nest's first foray into smart locks. Add it to the long list of other Nest products: the new Nest Hello ($229 at Walmart) doorbell, Nest Secure alarm system, Nest thermostats and Nest cameras, and there's now an entire smart home product suite under one brand. With Yale's solid line of smart-lock hardware and the software pedigree of Nest, this lock is ideal for anyone who's already bought into the Nest ecosystem.

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The Nest x Yale Lock keeps the sleek style of Yale's other keyless touchscreen deadbolts.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Compatibility and installation

The Nest x Yale Lock replaces your existing deadbolt. Like the Yale Assure SL Touchscreen Deadbolt we tested last year, the Nest x Yale Lock keeps Yale's keyless smart-lock styling and comes in polished brass, oil-rubbed bronze or satin nickel. Also like other Yale models, it comes with detailed printed instructions and a helpful app called Bilt to walk you through the installation process.

It's important to be sure your door is compatible before you buy any lock. With the Nest x Yale Lock, most wood, metal and fiberglass doors will be fine. However, the lock isn't intended for sliding doors, glass doors, Mortise locks or multipoint locks. The backset of your door also matters. This is the distance between the edge of your door and the center of the hole for your deadbolt. If your deadbolt is more than 2.75 inches away from the edge of your door, it isn't compatible with this lock.

The installation process was pretty straightforward and very much like installing any other smart lock. Attach the front plate of the lock, connect its cable to the receptor on the interior piece of the lock, install that piece and insert the batteries. You'll hear a welcome message from the speaker on the side of the lock, followed by a prompt to enter a master code. You'll also calibrate the door by closing it while unlocked, allowing the deadbolt to test its motorized locking. If your door takes a little shove or some force to close completely, you may have issues installing a new lock.

I'd recommend addressing any door hinge or frame issues prior to lock installation. Once the master code and calibration are complete, you'll follow instructions in the Nest app to connect it to your existing Nest products.

Customization options for this lock are nearly identical to the options available in other Yale locks. You can adjust the speaker volume and language, as well as and create and edit passcode settings from the keypad itself or through the Nest app. There's also an autorelock option you can enable from the keypad or the app. 

Battery alerts

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A pair of 9V battery terminals allow emergency access if standard batteries die. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Nest x Yale Lock uses four standard AA alkaline batteries. When batteries begin to get low, the Nest app sends an alert. A red, low battery light will also display on the lock's keypad, as well as an audible alert when using the keypad.

If you ignore those initial warnings (like most of us do), you'll be notified again when your batteries are critically low. If your batteries do die, the lock includes terminals on the bottom where you can connect a 9V alkaline battery for emergency access. You can then enter your passcode and unlock the door.

Nest technology

The Nest x Yale Lock doesn't connect directly to Wi-Fi. Instead, it uses Weave, Nest's technology for wireless smart home communication. The Nest Connect or Nest Guard units connect to your Wi-Fi network, allowing your lock to communicate with the Nest service in the cloud and the Nest app on your iOS or Android device. That means you'll need either a Nest Connect module for Wi-Fi connectivity or a Nest Guard (the Nest Secure system keypad) for remote access to your lock.

Using an additional module such as the Nest Connect to enable remote access is pretty common among smart-lock makers. Both Kwikset and August have their own versions.

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