Reviews You Can Rely On

Schlage Encode Review

Reliable and simple smart features make this a great addition to any front door and our favorite overall lock
Schlage Encode
Credit: ULTRALOQ
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $250 List | $220.74 at Amazon
Pros:  Bluetooth key and keypad entry options, WiFi built-in, broad smart home compatability
Cons:  Bulky battery compartment, no geofencing, expensive
Manufacturer:   Schlage
By Max Mutter and Michelle Powell  ⋅  Sep 8, 2020
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85
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 8
  • Smart Features - 35% 8
  • Keyless Entry - 25% 9
  • Security - 25% 9
  • Installation - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The Schlage Encode is one of the best smart locks we've ever used. The built-in WiFi allows you to access smart features without dealing with an external smart hub. The keypad allows you to share access with simple, time-constrained keycodes. The broad compatibility allows you to use Alexa or Google Assistant to control the lock. Installation is relatively quick and easy. There is even a physical key option available just in case the battery dies. Really our only complaint with this lock is the lack of geofencing, meaning you can't have the lock automatically unlock as you pull into the driveway. Overall, we feel this is one of the most intuitive and user-friendly smart locks on the market.

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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award 
Price $250 List
$220.74 at Amazon
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Pros Bluetooth key and keypad entry options, WiFi built-in, broad smart home compatabilityMany smart features, compatible with most smart home platforms, charging port for when the battery diesSimple keycode access sharing, easy keyless entryWorks well within Nest ecosystem, easy to installEasy to install, simple operation, inexpensive
Cons Bulky battery compartment, no geofencing, expensiveRequires external smart hub, initial setup can be tricky, expensiveLower ANSI security rating than other models, not the easiest to installRemote access sharing often malfunctions, no compatibility outside of Nest, no physical key backupRequires separate hub to access advanced features
Bottom Line Reliable and simple smart features make this a great addition to any front door and our favorite overall lockOffers more advanced smart features than most models on the marketThe best solution we've found for sharing and carefully controlling access to your homeAn easy to install model that is useful for existing Nest usersA great budget choice for those seeking a simpler experience
Rating Categories Schlage Encode ULTRALOQ U-Bolt Pro Sense with WiFi Ada... Nest x Yale with Co... August Smart
Smart Features (35%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
6.0
Keyless Entry (25%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Security (25%)
9.0
5.0
5.0
7.0
5.0
Installation (15%)
8.0
5.0
6.0
8.0
8.0
Specs Schlage Encode ULTRALOQ U-Bolt Pro Sense with WiFi Ada... Nest x Yale with Co... August Smart
Apple HomeKit No No Yes No No
Amazon Alexa Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Google Assistant Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Smartphone Compatible Yes Yes Yes With Included Hub With Hub
Z-Wave No No Yes No No
Zigbee No No No No No
ANSI Rating Grade 1 N/A Grade 3 Grade 2 N/A- retrofit
Deadbolt Included Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Backset 2 3/8" or 2 3/4" 2 3/8" or 2 3/4" 2 3/8" or 2 3/4" 2 3/8" or 2 3/4" 2 3/8" or 2 3/4"
Door Thickness Range 1 3/8" - 1 3/4" 1 1/3" - 2" 1 3/8" - 2 1/4" 1 3/8" - 2 1/4" 1 3/8" - 2 1/4"
Face Bore Hole Diameter 2 1/8" 2 1/8" 2 1/8" 2 1/8" 1 1/2" or 2 1/8"

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Schlage Encode offers almost all the features one could want in a simple package. Unless no geofencing is a dealbreaker for you, chances are the Schlage Encodewill be a great choice.

Performance Comparison


Credit: Jason Peters

Smart Features


The Schlage Encode offers most of the smart features one could want, with geofencing being the one salient absence.


One of the best aspects of the Schlage Encode's smart features is that you don't need a smart hub in order to access them. It has WiFi built right in, so it can connect right to your home's network without any potentially problematic intermediaries.

Large keypad buttons make for easy keycode access.
Large keypad buttons make for easy keycode access.
Credit: Jason Peters

Once connected, the Schlage Encode allows you to lock and unlock the door remotely from your phone, create up to 100 unique keycodes to share access with your friends and family, and provides you with a log so you can tell exactly who accessed the lock and when. You can also grant someone else access to unlock the door from their phone. However, this requires that person to download the Schlage app and make an account, so unless they live in the house full time we found it much more convenient to just share key codes.

No matter how you share access, you can set specific time constraints on that access. For example, you can provide a dog walker with a key code that only works on weekdays between the hours of 1pm and 3pm.

The interior face is rather large.
The interior face is rather large.
Credit: Jason Peters

The one feature that is clearly lacking here is geofencing, which would allow the door to automatically unlock when your phone gets within a certain distance of your home. This is nice if you walk home with your hands full of groceries, as you won't have to dig around in your pockets in order to get the door unlocked. However, we didn't miss this feature too much in day to day use.

It's easy to change out the batteries when the time comes.
It's easy to change out the batteries when the time comes.
Credit: Jason Peters

Keyless Entry


We found keyless entry to be near flawless. Whether we triggered an unlock via the app or with a keycode, the lock responded almost instantly.


Security


The Schlage Encode sports an ANSI Grade 1 security rating. To earn this rating it must withstand at least six attempts to kick the door in. Locks of this grade are generally considered adequate for commercial use, and it's one of the highest security grades you'll find on a residential lock. You can also set the lock to automatically lock after a set time of inactivity, securing your home even if you forget to lock the door.


Installation


We found installation of the Schlage Encode to be quite easy. We had no issues installing the lock into the hole vacated by the old deadbolt using nothing but a screwdriver, and the process only took about 10 minutes. Another few minutes downloading the app and linking the lock to our WiFi networks and everything was functioning smoothly.


One potential annoyance with the Schlage Encode is its size. The large battery port juts out quite a bit on the indoor side of the door, and the black plastic covering doesn't look quite as high quality as the rest of the lock. Functionally this does not matter, but if you're picky about your interior decorating you might want to take this into consideration.

Physical installation usually only requires a screwdriver.
Physical installation usually only requires a screwdriver.
Credit: Jason Peters

Value


The Schlage Encode is somewhat expensive, but most smart locks occupy a fairly similar price range. Given its reliable and impressive performance, we think it is well worth the money for anyone looking for a fully-featured smart lock.

Conclusion


The Schlage Encode ticks pretty much all of the boxes that one could hope for from a smart lock, and does so without the extra bother of a separate smart hub.

Max Mutter and Michelle Powell