The Schlage Encode 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.
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 two finishes: Century comes in matte black and satin nickel, and Camelot comes in aged bronze and satin nickel.
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.
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.
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.
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 Alarm, Wink, Google Assistant
- Schlage Connect (Zigbee model): Alexa, SmartThings, Amazon Key, Echo Plus
The Schlage Home app is simple to use and offers easy support for adding key codes or new users. One omission here is support for Apple's HomeKit system: The only support for iOS users is through the Schlage Home app.
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.
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 Yale Real Living Assure Lock SL, Kwikset Premis or August Pro. 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.