Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt Review: A Smart Lock With a Built-in Alarm

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Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt Review

The Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt  is a smart, stylish Wi-Fi smart lock that combines a lot of features into one package. While it can operate as a conventional manual lock, the $249 Encode also has a keypad and works with a variety of smart home systems as well as Amazon Key. It's also one of the few locks with a built-in alarm, which is why it's one of the best smart locks around.

Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt Review: Price and availability

The Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt has been around since 2017, but still remains a very capable smart lock. It retails for $249, but can be found for less. 

Schlage has two other lines of smart locks: The Schlage Connect Smart lock is available with either Z-Wave or Zigbee, while the Schlage Sense uses Bluetooth. In order to control either the Connect or the Sense, you'll need a bridge or smart home hub of some sort to link the lock to your home Wi-Fi network. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Schlage EncodeSchlage Connect (Z-Wave)Schlage Connect (Zigbee)Schlage Sense
Built-in alarmYesYesNoYes
Works withAlexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThingsAlexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThingsAlexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThingsAlexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, HomeKit

Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt Review: Design

The Encode is a smart, stylish lock that would be particularly suitable for a modern front door. It comes in two styles: a squarish Century Trim and Camelot, which has scalloped edges. Each style comes in four finishes: Satin Nickel, Matte Black, Bright Chrome, and Aged Bronze.

We wish there were a brass finish, like what you'll find on the Yale Assure Lock SL. Both styles are attractive, but the Century Trim is a bit heavy on the cubist, rather blocky look, and it would look out of place on everything but the most modern of doors.

Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt Review: Installation and setup

Installing the lock is straightforward. It's designed to be fitted to a new door or to completely replace the existing lock, though, so you can't use existing lock cylinders or old keys. The keypad on the front is clear and bright, and was easy to see, even on a very sunny day. The lock also responds with a quiet beep to let you know when you have hit the button. If someone tries to break in by prying off the panel, a loud alarm lets you know.

Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt Review

The lock can hold up to 100 codes, including ones that can be used just once, or that will work only on a preset schedule, such as letting in a dog walker at a specific time during the day, but not overnight. Virtual keys can also be created, where the guest installs the Schlage Home app and receives a code to allow access.

The Schlage Encode has Wi-Fi built in, so you can connect it directly to your network; other smart locks, such as the August Smart Lock Pro, require a Wi-Fi bridge. While this means a simpler setup process, it also means that you'll have to replace the batteries in the Schlage Encode more often than those that use just Bluetooth. This, of course, varies based on how often you use the door.

Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt Review: Smart home support

In addition to the Encode, Schlage also makes the Schlage Connect smart lock; each works with different smart home systems:

  • Schlage Encode: Schlage Home app (available for iOS or Android), Amazon Alexa, Google's Assistant, Amazon Key, Ring Video Doorbell and Ring Cameras
  • Schlage Connect (Z-Wave model): Alexa, SmartThings, Nexia, Ring AlarmWink, Google Assistant
  • Schlage Connect (Zigbee model): Alexa, SmartThings, Amazon Key, Echo Plus

Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt Review

The Encode is also one of the few locks that supports the Amazon Key service. This allows Amazon delivery people to trigger the lock, so they can put your delivery inside the house. This requires both a lock and a supported security camera such as the $119 Amazon Cloud Cam, though, so you need to install the webcam as well.

Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt Review: Verdict

The Schlage Encode is an attractive smart lock that offers a good selection of features for the price, including a built-in alarm. We also like its integration with Alexa, Google Home and other smart home systems, such as the Amazon Key program. 

However, HomeKit users will have to look elsewhere for a smart lock, such as the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, Level Bolt, Yale Real Living Assure Lock SL, or Kwikset Premis. But other than that, if you want a good-looking, well-connected smart lock with an alarm, be sure to check out the Schlage Encode.

Richard Baguley has been working as a technology writer and journalist since 1993. As well as contributing to Tom's Guide, he writes for Cnet, T3, Wired and many other publications.