Ease of Use
Everyday usage and multiple users
This lock is pretty easy to use. You simply enter your access code and unlock the door.
Adding new users is a simple process, and while only compatible with one smart home system, that also simplifies things quite a bit, meaning there’s only one app to keep track of (the Nest app) and only one system you need to work with.
If you prefer simplicity over a lot of bells and whistles, then this is definitely the lock for you. We also liked the streamlined keypad compared to some of the other smart locks out there.
This one only has the numbers, a checkmark, and a back arrow on the permanent display, making it very easy to quickly enter the information you need instead of scanning the keypad trying to figure out where to type what or which button to push to make things happen.
There’s no key to use, but there is an emergency battery terminal on the outside of the lock to give it a quick charge so you can still unlock the door and get inside the house if the regular batteries die.
For those reasons, we gave this smart lock a 9/10 in the ease of use category.
Smart Home System Integration
Which systems are this smart lock compatible with?
This smart lock is compatible with Google Nest smart home hubs (and only Google Nest), hence the name Nest x Yale. If you already have or have been considering, a Nest smart home hub, then this lock is a perfect choice.
In order to use the lock remotely, it must be connected to either the Nest Connect or Nest Guard hubs.
Using the Nest app, the smart lock integrates seamlessly with the smart hub, and you can create user passcodes, lock and unlock the door, check the status of the lock, view the lock’s usage history, and connect with Google assistant.
With Google Assistant, you can lock the door using voice control or check the status of the lock.
Because this smart lock is only compatible with Nest but does allow for use with Google assistant, it gets a 7/10 rating in this category.
Ease of Installation
Installing this smart lock is pretty simple: you just need a screwdriver. You do, of course, need to remove your old lock prior to installing this one.
This lock comes with detailed instructions (in print) and a Bilt app you can download for additional installation help.
It’s also conveniently designed to fit any standard-sized door (between 1 ⅜ inch and 2 ¼ inches). This is more adaptable than many smart locks on the market.
Once the old lock is removed, following the installation instructions in the app or from the printed instruction guide is somewhat simple. Although there are drawings that show you what to do at each step in the printed instructions, some of them are a little complicated to follow.
Some retailers have posted the installation instructions on the product’s page on their own websites, which keeps you from having to hunt around online for them.
There are only a few steps, which we list below to help you make your buying decision.
- Install the new deadbolt that comes with this lock.
- Then install the new strike plate.
- Next, install the touch plate (keypad), then the lock’s backplate.
- Once those are in place, connect the cable inside the lock.
- Then attach the lock mechanism to the door.
- And finally, add batteries.
That’s it! Because this lock is already compatible with Nest Connect or Nest Guard through the Nest app, it’s ready to connect to your home’s Google Nest network.
Some users noted issues with connectivity once the lock was installed, however.
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 jamming or not locking.
The printed installation instructions were a little harder to follow than the instructions for some smart locks, but each step did have illustrations. It is just a one-person job, which we appreciated.
For those reasons, we gave this lock an 8.5/10 on installation.
Robustness of the App
What the app can do and how easy it is to use
Because this lock is compatible with the Nest smart home hubs, it uses the Nest app.
The app allows you to lock and unlock the door remotely, create passcodes for users, see alerts when the door has been locked or unlocked and allows you to use Google Assistant to lock the door and check the lock’s status through voice commands.
You also have up to 20 unique passcodes that can be created, which is less than several other locks on the market but should still be a good amount for most users. However, if you have a large family or lots of guest users, this might not be the best option for you.
If you’d like, you can even give some of the codes expiration dates, and set specific times when other codes are able to be used, such as only from 10 am to 11:30 am. This works well for regularly scheduled visitors like dog walkers, house cleaning services, etc.
The app will also alert you if someone attempts to enter the wrong passcode five times.
While having fewer available passcodes than some apps, the ability to create expiration dates and set specific times for other codes gives the app some extra usability that not all smart locks offer.
Another nice plus with the Nest app is that if your other systems, such as a Nest-controlled thermostat, detect that you are in “away-from-home” mode, the door will automatically lock itself (in case you forgot).
For those reasons, the Nest x Yale smart lock gets a very solid 8/10 in this category.
How this smart lock opens the door
This smart lock uses access codes to allow users entry into the door. Using a touchpad, you simply enter your unique access code.
Through the Nest app, you can unlock or lock the door remotely through a phone or with Google Assistant (locking only).
Be aware that this lock does not come with a physical key and there is no way to use a physical key to lock or unlock the door.
For most buyers, that won’t be an issue, but if that’s important to you, there are several other smart locks that allow both physical key and keyless entry methods.
Because this lock is very simple to use, allows for a battery back-up just in case the other batteries die, but there’s no physical key, it gets an 8/10 in this category.
This lock retails for a standard cost of between $249 and $279 by itself.
It must be connected to a Nest hub (either Nest Connect or Nest Guard), which is an additional cost if you don’t already have a Nest hub in your home.
However, if the lock is purchased through one of Google’s retail partners, then Nest Connect is automatically included with the lock. We found this bundle for between $250 and $280 online at several major retailers, including Home Depot and BestBuy.
Even at the higher price, that’s only about $30 more than the lock by itself.
While it may be slightly inconvenient to have to buy a Nest smart home hub if you don’t already have one, getting the widely available bundle really takes all the hassle out of it, and it takes nearly $40 off the cost of the Nest Connect if it were purchased separately.
This is a pretty good lock for the price and earns a 9/10 from us in the value category.
Remote Connection Type
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or Both?
This smart lock connects to either the Nest Connect or Nest Guard hubs which both use wi-fi. However, the lock itself uses a technology called Weave to connect to the Nest hubs.
Because the hubs use wi-fi, you’ll be able to access your lock remotely 24/7 using the Nest app, but only if you have one of the two hubs mentioned above.
For this category, because of the greater flexibility wi-fi offers over Bluetooth, we gave the Nest x Yale an 8/10 here.
The Nest x Yale is battery powered, with a low-battery indicator built into the lock. It will also send alerts through the app when the batteries get low.
It takes four AA batteries, which is pretty standard for smart locks, and should have about a one-year lifespan according to the manufacturer.
However, this lock also has a terminal to hook up a 9-volt battery in case the internal batteries die and you need to lock or unlock the door right away. This is a pretty handy feature for a smart lock to have.
We balanced the cost of replacing 4 batteries at once (and the frequency of replacing the batteries) against the low-battery warning feature built into the lock and the additional battery back-up for emergencies.
Although there’s no key, being able to charge the batteries in an emergency pushes this smart lock to an 8.5/10 in this category.
Lock attachment or full lock?
This is a complete locking system and comes with a full deadbolt assembly in addition to the touchpad and other components. This is considered to be the safest type of smart lock when compared to those that simply attach to an existing lock.
Because of the sturdiness of this lock, the fact that was given the “better” security grade (but not the best rating), and the fact that the deadbolt comes with the lock, we gave the Nest x Yale an 8/10 here.
Keys or Completely Keyless Entry?
This lock only allows for keyless entry and does not come with a physical key, or even have a place to put a physical key.
While that wouldn’t normally be an issue, recently it became one for this lock because remote access is funneled through the cloud. And when Google’s cloud went down in mid-2019, users who wanted to remotely unlock their door for guests without access codes quickly found out they couldn’t.
Not having a physical key is something to keep in mind not just with this lock, but with any lock that doesn’t have a place to insert a physical key. And, of course, using the cloud adds another wrinkle to consider.
We gave this lock a 6.5/10 for not having a physical key and for routing its remote control functionality through the cloud.
This smart lock comes with a limited lifetime warranty on the mechanical parts and finish, and a two-year warranty on the electronic components.
While not bad, we’ve seen other smart locks with a three-year warranty for the electronics.
Because the warranty isn’t bad, but it’s not as good as some of the smart locks we’ve seen, the Nest x Yale smart lock earns itself an 8/10 here.
This smart lock comes with its own built-in alarm to let you know if someone’s tried to tamper with the lock.
The Nest x Yale smart lock has speakers—one of only a few smart locks to have them. It also gives you a verbal welcome message when you go through the initial installation process.
We also appreciated having a battery-back system so you can unlock the door even if the AA batteries die.
For more information about this lock, you can go to the manufacturer’s website.