There are a lot of smart locks on the market now and that is great for all of us consumers, giving us choice over how we want to secure our homes.  Aqara is relatively new to the party in Australia but that doesn’t mean their latest smart lock is sub-par, not at all.

The new Smart Lock U100 from Aqara seems to have all the features you would expect in a smart lock in 2023 with multiple options for unlocking the lock both remotely and in person.  As you would expect, given that Apple has close to 60% of the market in much of the developed world now there are even more options for iPhone users.

Aqara sent us a pre-installed Smart Lock U100 to test out along with a fully boxed lock for if we were feeling adventurous and wanted to install it on our own door.  I am starting to write this having watched many videos on installation of the lock from scratch that are on YouTube but am yet to attempt it myself.  I will attempt it on a weekday where if something goes wrong I can easily get a locksmith out to fix what I have broken.

Instead I have been familiarising myself with the features of the pre-installed U100 in the world’s smallest door and so far I am super impressed. **UPDATE** Now that the new lock is installed without breaking any windows, door frames or doors I can offer an option on all the features.

In the box and installation

Inside the box for the Smart Lock U100 from Aqara is everything you could need to not just use your smart lock but also to install it – minus a screwdriver and circular drill piece. I won’t list all of the pieces here but instead will post a screenshot from the installation video that has the names of everything as well.

The pack we were sent includes the Aqara E1 Zigbee hub and I suggest you buy this pack as well if you want this smart lock.  Mind you, the kit with the hub is the same price as the lock without the hub – it’s a no-brainer.

I put off installing the lock for quite a while, instead testing out the Smart Lock U100 on a tiny door with a sample already installed.  As a handyman I make a great writer or radiographer.  

Luckily for me Aqara not only has step by step installation instructions in the app but also a full length video on YouTube.  Installation was not only successful but was super simple.

Take out the two screws of the already installed deadlock, remove said deadlock, insert the Aqara deadbolt and then step by step install the rest of the parts.  It was incredibly simple.  The only issue I ran into was I had to widen the deadbolt hole in the door frame using a chisel.  Bit by bit I was able to make it wide enough so the bolt could easily slide in and out.

The door opening and closing is then calibrated from within the app and you are good to go.  

If you want to be able to remotely unlock and lock the door you will need to install the Aqara Zigbee hub which was even easier to install from within the Aqara app.  Read below for the setup instructions and how i fared.


The Aqara Smart Lock U100 is a smart lock with all the features and options you could ask for.  There is no inbuilt handle so you need to make sure you already have one of those on the door.  It is a pure deadbolt – sort of.  The outside shows a relatively stylish, well designed lock with subtle numbers visible above the fingerprint sensor.  

Underneath the middle row of numbers is the NFC target area.  This will only light up while setting up an NFC tag on the lock – two are included in the box but I was also able to use my gym tag!

Below the fingerprint sensor is a panel that slides down to reveal a key barrel which can be used to unlock the door should it run out of battery or just be not working digitally.  Underneath the bottom of the lock is a USB-C port where you can plug in a portable charger to temporarily provide enough charge for it to open or lock as required.

The inside side of the door, the lock is simple.   A knob to open or close the door – which is why I said it was “sort of” a deadbolt above.  A true deadbolt cannot be opened from inside without the key.  All smart locks at this stage have this so make sure your insurance covers you still before you use it.  

The top of this inside of the lock has a removable panel under which the batteries are installed.  4 x AA batteries is all that is required and Aqara say the batteries included will last more than 8 months with 8 daily unlocks and auto-locks.  There is no way of knowing when the batteries are low unfortunately so I would suggest changing the AA batteries every 6 months, just in case.

Setup and features

The setup is relatively easy, although there are no real instructions giving you any help in the box but that isn’t uncommon these days.  You’ll need to check out the Aqara website or YouTube and download the Aqara app for yourself – search your app store for Aqara Home.  There are short installation guides within the app itself as well.

Once I had the app installed it was then a piece of cake – sort of.  The Smart Lock U100 and its required (for use with various smart home hubs) network E1 hub are yet more smart home devices that only operate on the 2.4GHz spectrum – the U100 itself doesn’t have Wi-Fi but the E1 hub does so if you are going to want to use Alexa and/or Google Home you will need to buy the kit like the one Aqara sent us which includes their E1 Hub.  

If you have a hybrid router that you cannot turn off the 5GHz radio then you may well be out of luck installing this lock.  Luckily I can dive deep into the settings of my Eero 6+ mesh router and temporarily turn off the 5GHz radio.  Far from ideal but it can be worked around – for those who cannot turn off the 5GHz radio you can also move the router away from the door so that the only frequency that can reach the door is the 2.4GHz frequency (a workaround I’ve used in the past in setting up a robot vacuum.

The setup once you have done that is super easy.  Add the accessory in the Aqara app, tell the app where the lock is located sand it will be added to the home page of the Aqara app.

From here the app guides you through various setup calibration steps for the lock so that the lock is able to determine if the door is open or closed.  Then you set up various unlock methods such as fingerprints, numbered codes and an NFC device.  You can also remotely unlock the U100 if you have the E1 Hub installed as well.  Locally you can use Bluetooth (via the Aqara app, Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Apple Homekit), NFC, fingerprint sensor and old skool key.

The device is limited to only two numbered passwords per user and two NFC devices.  You can of course add multiple fingerprints along with multiple users as required.  NFC devices that work include the iPhone and Apple Watch, along with NFC tags such as Mifare 1K NFC tags.  Unfortunately there is no way to get an Android phone’s NFC to unlock the lock just yet.

Setting up the iPhone and Apple Watch to unlock the door is relatively simple, simply by binding the lock to Apple Home and following the instructions.  

NFC is not the be all and end all given that you can use numbered codes and fingerprints or even an old school key to unlock the door.  It would be nice if Android smartphones could be used to unlock using NFC but instead if you only have your phone with you and you have sandpapered off all your fingerprints you’ll have to open any number of the supported apps and unlock that way – or just enter your six digit code.  Oh no!  So many options.

There are features galore in the Smart Lock U100.  It is compatible with Matter, Google Home, Alexa, IFTTT, Apple Home and Home Key and more.  I had no issues with Google Home nor Apple Homekit but Alexa was a struggle to set up which is a pity given it is my go-to smart assistant.

There are many great features with the Smart Lock U100 including auto lock, notifications for the door locking or unlocking. As you can see in the settings above there are so many ways you can set the door to lock, unlock and notify you of events. I am not a massive fan of it locking automatically behind you so I changed that setting to not lock for as long as possible. There is also passage mode that allows you to enter a code so that it won’t lock on you and will not lock until you do it yourself manually.

If the lock runs out of battery there are other ways to unlock the door that do not require the lock to supply its own power.  You can use the one of the old school keys included in the box or you can give the lock power by plugging in a portable charger to the USB-C emergency charging port on the outside of the lock.  

I tested emergency USB-C power port with a super dooper Anker 737 PowerCore charger which can charge at 140W which was able to power the lock and allow it to be unlocked and locked etc.  I also tested it with a cheap and nasty charge I received as a freebie from a random trade show several years ago and it worked as well.  Seems very little power is required to actually power the lock.  If your charger can charge your phone it will be able to power this lock.

Going through the features Aqara list are:

  • Store up to 50 fingerprints, 98.6% recognition rate and a recognition time of <0.5 seconds.  It’s as fast as you smart phone pretty much but more secure.  I found it worked every time I unlocked with my fingerprint.
  • You can use an “anti-peep” password which adds random digits to the front and the rear of your passcode so that prying eyes cannot see nor determine your password for access at a later date.
  • You can set up a one time password to give to someone to use and once used it is no longer accepted.
  • The U100 offers the same security standard as BHMA Level 3 for structural security and includes data is safeguarded by end-to-end encryption using a 128-bit AES algorithm.
  • The U100 includes a gyroscope to enable auto-locking, and “Door not Locked” functionality
  • The lock includes an IP65 rating which you’d expect given it is a semi-outdoor device, often exposed to the elements.  
  • Supports Matter, Zigbee 3.0 standard, BLE communication
  • You can change the lock cylinder yourself (or have a locksmith do it) if you want to have it keyed the same as other locks at your house.

Final thoughts

The problem I found when writing this review was deciding which feature to talk about in depth. There are so many features including ways to lock and unlock the door that it would take far too long to explain and test them all. Instead I talked about issues I had — which was none cause by the lock and only by my average installation — I need to widen the hole in the door frame more so the lock can slide in and out a lot easier (the bracket from Aqara is different in size to that of my previous deadlock and the screw holes won’t line up and won’t work as they are too close).

Aside from that the lock is easy to install — if I can do it, anyone can, easy to use — setup is just following the step-by-step instructions in the app and use is even easier. The most difficult thing about the lock is deciding which unlocking method to use each time. The lock is secure, smart and works great with Apple Homekit and Apple Home Key — hopefully Google will one day add this ability to Google Home.

At this moment in time the Aqara Smart Lock U100 is possibly the smartest, most feature-packed smart lock on the market. I am glad I installed it at my house and am thinking of buying a second one for the door from my garage to my house.

The Aqara Smart Lock U100 with E1 Hub Kit is available now at the Aqara web store and at select retailers.