Skip to main content

Hands on: Noke Bluetooth Padlock

Forget combos and key: Noke unlocks with your phone, and it's finally here

From bikes to lockers and garden sheds, the Noke makes securing just about anything more convenient with the phone you already own.

Bluetooth can tether your phone to everything from a smartwatch to a smart lightbulb these days, and now you can add another device to add to that list: a connected padlock called the Noke that uses your phone to unlock. (That’s pronounced No-key, get it?)

Launched back in 2014 on Kickstarter, the device has evolved since those early days, and is now nearly ready to ship out to backers. It’s also available as a pre-order, for those who missed out. We got a chance to see the Noke in action.

Prime Day Focus
Roborock Prime Day shopping guide: Lots of options, which is right for you?
Is the Bluetti AC200L the best power station for camper vans?
These Razer Blade Prime Day deals really pack a punch [in gaming power]
Tiny projector, epic 4K cinema: Watch movies anywhere with LG CineBeam Q

A classic design

It’s pleasing to see the company hasn’t messed with decades of padlock design, keeping to a simple circular shape for the body, and a U-shaped shackle to keep everything secure. While it could have gone for a space-age style, the traditional shackle works as well here as it did on your high-school gym locker.

Replacing dumb tech with smart tech continues to be an expensive task.

The Noke can unlock when you’re in Bluetooth range, or at the tap of a button in the accompanying app (Android | iOS | Windows). Why choose? Because the minute it auto-unlocks, anyone could slip the lock free and make off with whatever it was securing. The difference could be crucial for your bike, but negligible for your garden shed.

Both these features were demonstrated to us, and worked perfectly each time. It was clearly quicker than fiddling around with a key in a lock, and anyone who has fumbled with a bike chain on a freezing morning will appreciate not running the risk of frostbite while locating and twisting a key for 90 seconds.

Quick-Click could save the day

What happens if your phone dies? After all, it’s hardly unusual for our phones to run out of power during the day. That’s where the backup feature, Quick-Click, comes in. If your phone is out of power, lost, or left behind, an emergency Morse-code style series of squeezes on the shackle will unlock the padlock.

Is all this a step forward in padlock technology? It doesn’t make the lock any more secure, but it is more convenient than having a key, and negates the need for a sturdy set of bolt cutters in an emergency. Incidentally, the Noke is still just a padlock, and provides no more protection than any other.

The lock is weatherproof and made out of steel. What’s worth mentioning is the weight. Just because it doesn’t have a complex lock inside, doesn’t mean it’s a featherweight. It’s quite the opposite at 320 grams, with real weight and heft behind it. It’ll keep things safe, but you wouldn’t want to carry it around in your pocket. The battery is easy to replace, and should last a year anyway. The app has additional features including location-based history, and the option to manage multiple locks.

Conclusion

Replacing a key with Bluetooth tech results in a padlock that’s yours for $70, or about three times the price of a similarly robust padlock with an actual key. Replacing dumb tech with smart tech continues to be an expensive task, but if you’re tempted, then the Noke can be pre-ordered here.

If you can afford the upgrade, you’ll not be disappointed by the build or operation based on our short hands-on time with it. Whether or not the convenience is really worth the price depends on just how much you hate remembering keys and combos.

Highs

  • Strong build
  • Sensible safety features
  • Easy to use

Lows

  • Questionable benefits
  • Expensive
Andy Boxall
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
The 5 best smart padlocks and Bluetooth padlocks in 2024
Megafeis Fingerprint Padlock on gate latch.

Technology has worked its way into almost everything we use around the house, with some of the best smart home devices sporting cutting edge tech. Included in this are padlocks, which can now be controlled over Bluetooth. A smart padlock or two makes a great addition to the home, office, or upcoming vacation, and we’ve rounded up our selections for the best smart padlocks on the market. Reading onward you’ll find what we think is the best smart padlock overall, as well as several selections for more specific use cases.
The best smart padlocks in 2024

Buy the if you want the best smart padlock.
Buy the if you want the best smart padlock for the house.
Buy the if you want the best smart padlock for all-purpose use.
Buy the if you want the best smart padlock for travel.
Buy the if you want the best smart padlock for real estate.

Read more
The 5 best smart locks for an Airbnb or rental unit in 2024
ULTRALOQ U-Bolt Pro WiFi smart lock for airbnb installed on door

If you have an extra property, a convenient way to facilitate rentals is through no-contact options like Airbnb. More specifically, you don't have to do much, especially if you outfit the property with smart home tech. From smart thermostats to smart lighting and smart locks, everything can be controlled remotely while still allowing your temporary tenants the freedom they need. Smart locks are the perfect example. You can issue temporary keys to allow access to the home, remotely lock and unlock doors, and monitor who's coming and going. Visitors can also use their phone or a mobile app to unlock the door, no key exchange is needed. But even so, not all smart locks are created equal. We took the time to find and select the best smart locks for an Airbnb or rental property in 2024. Also, if you're looking to save some money, you should head over to the best smart lock deals afterward to see what's on sale.
The best smart locks for an Airbnb in 2024

Buy the August WiFi 4th Gen if you want a reliable, easy-to-install smart lock.
Buy the Schlage Encode Plus if you want to use both a keyless smart lock and a physical key.
Buy the eufy Security Video Smart Lock if you want to be able to answer your door remotely.
Buy the ULTRALOQ U-Bolt Pro if you want true versatility with all the bells and whistles.
Buy the Wyze Auto-Lock Bolt if you're on a tight budget.

Read more
Daisy is an installation and repair company designed for your smart home
The Diasy logo on a white background.

Smart homes have become increasingly complex over the past decade. From smart locks and video doorbells to security cameras and smart displays, there are a lot of moving pieces in the average smart home -- and getting them all working properly has become a hassle. Daisy, a new home technology company revealed at CES 2024, hopes to alleviate this problem, offering a professional service that installs and provides regular maintenance for your entire fleet of smart home gadgets.

The goal of Daisy is to help consumers "spend more time using and enjoying the technology in their home and less time being frustrated." Many smart home devices can be surprisingly difficult to install -- such as smart locks or smart blinds -- and if you're not comfortable installing one yourself, it can be difficult to find a reliable professional to handle the task for you. But with Daisy, it's looking like you'll have a one-stop shop for all your smart home needs.

Read more