As I unboxed the Schlage Encode Wi-Fi Smart Lock for this review, I was immediately struck by its attractive design and hefty weight. As a long-time Schlage enthusiast, I couldn't wait to put this lock through its paces – and, spoiler alert, it did not disappoint.
In fact, it earned a spot on my list of the best smart door locks of 2023.
Here is why.
To start, the Schlage Encode Wi-Fi offers various ways to access your home, including a keypad, mobile app, e-invites, and even a backup key. It has built-in Wi-Fi (no hub required) and connects with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and the Schlage Home App, and it can even be integrated and controlled with the Ring app. It's also very well documented, making fixing any issues easy.
This smart lock has several great smart security features, like adjustable auto-lock, smart notifications, and event history. The mobile app is fast, user management is a breeze, and it has a decent backup key cylinder with anti-bump pins to deter bump keys. Oh, and it’s BHMA AAA rated with a 1-inch throw-bolt making it highly drill and kick-resistant.
On the downside, the lock does not offer geofencing and falls on the more expensive side of smart locks. It also doesn't support HomeKit; however, the updated model—the Schlage Encode Plus—offers additional features and HomeKit.
Overall, the Schlage Encode Wi-Fi is an attractive, strong, easy-to-use lock that is perfect for any home, Airbnb, or rental property.
Now that’s my “mile-high” review of the Schlage Encode Wifi Smart Lock. Below you will find my comprehensive review of every aspect of this device:
- Design, Quality, and Operation
- Key Features and Performance
- Security Features
- Battery Life & Maintenance
- Connectivity & Integrations
- Mobile App
- Schlage Smart Lock Models Compared
- Verdict and Final Thoughts
Schlage Encode: Design, Quality, and Operation
The first thing you'll notice about the Schlage Encode is this thing is durable and gorgeous. It's available in two unique styles—Camelot and Century.
Camelot (seen in the image above) boasts a more elegant and traditional aesthetic, while Century showcases a modern look with straight lines and a square stature.
With four finishes to choose from—Satin Nickel, Aged Bronze, Bright Chrome, and Matte Black—there's a perfect match for any decor. For this Encode review, I selected the classic Camelot trim in Aged Bronze, which quickly became one of my favorite-looking locks.
The Schlage Encode is a dense, heavy lock that instills confidence in its ability to withstand heavy use. It has an AAA BHMA lock rating (the highest possible) that further supports its suitability for commercial and heavy-duty residential applications. Additionally, the lock comes with a lifetime mechanical warranty and a 3-year electronics warranty.
One minor drawback is the lack of tactile feedback from the keypad; the numbers don't push in, and the only feedback provided is a faint beep and a small white LED that lights up. The lock features a large thumb-turn on the interior side and a dimmed keypad that lights up once you start pressing buttons. However, this means you'll need to press the home button or know the location of your first button to use the keypad in the dark.
Battery replacement is a breeze, and overall, the lock operates smoothly and is one of the quietest smart locks I've encountered.
Schlage Encode Installation
- Installation Difficulty: Easy
- Required Time: 15 minutes
- Required Tools: Philips Screwdriver
- Backset: Adjustable to 2 3/8“ or 2 3/4”
- Door Thickness: Must be between 1 3/8“ & 1 3/4”
Overall installing and setting up the Schlage Encode was a cakewalk, taking me just under 15 minutes from start to finish. As a full deadbolt replacement, its installation process is similar to that of most traditional deadbolts.
If you need assistance, the included starter guide is well-illustrated and features a scannable QR code and a short URL directing you to an interactive online tutorial. This tutorial covers everything from setting up the lock to using the mobile app.
To set up user codes and smart features, you'll need to install the Schlage Home mobile app, available on Android and iOS. For those who opt for the Schlage Encode Plus model, a HomeKit setup is also available (see Other Models).
Syncing the lock to your device is incredibly simple. The app will guide you through the entire process, including connecting to your Wi-Fi network and setting up your first user account. The app also offers a comprehensive tour of setting up smart home devices, lock settings, and access code sharing.
Key Features and Performance
The Schlage Encode has an abundance of smart capabilities designed to enhance safety, convenience, and user experience.
In the following segment of our review, we'll dive into the most notable features of the Encode—evaluating their effectiveness, utility, and overall worth—in order to assist you in determining if this is the ideal smart lock to suit your needs.
The Schlage Encode has a simple and versatile approach to user management, making it one of my top smart locks for Airbnb properties. It has two types of user access keys—Access Codes and Virtual Keys.
Access Codes allow up to 100 customizable 4-digit keypad codes, designated as permanent, recurring, or temporary, catering to various user needs.
- Permanent Codes: Ideal for family members, cohabitants, or long-term renters, these codes grant uninterrupted access to your property.
- Recurring Codes: These codes enable you to establish days of the week and time frames for access, with the option to set up multiple schedules per user. This feature is perfect for house cleaners or dog walkers.
- Temporary Codes: These codes offer scheduled access by specifying a start and end date and time, making them well-suited for Airbnb guests or temporary visitors.
Virtual Keys can be created and sent to guests via text or email, giving entry using the Schlage app. Both Access Codes and Virtual Keys can be easily created and revoked using the app, ensuring full control over who has access to your home at any given time.
My only quibble is the limited 4-digit code length; offering longer codes would boost security.
Modes of Access
The Schlage Encode has four convenient methods to unlock your door. Let me walk you through each of them.
- Keypad: First off, the keypad has an aesthetically pleasing design that adds a touch of sophistication to your door. You can use it to enter access codes or manually program the lock without the app. The backlit keypad features a 0-9 number pad, an unlock button, and a home button. The backlight dims when inactive, saving energy and maintaining a sleek appearance. Creating and revoking codes is a breeze using the app or the keypad itself.
- Schlage Home App: The Schlage Home app, available for both Android and iOS, is undoubtedly one of the best I've seen. (see Mobile App) It's fast, clean, and user-friendly. You can lock and unlock your door with just a tap and even check the status of your lock remotely. As long as you have internet access, you can control your Encode from anywhere in the world.
- Backup Key: The Encode comes with a backup key cylinder for added security (more on that in the Encode Security section). It's worth noting that Schlage provides only one backup key, which seems a bit odd compared to the standard practice of including two. However, this is a minor point, considering the key's primary purpose is for backup, and it's easy to get a duplicate made at any location using the popular Schlage C keyway.
- Voice Assistant: Last but not least, the Encode is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing you to control your lock with simple voice commands. It's a fantastic feature for those busy moments when your hands are full or you simply want to feel like you're living in a futuristic smart home.
Overall, the Schlage Encode Smart Lock offers a variety of ways to access your home, each with its own benefits. Whether it's the stylish keypad, the impressive app, the reliable backup key, or the voice-activated control, the Encode ensures your home's security is both practical and convenient.
Key by Amazon
Key by Amazon is a unique service that gives Amazon drivers temporary entry to place packages directly inside your home, minimizing the risk of theft or weather damage. The service generates a one-time access code and employs a connected camera to document the delivery process. You can either watch the delivery in real-time or view a recorded video later.
I acknowledge the potential benefits of this feature, particularly for individuals with hectic schedules. However, I must confess that I did not test this feature. Allowing strangers in my home (even for testing) makes me uneasy.
Regardless, this service is entirely voluntary and can be an invaluable asset in various situations, proving to be a game-changer for many customers.
Smart notifications are an amazing security feature that alerts your mobile device about the activity of your smart lock. The Encodes alerts can notify you when your door is locked or unlocked and will display the user name associated with the code used. So you're always in the loop about who is accessing your home.
However, I couldn't help but notice that the Schlage notifications lacked some bells and whistles compared to competitors. For example, the app doesn't specifically notify me when the backup key is used and lacks the ability to mute notifications for certain users on a schedule.
I also experienced a minor problem with mobile notifications not working at one point, but I was able to troubleshoot my Schlage Encode by removing and reinstalling the app.
While there's certainly room for improvement in the smart notifications department, the Schlage Encode still performed well and provided what I would consider the crucial functionality needed in this feature.
One characteristic I particularly like about the Schlage Encode is the event history. This feature keeps a detailed record of every event, such as locking and unlocking, as well as the individual who engaged with the device. It's an incredible security feature that lets you monitor access to your home and maintain a clear understanding of who's coming and going.
With each log, you'll get the details of the event, such as:
- Whether the device was locked or unlocked,
- The method used to operate the device (Keypad, App, Thumbturn),
- The specific user's name associated with the code or app used,
- The date and time the event took place.
Using the app to browse events is a breeze. It has an easy dropdown calendar that allows you to select a particular day, or you can filter events based on specific users.
There's one tiny caveat: the Schlage Encode can't identify when the backup key is used. When the key is used, the log will display "Unlocked by Thumbturn." Some rival smart locks specifically indicate when the manual backup key is used (such as the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro).
That being said, the Schlage Encode and app do an exceptional job of tracking event history, and this is definitely one of the most important features to have.
Did you know that 30% of burglaries result from a criminal using an unlocked front door? Imagine if each of those victims had chosen to lock their door that day.
Enter auto lock. This awesome feature allows you to program your Schlage Encode to automatically relock your door after a specific amount of time has passed. It's an excellent way to ensure your home is always locked, even when you forget.
The Schlage Encode does auto lock right, allowing you to quickly and easily adjust the lock timer. You can choose between 15 seconds and 4 four minutes (image above), and the app will notify you when the door auto locks.
Overall, the auto lock feature on the Schlage Encode is a critical security feature that is well-implemented. It can provide peace of mind for homeowners by automating the locking process.
The Schlage Encode comes packed with various intelligent security features like Smart Alerts, Event Logs, and Auto-Lock—which we dove into a little further up this guide (refer to Key Features).
It has a BHMA AAA rating (under the new lock rating system), so it's suitable for commercial or heavy-duty residential use. This rating also means it has passed rigorous tests for resistance against drilling and kick-in attempts, withstanding at least six kick-in attempts. Rest assured; your door won't be easily kicked down.
The backup key cylinder uses the Schlage C keyway, which is pretty common and can be easily duplicated at most hardware stores or key kiosks.
It also employs a 5-pin cylinder and comes with four anti-bump spool pins to enhance its bump and pick resistance.
But wait, there's more! The Encode also features a tamper alarm and an auto-lock function. The auto lock allows you to set a custom time interval between 15 seconds to 4 minutes for the lock to engage automatically.
If someone enters the wrong code four times, the keypad locks up and beeps for 15 seconds. With each additional incorrect code, the lockout duration increases.
Overall it has great security features, is resistant to bump keys, and has good pick resistance.
Schlage Encode Battery Life and Maintenance
The Schlage Encode operates on four AA batteries (included), offering a battery life of approximately six months when connected to WiFi (usage dependent). By disabling WiFi, you can prolong the battery life to around 12 months. Keep in mind this comes at the cost of losing smart features, mobile app functionality, and some user management capabilities.
Swapping the batteries couldn't be easier. Simply remove the interior faceplate, remove the battery tray, insert fresh batteries, and slide the tray back into place.
The mobile app settings allow you to monitor the battery level, and you'll receive a notification when the battery is running low.
One downside to this lock is there is no way to jumpstart the device if the batteries die. In such instances, resorting to a physical key becomes necessary. Don't worry, though; we have some tips on how to open a Schlage smart lock if the battery runs out.
The Encode requires minimal maintenance. Simply replace the batteries when they get low and occasionally update the firmware—both of which are super simple to do.
It's also highly recommended that you change your Schlage account password every six months. Use new, unique, and strong passwords. Consider using a password manager like NordPass can be an effective tool for managing this task.
Connectivity and Integrations
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi (2.4GHz)
- Integrations: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Amazon Key, Ring
The Schlage Encode WiFi has built-in 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and does not require a separate hub—however, it does not support 5GHz networks or Bluetooth. The mobile app easily connects your smart lock to your network, and during testing, there were no connection drops or lag.
Although the Encode does not support Apple HomeKit, it does support Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant—enabling voice control of the lock. It also supports Key by Amazon and can be managed using the Amazon Ring app, which allows you to control the lock and view your cameras on the same app.
If you require HomeKit, consider the upgraded Schlage Encode Plus, which provides new features and full support for HomeKit and Apple HomeKey.
The Schlage Encode WiFi smart lock uses an app called “Schlage Home,” which is available for both iOS and Android devices. The app is fast, clean, and has an easy-to-navigate design that even those new to smart home technology can easily operate.
The Schlage Home app has extensive management capabilities—you have complete control over your smart lock by providing options to add or delete users, access history logs for monitoring activity, and customize your lock settings according to your preferences.
It also provides real-time notifications for lock activity, such as a lock/unlock event or a low battery alert. The notifications are fast, often arriving within seconds of the event.
For Airbnb hosts or rental property managers, the app allows you to create locations and assign individual locks to each, making it easier to maintain multiple properties.
Other Schlage Smart Lock Models
While I strongly believe that the Schlage Encode WiFi currently stands as the best smart lock in Schlage's lineup, it's crucial to consider the variety of other smart locks they offer, each with distinct connectivity options, smart home compatibility, and unique features.
By understanding these key differences, you can make a well-informed decision and select the lock that perfectly aligns with your specific requirements and home automation preferences. Refer to the chart provided below for a quick comparison, or dive deeper by checking out my comprehensive guide comparing these Schlage smart locks.
Is the Schlage Encode a good lock?
The Schlage Encode is a good residential smart lock that is heavy-duty and stylish. It offers multiple access options, smart security features, and compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. However, it lacks geofencing, HomeKit support and is relatively expensive.
Does Schlage Encode need a Wi-Fi adapter?
The Schlage Encode smart lock has built-in Wi-Fi, so no additional network accessories are required to use or control the lock. This allows for easy integration and control with smart home systems.
Is Schlage Encode being discontinued?
The Schlage Encode is not being discontinued, and an updated version, the Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt, has been released. Although the original Schlage Encode remains popular, the new version will not support Matter.