Prime Day is nearing and holiday gift giving is just around the corner. Even if you’re a Scrooge who doesn’t like Amazon’s deals, you’re probably getting more packages delivered to your home this year. Whether it’s office supplies, groceries or another set of “comfy pants” (hey, no judgment here), you might be concerned about keeping your deliveries safe.
Today, Yale introduced a smart delivery box that works with the Yale Access and August Home apps, which normally control each brands’ respective smart locks, and major voice assistants to do just that.
The Yale Smart Delivery Box comes in two styles, at $230 Brighton style and a $280 Kent style. Both include a Connect adapter to connect them to your Wi-Fi network for smart home integration. Add a smart keypad for another $50. Yale partnered with with Kingsley Park, a Step2 Company for box design and production. You might recognize Step2 from its lines of children’s playsets, wagons and outdoor toys.
I gave the smart delivery box several test runs at my own home prior to today’s release. I’ve had it just a few days and haven’t received any deliveries quite yet. Stay tuned for a full review of the system.
The Yale Smart Delivery Box is available in two styles, Kent and Brighton. The Brighton model costs $230, while the Kent model costs $280. Aside from slightly different styling and construction, the two boxes appear very similar. Yale categorizes these first two models as “medium,” with more sizes and styles planned for future release. A sensible “Deliveries” is embossed on the front of the plastic box, hopefully making it clear that delivery drivers should deposit their packages inside.
The Brighton box I received is lightweight, weighing just 14.8 pounds according to my bathroom scale. Yale suggests either tethering or filling the base with up to 40 pounds of sand for extra security. I could easily carry the Brighton model up and down my stairs, so adding some form of security definitely makes sense.
A manual release button unlocks the box from inside.
If you’re interested in receiving packages that need to be kept cool, like groceries or medications, there is an insulated bag option sold separately that fits inside the box.
If you’re already several steps ahead of me and thinking about small children getting locked in a box, Yale has accounted for that unfortunate possibility. The smart lock mechanism includes an emergency release button inside the box to manually release it. There are also multiple ventilation points to ensure a safe oxygen supply level.
Setting up the delivery box means setting up multiple devices in the Yale Access app. I connected the smart lock first via Bluetooth, then added the Connect bridge for Wi-Fi and voice assistant integration.
The Yale Access app process also works with the August app. If you already own August products, you don’t need to download another app.
The smart lock itself is a small, white cube that slides into place at the front of the box and is secured by a metal bar. All you need to do is pull the battery tab and slide the cube into its track. With the lock in place, I did a test fit to make sure everything latched correctly. A latch on the box’s lid is easily adjustable with a screwdriver if you need to make adjustments.
A small, white Yale lock inside the box provides the smarts.
With the lock in place, I enabled Bluetooth on my mobile device and opened the app. The on-screen instructions for adding a new device were easy to follow. With the lock connected via Bluetooth, I plugged in the Connect bridge and connected it to my lock and my Wi-Fi network.
If you don’t want to add the $50 keypad, you’re all set. Simply connect (or reconnect) your August or Yale account in the app of your preferred voice assistant and set a PIN for voice unlocking.
If you opt for the additional keypad, you’ll repeat a setup process similar to the lock’s to add the keypad to your system. Pre-drilled holes on the side of the box offer a sensible spot to mount the keypad. You’ll need a six-digit code to unlock the box via keypad.
App access and keypad codes can be shared, scheduled and managed like any other Yale or August smart lock in the mobile app. Friends, family or anyone who needs to make a delivery can be given their own code.
An accessory keypad mounts on the right side of the box.
My biggest complaint with the Yale and August line of products involves the Connect bridge. Each Connect only works with one product at a time, so if you already own an August or Yale lock and a Connect to control it, you can’t simply add on this new delivery box. You’ll need a second Connect for that. Two products in and BOOM! That’s one wall outlet already filled with large, white devices.
The Yale team is aware of this inconvenience, and there’s hope that future updates will add multidevice functionality, but for now you’ll need to make room in your walls for a new Connect each time you buy a Yale or August smart product. The smarter my home gets, the more precious outlet real estate becomes.
Using the delivery box isn’t difficult, but there aren’t many instructions on how “delivery mode” works. In fact, there’s really no indication of it that I saw in the apps, but the Yale team had walked me through the idea prior to testing.
Delivery Mode means the lock doesn’t lock every time you open and close it, but rather every other time. The idea is that you’d open a locked box to retrieve a package, and once closed again it would need to be left unlocked to accept the next delivery. That means delivery companies won’t need to instruct drivers on codes or app access in order to delivery a package. Once the box is opened a second time, the box will then lock.
Google Home and August app screenshots of the Smart Delivery Box.
Screenshot by Molly Price/CNET
It’s kind of a lot to keep tabs on, but that is made slightly easier by voice assistants. You can ask your assistant if the box is locked or unlocked. If needed, you can unlock it with a voice PIN. Yale says deeper integration with delivery drivers is in the works for future improvements, but we don’t have specifics on that yet.
The inside of the box includes a removable bottom tray.
The smart lock portion of the Yale Smart Delivery Box also lends itself to another new Yale product, the Smart Cabinet Lock. Also available today, it’s designed to keep things like a medicine or liquor cabinet secured inside your home. The same lock mechanism seen in the delivery box, fits into a mount that attaches in two pieces to the door and interior of your cabinet.
You’ll get alerts each time the cabinet is opened. Voice controls and app controls are the two ways to control the lock. The Smart Cabinet Lock costs $80 on its own, with functionality limited to Bluetooth connected from the lock to your phone. Add a $50 Connect bridge for voice commands and you’ll spend $130 per cabinet.
Given that steep price, it probably isn’t a solution for toddler-proofing a whole set of kitchen cabinets. If you have one or two high-risk places you’d like to control access to, the Smart Cabinet Lock is one high-tech (and expensive) way to do it.
The Brighton and Kent boxes are available beginning today on Yale’s website, Amazon, BestBuy.com and other major retailers.
How to protect your holiday packages
With Prime Day, Black Friday and the holiday shopping season right around the corner, keeping packages safe is a top priority for many consumers. Yale’s system isn’t the first smart storage solution we’ve seen. Other brands like BoxLock are also attempting to make package delivery safer. Options like Amazon Key allow a delivery person to enter a home, a garage or even a car to deliver a package. No matter how you choose to battle package theft in your area, there’s probably a smart home product out there to help you out.