Smart Deadbolt Makes More Sense Than Expected

| Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves

I was recently invited to review a smart deadbolt made by Schlage. I asked my contact if they would send someone to install it; he assured me I could easily do it myself. I explained that I am not a do-it-yourself type of guy, and I probably don’t have the tools or the skills needed to install a deadbolt. I also questioned the need to ever unlock my door using my iPhone instead of a key.

Under an Hour to Install…

A Sense Smart deadbolt kit arrived a few days later. After reading the printed instructions several times and watching the excellent installation video twice, I took a deep breath and removed my old deadbolt. Much to my surprise, (I told you I’m not very handy), it took less than an hour to install and test the deadbolt.

Schlage Sense Smart deadbolt installed

This is the Schlage Sense Smart deadbolt installed in my front door.

In all fairness, my installation may have been easier than others because my old deadbolt and the Sense Smart deadbolt happened to be precisely the same size and shape. So, all I needed to remove the old deadbolt and install the new one were a pair of screwdrivers—a flat head and a Phillips. In other words, while my installation was quick and easy because the old and new locks were the same size and shape, your installation could be more difficult than mine.

Schlage Sense Smart

As I mentioned, I was skeptical about unlocking my door with my iPhone instead of a key. I was right—we’ve only used that feature a couple of times. The coolest part is that you can ask Siri to “unlock the door,” and it just happens.

But, its iPhone/HomeKit support goes beyond unlocking. For example, the Schlage Sense iOS app makes it easy to create and delete numeric passcodes for trusted visitors and out of town guests. So, while I don’t usually use my iPhone to unlock the door, I do use it when I need to create one-time passcodes for others.

Another benefit is a “lock door” button on the keypad. That means when we leave the house we don’t have to lock the deadbolt with our keys (or even our iPhones); a finger-press is all it takes to lock the deadbolt from the outside.

The Shlage Sense Smart smart lock, front and back

Touch Shlage Sense Smart where indicated to lock the door without a key.

Finally, you can use the Schlage Sense iOS app from anywhere in the world to determine whether your front door is locked. Note that this feature requires an Apple TV within 40 feet of the lock. Since we have one, it just works.

View your deadbolt's current status and history from anywhere in the world...

View your deadbolt’s current status (left) and history (right) from anywhere in the world…

I was concerned at first about being locked out of the house if its 4 AA batteries died, but realized that the Sense Smart deadbolt includes a traditional keyhole and key for just such instances.

So, while a Sense Smart deadbolt will cost you more than a simple mechanical lock, the added convenience of a numeric keypad, iPhone support, press-to-lock (when you leave the house), and remote lock/unlock and reporting make it worth every penny.

Sense Smart Deadbolt. $229. Schlage. www.schlage.com.

4 Comments Add a comment

  1. In my experience any lock that has a motor in it eventually (within 2-3 years) burns out because the motors they can fit into these devices burn out due to the required force to overcome friction. If you absolutely must have a lock that includes a motor to draw the bolt back and forth, get your door and frame adjusted such that there is 0 friction for the bolt. And frankly, even then I would budget for replacement every few years.

    There are various code-entry-based locks out there that allow you to provide the torque to move the bolt yourself – Schlage makes one and I’m using 7 of them. Works great. Unfortunately they don’t make one that also has app control, but frankly I can live without it if it means not replacing my dead electronic locks in a few years.

  2. Great review. This is very tempting. I may want to even test it out and post some videos with some integrations via IFTTT. I haven’t checked out the kwikset premis @Intruder, sounds new. Must be that new lock that kwikset came out with. Anybody had a chance to check out Yale yet? August lock is great, but I just like keypads and re-program capabilities for practical applications when away from home- so many more options that way. I wish Samsung would step it up and take their international Samsung SDS Smart locks and retrofit to the USA with some API enhancements and integrations. I have one, but its for Canada, for a guest review/sample and have yet to play with it but it has finger print, voice, keypad and remote lock/unlock capabilities. Really sleek and I hear Samsung is kind of like the Schlage/Baldwin/Kwikset of the Eastern side of the world… Never would have guessed that. TheSmartHomeNinja.com is my blog and I’m just now starting it up, but have about 65 connected devices in my house and a repeater to access point running my other unit on my property where I have another whole system as well. Make sure to bookmark for some videos and reviews on products if interested. Thanks for the good review and read!

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