Yale Smart Delivery Box
The Yale Smart Delivery Box is marketed as a device that will make your life easier. In reality, it fails on too many levels to be of any real use to the everyday person. First, it is very expensive, second, it is difficult to use, and third, the results are often disappointing. I believe most people who try the Yale Smart Delivery Box will be left with a bad taste in their mouth after using it.
- EASE OF USE
Smart Delivery Box is nice but fails in many ways
Clearly, package theft runs rampant all over the world. It’s sad and disheartening to have it happen to you. Fortunately, companies like Yale have tried to make an option to help prevent this from happening. The Yale Smart Delivery Box with Wifi is their answer to home delivery theft problems.
The Yale Smart Delivery Box is a ‘safer, more convenient way to receive packages.’ It’s not delivery service specific so any carrier can use it and because it locks, it is a theft deterrent. On top of that, the container is made of plastic and it seals so it is weather-resistant.
There are two versions of the Smart Delivery Box with Wi-Fi and with Wi-Fi + Keypad. The ‘smart’ parts of the container include the Yale Smart Lock, Yale Connect Wi-Fi Bridge, and installation manual. The Yale Smart Keypad is also included with the keypad version. Batteries for the lock and the keypad are included. The container itself is sold in two styles – Kent and Brighton – and each style have slightly different dimensions.
- Kent: 19” High x 24.625” Wide x 28” Deep. Fits most standard package sizes; up to 16” High x 22” Wide x 13” Deep.
- Brighton: 24” High x 28” Wide x 18” Deep. Fits most standard package sizes; up to 16.5” High x 22.5” Wide x 11.5” Deep.
The box can be placed wherever packages are most commonly, however, it needs to be within 10 feet of the Yale Connect in order to ensure it can connect to Wi-Fi. Another essential part of the Smart Delivery Box system is the Yale app. While the smart lock can connect to HomeKit and other smart systems, the Yale app makes it possible to connect all the parts together easily.
When the Smart Delivery Box arrived, I was super excited. Finally, we had a solution to keeping our packages safe. Before I dig too deep into the reasons I am unhappy with this product, I do want to say that the container has kept our packages safe, dry, and somewhat organized. It is a far better option than simply letting packages collect aimlessly on your porch.
I want to paint an accurate picture of what we deal with on a daily basis. Since Mac Sources is headquartered from our house, it is not unusual for us to receive multiple deliveries from multiple services every day. We almost always have at least one delivery from Amazon and we know our FedEx and UPS drivers by name. DHL is a little less usual, but we do see them a couple of times a month. This is why we get overly concerned about packages being left on our porch. They pile up and they are very visible from the street. Fortunately for us, our street is not a main thoroughfare and we are always notified when we have traffic on our property.
Now, on to the nitty-gritty of the review.
The Smart Delivery Box is sent in a very large shipping box. The ‘smart’ part of the box is the Yale Smart Lock system, which, on our box, was already installed into the unit. Based on the instructions, though, that may not be the case for every Smart Delivery Box. As far as installation of the box goes, you simply have to decide where you want the box to ‘live’ and place it there. You do have to connect the base to the body, but that only takes about five minutes.
You have the option of adding sand to the base so that the box is weighted down. In our case, we have a covered porch that is minimally exposed so we didn’t worry about weighing it down. The setup of the app and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connection actually takes longer than the installation of the box itself.
The lock connects to your phone in two ways – Bluetooth and WiFi. The WiFi connection is based on the add-on accessory, the Yale Connect (more on this in a moment). The Bluetooth connection is direct between your phone and the lock. This connection is pretty solid in our experience but it is limiting since Bluetooth is a local connection. If you are away from the home, you need a WiFi connection to be able to control the lock. We experienced some issues with this, which I will explain in just a moment.
The box itself seems pretty secure and as I mentioned above, it has been able to keep our packages safe from the elements. That said, it can be broken into if someone provides enough force to the lid. The container does, however, hide the packages from the view of potential porch pirates and gives them one more step to take before running off with your package.
Some of the major issues I had with this system include:
- the function of the app/Delivery mode
- the keypad functionality and battery life
- getting delivery drivers to use it (not Yale’s fault, but still a stumbling block)
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- Lack of help from technical support from Yale
Function of the App/Delivery Mode
Yale outlines a ‘delivery mode’ feature that “leaves the box unlocked each morning until your first delivery is made. The driver simply lifts the lid of the box, places your packages in the box, and then closes the lid using the easy-to-use safety latch. You’ll receive a notification that the delivery was made and you can choose to either unlock the box to allow for another delivery or leave the box locked until you are ready to retrieve your package.”
In theory, this is great, but in practice, it’s a hassle because it means you have to constantly monitor the locked status of the container – which is problematic because of the connectivity issues we experienced. The FAQ for the container states that there is an option to leave the box unlocked until you receive your last delivery, but we’ve never been able to find that option. In fact, we have the app set to not automatically lock the box and it still does it after 2-3 open/closes.
Keypad Functionality & Battery Life
The keypad is a great feature/add-on option – especially if you have someone checking on your packages for you. This is actually how I discovered the problem with the keypad.
I went out of town for vacation and my friend Brian was picking up packages for me. During that time, we did have the box lock after deliveries – since we weren’t home every day – and for some reason, the keypad refused to work. So, Brian would call me and ask me to unlock it. We still don’t know why this happened. He was inputting the correct code and getting a ‘code accepted’ ding from the keypad, but it didn’t communicate to the lock.
This sort of defeats the purpose of having the keypad feature. In addition to that, the battery life of the keypad was horrendous. We installed the delivery box less than a month before we left on vacation and only uses it a handful of times before we left. After our vacation, the batteries were dead. Keep in mind, that this was only after Brian attempted using it for a few days. This is unacceptable in my opinion.
Getting Delivery Drivers to Use It
I had the HARDEST time getting drivers to use the box. We had it set on our porch and for the first two days, drivers, who are familiar with our property, noticed the box, read the word “Deliveries” on the front, and then set packages on top of the box or on our front step instead of placing them in the container. No joke. I think it was almost a full week before drivers were actually using it and that’s only because I put out a sign.
Even after that I had one Amazon driver still not use the box. He told me if I wanted the Amazon drivers to use the box I needed to add special instructions on every delivery for them to do so. I am assuming that driver was moved to a different route or quit because the Amazon drivers are finally starting to use the box.
Hardware Connectivity Problems
Yale bought August lock a while back and both the keypad and Wi-Fi connector is from August. I love August and think they have a wonderful product but the hardware needed to have some improvements done to make it great. Unfortunately, Yale has yet to make any improvements. Instead, they are still using the same broken system that I had issues with when I used the August lock – back in 2016.
The Wi-Fi connector (the Yale Connect) is not only a pain in the rear to get connected it refuses to stay connected. When we first set it up, the device connected and we were able to have a strong, useable Wi-Fi signal with the Smart Delivery Box. We actually have proof of this because when we were out of town, we were able to unlock it remotely.
About two weeks ago (from the time this article is being published), we discovered that the Yale Connect had a solid red light showing on its LED indicator. This told us that it did not have a connection to our network. We aren’t entirely sure how long the Connect was disconnected because we never received a notification from the Yale app stating it was offline.
We followed the instructions from Yale about resetting the Connect. The device seemed to go through the proper setup process and would get to the part of the process where it was supposed to connect to the Wi-Fi network. At this point, the LED indicator on the device should be flashing green quickly. Our Connect was doing that until it suddenly went to red. Then, I saw an error that stated, “An unexpected error has occurred. Please try again.”
We have battled with this thing trying so many times to get it to reconnect to our network that we finally had to reach out to support to try to find a solution to the issue. This leads me to our final issue: Yale’s support.
Yale Technical Support Provided No Answers
The first communication we had with Yale Support was through an email/contact form. This is the message I sent to them.
I have my August Connect set up to work with my Yale Lock and it was working fine but today I got a notification stating that it had been offline for 24 hours. The lock is still connected via Bluetooth but the Connect had a solid red light on it.
I went through the troubleshooting steps outlined in the online help section and after several hard resets and failed attempts to reconnect it, I thought it was time to send an email to support. I have tried to reconnect the Connect to our Wi-Fi network multiple times – both through the app and through my iPhone’s Wi-Fi settings – and the Connect will start its rapid green light blinking as though it is trying to connect but then it goes to solid red. The phone/app continues to try to make the Wi-Fi connection and eventually gives the message “an unexpected error has occurred. Please try again”.
As I mentioned I have gone through this several times – probably a dozen or more times – and nothing has changed. Please provide any assistance that you can.
And this is part of the response I got from Yale support.
Thank you for contacting us! We are sorry to hear about the issues with the Lock and are happy to assist you. Please follow the steps below to assist with helping you set up your Connect.
Go to the Yale Access/August Home app.
Click on the three-bar menu on the top left.
Click on Home.
Click on the picture of your House.
Here, you should see your lock; unlock and lock six times.
Your Yale Connect needs to be plugged into an outlet within 1-15ft from the Lock and within 1-15ft from your router. You need to be connected to the Home Wi-Fi network (2.4GHz), as our Yale Connect isn’t compatible with the 5GHz network.
Click on the three-bar menu on the top left.
Set up a device.
Scan the QR code of the Connect (if it has one)/I don’t have a QR code, then enter the serial number manually (Serial number starts with C, and the zero-like numbers would be zeros).
Unplug the Connect from the outlet, wait for 10 seconds.
Plug it into the outlet, press the button thrice, and at the third time, hold it down, release after 7 seconds. Once it is in the setup mode (slow blinking green light).
Tap on continue, my device is blinking green. Continue to follow the steps to set up the Connect. You should get a congratulation message if successful.
The next part of the message stated that if it still didn’t connect, we should let them know. This was just the beginning of an email chain that continued for almost a week. Each time, the responses I received from support were less than helpful and most of them had nothing to do with my initial issue. If you read through my message, I tell them that I had gone through the reset process and the entire message they sent me initially was instructions on how to reset the Connect.
After several back-and-forth exchanges – sometimes days apart – Yale Support finally said that it’s our router that’s just not compatible with this device. Remember I already had it hooked up and working before it stopped and refused to ever connect again. This canned answer is a load of bull. I say this because this is the same adapter August used with their system (more than 5 years ago). I had a different router then that only did 2.4ghz and it still did not work correctly. I had the same issues then.
Honestly, my support experience was so bad I could write a review just on that.
I believe our issues are derived from a hardware issue that no one wants to admit to. Even if it’s not, then it’s a shame that they haven’t taken the time to update this item to work with current systems. The Wi-Fi device from Yale is living in the dark ages and the customers are paying for it.
Only having the option to connect via Bluetooth to open the box when at home still works. I am able to have my packages delivered and put in a semi-safe place. The price for this product is $279.99 at the time of this review and in my opinion, it’s not worth it. Yale could have taken what they purchased from August and put more R & D behind it before pushing this plastic box out. They had the opportunity to make something really wonderful but dropped the ball.
Instead, they pushed out a broken system that is hard to get drivers to use and supposedly only works with a few routers. I will keep using the box for now because I haven’t found anything else that will auto-lock after a package has been put inside of it. Unfortunately, I will not be able to use it while out of town unless I set my friend Brian up with the app via Bluetooth so he can manually unlock it. If there was a key option at least I could have someone use the key to open the box when I am away but this requires old Bluetooth tech and outdated Wi-Fi adapters to work.
So to recap would I suggest you buy this? No not one bit. It’s been a pain in the neck since day one. Do I hope they find a way to make it better? Absolutely! Do I see potential in this product but right now, you are only asking for a headache.