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Yale Touchscreen Deadbolt review

on February 17, 2014 11:00 am

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For more than a thousand years, humans have been securing their front door with key-based locks.  Until recently, there hasn’t been much innovation in the technology, but thankfully, several companies have tried to bring the door lock into the 21st century.  One of them, Yale, has provided us with their key-free Touchscreen Deadbolt.  I expected installation to be a piece of cake because I have experience in installing three Schlage keypad locks in exterior doors.  Well, it turned out to be a lot more involved than I bargained for, but in the end it worked.With the installation of the Yale lock, I will have replaced all my exterior door key locks with an electronic version.  The other ones are able to be opened by a key also, which is both a benefit and shortcoming.  Using a key allows one to open the lock if the electronics break, but also leaves the door more vulnerable to a break in.  The keyless Yale lock I received doesn’t have the break-in issue, but it should not be used if you have no other entry to your house in case of electronic failure.  This is called out in  the instruction manual, but it is just common sense.

Features:

  • Illuminated touchscreen and keypad for night time access
  • For use on all standard interior and exterior doors
  • Tapered bolt accommodates misaligned doors
  • Available in ZigBee or Z-Wave configurations
  • Sleek aesthetics
  • Operational efficiency
  • Completely eliminate the need to manage keys
  • No need to ever re-key – just set up a NEW access code
  • Increased security

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Besides the hardware, the device comes with an installation manual and template for drilling the holes in your door if you’re doing a new installation..

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The keyed deadbolt on top is what we’ll be replacing with the Yale lock.  The handle will remain.

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The old deadbolt from the inside.

Before I began installation, I read the manual and FAQs on Yale’s website.  It stated that it should take about 15 minutes to install with just a Philips screw driver if holes were already drilled.  This should be easy… NOT!!  I assumed (you know how that goes) that there was some standard for the size of mounting holes between vendors of deadbolts.  Unfortunately, in my case the Schlage deadbolt was mounted in a 1.5″ hole and the Yale deadbolt required a  2- 1/8″ hole.

Luckily, my friend Ed was visiting at the time and he is a lot more DIY inclined that I am.  Between the two of us, we came up with a plan to widen the hole so we could install the Yale deadbolt.

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To keep the mechanics of the deadbolt centered on the larger hole, we decided to trace the current hole on to a piece of paper and then find the center point.  We then placed the paper on a piece of wood that was then clamped to the door, centering the paper in the hole.

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The next step was to drill a 1/4″ hole through the center point.  A 1/4′ rod was inserted into the drilled hole and a 2-1/8″ hole saw was attached.  Using a battery-operated drill motor, we were able to enlarge the hole and keep the lock centered over the bolt.

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After the hole was enlarged, installation was a snap.  I’ll need to touch up the stain a bit, but it looks nice.  With multiple trips to the hardware store to purchase tools and supplies, we calculated it took about 4 hours from start to finish.  After the hole was enlarged, it took no more than 15 minutes to get to the initial programming.

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Here is the inside view of the installed Yale lock.

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You may be wondering what would happen if the batteries died and the lock could not operate.  Assuming you didn’t notice the low battery warnings and didn’t replace the batteries, you still have another chance to operate the lock from outside.  Yale has provided an emergency power connection at the bottom where one can attach a 9 volt battery, giving enough power to operate the lock.

Upon initial battery insertion, the lock requires the selection of the master pin code.  This number can be from 4 – 8 digits and is needed to program user pin codes and other lock settings.  If you forget this number, you can’t make changes or add users, but there is a fail-safe, whereby a manual reset can be done setting the lock to its initial state.  During programming mode, the lock will provide voice prompts to lead you along. 

Up to 25 unique pin codes can be programmed.  The codes can vary from 4 – 8 digits and they have to be assigned to a user number, which you’ll need to track.  To delete a user code you need to know the user number.  I would much prefer that a user code could be deleted by just knowing the code rather than the user number.  Also, there’s no way to wipe out all user codes at once, other than doing a manual reset.

During programming mode, several lock parameters can be set, such as automatic re-lock, one touch locking, and privacy mode.  The last one enables a button on the indoor side of the lock to disable the keypad.  This would come in handy for security and catching a wayward teen/spouse trying to sneak in after curfew. :)

Here’s a demonstration of the operation of the lock.

Although I was caught off guard by the installation and spent way more time on it than I thought necessary, I like the Yale Touchscreen Deadbolt lock.  Aesthetically, it matches my decor, and functionally, it’s much more secure than the mechanical deadbolt it replaced.  I can live with the fact that it’s keyless because the other two entries to my house have a keypad/keyed lock.  The ability to have 25 unique user codes allows me to give relatives and tradesmen access to my house while I’m away, and after a tradesman is finished, I can delete their code.  Most importantly, I don’t have to fool around with keys anymore.

One confusing aspect of the lock, however, is the ability to control it from a network.  The device can accept a module for a zigby or zwave network, but there is nothing on the Yale website that describes how they work or where the module can be purchased.  There are some references to 3rd-party home automation vendors, which perhaps indicates that this functionality is not available to the DIY person.  Just be aware that there are Yale Touchscreen locks available for purchase that have the module already installed.  These cost significantly more than the standalone version I tested, but they won’t give you any more functionality.

Update from Yale:

One point I’d like to clarify is the issue of integrating the lock with a home automation system. The lock is available as a standalone or with a Z-Wave or Zigbee radio module installed. The Z-Wave and Zigbee versions allow the lock to be used with a wide array of home automation systems, from very sophisticated, professionally-installed systems to more basic DIY systems, such as the recently-announced Staples Connect system or Revolv. Integrating the Yale lock with a home automation system opens up a long list of additional capabilities, such as the ability to lock and unlock doors from web-enabled devices or create customized entry scenes for family members, neighbors and guests.
As for the cost, the Yale YRD240 (the Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt you tested) can be purchased with a Z-Wave module installed for a list price of $275. The standalone MSRP for the lock is $200, while the standalone MSRP for the Z-Wave module is $125. But most purchasers buy the package at $275. Here it is on Amazon for $274.60.
 

Product Information

Price:$200
Manufacturer:Yale
Requirements:
  • Depending upon your skill level and if you're replacing a current lock, may require installation by a professional installer
Pros:
  • Up to 25 user pins
  • More secure than a key lock
  • Easy to program
Cons:
  • Could be very time consuming to install
  • Does not replace ALL current deadbolts without significant modifications to door

Comments

  1. 1
    Mike Earley says:

    This is one of those products where I either (a) want to see the ‘Nest’ version come out, that has been designed with the user in mind, and (b) want 3rd generation, that’s past all of the ‘this thing is so easy to haxxor!’.

  2. 2
    Jason says:

    If you have two doors–the outside door with glass/screen windows and the inside wood (or other space age insulating material) storm door, which do you put the lock on? And if not on both, don’t you still have to carry a key?

    Expensive!

  3. 3
    Bill Kuch says:

    Jason,

    The deadbolt lock is installed on the main door to secure the premises. It won’t fit on a screen door because the minimum thickness has to be 1 3/8″ to 1 3/4″, nor would it provide any security because a bad guy could put their hand through the screen. The lock is key-less, so no key is needed.

    As to your second question, refer to the photo of my front door BEFORE I installed the Yale lock. You have a keyed deadbolt (which was replaced by the Yale lock) and a key-less handle-set below. This is the normal configuration for a front door when using a deadbolt. As mentioned in the review, all the entry doors to my house are now key-less, however, the other entry locks can be opened with a key in the event I get hit with an EMP. I no longer need to carry a house key to gain entry to my home.

  4. 4
    Jason says:

    All the homes in my area–in fact, most doors in Southeastern Michigan residential areas–have a steel outer door with two locks (one deadbolt and one knob or handle) that swings outside and an inner door (wood or newer steel with insulation innards) also with two (one deadbolt and one knob or handle) that swings inside the house.

    So we all have two dead bolts–one for the outside door and one for the inside door–and we definitely lock them at night or when no one is home. Therefore, we would still need a key unless we opted to not lock the outside door. Which I doubt we would do because if someone comes to the door we want the ability to open the inner door and see them more (instead of just the peephole) and talk to them through glass/screen. Without a locked outer door then the visitor may open the outer door, stand in the entry area and ring the bell which now makes it less secure to open the inner door. Also in the summer we may leave the inner door open to let light in (too cold in the winter for that).

    The only places we have that do not have two doors with deadbolts on each door is a place with a shared hallway (apartments) where the main front door is heavily secured and maybe badge (RFID) entry.

    I guess this is an option for a home with a single door entry where the person does not (have or) lock their outer doors.

  5. 5
    Jason says:

    “Therefore, we would still need a key unless we opted to not lock the outside door” or installed a Yale on both doors.

  6. 6

    Wow. I love it. Is this already available in the market?

  7. 7
    Bill Kuch says:

    Jason,

    Thanks for information about entryways in Michigan. I’ve not seen that before. The lock probably wouldn’t be the right choice in your case. If you’d still need a key for entry, it would defeat the purpose of the lock.

  8. 8
    Bill Kuch says:

    Barbara,

    I found the lock available at Amazon.com for $200. Also, the Yale website has a list of vendors for the Touchscreen lock.

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