Mike Holmes - Make It Right Blog - 8 Features To Consider When Buying A Smart Lock
Mike Holmes - Make It Right Blog - 8 Features To Consider When Buying A Smart Lock

How To Choose A Smart Lock For Your Home

By Mike Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Buying & Selling Your Home

Thursday, August 31st, 2023 @ 5:53pm

 Smart Lock Buying Guide – 8 Features to Consider When Buying A Smart Lock

I think smart locks are definitely worth the investment, especially if you have a busy household with lots of people coming and going. I’m not saying traditional locks are bad, but as our lifestyles change and become more integrated with technology and automation, smart locks will make our lives easier and more convenient. 

Smart locks are much more practical than traditional key locks. They provide remote keyless entry using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology. I love having smart locks, as they allow me to manage and control who has access to my workshop, garage, or house – all through my app! 



Now I get some people may be worried about the possibility of hacking. This comes down to picking a reliable brand —we trust Schlage for all our locks. They offer the highest level of encryption connectivity making it safer for you and your family against hackers. 

So, let’s break down some of the key features of a smart lock and what you should be looking for.


#1 – Technology and Connectivity

When securing your home, exterior or entrance locks generally consist of the following:

  • Deadbolt
  • Electronic locks – non-connected and battery-operated. They allow for keyless access with a simple keypad or touchpad.
  • Easy connectivity – electronic locks that integrate into a smart ecosystem by way of Zwave protocol.
  • Bluetooth Smart Locks – access within close range of the lock
  • Wi-Fi Smart Locks – remote access with a suite of features that are more experiential
  • Key-Fob and fingerprint style (biometrics)

Most smart locks work with apps on your smartphone and are compatible with either iOS or Android platforms. This is an important factor to consider before deciding on your smart locks. You want to make sure it’s compatible with your devices. Also, be sure to read application reviews to make sure the experience will meet your expectations.

Today, we expect easy-to-use, user-friendly interfaces with fully functional features, like remote control access and monitoring capabilities. Many options are available, so doing your research and checking out several manufacturers can help ensure you are investing in smart locks that work for you.


Mike Holmes Jr and Sherry Holmes installing a Schlage Smart Lock on Holmes project and using app to show how it locks and unlocks.

I love Schlage smart locks and have been using them for several years. They connect to the Wi-Fi network through your smartphone app, control panel or hub within the home. They can also connect via Bluetooth technology.


Plus, you can lock or unlock the door through the Schlage app —how convenient is that? You can also program the lock to automatically lock after a set time, say 10 seconds, after you have left your home – just in case you forget! 

I know my daughter Sherry has her hands full with two girls, and sometimes as she’s rushing out the door, she forgets whether she’s locked her door or not. So this is brilliant! 


#2 – Keyless Entry Options

We’ve all spent time looking for our keys or losing and misplacing spare keys. Now, many smart locks have a keyless entry that allows you to open the door without a physical key by punching in a code on a keypad or using an app on your phone. And for those who feel more secure with a key, there is a traditional key and cylinder to open your door even with the keyless entry locks.

Schlage smart locks are fantastic, and their latest versions are fully compatible with Apple and Android platforms. 


Schlage Encode Plus

The Schlage Encode Plus is a keyless entry lock that only requires a tap from your iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock the deadbolt. How cool is that? You don’t even have to unlock your phone or watch to unlock your door. Sherry and I both have Apple Watches; all we have to do is simply tap our watch around the “5” on the keypad. And like magic, the door unlocks! 

Plus, for all those families who are Apple users, you won’t need to download Schlage’s app as you can add the lock right to the Home app on your phone, configure passcodes, and control it directly or through automation



Don’t have an iPhone or Apple Watch? For families that have both Apple and Android devices, the Schlage Home app offers complete compatibility with both devices. It also works with voice commands, like Amazon, Alexa and Google Assistant. 



For families that are strictly Android the Schlage Encode is a better choice for you.


Mike Holmes installing Schlage Encode Lock On Door

The Schlage Encode Plus has all the great features of the Schlage Encode but now is compatible with Apple Keys.


The Encode Plus will also connect through the more power-efficient Thread protocol if you own a HomePod Mini or an Apple TV 4K from the second generation. If not, it will connect to your other devices using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.


Schlage Encode Wi-Fi Lever

Here’s something I’m very excited about. Schlage has released a new Encode Lever for doors with a single hole. All the same great features and security of the Encode, create more possibilities for home interior security. We actually just installed it on a recent project. 



Because this smart lock is designed to work on standard single bore-hole doors, you can easily use it on your interior doors. This is an excellent option for the garage, side doors, home offices and guest suites – any door really that uses a knob or lever. And, of course, it provides another level of home security.


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#3 – Security Features

We all appreciate the convenience of smart technology. I know I do. But let’s face it: when it comes to our houses, we can’t sacrifice security for convenience. Understanding what security features to look out for should be your top priority when choosing a smart lock.

Make sure you consider these priorities when choosing a smart lock:  

  • Are you purchasing from a reputable brand you can trust?
  • Does the lock meet the highest standards from BMHA, the Builders Manufacturers Hardware Association measuring security, durability and finish? 
  • Does it have the highest level of encryption to prevent hacking and provide peace of mind? 
  • Is the smart lock user-friendly?
  • Does it provide alert notifications remotely?
  • Can you create unique access codes?
  • Can you monitor all your smart locks from anywhere?



Your Safe Smart Home: Protecting Yourself from Hacks


Safety of Schlage Smart Locks

What I love about Schlage is that their brand is all about keeping you and your family safe. Schlage’s smart locks are built with security, durability, and style in mind. They also meet AAA standards, meaning they have one of the highest residential security ratings. 

Schlage’s Encode, and Encode Plus, with built-in Wi-Fi, give you access anywhere, so you can control and monitor your locks through the app. And here is my favorite feature: it comes with a built-in tamper detection alarm. This means you will know in real-time that you may have an issue and can deal with it immediately

The lock also offers auto-lock, which can be set for various lengths of time for hassle-free control and peace of mind when leaving the home. I love this! 

It’s important to have a backup plan since smart locks typically communicate with your smartphone via Wi-Fi (but most, just like Schlage, are battery-powered). However, if your phone is stolen or lost, or your battery dies, you should always have a way to get into your home. That’s why I think it’s great that Schlage has an access keypad with a backup key option on all their locks. 


Did You Know?

With the Encode Plus, even if the phone is dead you can still tap the lock to enter and it will work. That’s smart.


#4 – Integration with Smart Home Systems

Another thing I love about Schlage smart locks is that they can easily work with your smart home. Schlage is compatible with all platforms. Their smart locks are compatible with Ring and allow you to see who is at the door and let them in, and your Apple devices are your key to the house when using Apple Home Kit or your Schlage app. Voice commands are available using Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.




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#5 – Power Options

​​Traditional mechanical locks don’t need the power to function, so they continue to work even if the power goes out. However, smart locks run on batteries, so it is important to make sure the batteries don’t die. Make sure you pay attention to low battery life indicators. Also, it’s important to think about how your exterior smart lock performs in extreme conditions, given our cold winters. 

All of Schlage’s electronic and smart locks run on battery power, so when the electricity goes out, your lock will still function. The Encode and the Encode Plus come with a traditional key cylinder, which is great if you forget that the batteries are low and need a physical key to open the door. However, with the low battery alert on your phone and the keypad’s low light indicator, you should never have dead batteries. 


Expert Schlage Tip:

Consider replacing the batteries every six months to 8 months depending on the usage.


Schlage locks are triple-A rated and known for their durability and performance and work well in cold temperatures, ranging from -35 to 65 degrees Celsius (-31 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit).


#6 – Installation and Compatibility

When researching smart locks, you want a lock that is easy to install and has several compatibility options. Locks come with one, two, or three borehole options, which is another factor to consider.

I love Schlage because all their locks are easy to install, even the smart locks. All you need is a Phillips screwdriver. Any homeowner can install one – and I don’t often say that! The Schlage smart locks can be installed on any door and have a great selection of custom door hardware to go with any home décor. 



Plus, the new Schlage Lever needs only one borehole for simple installations making it perfect for securing interior rooms in the home like an income suite.


#7 – Guest Access and User Management

My fans will remember Greg and Karen’s home from “The Half-Done House” on Holmes + Holmes. They thought they could trust the contractor but soon realized their renovation project was not going so well, and eventually, they fired the contractor. But they forgot to get the spare key back, and the contractor ended up coming back to the house at 10 O’clock at night to get some things he left unannounced with Karen and Greg’s young daughters in the house! How scary is that? 


Mike Holmes With Schlage Encode Lever Smart Lock installed on project

We installed a Schlage Encode Lever smart lock for one of the projects we worked on where the homeowners had a sectioned-off basement apartment.


If they had a Schlage smart lock, they would have been able to cancel the contractor’s “access code” right away, and he wouldn’t have been able to access the home, and this whole situation could have been avoided. You can program up to 100 individual access codes – I love this feature!

These features also provide parents and guardians with the awareness of when family members are coming and going. It is great to know when the kids are home from school and are safely indoors.


Schlage Smart Locks Make It Easy for Homeowners to Manage Guests

  • Homeowners can confirm if doors are locked or unlocked remotely.
  • Homeowners can create up to 100 unique access codes
  • Homeowners can access real-time activity logs
  • Compatible with Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands
  • Compatible with iOS and Android devices


#8 – Durability and Design

You want to pick a lock that lasts because they aren’t cheap. And you want to pick something that will make a statement and increase your curb appeal. First impressions matter! It’s not just about looks – your lock must be made of quality, durable materials like zinc, steel, and brass. 


Schlage Encode Smart Lock With Brass Finish

Schlage Smart Lock in Satin Brass Finish


That’s why we pick Schlage locks for all our projects. They have been around for more than 100 years, and they have been dedicated to innovation and producing quality products. They’re also the only manufacturer to offer their smart locks in three distinct styles; Camelot (traditional), Century (modern), and Greenwich (transitional) which means your home’s exterior matches its interior for a seamless design carried throughout the home.

Schlage also offers these styles in slick finishes such as Matt Black, Satin Nickel and Satin Brass (Gold), seamlessly combining style and functionality into one product. 



Here’s another great feature I love. Schlage’s hardware allows you to have two distinct styles of hardware on either side of the door for mechanical knobs and levers if you select from the Schlage Custom line. This allows you to seamlessly align the décor of each room in your home. Such a brilliant idea!

They not only look good but they are made to the highest standards. Plus, all the electronics come with a three-year warranty and a limited lifetime warranty on mechanical and finishes – quality I trust and you can trust too.


Pro Tip:

For smart locks to perform optimally, it’s important to keep up with any software updates and change the batteries regularly. Allow your lock to accept firmware updates automatically.


Benefits of Schlage Encode Smart Locks

The Schlage Encode and Encode Plus provide:

  • Built-in Wi-Fi connects to your network. No hubs or accessories are required.
  • Highest level of encryption to prevent hacking
  • Encode and Encode Plus style and colour choices to suit any home style or decor Easy integration with voice command platforms, like Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Three-year warranty
  • Tamper-proof built-in alarm
  • Easily fits all standard single-hole doors
  • Simple to install with a screwdriver
  • Colour choices and finish to suit any home style or decor



Smart locks and home automation are becoming an integral part of our homes, and selecting quality products, user-friendly systems, and compatibility should be top of mind when choosing smart locks.


There’s a lot to like about the Schlage Encode and Encode Lever. They offer premium security levels and seamlessly integrate with other devices. It’s so easy to install the hardware and program the features. Plus with up to 100 unique access codes, it’s easy to set up friends, family, contractors, and service appointments securely, providing convenience and giving you peace of mind.



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