With no need for a hub or any additional accessories, and capable of complete remote access to lock or unlock your door from anywhere at any time, Schlage’s newest smart door lock is the first of its kind. With some of the simplest installation mechanisms on the market, the Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt is user-friendly and intuitive.
The Encode also comes equipped with a mobile app that the user can operate to program the lock design schedules at their leisure. In addition to the Encode’s simple design and remote control, it can also be accessed and given commands through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant orally.
The Encode is silent but effective and exhibited great performance during testing. It is a worthy competitor with the Apple HomeKit and IFTTT that you get with the August Smart Lock Pro + Connecct, but may lack some of the additional support of these other devices, as will be discussed shortly.
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The Encode is especially ideal if you want to maintain a modern aesthetic on your front door. The lock can come in two sophisticated designs; either a square Century Trim or a Camelot Trim with scalloped edges to give a more ornamental look. The Century Trim is particularly symmetrical and may look out of place on more vintage or simplistic doors.
Buyers also have a choice of selected sophisticated coats for the Encode, including Matte Black, Bright Chrome, Satin Nickel; and Aged Bronze.
The Installation Process
Schlage has kept the installation process quick, intuitive, and accessible for all users. The Encode comes equipped with very practical functions that quickly fasten the front of the lock to the deadbolt and give the user room to attach the back of the lock while the front remains secure. With a regular screwdriver, the whole deadbolt can be replaced in a matter of fifteen minutes without the need for professional help or any additional hands to hold pieces in place while trying to screw the parts together.
The Encode is battery powered and uses four batteries which will need to be replaced every six months or so according to manufacturers. The batteries are placed in the back of the lock and will therefore need to be accessed using a screwdriver. This is certainly an inconvenience and is the reason why other companies keep their WiFi locks separate from the wireless network component so that the latter can be plugged into a power source at all times and does not require a constant batter change in the lock itself.
Wireless Internet Capabilities
Unlike some smart locks which require an additional WiFi bridge to access the internet and be controlled thereby, the Encode does not require a complicated setup or programming to use the WiFi.
This ability is built into the lock from the get-go and requires no extra equipment or user input. Once connected to the WiFi, the Encode can be accessed and locked or unlocked using your smartphone or any smart device from anywhere at any time. The Encode really puts the ‘smart’ in smart device, especially compared to competitors that either can’t connect to the WiFi at all or do so through long complicated processes and with the need for additional accessories.
Alexa, Google, Ring, Amazon Key
One of the most convenient features of smart lock devices is their capacity for voice control. However, many devices, particularly those that operate on Bluetooth, lack the capacity to be controlled through an Amazon Alexa without an additional WiFi bridge, assuming such a bridge is even optional on the given model.
Because the Encode works over the WiFi from the get-go, it comes with the inherent capacity to merge with all WiFi devices, including Alexa and Google Assistant. No additional programming or Bluetooth pairing is required.
These features allow delivery personnel to access the lock with your permission using Amazon Key so that they can deliver your packages into the house for safety and security. Alternatively, if you prefer not to give this access to delivery personnel, you can install a doorbell or security camera so that you can personally check who is at the door before deciding to unlock it.
There’s no longer any need to walk back downstairs from the bedroom or back up the driveway from your vehicle to check that your front door is locked. This can be double-checked from anywhere, so your anxiety can be kept at bay.
Built-in Alarm System
The Encode comes with a built-in alarm system that sets off an alarm tone when the device detects an attempted forced entry. The siren is not very loud and can only be heard if you are standing near the lock itself, but it might serve to dissuade intruders from entering if they believe they have set off an alarm and that authorities may be on their way.
The Encode is the first model to attempt such an alarm system and although imperfect, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have the additional security measure.
Guest access codes and virtual keys
Another useful feature provided by the Encode is the option of granting temporary or permanent guest status to employees or friends so that they can access your house at any time without the need for a spare key, and the cost that comes with making multiple copies of the key.
Virtual keys can be used for guests to enter events at your home or for regular visitors. You can grant guests a virtual key so that one-time guests can enter the house with the help of the Schlage Home app.
The Encode also has the option of being opened with access codes, which you can hand out to guests instead of a virtual key so that they can enter unilaterally. Access codes may be the simpler option so that guests need not download the app for a single occasion, but for those that may require regular access, like your gardener, housekeeper, or other employees, the virtual key may be ideal.
High security grade
The Encode sets a high standard for smart locks when it comes to security. With the highest residential security score from the ANSI and BHMA organizations, the Schlage Encode has obtained a Commercial Grade 1 rating, which is the highest mark achievable and evidences the fact that the Encode meets and surpasses all organizational security expectations.
When choosing a lock, the one with the best security rating is always the best option, even with some of the aforementioned downsides such as the battery power and alarm limitations.
Pros and Cons
In summary, the Encode comes with the following pros and cons, which are worthy of consideration before you commit yourself to purchasing it:
As pros, the Encode is equipped with up to one hundred passcodes, all of which are versatile. It is also capable of integrating with Alexa and is compatible with Amazon Key to meet all of your voice command and delivery needs.
As far as cons go, the Encode lacks some functions that can be found in other models and has some added inconveniences due to its battery power and quiet alarm system. Its minimalist and modern appearance also makes it appear gaudy for any doors that are not sleek and modern and therefore is only suitable for certain types of homes if you are concerned with maintaining a certain style for your house’s exterior.
Value for Money
No doubt about it! The convenience of virtual keys and guest codes greatly outweigh the above cons, and it’s difficult to look past the Encode’s unmatched security capabilities. The Encode’s features are highly user-friendly and intuitive, which makes for easy manual use and great performance overall.
With great quality and durable hardware, the Encode meets the value-for-money ratio, even though it has certain limits and is not terribly versatile when it comes to its appearance. The Encode meets all serious expectations and requirements of a smart lock, and its few shortcomings certainly don’t undermine its overall potential.
As far as prices go, the Encode’s general cost is dependent on your ultimate choice of color and trim style. However, you are unlikely to pay more than $250 at the end of the day.
This price is highly competitive considering the Encodes WiFi capabilities, general quality and durability, and the plethora of other features. Additionally, with such high-security standards, the peace of mind that the Encode will grant you when it comes to you and your family’s best interests is priceless.