Schlage Encode Plus is the best smart lock using Apple’s HomeKit


Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt is the ultimate door lock for your smart home. It builds on Schlage’s previous offerings supporting Apple’s HomeKit and is the first to get house keys that reside in the iOS Wallet app. Home keys use Near Field Communication from an iPhone or Apple Watch to press to unlock. And, the lock still supports Alexa and Google Assistant.

There are plenty of new companies, like August and Level, trying to build the smart home lock of the future, so it’s interesting that Schlage, the longtime incumbent of traditional locks, is creating one of the best tech-rich devices around. . I’ve used two Schlage smart locks for over three years, and each has provided long battery life and flawless reliable connectivity — two essential components of a Wi-Fi-connected lock.

The new Encode Plus lock is everything the old locks I used were, but bigger and better. This product is quieter, takes up less physical space on the door, and adds house keys for more ways to share access and be unlocked. Until other companies can improve on their weak spots, the Schlage Encode Plus is the best smart lock and the one to beat.

TL;DR

Benefits:

  • Support for Apple Home keys in the Wallet app
  • Remote silent unlocking
  • Long battery life

The inconvenients:

  • Requires a new physical key
  • The iOS app is simple (although it works well)

Availability to come.

Apple home keys

Schlage Encode Plus
The Schlage Encode Plus can be unlocked using Apple’s home keys and a simple press of your Apple Watch.
Tyler Hayes

The main feature of the Schlage Encode Plus is the Apple Home Keys which are stored in its Wallet app. These key cards are accessible on the iPhone and Apple Watch and enable that one-touch unlock experience.

Beyond this method, the Encode Plus can be unlocked using the “Hey Siri” voice command (via HomeKit), using the “Hey Google” voice command (on Android), via the Schlage app, using a numeric code on the keypad or using a physical key. It’s versatile for almost any way a family would use it.

For older Schlage locks, I mostly used the Hey Siri keypad or voice command. Is adding home keys really necessary if there are all the other entry methods available? I say, a definite yes.

One night I came home late, after everyone in the house had fallen asleep, and instead of pressing a code that beeped with each digit, I double-clicked the side button on my Apple Watch Series 7 and touched it to the Encode Plus to unlock it. There was no need to pull out my phone or try to whisper to Siri.

As a side note, the instructions for the Encode Plus lock say to hold the Apple Watch nearby to unlock it, but I found the watch has to touch the lock where the indicator is on the keypad. A little moment of contact will do. Since the keypad is plastic, I hope there won’t be any scratches on the watch or the lock in the long run.

Once I added the lock to my Home app, a home key was populated on my wife’s phone and in her Wallet app as well. A home key even appeared automatically on my wife’s Apple Watch Series 5.

Schlage Encode Plus
Tapping my Apple Watch to unlock Encode Plus is fast and works reliably.
Tyler Hayes

HomeKit devices

Smart home devices and the different platforms they use can be tricky. For some people they work very well, and for others they don’t work at all. It could be related to a home’s Wi-Fi connection or, perhaps, some kind of interference.

In short, many smart home devices are almost impossible to assess in isolation. I’ve had great success with HomeKit devices, and because of that, I’ve spent the last year prioritizing those types of products. More recently, however, some of these products have been unreliable in providing notifications when they turn on (or off), or being responsive in general.

I remain optimistic about HomeKit products in general for some security and privacy reasons, but HomeKit itself has been the most frustrating aspect of using Encode Plus. The Schlage Home app sends notifications almost instantly when the lock is activated, but notifications through the iOS Home app are blocked. I can’t see them even though they are on.

The good news is that my house keys have been reliable since they were first set up. As far as I can tell, it’s a more static and local presence, so there’s less dependence on the network and outside factors in general.

Comparison of the Encode Plus lock

Schlage Encode Plus
Even after weeks of heavy use, my test lock still had 95% battery life.
Tyler Hayes

The selection of smart home locks is pretty good right now. August has a fourth generation lock which is smaller and adds Wi-Fi capability, in addition to Bluetooth, directly into the lock. While it allows you to keep your existing deadbolt key, I’m not particularly sold on the locking mechanism inside your home – it’s big. But the biggest issue, for me, is its embarrassing three-month shelf life. It also uses rare and expensive batteries that need to be changed four times a year.

Other notable locks on the market come from Level. These locks are the best and are incredibly small. I had some fit issues with the Level Touch, while I haven’t had any with several other locks in the same location.

These other two companies offer sleeker and prettier mobile apps than Schlage, but over several years the Schlage app has worked reliably. I just wished it would be better.

Should you buy the Schlage Encode Plus padlock?

Schlage Encode Plus
The interior portion of the lock is smaller than similar Schlage smart locks in the past.
Tyler Hayes

Although there are newer smart locks on the market that may be a bit more attractive, I think the Encode Plus Camelot style or modern squared look will work for most homes. But, just as important, I think this smart lock is one of the best, functionally, yet.

There’s nothing that will make you regret a smart lock more than its failure when you need it. That’s why, in addition to its features, I really appreciate that the Schlage Encode Plus has great battery life and stays connected every time I use it.

Availability of purchase to come.

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