Ease of Use
Everyday usage and multiple users
This smart lock also doubles as a video doorbell, with its own camera and two-way audio built into the lock.
It’s fairly easy to use—the motion-sensing camera detects when someone’s at your door, and you get an alert through the app, where you can see and talk to the party. You’re also able to unlock the door through the app to let them in.
However, you cannot use the app to lock and unlock the door any time you want—only when motion is detected by the lock’s camera, which was a negative for us.
In addition, there’s not an actual doorbell with this lock, so the only way you know if someone pushed the button (phone icon on the lock) is through your phone. But if you’re not near your phone, you may not realize someone’s standing outside your door.
Several users reported issues with video and audio quality, but subsequent software updates seem to have corrected most of them.
Your other entry options are using an access code (PIN) to unlock the door, or selecting the lock icon button on the lock itself to lock the door.
Of course, there’s also the option of using a physical key, so you never have to worry about getting locked out if you forget your pin.
For those reasons, we gave the Gate smart lock an 8/10 in the ease of use category.
Smart Home System Integration
Which systems is this smart lock compatible with?
This smart lock is not compatible with other smart devices or smart home systems. This was surprising considering that most other wi-fi enabled smart locks on the market at least integrate with voice command devices like Alexa and Google Assistant.
It’s been reported that there are future plans to integrate with Alexa, but it’s unknown when that upgrade will be available.
Because this smart lock is not compatible with any smart home systems or devices but does act as its own video doorbell, it gets a 3/10 here.
Ease of Installation
Installing the Gate smart lock is a little different than most smart locks. Instead of beginning with the physical installation, you start with setting up the software and pairing the lock to your phone.
Once that process is complete, you can move on to the physical installation process.
Surprisingly, this lock comes with a Phillips screwdriver and also has three keys for the physical keyhole, which is better than every other lock we’ve looked at.
The instruction video is simple and easy to follow, and we liked the slower pace, which made it easy to catch everything we needed to do the first time.
After removing your door’s old deadbolt, you’re ready to begin the physical installation.
There are only a few steps, which we list below to help you make your buying decision.
- Install the new deadbolt and strike plate that comes with this lock
- Next, install the exterior portion of the lock to the door.
- Add the back assembly.
- Do the door-handing process through the app. Once the lock determines which way to turn the deadbolt, you can install the battery pod.
That’s it! There is no cable to install—you simply install the deadbolt, attach the exterior part of the lock, then the interior housing, go through the door handing process and attach the battery pack.
This is the simplest installation we’ve seen!
This lock is not designed to replace mortise locks but should fit most single cylinder deadbolts.
The only caveat, which is the same for all smart locks, is to be sure that your door is aligned properly so the hole for the deadbolt lines up with the deadbolt. Otherwise, you may have issues with the deadbolt not going in properly, jamming, or getting stuck in a locked position.
This is a one-person job, and because of how simple it is, and how easy the video instructions are to follow, this lock gets a 10/10 on installation.
Robustness of the App
What the app can do and how easy it is to use
The Gate smart lock app allows for true remote access since it comes with a built-in wi-fi adapter.
However, the only time you can actually lock or unlock the door remotely is when someone is at the door and the lock’s camera senses motion. Once you select “see Gate,” you get a video feed of who’s at your door and can then opt to unlock the door remotely.
Otherwise, you will need to manually enter an access code (or pin) to lock and unlock the door without using a key, or manually turn the interior thumb turn.
The app is free and works with both Android and iPhones.
The app does allow you to set the camera motion detector’s range, from five to 30 feet, and you can set the lock to auto-lock after a certain period of time.
Without the subscription services, you are only able to add four access codes, which is far fewer than just about every other smart lock on the market. With the subscription services, you can either add ten access codes or unlimited access codes (depending on your plan) and set up scheduled (limited-use) codes.
If you’d like to view the video history of your lock or share it with others, you have to buy a subscription plan. Otherwise, you’ll still be able to tell there was activity on a certain date and time, but you won’t be able to view the video or share it with anyone.
You also have the ability to check the lock’s status through the app, as well as the battery life, without having to purchase one of the subscription plans.
Several users reported issues with the app not working correctly or not working consistently.
Because you can only use the Gate smart lock app, which has less functionality than some apps, and has been reported to be inconsistent with reliability, the Gate smart lock gets a 6/10 in this category.
How this smart lock opens the door
This smart lock allows for the use of a physical key and access code entry.
It’s not as user-friendly as some smart locks, however, because the number keys are placed in a ring around the lock’s outer edge, and each number is its own button instead of having a single keypad with all the numbers arranged together.
It’s reminiscent of an old-fashioned rotary-dial telephone.
You can unlock the door remotely, but only when motion has been detected by the lock’s camera.
Because this lock doesn’t offer as many options as some locks for opening the door, and can’t be unlocked or locked remotely unless motion is detected by the camera, the Gate smart lock gets a 7/10 in this category.
This lock retails for between $249 and $349, depending on which “service plan” you choose to buy with the lock. Each plan is only good for a specified time, however, and you will need to re-up when the plan expires.
The basic plan (free with lock) includes four permanent users (such as yourself, spouse, two children), but doesn’t allow you to schedule access or provide video history or sharing.
One year of the premier service plan costs $299 with the lock and lets you select an unlimited number of permanent users, keeps video history for five days, allows you to add ten scheduled users, and lets you share video for five days.
Two years of the premier plus service plan costs $349 with the lock, and includes unlimited scheduled users, 30 days of video-sharing plus 30 days of video history.
This is one of the few smart locks out there that requires a subscription (which can also be purchased on a monthly basis) in order to access certain features of the lock.
Most of Gate’s competitors offer all features of their smart locks without a paid subscription, and many of them are less expensive and allow for more users/access codes than Gate does.
And, many of their competitors also offer smart home integration and other cool features (such as fingerprint readers!) that this smart lock just doesn’t have.
It really seems like you’re paying for the novelty of the video camera with this lock more than any outstanding smart lock features, and that’s not a great value in our book when the most important aspect of this device (as a smart lock) should be the locking/unlocking features.
Because the lock does offer video doorbell functionality, but in order to access all the lock/doorbell features you need to purchase additional service plans, the app is underwhelming, and the lock doesn’t integrate with other smart home devices. You really aren’t getting that much bang for your buck here.
Remote Connection Type
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or Both?
This smart lock uses wi-fi to connect to your home network. Since the adapter is built into the lock, there’s no need to purchase a hub or separate adapter.
Multiple users reported issues with wi-fi connectivity being lost and having to reconnect, and that this occurs several times throughout the day (or week).
Because you have a wi-fi connection, but many users reported issues with losing the connection on a regular basis, we gave the Gate smart lock a 7.5/10 here.
The Gate smart lock is battery powered and takes a lithium-ion rechargeable battery. According to the manufacturer, this should last about 30-60 days before needing to be recharged.
This is less expensive than having to purchase four AA batteries several times a year, but as noted for other rechargeable options, unless you have a spare rechargeable battery, your lock (and the additional camera/audio features) will be unusable while the battery is charging. For this lock, that will take about four or five hours.
Additional rechargeable batteries can be purchased for around $60 if you’d like to have one on hand when it’s time to recharge and maintain control of the lock and doorbell features.
Battery life information is available in the app only. Most of the smart locks we reviewed also have a low-battery indicator on the lock itself and not just in the app.
Several users have reported that the battery doesn’t last for a full 30 days and has to be charged often, from several times a week to daily, especially if relying on the motion-sensing feature of the lock’s camera.
We balanced not having to purchase replacement batteries on a regular basis against losing the ability to control the lock while charging the battery (and the expense of a back-up battery) against the low-battery warning feature in-app only and gave this smart lock a 7.5/10 in this category.
Lock attachment or full lock?
This is a complete locking system and comes with a full deadbolt assembly. This is considered to be the safest type of smart lock when compared to those that simply attach to an existing lock.
It is a very sturdy lock, and even, according to one user, survived a fall down the stairs prior to installation with no issues.
Because of the lock’s heft, and the fact that it’s a full locking system, we gave the Gate smart lock an 8.5/10 here.
Keys or Completely Keyless Entry?
This lock gives you the best of both worlds, by allowing for keyless entry when you want it, while still giving you the option of using a key, for those who aren’t ready to toss their house keys just yet.
Although the placement of the keyhole is a little jarring—it’s right in the center of lock, with the keypad numbers arranged around the outside, making it quite possible that you could accidentally hit a number while trying to physically unlock the door.
We gave this lock an 8/10 for having a physical key and a keyless entry method.
This lock has a one-year limited warranty on the “hardware” in the smart lock. It was unclear from the warranty documentation whether that includes the electronic components, or only covers the mechanical components of the lock.
Other smart locks on the market, however, come with two- or three-year limited warranties on the electronic components and limited lifetime warranties on the finish and mechanical parts.
In addition, the manufacturer’s website states than any locks installed outside of the United States will have the warranties voided, so if you live outside the U.S., and you’d like your smart lock to have a warranty, then this is not the smart lock for you.
The warranty could be a lot better, especially for a lock that’s doing double duty as a video doorbell.
Because of the unimpressive warranty, the Gate smart lock earns itself a 6.5/10.
The Gate smart lock has a motion-sensing camera so you can see who’s at the front door, and also incorporates two-way audio so you can talk to whoever’s standing on your porch and they can respond by speaking near the lock.
This lock also has a doorbell button on its face, so guests and visitors can alert you (via the app) when they’re at your door.