Yale has expanded its Assure 2 lineup with two new smart locks: one with support for Apple’s HomeKey and one with a fingerprint reader. Both are firsts for the company, but unfortunately, you have to pick one or the other — there’s no model with a fingerprint reader and HomeKey. While the locks can work with all the major smart home platforms, neither works with Matter, and there’s no ETA on its arrival. But it’s not for lack of trying.
The Yale Assure Lock 2 Touch ($199) adds a fingerprint reader but is otherwise identical to the existing Yale Assure Lock 2 — one of our favorite smart locks. It comes in keyed or key-free versions but is touchscreen only (the standard Assure 2 has the option of a physical keypad).
Like the other Assure 2 models, it’s compatible with Apple Home and the Yale app via Bluetooth and works with Yale’s swappable connectivity modules to add other options. At launch, it can use the Wi-Fi module, which comes in a bundle with the Assure Lock 2 Touch for $279.99 (or bought separately for $79.99). This adds remote unlocking through the Yale app and compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Z-Wave module compatibility is coming soon.
The Yale Assure Lock 2 Plus ($209.99) supports Apple HomeKey, which lets you tap your iPhone or Apple Watch to open the door and is automatically added to the Apple Wallet of anyone who shares your Apple Home. The Plus also works with Bluetooth out of the box; it can be bought with the Wi-Fi module for $289.99 but won’t work with the Z-Wave module.
The Plus does not have a fingerprint reader or the option of a physical keyway. So Apple Home users will have to choose which entry method they prefer. Personally, I find fingerprint easiest; it never runs out of battery (although your HomeKey is available for a few hours after your phone’s battery dies).
Both locks will be available starting September 27th at shopyalehome.com.
I asked Yale’s director of hardware product management, Tiffany Mayo, why the company chose not to include both, and she said cost was the main reason. Adding both a fingerprint reader and NFC antenna for HomeKey makes the lock more expensive, and the lineup is one of the most affordable in the space right now, with a number of price points ranging from $160 to $290.
Additionally, she said because HomeKey is very Apple-focused, Yale felt it was important to keep the fingerprint reader separate, at least at first. “If, after these launch, everybody needs both that’s a consideration for us to make,” she said. “But, if you’re a family with all Android devices, why should you have to pay more just to get a fingerprint lock because there’s an NFC antenna in there?”
“Matter is still not fully baked; it’s still not ready.”
The Assure Lock 2 Plus is one of only four consumer-level HomeKey locks in the US. The $190 Aqara U100 is the closest in price and includes a fingerprint reader, which the Yale doesn’t. Unlike Yale’s locks, it works with Matter but relies on an Aqara hub for compatibility.
The other two US options for HomeKey, the Schlage Encode Plus and Level Lock Plus, run around $329. The Schlage works over Thread, while the Level works over Bluetooth. Level has said its locks will work with Thread, but that was in November 2022, and they still don’t support it as of this writing. Neither works with Matter yet, and Schlage has said its current model will not be upgraded.
When we first reviewed the Assure Lock 2 series almost a year ago, Yale told us a Thread / Matter module was in the works. Yale says it is fully committed to the standard but has no set date for the release of the module. “The standard is still not fully baked; it’s still not ready,” said Mayo. “With where it is today, we’re not fully happy with how it would work with Assure Lock 2.” Yale does have one Matter lock — the Yale Assure Lock SL with a Matter Smart Module for $229.99 — but it’s strictly for early adopters.
The Matter standard currently supports locking and unlocking only, which leaves out many features people expect in a smart lock, including the ability to manage PINs (though SmartThings and Apple Home both support it). “As newer versions of Matter launch, we expect to see additional lock functionality that will allow us to expand the Matter experience for our smart locks,” said Mayo.
That is to say, everyone’s waiting for Matter to get better.