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The world of smart-home technology is quickly dividing into two sectors: retrofit devices that help existing homes participate in the Internet of Things, and the rapidly expanding market of tech for new homes. While it’s exciting to consider homes that come with smart tech baked in, retrofit tech will always be more important to me, since the tech changes so quickly. While a door lock might not seem newsworthy, Switchbot is releasing a new retrofit lock today that simply fits onto your existing deadbolt and has a few features I think are worth some buzz. The Switchbot Lock Pro goes on sale today for $119.99.

Retrofit locks are a great solution for renters

Most smart locks on the market require you to replace your lock entirely. That’s not usually all that hard, but presents two issues. First, what if you can’t replace the lock for legal reasons, like being a tenant instead of an owner? A retrofit lock like the Switchbot Lock Pro can solve that problem: It goes over the lock itself and can easily be removed later. The second issue is that many old doors (like every damn one of mine) are a little sticky or problematic, and sometimes smart locks aren’t powerful enough to lock; they just don’t have the torque your hands do. The Pro seems to have taken this problem into account. 

Switchbot has constructed the lock with tons of adapters so you can change out cylinders as often as you need for any single cylinder deadbolt. Their new lock also packs in a staggering 20 kgf/cm² of torque. It can actually power multiple locks with the single motor. 

A staggering number of unlocking methods

Switchbot has 15 unlocking methods. That mix includes common methods like passcodes, Bluetooth and Apple Watch, and less-common methods like NFC cards and voice unlocking. My neighbors already think I’m weird enough, and I haven’t even asked my front door for permission to enter my home (yet).

Switchbot promises insane battery life longevity

The buried lede on this lock is the battery life. Since smart locks are never plugged into an energy source, they rely on batteries and battery life is still a pain point. The Switchbot Lock Pro claims to run six to nine months on four AA batteries, which would be a dramatic improvement over any other I’ve seen. You can apparently opt for a Dual Power Pack, which is rechargeable and extends the battery life to nine to 12 months. The Dual Power allows for a feature that means you can still access the lock when one of the batteries is down, since the other will remain active. 

Matter-enabled, sort of

While Homekit is one of the big three hubs, it doesn’t have the same support from products that Google and Alexa do. This is due more to Apple than the products themselves, but Matter opens the door to Homekit support, and Switchbot has embraced it. Rather than simply relying on Matter, the integration would require a mini hub that acts as an IR remote. This feels imperfect to me since the whole point of Matter is to help you ditch the hubs, but if you’re really sold on Homekit, it might be worthwhile.  Switchbot is deploying the Lock pro with AES-128-CTR encryption and an auto-lock feature. You’ll be able to get notifications and status updates wherever you are and remote unlocking is one of the methods you can use for this lock.

Switchbot remains one of my favorite smart-home brands. I find their products innovative and well-built. They focus on functionality over form, but from what I’ve seen, the Lock Pro still looks pretty modern and sleek. 

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