Aqara Smart Lock U100 review: Freedom unlocked

The key-free future is lookin’ bright.

Aqara Smart Lock U100
4.3 out of 5 stars
  • pro
    Lots of unlocking methods
  • pro
    HomeKit compatible
  • pro
    Long battery life
Georgia Dixon
Nov 29, 2023
Icon Time To Read4 min read

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I am not typically a forgetful person, so smart locks were never really something I felt I had a great need for. They absolutely have their purpose (who hasn’t used one when checking into an Airbnb?) but I never considered permanently replacing my standard deadlock with one. That is, until I got the chance to test out the new Aqara Smart Lock U100.

pro Tons of unlocking options
pro HomeKit integration
pro Long battery life
pro Easy to install
con Auto-lock feature needs some work
con Not the sleekest design
con Pricey

Aqara Smart Lock U100 price


Price is accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The smart lock market is a fast-growing one, and now there are options for just about any budget. On the lower end, you’re looking at around the $250 mark, while a more sophisticated model could set you back upwards of $500. The Aqara Smart Lock U100 is one of the latter, with an RRP of $499. That said, at the time of writing, it’s currently available for about $100 less.

Unless you already have an Aqara hub, we recommend opting for the model that comes with the E1 Hub, a small USB-powered bridge that links the lock (and any other Aqara accessories) to your home Wi-Fi, enabling you to lock and unlock your door remotely. Strangely, the model that comes with the E1 Hub doesn’t seem to cost any extra.

What's in the box?
  • Aqara Smart Lock U100
  • 4 x AA batteries
  • Two physical keys
  • Two NFC tags
  • All required screws and hardware

Aqara Smart Lock U100 design and setup

The Aqara Smart Lock U100 comes in matte silver and black with two components: The exterior-facing component which has a touch-sensitive keypad, fingerprint scanner and sliding compartment that hides the traditional mechanical lock, and the interior-facing component which simply shows a standard thumbturn for easy locking and unlocking from inside.

Although the lock is a little more bulky and blocky-looking than we’d like, the design is functional, and the whole unit feels solid and well-built. It’s also got an IP65 weatherproof rating and can be operated in temperatures as high as 66°C, so it should be more than capable of withstanding whatever our Aussie climate can throw at it.

Removing my old “dumb” lock proved to be an absolute nightmare, but fortunately, the Aqara U100 didn’t give me much grief at all. It’s designed to fit most standard doors, and luckily for me, it fit mine like a glove. From start to finish, installation took about 10 or 15 minutes total. You don’t get much in the way of instructions in the box, but if you download the Aqara app, you’ll be taken through each step of the installation and setup process, with a handy video explainer for each step.

Aqara Smart Lock U100 features and performance

As I mentioned previously, I was always a bit of a smart lock sceptic. I saw their value, but they simply never appealed to me personally. Boy, how quickly my mindset changed. A few walks around the neighbourhood without the sound of jangling in my pocket and a couple of times coming home from work and not having to rummage through my bag for the keys and I was sold. Part of the reason is the sheer number of ways you can unlock the Aqara Smart Lock U100. You can use a passcode (and even disguise your passcode by bookending it with a bunch of random numbers to deter peeping Toms), your fingerprint, the Aqara app, an Apple Home Key, an NFC tag, or even an old-fashioned physical key.

You can set up profiles for each member of the household, or you can even make temporary passwords for visitors. I can imagine that coming in handy for anyone who uses a dog sitter or house cleaner, but it’s also useful if ever you need a friend to come and check on the house or water the plants while you’re away.

I tested every unlocking method and all of them were fast and fuss-free, but the fingerprint scanner quickly became my favourite. It’s responsive, accurate, and requires the least amount of effort (a big win in my book). The Apple Home Key came in a close second. For the uninitiated, connecting the lock to HomeKit enables you to have a Home Key, which is a digital key card that lives in your Wallet app, allowing you to simply tap your phone on the lock to open the door, much in the same way you would tap your phone at an eftpos machine to use Apple Pay.

In addition to being one of the few HomeKit-compatible smart locks on the market, the Aqara Smart Lock U100 also works with Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT and Matter, making it probably the best smart lock for smart homes.

Performance-wise, the only issue I experienced with the U100 was the auto-locking feature, which is currently in beta. To set it up, you’ll need to do some calibration tests through the Aqara Home app so the lock’s internal gyroscope can identify which door position indicates the door is closed. Despite doing everything by the book, the day I turned the feature on, I actually got briefly locked out due to the latch not fully extending or retracting. I hadn’t experienced this problem before with any of the manual locking and unlocking methods, and after turning the feature off, I didn’t have any other issues.

The lock runs on four AA batteries (included in the box), which Aqara claims can power the lock for up to eight months, based on an average of eight unlocks and auto-locks per day. In order to unlock the door if the batteries die, you’ll need to have one of the mechanical keys on you (or perhaps hidden around the outside of your house) or a portable USB-C charger to temporarily power the lock and let you back in. Not ideal, but standard practice for smart locks.

Final word

The Aqara Smart Lock U100 is the kind of product that turns a sceptic into a believer. It’s got its flaws, sure, but its virtues, like the ever-elusive HomeKit compatibility and plethora of unlocking methods, more than make up for them.

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time of publish and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the retailer’s website at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. SafeWise Australia utilises paid affiliate links.
Georgia Dixon
Written by
Georgia Dixon
Georgia Dixon has 10 years of experience writing about all things tech, entertainment and lifestyle. She has bylines on, 7NEWS,, in TechLife magazine and more. In 2023 she won Best News Writer at the Consensus IT Awards, and in 2024 she was a finalist for Best News Journalist at the Samsung IT Journalism Awards (The Lizzies). In her spare time, you'll find her playing games and daydreaming about good food, wine, and dogs.

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