Tapplock Lite Review: Do You Need a Smart Padlock?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Everything else is going “smart” these days, so why not a padlock? The Tapplock lite is a smart fingerprint padlock that is aiming to do just that.

The Tapplock lite comes with the lock, a charging cable, and a User’s Manual. (Image by Skip Owens)

What Is the Tapplock lite?

The Tapplock lite is first and foremost a basic padlock. It locks, and it unlocks. But instead of using a physical key or a rotary combination dial for access, the Tapplock lite utilizes your fingerprint. Built into the face of the Tapplock lite is a fingerprint sensor which allows unlocking in under 0.8 seconds. No more forgetting combinations or in a hurry, turning the combination dial just a bit too far and having to start all over… just press your finger on the lock and you are in. Here is a summary of the features of the Tapplock lite:

  • Strong, lightweight chassis
  • Fingerprint sensor allows unlocking in under 0.8 second
  •  Adaptive algorithm – means the lock becomes faster and more accurate with each access
  • Bluetooth access via the Tapplock app from your smartphone
  • Open the lock with Morse-Code by setting a tap combination and using the shackle (loop) to input your code to unlock
  • Store up to 100 different fingerprints per lock
  • Share Bluetooth access remotely with an unlimited number of users
  • Set permanent access or limited access with flexible dates and times, and feel free to revoke access whenever you want
  • Track and monitor access history with time and location from the Tapplock app
  • 8-month battery life (or 1200 unlocks) per charge (charges via included micro USB cable) and if power does run out a quick 8-second charge is enough to gain access
  • Rated as IP65, so for indoor use only

Tapplock lite Setup

Setup, in theory, is pretty simple. Except I ran into a few minor issues. The first problem I encountered was finding the right iPhone app in the App Store to download. The small User’s Manual that is included with the Tapplock lite just says to go to the iOS App Store (for iOS) or the Google Play Store for Android. But when I did a search on the App Store there were two Tapplock apps from which to choose:

Don’t get confused on which iOS app to download, get the one at the top. (Image by Skip Owens)

The screenshots of both of these apps were very similar, as was their descriptions. The only way I finally figured out the right app was that one app was called “Tapplock” and the the other “Tapplock Enterprise.” As just a single user of a single Tapplock you will just need the “Tapplock” app (which is the top app in the image above). This is one instance where a QR code on in the User’s Manual would have been really nice so that it took you directly to the correct app you needed to download.

The other issue I ran into was getting the lock to enter Bluetooth discovery mode. The app showed you how to get the Tapplock one+ (Tapplock lite’s bigger brother and the first in the Tapplock series of locks) into this mode (it has a button), but it is a different process for the Tapplock lite. After trying a few things I stumbled onto the solution: press down on the shackle twice and the indicator light will light up blue, indicating it is now discoverable. Turns out the instructions for this were further into the User’s Guide, but the Quick Start instructions in the front of the guide just tell you to download the app and follow the app instructions. The Tapplock app needs to be updated to include Bluetooth activation instructions for the Tapplock lite (but in all fairness to Tapplock I was trying out this lock before the lock was released to the public, so that update is likely already on its way).

After getting the right app downloaded and getting the Tapplock lite into Bluetooth mode, it was very simple to setup. In less than a minute I had several different fingers paired to the lock and I was off and running.

Creating an account and registering fingerprints for the lock was a breeze. (Image by Skip Owens)

Why Might You Want a Tapplock lite?

Let’s face it, sometimes technology is a solution looking for a problem. But in the case of Tapplock lite, I think there are some use cases where this technology can truly be put to good use. Here are just a few cases I came up with where I think Tapplock lite would be really handy:

  • Kids first getting a locker at school who are unsure or not confident in operating a rotary combination lock (some kids have a need for a lock at a very young age)
  • Shared access with someone (allows multiple people access to the same lock using their smartphone app or fingerprint to unlock)
  • Light-weight and small size makes it ideal to carry around in your gym bag without adding much weight
  • Allowing your kids access to things only after a certain time of day (using the time dependent unlocking feature)

I couldn’t think of a use case where using a Morse-Code combination of taps to open the lock would make sense. It would be kind of a neat or unique to open your lock with Morese-Code and might confuse your friends as to how you are able to open the lock, but that’s about it.

Verdict

The Tapplock lite pretty much works as advertised. In less than a second you can quickly and easily unlock the Tapplock without having to remember a combination or carry around a key. The ability to program in multiple users and restrict unlocking by the day of the week, time of day, or even just grant access a single time opens up a ton of use cases. The lock is also small and light-weight, making it a strong candidate to carry around in your gym bag.

Pros:

  • No more combinations to remember
  • Small and light-weight
  • Quick and easy access (with multiple ways to unlock)
  • Quick re-charge time with a pretty long battery life (1200 unlocks)
  • Sharable access with several ways to customize and restrict access
  • Ability to monitor time and location of each access

Cons:

  • No Apple Watch app for backup unlocking (I often lock my iPhone in the gym locker and workout just with my Apple Watch)
  • Not super secure (can be disabled or cut into without too much effort, so don’t use this to secure high value items)
  • A single battery charge may not last for an entire school year (1200 unlocks at 6 unlocks a day for a 180 day school year would use up one entire battery charge)

While this is not a lock I would use to secure high value items, it is a lock that is perfect for securing clothes while at the gym or books in your locker at school. I’ve been using the lock now for several weeks, and while the fingerprint sensor is rather small it seems to do the trick. I haven’t had any issues getting the lock to recognize my fingers and the lock opens very quickly every time I have tried it (several hundred times of the course of a couple of weeks).

If you are looking for nice easy to carry gym lock or a lock for your child’s school locker, this is certainly one to consider. However, given that you can buy a simple combination lock for a fraction of the price, you should think about why your use case works better for this lock if you are going to spend the extra money. But in the case of the Tapplock lite, the extra money buys you a lot of access options you simply can’t get with a traditional lock.

Tapplock lite is available now from both the Tapplock website and from Amazon.com for about $60.

Disclaimer: I was provided a Tapplock lite for the purpose of this review, but Tapplock had no input into the review content.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links.

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