4 Serious Issues With the Yale Assure Lock
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The idea of not using physical keys is great. If only it worked.

Yale’s Assure Lock with Bluetooth and Z-Wave (YRD4) aims to rid your pocket of jangling keys, promising a world where you only need to twist your phone to unlock your front door. Unfortunately, it fails miserably.

Yale Assure Lock with Bluetooth and Z-Wave, Satin Nickel - Works with Your Smart Home, Including SmartThings and Wink (YRD446ZW2619) Yale Assure Lock with Bluetooth and Z-Wave, Satin Nickel - Works with Your Smart Home, Including SmartThings and Wink (YRD446ZW2619) Lock and unlock your home with just your smartphone Buy Now At Amazon $219.00

I had the opportunity to install this so-called smart lock — replacing a traditional deadbolt — only to find myself sometimes locked out of my own house. Here are four standout issues that you need to know if you’re thinking of buying a Yale Assure smart lock.

yale assure lock issues

1. Wireless Connectivity Means Lots of Troubleshooting

The model I purchased for testing has both Bluetooth and Z-Wave connectivity (model number YRD446ZW2619, to be exact). I initially thought this was great because it would support two operation modes: standalone through Bluetooth or connected to a smart home hub through Z-Wave.

However, the Z-Wave signal from my Samsung SmartThings hub Samsung SmartThings: The Future of Smart Homes? Samsung SmartThings: The Future of Smart Homes? Samsung has supported the idea of the smart home for a long time, and their recent developments and flexibility make Samsung's SmartThings a solid investment for the future. Read More in the living room could barely reach the front door, due to the walls and furniture in the way. I had to place my hub within three feet of the lock in order for it to register.

Yale Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt with ZigBee in Satin Nickel - Works with Echo Plus, Samsung SmartThings and more (YRD240-HA-619) Yale Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt with ZigBee in Satin Nickel - Works with Echo Plus, Samsung SmartThings and more (YRD240-HA-619) Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control (hub required, Alexa device and hub sold separately) Buy Now At Amazon $486.00

In hindsight, I should have ordered the Zigbee version because Z-Wave doesn’t operate on an international standard — there are various frequencies for different parts of the world:

  • 921.4; 919.8: Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia
  • 921.4: Brazil
  • 868.42; 869.85: CEPT Countries (Europe and other countries in region), French Guia
  • 919.8; 921.4: Chile, El Salvador, Peru
  • 868.4: China, Singapore, South Africa
  • 919.8: Hong Kong
  • 865.2: India
  • 915 to 917: Israel
  • 922 to 926: Japan, Taiwan
  • 869: Russia
  • 919 to 923: South Korea
  • 908.4; 916: USA, Argentina, Guatemala, The Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados, Mexico, Bermuda, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Panama, British Virgin Islands, Suriname, Cayman Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, Colombia, Turks & Caicos, Ecuador, Uruguay

Due to these variations, a Samsung SmartThings hub How to Set Up and Use Your Samsung SmartThings System How to Set Up and Use Your Samsung SmartThings System Just purchased a new Samsung SmartThings system? Here's a step-by-step guide for everything you need to know to get it working perfectly in your home. Read More from North America will not connect with a Z-Wave light bulb from Australia, for instance. And this is why I couldn’t purchase a Z-Wave network extender to boost the signal: The Yale Assure Lock was designed to work in the United States on U.S. Z-Wave frequencies, as was my SmartThings hub. But I’m based in Australia and if I were to purchase a Z-Wave network extender locally, it wouldn’t be the right frequency, while an American model would burn to a crisp with our 230V 50Hz electricity supply.

Samsung SmartThings Smart Home Hub Samsung SmartThings Smart Home Hub Your smart home needs a brain, so get started with a SmartThings Hub. It connects wirelessly with a wide range of smart devices and makes them work together. Buy Now At Amazon $49.00

Zigbee, on the other hand, is maintained by a global standard, much like Wi-Fi. As long as the smart device you’re looking to add to your network is released with the HA 1.2 specification (or earlier, since it’s backward compatible), it will be compatible with any Zigbee-enabled smart home hub 7 Smart Home Hubs You've Never Heard of Before 7 Smart Home Hubs You've Never Heard of Before Some smart home hubs get all the press, so you might not be aware of these lesser-known gems! One of these lesser-known smart home hubs might just be the perfect fit for you! Read More . My colleague Bryan Wolfe wrote an extensive article on the differences between Zigbee and Z-Wave What's the Difference Between Zigbee and Z-Wave? Here's Everything You Need to Know What's the Difference Between Zigbee and Z-Wave? Here's Everything You Need to Know To ensure your smart home devices communicate well with each other, it's important to know what wireless language they speak! Here's everything you need to know about Zigbee and Z-wave. Read More with everything you need to know about the two protocols.

So what did I learn from this Z-Wave kerfuffle? I learned how important it is to plan out my smart home strategy properly. In the future, I’ll carefully consider the devices I’d like to add The Coolest Smart Gadgets Compatible With a SmartThings Hub The Coolest Smart Gadgets Compatible With a SmartThings Hub The SmartThings hub connects wirelessly with hundreds of compatible smart devices, allowing you to monitor, control, and secure your home from anywhere in the world. Read More and choose between Zigbee and Z-Wave. Every powered (or plugged in) Zigbee or Z-Wave product introduced to a smart home will act as a repeater in their mesh network, enhancing the signal strength and connectivity to the hub.

yale assure lock issues

2. Bluetooth Connectivity Problems

Even though this Yale Assure Lock advertises Bluetooth capabilities, I could never get it to pair with my iPhone. So much for Twist & Go. And before you ask: yes, I did perform a factory reset on the lock. Unfortunately, no amount of fiddling could get the lock to connect to my phone. Trust me, I tried for a good hour.

The lack of Bluetooth connectivity also meant that I could not manage my keys through the Yale Connect app or assign temporary keys to guests. Without Bluetooth, the lock immediately loses much of its functionality. While it’s possible I received a faulty unit, that reflects negatively on Yale’s quality control of this $200 lock.

yale assure lock issues

3. Reporting the Wrong Locked Status

It would be a little worrying if your smart lock consistently reports that your front door is unlocked, wouldn’t it? That’s exactly what I’ve been facing.

yale assure lock issues

This Yale Assure Lock never reported the right locked status back to my smart home hub. In fact, it always displayed the “unlocked” state. Research and discussions with an expert in Z-Wave revealed two possible reasons:

  1. The Z-Wave network isn’t strong enough to properly ping the lock. The suggested solution? Repositioning the hub.
  2. The lock’s Z-Wave module is faulty and isn’t sending the right lock status to the hub.

Either way, I was definitely not alone in this. In fact, it’s quite a popular issue but for some, a revised device handler seemed to have solved the problem.

Personally, I tried using different device handlers, moved my hub around, and repaired my Z-Wave network multiple times. I still couldn’t get it to report the correct lock state.

4. A Jammed Bolt

This issue was quite a serious one because I actually got locked out of my own house because of it. As of today, I still haven’t figured out the cause or how to rectify it. Living dangerously, I know.

The bolt sometimes jams and not retract, causing it to remain locked even after entering my PIN code. The 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 digits would light up, and initially I thought it was some sort of error code. Then I realized it was just trying to display an “X”. Funnily, this Yale Assure Lock has a speaker and a voice that guides the user through the different menu items. Why couldn’t Yale program a voice message for the error?

Kinks to Work Out

The Yale Assure Lock has caused more stress for both me and my family members than any traditional deadbolt. Rather than providing peace of mind, it has made us feel more insecure, fearing we’d be locked out of our own house. Although I was able to control it from my smartphone to some degree, the reliability issues trumped any convenience it brought to the table.

Needless to say, I’ll be returning it — it’s nowhere ready for prime time yet. And I’d approach other Yale smart locks with extreme caution.

Have you experienced any issues with your Yale Assure Lock? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Barney Stinson
    October 26, 2017 at 10:44 am

    I've got a Yale lock, but not with Bluetooth connectivity. Not had an issue with my lock connecting to my Hub, albeit, the only thing standing in the way of it is a sofa. It's located several meters from the door itself. It connects and pings the Hub properly to report lock status as well as battery life. The only problem I had there was when my kid didn't fully close the door all the way, so it was struggling to lock properly, and its status was unclear. To be honest, two of the four "critical" problems of the lock aren't the fault of the lock itself. It's YOUR fault. As you said, you should've done your research and checked connectivity. As far as the jammed bolt, that sounds more like an installation issue than anything else. I read this whole thing thinking that there was some major security issue or compromise point for the lock. Way to "click-bait" title your "article."

    • Jackson Chung
      October 26, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      Well I wouldn't put it that way. I did quite a bit of research before deciding on this particular lock. And the bolt jamming wasn't an installation issue - it seems several other customers have complained about it as well, along with the motor wearing out in several months. As a consumer I felt my issues were valid, and so did Amazon. In fact, they felt a replacement was justified. I'm about to test the replacement lock they sent to see if the test unit was indeed problematic.

      • Roger
        October 29, 2017 at 5:07 pm

        I have tried several of these combination locks, way before bluetooth and Zwave. They all had similar problems. I live in Canada and the units leaked a little air. The inside warm air would condense moisture in the units and corrode them in the winter. They all could not handle any frost heaving in the door: the dead bolts would not retract. I gave up and went back to the old keyed dead bolt locks. A lot cheaper and they are reliable.

    • Juan
      October 26, 2017 at 11:35 pm

      I agree, he even said he could not get his phone to connect. Then at the end of the article he says he could control the lock with his phone to some extent. WTF? Clearly didn't do his research either.

      • Jackson Chung
        October 31, 2017 at 2:17 am

        The lock is equipped with Bluetooth and Z-Wave Plus. Bluetooth didn't work, but I could connect the lock to my Smartthings Hub via Z-Wave. Perhaps you missed that bit.

  2. sml156
    October 26, 2017 at 4:17 am

    I had the same problem and I thought the problems with connectivity were due to a loose wire somewhere inside the unit, While I was disappointed that this was not the case and my hope for an easy fix did not pan out I noticed that there were some unused pads on the circuit board clearly labeled as an Ethernet port and also had the rx and tx clearly labelled. I soldered on a RJ-
    45 connector and hooked it up with some cat5 and wired it to my router. It's only a 100 Mb connection but it's plenty fast for a lock.

    • Jackson Chung
      October 27, 2017 at 4:32 am

      So you have an ethernet cable running from your front door to your router?