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SwitchBot announces a new $99 smart door lock that requires no tools to install

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SwitchBot, the company that makes little robot fingers to press your switches for you, branches further into the smart home. The New SwitchBot Slot ($99.99) sticks to your door and automatically rotates the thumb to lock and unlock it. This is the easiest retrofit smart lock solution I’ve ever seen. SwitchBot says it can be installed in seconds as there is no need to remove any part of your existing door lock. But it does look a bit strange.

The SwitchBot lock will be available June 20 from Amazon and the SwitchBot store, along with two compatible keyboards: the SwitchBot KeyPad ($29.99) and the SwitchBot KeyPad Touch with a fingerprint reader ($59.99).

There are two versions of the SwitchBot KeyPad, one with a fingerprint reader. They are sold separately from the lock.
Image: SwitchBot

As a Bluetooth lock, you can operate the SwitchBot Lock with your smartphone or Apple Watch when you’re at the door. It also has an auto-lock feature. To add voice control via Amazon’s Google Home or Alexa and control the lock when you’re not at home with the SwitchBot app, you’ll need a 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 suit different designs. SwitchBot is also working on additional accessories for greater compatibility. The thumb turns pop into the SwitchBot Lock to “grab” and then automatically rotates the thumb of the lock. You can also operate it manually.

The simplicity of installation makes this 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 a battery life of six months.

A diagram of how the smart door lock works.
Image: SwitchBot

Examples of lock styles that the SwitchBot works with.
Image: SwitchBot

In addition to app control, voice control and the keypads, you can continue to unlock your door with your existing key and there is the option to use one of the SwitchBot’s NFC Tags with the lock.

There aren’t many options for retrofit door locks 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 $125 Wyze Lock. Both, however, require you to remove some of your existing lock. The SwitchBot Lock is a unique and innovative approach to creating a smart door lock, if not the most elegant option out there.

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