Ardwolf A20 Review- The Underdog of the Smart Lock World?

Introduction

Welcome to my Ardwolf A20 Review.

Since the Ardwolf A20 Fingerprint door lock was first available in early 2016, it has proved to be a highly popular smart lock.

It has quickly become a much loved product by the people who matter the most, the buyers.

Ardwolf as a company only make smart locks- that is the sole focus of their expertise.

They currently have 4 smart locks for sale.

At the time of writing (in January 2017) five positive comments were being made by buyers of this lock for every one critical comment made by buyers

My reviews are packed full of information which I want you to be able to read quickly and easily.

Therefore I have used lots of tables and other shortcuts to help you make the right decision as quickly as possible.

Ardwolf A20 Right Handed Opener
The Ardwolf A20 Has a Mechanical Key and 9V Emergency Power

At a Glance Features

Below, I have created tables which show the different features that this device has. I have divided the features up into different tables to make it easier for you to read.

Those tables are;

(1) Basic Specifications (2) Methods of Opening (3) Software & Apps (4) Home Automation

(5) Security & Lock (6) Design and (7) Installation

Each table has lots of information below it, which I have hidden. If you want to read it, then click on the “Read More” link.

Basic Specifications

Manufacturer
Ardwolf (Based in Chino, CA, USA)
First Sold
March 2016
Weight
5.4 lbs
Dimensions
11.2x7.9x4.3 inches
Warranty
1 year
Price
Ardwolf A20 Main Features
Ardwolf A20 Left or Right Handed Door?

 Other smart locks that have good warranties 

 

Methods of Entry

This smart lock has three methods of entry; keypad, mechanical key and fingerprint sensor. You only need to use method to gain entry.

Keypad
Smartphone
Key
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Fob/tag
Fingerprint
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Keypad

Unusually, the keypad only has the numbers 1-8 on it. 9 and 0 are nowhere to be seen.

Also, your PIN code can only be 8 digits long- you cannot use a shorter one.

The keypad is back lit so that it can easily be used in the dark and it is made from a plastic that will not reveal tell-tale fingerprints.

Mechanical Key

The A20 is shipped with 3 mechanical keys that have been laser cut to fit the lock exactly. Make sure that you don’t lose them as replacements might be hard to come by.

The mechanical keys are not meant to be used regularly. They should be used as an emergency back up if for instance your batteries go flat.

Fingerprint

100 fingerprints can be stored. 96 ordinary users and 4 “master” users.

The fingerprint sensor should identify you in less than 1 second and it has a very low failure rate.

It should identify correctly 999 fingerprints out of 1000!

 

Other locks that use fingerprint recognition

 

Software & Apps

Other smart locks have apps for Apple and Android smartphones, but this lock doesn’t.

iOS App
Android App
Windows 10
Mac
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Windows 10 & Mac

It has a free piece of software that you can download for Windows computers (from here) and Mac computers (from here) that allows you back up your stored fingerprints and see who is using the A20 smart lock and when.

 

Home Automation

In this table, I show you what home automation systems this smart lock is compatible with.

And, unfortunately, this smart lock does not integrate with any home automation system

Nest
Apple Home Kit
Z Wave
Zigbee
Amazon Echo
Voice Activation
The exterior and interior bodies of the A20
The Ardwolf A20 can store up to 100 fingerprints

Security & Lock

In this table, I show you the main security and lock features that the A20 lock has.

Security Rating
Privacy
Remote Unlock
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Auto Lock
Anti Tamper Alarm
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Privacy

Some might argue that because the Ardwolf uses fingerprint recognition technology, that it could not be more “private.”

But this lock does have another privacy function that will help you when someone seems to be watching you as you open the door.

It will only work if you are using the keypad and your 8 digit PIN.

You can add any random numbers before and after your 8 digit PIN code- as long as your PIN code is entered properly.

 

Other smart locks that use privacy settings

 

Auto Lock

The lock with automatically lock a couple of seconds after it closes. You cannot change this time delay.

Passage Mode

As far as I am aware, passage mode is unique to this smart lock.

It allows you to keep the door closed but unlocked so that all someone needs to do is to press on the handle and the lock will open.

It is perfect for those times when it is installed on an office door and you are expecting quite a few people to turn up for a meeting.

Design

In this table some of the the biggest design features are displayed- if the device is “weatherproof”, if it comes in different colors and what material it is made out of.

Weatherproof
Different Colors
Material
Stainless Steel
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Weatherproof

Although it seems, from looking at buyer comments, that some people have installed this smart lock on an exterior door (such as a front door) this lock is meant to be used on interior doors.

And so, this lock would be perfect to be placed on an office door at home or at work. It would also be ideal to have it on the door to the room that has your safe in it or on the door of the room where you keep your guns or other dangerous hunting equipment.

The door operates in temperatures between -5 °C and

Different Colors

The Ardwolf A20 only comes in silver.

Material

The lock is made from an anti- corrosive stainless steel. Lots of buyers are impressed by its “build quality”

The Ardwolf A20 Contents of Box
Ardwolf A20 Special Functions

Installation

The table below, displays some of the most important features of the installation- can it be installed just using one tool? Can you use your existing deadbolt? And, how is the device powered.

One Tool
Existing Deadbolt
Voice Prompted Set Up
Power
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x4 AA's
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One Tool

If your door already has a hole in it for the latch and the deadbolt, then you can install this lock using just a Phillips screwdriver.

Although there are no electrical wires to connect, there is a data cable that needs to be connected between the interior body and the exterior body of the lock.

Existing Deadbolt

The A20 is shipped with a deadbolt and so it is recommended that you use that and uninstall you existing one.

Power

The door is powered by x4 AA batteries that are not provided.

There is an alarm that sounds when the batteries are running out.

If the batteries lose power and you still need to use the lock you can use the mechanical key or attach a 9V battery to the nodules at the bottom of the lock.

 Other locks that are powered by batteries

 

The A20 has fast and accurate fingerprint reading

Installation Guide

One of the main negative feedbacks was the user guide was too brief with not enough guidance.

What people did find helpful was this video on YouTube

This is an 11 minute video. The first 5 minutes demonstrate how to program the smart lock. The last 5 minutes demonstrate how to install the lock.

But, a better installation video has been created by Ardwolf and you can watch it here.

The video is just over a minute long and you might need to watch it several times over in order to understand everything.

The video starts by showing all the bits that come in the box.

There is a metal template that comes with the lock. Use the template to position all of the screw holes and “lock” hole correctly.

You will then need to use a drill and different drill bits to make these holes.

Work on the front side (interior) of your door first.

Step 1. Place your latch in the main hole and screw it in place.

Step 2. Place the rods onto the interior body of the smart lock and feed the data cable through the whole in the door.

Step 3. Now flip your door over and work on the back side (the exterior) of the door.

Step 4. Place the rods on the back plate and screw it into place.

Step 5. Attach the data cable to it.

Step 6. Now attach the data cable into the exterior body of the door.

Step 7. Screw the exterior body of the lock into place.

Your door is ready to test and to program.

Other Helpful Resources for the Ardwolf A20

Quick Start  Guide

Free Backup Software Windows 

Free Backup Software Mac 

Should You Buy One?

To finish this review, I am going to present you with a few pros and cons.

What are the Ardwolf A20 smart lock’s strongest and weakest features?

These comments were made by people who had bought the lock…

Pros
Cons
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Solidly Made
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No number 9 or 0 on Keypad
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Easy Install
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PIN codes can only be 8 digits
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Accurate Fingerprint Recognition
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Software a Bit Basic
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Good Value
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Poor Instructions for Programming