A Remote Airbnb Super Host’s Review: Nest x Yale Keyfree Smartlock

Nest x Yale Smart Lock is made for Airbnb

Every vacation rental owner should use a smart lock

why smart locks will make check in easy for airbnb
Are you an Airbnb host that wants to improve your listing?

Today’s article will be a review on the Yale x Nest smart lock. If you’re a host yourself, you know how much trouble your guests have with the simplest of tasks!  Getting in the house is just the start of the slew of questions your guests are bound to send your way.

Luckily for us, technology has advanced to a point where we can take the challenge out of most daily tasks your guests will have to perform ?. By installing a keyless door lock, you will take away one avenue of error that your guest can experience. This smart lock will wow your customers and and give you comprehensive control over your listing that a regular lock cannot.

A little bit about myself: I’m a remote host that manages 10+ listings from across the country. I have 500+ reviews and am a Super Host! I post articles and guides on this blog to help other hosts that are just getting started. If you have any questions post a comment and I will respond within 24 hours!

The check-in dilemma

As a remote Airbnb host, the check in process for each guest has been an issue since day one. People seem to struggle when it comes to simple tasks when they are in an unfamiliar environment and frankly, I don’t blame them. Your guest probably is trying Airbnb for the first time and anxious to get in – and now you’re making them learn new things!

In order to secure those 5-star ratings for Super Host status, you must address the issues your customers are facing. One of the first parts of the customer experience I analyzed was initial check in. I needed a way to get rid of the problems that are inherent in a traditional deadbolt lock.

Here comes TECHNOLOGY!

There has been an emergence in the popularity of various smart locks over the last few years. In an effort to create a more digitized household, companies have shifted development resources into various gadgets that implement technology into common household items. Perhaps this is an indication of society’s shift towards laziness, but more realistic explanation is that companies are simply identifying a demand for a product and fulfilling its customer’s needs.

As an Airbnb host, I need to be able to provide a streamlined check in process for my guests in order to maintain Super Host status. In order to set up a good impression from the start, we want to make entry into the house as easy as possible.

Why Airbnb hosts should choose the Yale x Nest

The Yale X Nest Smartlock has proven to be an exceptional tool when it comes to host management and user friendliness. As someone who has tried multiple methods of entry for my listings, this smart lock has proven to be the most popular method by far. Within a few weeks of installation, I saw my check-in rating average increased from 4.8 to 4.9!

Schlage locks I have used

I’ve also used the Schlage Touch Keyless Touchscreen deadbolt as well as the Schlage Connect, but I prefer the Yale Nest Smart lock due to the ease of use and the way the lock complements my Nest thermostats. While the Schlage electronic door locks are good for most use, the fact that the Yale smart lock automatically engages its deadbolt and syncs with my other home tech made me retire the Schlage locks.

One thing to note: the Schlage Connect has great reviews and is significantly cheaper than the Yale x Nest lock. I simply prefer the synergy that comes with the Yale x Nest lock.

Nest family: Thermostat and Connect

As a host you have many considerations to make when deciding on a specific lock for your door. You want something that’s cost effective, easy to use, and secure. With the Yale Smartlock you will be able to manage all entry remotely from your smartphone by downloading the Nest home app. If you’re a host that has Nest thermostats in your properties, this is a great way to keep everything organized. If you don’t have one – get one right now. The thermostat will pay for itself via energy savings and rebates.

yale nest smartlock home page
Manage all of your properties from one app

Custom access codes for each Airbnb guest to use

The smart lock will allow you to create access codes (“electronic keys”) for each guest – that means no more worrying about guests copying keys! These access codes will show up if they are used in the history section of the app. You can also set an expiration date on each access code. This makes sure your property is secure from intruders.

Monitor traffic around the clock

The smart lock can also can help prevent parties from happening! You can set the smart lock to automatically engage its deadbolt after being unlocked for a while. If you see a ton of activity in the middle of the night, you will know something is up!

You can turn on notifications in the settings of your Nest app to ping you every single time the door is unlocked or locked.

yale smartlock history
Track every instance where the lock was used.

Manual lock and unlocking via Nest Home app

In addition to knowing when a code is used, you can also engage the deadbolt on the smart lock from your Nest app. This means you don’t have to worry about guests leaving the door unlocked! If you don’t have automatic locking set up, you can manually lock the door from anywhere in the world. The app will always show you the current position of the deadbolt.

The lock is also tamperproof, it’s a keyless deadbolt so people won’t be able to pick the lock.

Another benefit of the Yale x Nest smart lock is that you can use your app to unlock the door for guests who seem to be struggling with entry. I have had guests who returned to the house inebriated and had to call me for help. Having the smart lock saved me the hassle of making a trip to the Airbnb!

Easy installation

The smart lock is one of the easiest locks to install- this is coming from someone who is not very handy. Using a standard drill, I was able to remove the old lock and fit this one in without issue! Installation is a breeze!

Guest favorite!

The Nest Yale key free smart lock will also be loved by your guests. The guest will no longer have to worry about keeping track of keys during their trip. They will also be amazed by the lock if they have never used one. Using a key really sucks when you can use a keypad. If you’re a host with a lot of time on your hands you can even give your guests access via the Nest app and allow them to use their own smartphones to open the door!

smartlock for airbnb customizing access
You can set the custom start and expiration days. You can also send the information to your guest’s email

The Yale x Nest lock complements other home tech items you have been considering. The lock can be synced with your Google Home. This means you or your guest can lock the door from anywhere in the house. The smart lock also shares an app with your Nest products. This means the App will be consistently updated in order to maintain functionality with other products.

Cons of the Yale Nest Smart lock:

Price: the smart lock costs $290 on Amazon, which may seem steep for newer hosts. See it as an investment – the added security, convenience, and perceived amenities will be reflected in your daily rate. Yes, it hurts to drop almost $300 on a lock, but you will make that back quickly if you have satisfied customers ?.

Note: this lock will save you from the countless hours of helping guests getting into your Airbnb. It also prevents the need for rekeying in the event a guest lost their keys. Instead of rekeying the door, you simply have to delete a guest’s access code. Problem solved!

Powering the smart lock: You will have to change out the batteries pretty frequently if you are running a hostel style Airbnb listing (private rooms with shared common areas). The lock sends a message you to should battery be running low so you should never have an issue with a dead smart lock.

The lock allows you to use a standard 9 volt battery if the lock’s battery is completely drained. Instruct your customers to unlock your lockbox for the spare battery if it’s necessary.

Nest Connect and Wifi dependency: the smart lock requires a Wifi connection for management purposes. In the case of internet shortage, the set codes will still work. You just wouldn’t have a record during that period. Another shortfall to note: The Nest connect has a semi-short range. Make sure it isn’t block by solid objects and is in the same room as your smart lock.

My Review:

The Nest Yale Smart lock is necessary for high volume Airbnb hosts. While buying the lock may be expensive (~$300 purchase price), features like app monitoring, access codes, and remote lock and unlock make it a great investment for vacation rental properties. The lock itself is extremely user friendly – something every host should strive for when updating their properties and has been a guest favorite at my properties. I believe this lock has made a tangible impact on my ratings since I first got it!

I hope this review was helpful for hosts looking for a smart lock to use on Airbnb. If you are a host that wants more tips, check out this review on Smartbnb I wrote – it’s an automated messaging system for vacation rentals that has saved me countless hours.


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  1. Editorial note: The “Nest x Yale” lock trademark is reversed mostly throughout the review.

    I ordered my Nest x Yale lock in May, and initially it was quite a nightmare. I spent about eight hours trying to get it installed, properly aligned, and actually working. Alignment is critical, as the lock mechanism accepts virtually no sliding resistance. It may be necessary to retool your door or door frame. I had to purchase a mortise chisel and a Dremel bit to make very small yet critical adjustments. Then I found that my lock was defective (dead keypad) and the Nest app had a couple of lock-related bugs that prevented creation of scheduled access times. After a few weeks, I received a new lock, and by that time the app had also been updated. Nest and Yale each have their own technical support, with significant wait times, and they don’t really coordinate. This isn’t like Apple where they control both hardware and software. This is like installing Windows on a custom-built PC. And I say this as someone with 20+ years of professional experience in hardware/software integration.

    I got everything working about a month later on July 1. On July 2, I departed for two weeks in Australia, hoping and praying that the dream of remote control of my lock would actually work for my next three Airbnb customers. It did, actually. Obviously the idea here is very promising, but I’m still not 100% sold on the execution. Note, all lock activities in the log are recorded in the local time zone of the lock, while the current lock status in the app is reported in the remote time zone of your mobile device, so you may be left trying to figure out whether to add or subtract 17 hours to correlate what you see on two different pages of the app.

    Then everything was wonderful for about three months until one day the lock fell offline for about five minutes and then came back thinking that the current date and time was 49 days in the past. No simple reconfiguration or restart could disabuse the lock of the notion that it was seven weeks ago. In the mean time, one guest could not access my property conveniently because of the date/time error. After they departed, at the suggestion of Nest tech support, I did a factory reset of the lock, which requires disassembling it from the door of course, and then the lock started working again. Except for the fact that all of the previously entered access codes were invalidated. And except for the fact that the Nest software provides no indication that the previously entered access codes were invalidated. So now I have two sequential guests that are both mad at my lock and don’t think it’s so incredibly awesome.

    And right now, neither do I. This is bleeding-edge tech. Someday it will probably be great, but right now, it can bite you most unpredictably and early adopters should still have a backup plan, like a key under the door mat.

    • Thank you for your comment Craig,

      Yes, I agree! You must have a backup plan because technology can malfunction randomly. My review is mainly for people looking for a solution for short-term rentals. If it does the job when it works very well. I hope Nest can make the lock more reliable, but in the 2 years I have used it I haven’t had any issues.

  2. Hello!

    We are about to begin AirBNBing our vacation home. With this lock, have you ever had any issues with the lock failing and guests not being able to get in since using a physical key is not an option with this lock?


    • Hi!

      I personally have not had a failure (and the lock is used 30+ times a day). I would have a backup plan though – perhaps a lockbox to a side door just in case the lock fails.

  3. As an Airbnb host I personally prefer the August Yale lock. It’s almost the exact same hardware, but the software makes more sense for a host. August will automatically send your guests a code to the door which will only work for the time of their trip. It takes the work of creating a code away from you. It also has keyed deadbolt as back up. We leave a key in a lockbox on the property. We only give that code out if someone struggles with the lock.

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