Smart lock. Smarter purchase.
Disclaimer: The folks at Schlage very generously provided a Connect unit for this review. As always, the opinions are my own.
If you’re considering the journey to a smart home, one of the first components you’ll probably consider is upgrading your front door with a smart lock. We frequently forget to lock doors, and there’s nothing worse than boarding a plane while you worry about a thief trying on your underwear.
We’ve already explored one of the best Bluetooth locks on the market (read our review of the Kwikset Kevo), so today I want to review a competing product from Schlage that approaches the smart lock concept from a different angle.
What Does It Claim to Do?
The Schlage Connect Deadbolt claims to be a heavy-duty deadbolt with three different ways to engage the lock: by key, by passcode, and by integration with a Z-Wave compatible smart home hub. It also claims to be extremely secure, with notoriously tough hardware and a built-in 90db+ siren to discourage tampering.
- Rated ANSI Grade 1
- Solid metal hardwarer
- Resistive backlit touchscreen with matte finish
- Stores 30 unique pin codes
- Anti-pick shield
- Motorized bolt
- Z-Wave Compatible
- Requires 4 AA batteries (included)
Does Schlage’s entry in the smart lock field live up to the hype? Read on to find out.
Look and Feel
Immediately upon opening the box, I could tell that the Schlage Connect is a lock that’s built-to-last. Both the lock panel and the mechanism that attaches to the back of the door are heavy metal and solid, with a beautiful finish that should feel at home on any front door. The design is certainly more timeless than other smart locks on the market, which is definitely a good thing; I appreciate it when components like this don’t draw unnecessary attention to themselves.
The deadbolt mechanism itself is smooth as silk, with a tangible increase in sturdiness that sets it apart from some of the other smart locks I’ve tested. It’s obvious that this is a rock-solid deadbolt first, and a smart lock second.
Oddly impressive is the blue backlit touch panel that almost disappears completely when not in use. Judging from the photos I saw online, I was expecting a dated component that looked tacky in person; in actual use, it’s surprisingly handsome, fading in and out with an elegance that I didn’t expect. When I showed it to Lauren for the first time, she replied with “ooooh” rather than “ugghh,” which is always a good sign.
Performance and User Experience
I’ve tried to figure out a more articulate way to put this, but the fact is, I love this lock.
Installation was quick and painless, and should be familiar to you if you’ve ever installed another smart lock, or even another deadbolt. Like the Kwikset Kevo, I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of skill required to get the Connect up and going. All it takes is removing the old deadbolt, attaching the new one to the included backplate, and screwing everything together (no new holes or damage to the door required!). All in all, it took me about 10 minutes.
Initial setup was equally painless thanks to some clear instructions that were included with the lock. Adding and changing pin codes is similar to programming a remote control, and the lock gives clear visual feedback throughout the process.
The Connect’s smart features come through integration with a Z-Wave compatible smart home hub; I’m using it in conjunction with the Wink system. Setup was easy enough (even though Wink glitched out on the first attempt), and I can now lock/unlock our front door with both my iPhone and Wink Relay wall panel. It’s rock solid, and exactly the functionality I want for my smart home.
I’m also surprised by how much I like the simple pin code functionality. It’s great to have an extra way to get in the house if I lock myself out, and it’s a little less intimidating to give my mom a pin code than having her download a new app to let herself in.
Finally, the fact that the Connect includes a built-in siren is just awesome. I set it up to go off with forced entry and when someone is trying to guess their way into the house with random pin codes; enter an incorrect code 4 times, and a deafening siren is engaged that should make even the most brazen intruder run for the hills.
It’s a great normal lock, a great pin code lock, and a great smart lock. It just doesn’t get better than that.
Integration with Other Platforms
As I mentioned above, the Connect’s greatest strength is its flexibility. Its wide-open Z-Wave compatibility is a huge perk.
The only bummer is that the Connect’s more advanced smart functions seem to me limited to the Nexia system. The Wink system I’m testing it with can only see the unit’s status and engage the lock; if you want to change pins, add time sensitive pin schedules and more, it seems like you’ll have to use something like Nexia.
Build Quality and Reliability
When you buy a lock, you always want to get the toughest piece of equipment you can find; after all, its chief function is to protect your family and property. The Schlage Connect seems to be as solid as they come, and its ANSI Grade 1 rating and sturdy bolt is a welcome step up from products like the Kevo.
Aside from the initial hiccup with Wink, all functions of the lock work flawlessly. I trust it to respond immediately and protect my family every day.
It seems like the Schlage Connect continues to become more affordable by the month. You can currently find it for around $200 on Amazon, which makes it an absolute steal when compared with the other options on the market. I can’t recommend it strongly enough.