What is the Yale Smart Delivery Box, I hear you ask, and do I need it in my life? Well, that really all depends on your family's comings and goings and how often you receive deliveries that don't fit in your letterbox or mail slot.
So if your home tends to be empty during the daytime with everyone out at school/work and you're partial to a bit of online shopping, then read on...
Now that (one hopes) the threat of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders are a thing of the past, guaranteeing that someone will be in when a delivery arrives at your door can be a tricky ask. Delivery services can be wildly different too, with some conscientious couriers leaving your packages in the safe hands of a good neighbor, while others 'deposit' them on your doorstep for all to see (and possibly even help themselves to).
The Yale Smart Delivery Box aims to solve all of these issues by providing homes with a dedicated safe place for couriers to leave packages so you don't need to worry about deliveries when you're out again.
Seeing as I hate being stuck indoors at the weekend and now that school and office life is the norm on weekdays, I decided to test out the Yale Smart Delivery Box to see if it made my life easier and gave my very kind neighbors a rest from accepting packages on our behalf.
If you're keen on bulking up your property's security too, it's definitely worth checking out our best home security system guide for our low down on the top buys.
Yale Smart Delivery Box: Set-up & specs
- External dimensions: H60 x W45 x D35cm
- Internal dimensions: H50 x W44 x D28cm
- Weight: 19.6kg
- Colors: Anthracite Grey or Black
- RRP: £299
- Lock Type: Button combination
- Opened with: up to 20 codes; a key card; a key fob or smartphone (if using a Yale Access Module, bought separately)
When it arrived, straight away I could tell that the Yale smart delivery box meant business. It may be called a 'box' but in reality, it's more like a heavy-duty safe, with a sturdy all-weather metal construction that weighs in at almost 20kg when empty. I figure even if a thief did manage to wrench it away from its secure fixings, they wouldn't be able to travel far with this big boy in tow.
The box comes with a pack of fixing bolts to help you to secure it to either an external wall or pavement. Also included is a special key tag (or fob), a Yale key card, a decal that you place on the front of your property for delivery drivers, batteries, and full instructions.
Installation is a two-fold process. First, you need to set up the box with an access code or PIN. The box takes four AA batteries and once installed, you can change the standard master code to something you will easily remember.
The instructions take you through every step of the way, even confirming how many beeps the box responds with, which is just as well because the whole process isn't very intuitive. Note to self - make sure to never lose the instructions.
The security code is your unique PIN and it shouldn't be shared. You can set one-off codes between four and ten digits long for delivery drivers.
Once I had set a new security code (and Yale recommends you do this before anything else for obvious reasons) It was time to tackle the second part of the installation.
As per the instructions, you'll need an 8mm masonry drill bit, a hammer drill, a torque wrench, a hammer, and a marker pen (to mark out holes when the box is in position). It feels like an awful lot of faff at the start but once it's secured in place, you need not worry about it again.
How does the Yale Smart Delivery Box work?
Yale Smart Delivery Box : how I got on
As previously mentioned, you can set one-off codes for delivery drivers. You can activate up to 20 codes at once (keeping one for each brand that you order from regularly) or add an extra level of security by setting codes that are only live for 24 hours.
You add instructions on how to use the box and the code to your order so when the delivery person arrives, they can follow the steps to open the box.
Once I had fitted the box securely in place right beside my front door, it was time to put it to the test. My son's birthday was coming up so I ordered a present for him online. Delivery was set for the following day - a Saturday - when I knew we'd be out.
When prompted to 'Deliver to a safe place’ on my order, I added a note to the order to say that the Yale Smart Delivery Box was where I'd like them to leave my package and I included the temporary code that I had set for the driver to access the box.
I'll be honest with you, I didn't have high hopes. However, when I returned later in the day and opened the box, my package had arrived and was safely stashed in the delivery box.
There are a number of ways you can collect your packages - the most basic way is to type in the security code you originally set. Alternatively - and arguably, more convenient - are to use the key card or fob instead. These need to be linked to the box beforehand but, when done, you need just tap either on the front of the keypad and the door will open.
Better still, if you invest in the Yale Access Module (RRP £99.98) which is a WiFi bridge that links any Yale lock or alarm system to the Yale smartphone app - this turns your phone into a key.
Pleased with how my first experience was, I continued to test the Yale Smart Delivery Box out for several weeks. The results were mixed for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, the size of the box. It's not huge (which is just as well, who would want an enormous locker at the front of their property?). But this can create issues with some deliveries.
If you know that the item that you're ordering will fit in the box, that's great. But you're also at the mercy of a company's packaging. Ever order something small and it arrives in an enormous box with reams of the packaging within? Yes, that.
This happened twice over the period I was testing the box. A small bag of dry cat food arrived in a cardboard box far too large to fit in the delivery box so was (thankfully) left with my neighbor instead.
The other issue I found is that occasionally a delivery driver either completely ignored the delivery instructions that I had left on my order, or they just didn't want the bother of dealing with the box.
I suspect this is because delivery boxes like this one are still quite new and they haven't come across many before. I imagine as they become more popular this will no longer be an issue but for now, it did confuse some.
Yale Smart Delivery Box : Our verdict
There is a number of reasons why I believe that the Yale Smart delivery Box would be useful to some. If you tend to be away from home a lot during the day or if you don't know your neighbors well enough to have them accept deliveries on your behalf, then this would be a big help.
It'd be useful as a key safe too if, for instance, you had to leave your house keys for someone to gain access to your home when you're out. I did experience some issues in that a couple of delivery drivers didn't use the box despite my leaving instructions on my order, while larger packages just won't fit in the box.
Though I do think that these issues are simply teething problems and the more companies become accustomed to delivering packages to domestic delivery boxes like this one, I expect these issues will disappear.
So is the Yale Smart Delivery Box worth it? It certainly made my life (and my neighbors' lives) a lot more straightforward and ensured I didn't arrive home to a rain-sodden package delivery again. I'd certainly recommend anyone invest in one if you could do with a mini concierge on your doorstep.
About this review and our reviewer
Ginevra Benedetti is Associate Editor across the homes titles at Future. This means that she spends her days writing about all areas of the home, inside and out, as well as reviewing gadgets and appliances to ensure that you get the best products for your needs.
As with all our reviews, the Yale Smart Delivery Box has been tested first-hand at her home, using it just as you would so you know exactly what you are buying. The product was loaned to her free of charge and she tested it for as long as possible before returning it back to the brand.