A UK-ready smart lock that’s as discreet as it is secure
By Jon Mundy
Jon Mundy / Foundry
At a glance
Discreet and easy to install
Ultion lock extremely secure
Keypad and remote fobs available
No fingerprint scanner
Remote access requires separate Bridge
The Ultion Nuki does pretty much everything you could want a smart lock to do. It doesn’t replace your existing external handle, and you can still use a key to operate it. The Ultion lock cylinder is as secure as they come and the Nuki smart system is easy to use and very customisable. Though there’s no fingerprint scanner, you can buy an optional car-style fob to unlock the door without using your phone.
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The Ultion Nuki is the fruit of a partnership born from a uniquely British problem. Austrian company Nuki wanted to bring its popular smart lock product over to the UK, but encountered a market that favoured fully integrated lock-and-handle set-ups over the stand-alone locks of our European cousins.
Enter British lock specialist Brisant Secure, which proposed that it build a bespoke handle system that combines the Nuki smart lock with its own 3-Star Plus Diamond Sold Secure-rated physical lock. The resulting product is the Ultion Nuki, a smart lock that’s compatible with the existing multipoint fittings of the vast majority of UK external doors.
With a high degree of accessibility, easy installation, impressive security, and a whole ecosystem of optional extras, the Ultion Nuki is one of the most compellingly complete smart lock systems we’ve seen in the UK.
Quick, easy installation
No extra drilling or wiring required
£95 professional installation option
The Ultion Nuki has been designed with self-installation in mind, though you can also arrange for a professional Lockforce locksmith to come and fit it for just £95 through Ultion.
I had the full installation and demo experience from a Brisant Secure representative for the purpose of this review, but the process was evidently very straightforward. We’re talking as little as five to ten minutes for a halfway competent DIYer. You essentially replace the internal handle and lock, which involves removing and replacing several screws, then attaching the Nuki unit over the exposed mechanical lock.
Even the weird mish-mash of handle and door components that my creaky old house has been equipped with failed to throw the Brisant Secure rep and the Ultion Nuki off their collective stride. To quote Apple, it just works.
The rep initially requested pictures of my door to make sure the lock would fit, but the simple truth is that the Ultion Nuki will work with the vast majority of UK multi-point doors. It utilises existing fittings, with provision for handle fixing distances of 215mm, 211mm, and 122mm.
A large part of the appeal with this system is that, unlike most rival smart locks, the Ultion Nuki doesn’t change the external handle. All of the smart gubbins are stashed on the inside, so all that’s changed is the internal handle and the lock cylinder itself.
This approach has many advantages, not least of which is the sheer ease of installation, with no fiddly wires to contend with. With no external element, you also avoid attracting unwanted attention to your house. Nothing screams ‘rob me’ like an expensive-looking smart lock.
Jon Mundy / Foundry
All a would-be burglar will see is that you have one of the best lock cylinders in the business, which serves as a handy deterrent. Indeed, so confident is Brisant Secure in the strength of its lock, it provides a £2,000 security guarantee if the lock is broken during the first five years of ownership.
Brisant Secure also offers a service whereby you can securely order more of its sturdy physical keys via a phone call, though the usual high street key cutters can still perform a service here.
The other advantage to this more discreet approach is in maintaining the look of older or more characterful houses where modern or high-tech gadgets would look out of place. You can order a plain external handle with your Ultion Nuki lock, but most people won’t need to.
Features & Design
Discreet internal-only design
Simple dial-and-button system
Unlock with physical key or app
As we’ve already mentioned, the entirety of the Ultion Nuki system sits on the inside of your door. It’s undoubtedly chunky compared to a regular handle, and it certainly doesn’t blend into the door like, say, the Blusafe Origin Smart lock. Still, it’s a clean, handsome, all-white design that will match the predominantly all-white interior colour of most UK PVC doors.
The Nuki mechanism barely extends beyond the width of the handle, and my main concern about size was related to the lock’s depth – a potential issue if there isn’t much space for your door to open. Even then, the main body of the Nuki system protrudes only a little beyond the door handle above it, so doesn’t cause any problems.
Jon Mundy / Foundry
Your main point of interaction will be that circular dial and button beneath the internal handle. Pressing the button in the middle will lock or unlock the door using the Nuki’s somewhat noisy motor. You’ll want to revert to a good old fashioned physical key if you want to ensure you don’t wake your family or housemates after a night out.
It’s worth pointing out that the other smart locks we’ve seen for multipoint doors remove the option of using a key entirely, and that’s why the Ultion Nuki will be an attractive option for so many people.
You can also lock and unlock the door mechanically by rotating the dial. Whichever method you choose, a ring light will indicate whether the door is locked (full circle) or unlocked (incomplete circle).
The lock itself runs off four AA batteries, which should last for anywhere between six months to a year, though this will vary depending on how much you use the smart aspects of the lock. You’ll get notifications sent to your phone when these batteries need changing, and there’s the option of a rechargeable battery pack if you care about the environment.
One of the major points of reassurance with the Ultion Nuki’s basic design is that it operates just fine as a purely mechanical lock. You could quite happily go about your business using it as a regular ‘dumb’ lock with the batteries taken out. But that, of course, that defeats the whole point of having a smart lock.
Just about the only missing feature is a fingerprint sensor. Blusafe’s Origin Smart lock (below) incorporates biometric authentication as standard, but remains the only smart multi-point lock (that we know of) to have this.
Jim Martin / Foundry
You can use your phone to unlock the Ultion Nuki smart lock via the Nuki app. The lock will use your phone’s local Bluetooth signal by default, which means you’ll have to be very close by in order to operate it.
Jon Mundy / Foundry
You’ll need to buy the Nuki Bridge separately, or as part of a discounted bundle, if you want to expand access to your Wi-Fi network. This is very much recommended for several reasons.
The most obvious advantage is that you’ll be able to unlock your door remotely, as well as check whether your door is locked, from anywhere using a mobile or Wi-Fi connection. I found a great deal of comfort when running out to catch a train in being able to double check the lock’s status while en route to the station.
Because of the way multi-point locks work, the handle must be lifted prior to locking the door. No smart lock (yet) can lock your door after you unlock it without human assistance. This means you can’t unlock it for a courier to make a delivery while you’re out, as you’ll have no way to lock it again unless the courier, or whoever it is, is willing to lift the handle for you.
However, there are a couple of auto-locking options built into the app. One is a simple timer which can be set to lock after at least 30 seconds of unlocking, and another is to use geofencing to lock when you move beyond a certain distance from home. Both still require the handle to have been lifted first, of course.
Jon Mundy / Foundry
Getting back to the Nuki Bridge, an another advantage is it allows the lock to work with Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomeKit, while Control4 compatibility had just been added at the time of review. There’s also support for IFTTT.
Using those aforementioned smart assistants, you can opt to unlock your door with a vocal command. You’ll need to include a verbal passcode for obvious security reasons.
Including the Bridge with your purchase also opens up Nuki’s Auto Unlock system. Using geofencing, Auto Unlock will detect when you’re approaching (you can adjust the activation distance) and will ready the Nuki’s Bluetooth connection for your arrival.
The door will then unlock when it detects your phone in the immediate vicinity, which can be extremely convenient when you’re laden with shopping bags or returning home in the dark.
Auto Unlock worked most of the time in my experience, but it wasn’t foolproof. On some occasions I had to wait at the door for the Nuki to realise I was there, while there were times where it didn’t work at all.
It seemed to work particularly well with my iPhone 13 Pro, and not so well with my wife’s iPhone SE and certain Android phones.
This is likely to be an issue with the battery optimising methods of individual phones rather than any issue with the Ultion Nuki itself. The manufacturer recommends waking your phone as you approach the door, as well as making sure no battery optimisation software is active in relation to the Nuki app, as can be the case with Android phones.The Nuki app itself is extremely slick and intuitive. Refreshingly, it requires no sign-up whatsoever, so you can hop straight in and start adding devices.
Doing so is as easy as pressing and holding the main button on the Nuki device for a few seconds and following the pairing instructions on the app. I paired two iPhones and several Android phones during my test period, and didn’t experience any issues at all, beyond that occasionally uncooperative Auto Unlock system.
It’s also possible to set up limited access schedules for certain devices. This could be applied if you have a cleaner who comes in at a set time on a specific day of the week, or if you wish to prevent your kids from gaining access when they should be at school (a genuine scenario, according to the installer).
Airbnbers will be interested to note that you can link the Ultion Nuki to the AirBnB app, which will send an electronic key granting access to the property during the rental period.
The Nuki app is extremely customisable, but those extra functions are suitably hidden within layers of menus. All you’ll be greeted with when booting the app up is a black screen that indicates whether the Nuki is locked or unlocked. Locking or unlocking is a matter of a lateral swipe, and I instantly switched this to automatically do the opposite to its current status for extra ease of use.
You can also tap the screen to bring up a simple set of lock/unlock buttons.
Price & availability
The basic Ultion Nuki package starts at £239. This will get you the lock, handle, and Nuki unit itself, but not the Wi-Fi Bridge.
It, along with the bundles, is available to buy from the official Ultion website.
If you want the Bridge included, that’s £309. Or you can buy it for £89 on its own, which seems steep to us.
There’s also another bundle that additionally includes a Keypad for £379 (£79 on its own) as well as the Bridge, which is ideal for Airbnb properties or landlords.
The top £424 package adds a key fob which lets you unlock your door with a button press, much like a car. You can buy one on its own for £49, though, if you just want the base lock and a fob.
Other options include an external handle for £19 and a rechargeable battery pack for £49. iPhone users can also obtain an Ultion KeyTag, which uses Apple’s Find My app to track your keys via a special key handle. You can order one of these for £39.
The Ultion Nuki, then, isn’t the cheapest smart lock on the market. It’s around £40 more expensive than the Yale Conexis L1 in its basic guise, and you’ll ideally want to spend above £300 to get all the features.
The Ultion Nuki is a difficult product to fault. It handles the whole smart lock concept with an unusual degree of poise, accessibility, security and discretion.
It’ll fit the vast majority of UK multipoint-locking doors, and won’t making a big show of things externally.
The locking mechanism itself is as secure as they come, and the fact you can still use a physical key with it will no doubt be a deal-maker for many prospective buyers who aren’t quite ready to ditch one entirely.
The smart lock side of things is highly customisable, whether through tinkering with the intuitive app or adding supplementary hardware such as the keypads and rechargeable battery pack.
It isn’t the cheapest smart lock, and as with the Blusafe and Yale, you only get remote access if you purchase a ‘bridge’ as well: these devices don’t have built-in Wi-Fi.
Overall, the quality is extremely reassuring, and this makes it much easier to recommend.
Ultion Nuki: Specs
Internal handle dimensions: 275mm x 60mm x 79mm (HxWxD)