Is Schalge Connect The Best Z-wave Door Lock?Updated November 2018
After testing many smart door locks, including replacing our own locks with each of the contenders, we believe that the best z-wave door lock exists. Schlage Connect does not only provide the highest physical level of security but also upgrades your deadbolt with functional smart features bringing keyless lock to the homeowners like me and you. Z wave connection means that you have a secure and power efficient way to remotely control your lock from anywhere. All together it combines the security of the traditional deadbolt with the smart features like auto-lock and alarm of the next generation of the locks.
Why your smart door lock should be z-wave enabled?
Z wave protocol has many advantages when used in smart door locks. Most importantly it is secure and local which is paramount to guard the entrance of your house. It does not expose you to the additional security risks like bluetooth or wifi smart door locks do. Secondly, it integrates the lock into your smart home eco-system so your lock can work together with other devices and you do not need any extra apps or hubs. Finally, comparing to other communication protocols it does not use a lot of energy which means you do not need to change batteries very often.
- Why your smart door lock should be z-wave enabled?
- Why Schlage Connect is the best z wave door lock?
- Detailed review of Schlage Connect : The best z wave door lock
- Installing the keyless deadbolt
- Tips on how to get the best of your keyless deadbolt
- User feedback after 6 months and 2 years of use
About the Author
Alex Brice is a smart home expert and has been using, reviewing and testing home automation products for over 10 years. His articles were referenced by major smart home media like TechCrunch, Cnet, Home Assistant Blog. Alex is also an active contributor to smart home communities in Reddit, Quora, Automated Home and both OpenHAB and Home Assistant Forums.
Best z-wave deadbolt
Schlage created almost perfect keyless deadbolt that you can open with PIN code and connect to your existing Z-wave enabled smart home hub.
- Very secure and convenient
- Recommended by locksmiths
- Easy to install
Why Schlage Connect is the best z wave door lock?
There are a number of good things we can tell about this lock. This is exactly what you would expect from the veteran of lock manufacturing that has been in the business for almost 100 years. We glad to see that the quality of the build was enhanced with the smart features that make Schlage Connect one of the best keyless deadbolts for home.
- The highest level of physical security: Schlage connect is one of the very few smart locks that received Grade 1 ANSI/BHMA. This means that an independent body certifies that the lock survived over 800,000 lock/unlock cycles, two strikes of 60 foot-pounds, and also knobs have withstood 300 pound-feet of torque
- Functional smart feature: once paired with the smart hub you can open/close the lock remotely, get notifications and programme the codes. You can also integrate it with the rest of the devices into a single smart home eco-system
- Anti-tamper system – alarm and notification not only for someone trying to break in but also to pick
- No wear and tear on PIN touchscreen: Many users were worried that since you use the same pins over and over they can be seen on the touchscreen. In reality, it is not a concern due to good design and materials used by Schlage
- Good battery life: the lock works on four AA batteries and the official documentation says that it can operate for 12 months, but the users report that 6 months is the average battery cycle. Take a look a tips section around high energy an low energy modes which depend on the ease of movement of the bolt.
Yale Real Living Key
High-quality z-wave electronic lock
Yale is another well-known lock manufacture and its Zwave door lock does not disappoint. It is not only tidy and smart looking z-wave lock but it also packs with many smart deadbolt feature that we like
Yale’s smart locks are at the top of many smart lock lists and Real Living Keys is not an exception. We liked its design, performance and integration to other smart hubs. It is a cylinderless lock and believed to be even more secure than regular deadbolts, as there is no real way for an intruder to jimmy the lock. Saying that comparing to Schlage it is only Grade 2 ANSI/BHMA and lacks alarm. There were also many reports of users finding the install process overcomplicated and confusing. So although we recognise Yale Real Living as a great smart z-wave deadbolt, Schlage Connect wins the nomination of the best z-wave door lock for home.
Detailed review of Schlage Connect : The best z wave door lock
- Z wave enabled electronic lock
- A complete deadbolt replacement
- ANSI/BHMA Grade 1 – the highest level of physical security for a lock
- Easy installation under 30 minutes for the majority of doors
- Opens with the touchscreen PIN code (30 PINs supported)
- Works keyless and with a backup key (only one provided)
- Lifetime warranty on mechanical parts and three-year warranty on electronics
Things to keep in mind
- Operating in high humidity – There is a number of reports of users with the locks stopping working or consuming extra energy in high humidity areas (or where the moist from sprinklers can get in). This seems to be a design flow as some consumers fix that with lock mods. Please see our tips section for details.
- Sensitive to correct alignment – as with many retrofitted devices and smart locks especially, the quality of installation will determine if your lock works as it should. See more on this in tips section but in brief, if you don’t have a deadbolt already, or it gets stuck sometimes, or you don’t trust you can get a smooth motion for the bolt, go for a professional installation.
- Manuals can be better – good documentation is important, especially for DIY installation. Although Schlage Connect comes with detailed manuals, there were a couple of instances where some steps were unnecessary (for example during code programming) or not mentioned (around Z-wave pairing)
- Technical support – Interactions with Schlage technical teams seems to be adequate but you might have issues in getting through. Also, it was noted that in busy times you might not get required advice in the first instance so you will have to reach them again.
Smart Z wave Door Lock Features
We nominated Schlage Connect as the best z wave door lock for home for a reason. It is full of features that make it close to perfect replacement for your conventional deadbolt. Schlage did not just put those features in but also designed them to be practical and functional.
The main smart benefits coming from having Z-wave protocol. Comparing to wifi or Bluetooth is more secure and power efficient way to control and access. This means Schlage Connect does not need another Wi-Fi bridge or additional hardware and use your smart hub to control and notify (like our top pick SmartThings or Home Assistant). Use of smart hub might be seen negatively by some users, but we believe that it is a capable and versatile smart hub that unlocks the true benefits of smart home tech. See our review of the SmartThings vs Home Assistant to better understand the benefits of using smart hubs. Local controls is also a significant benefit as it does not need constant internet connection and potentially less risky from cyber-attacks.
The following smart feature you will be able to you with z-wave deadbolt once you integrate it with your smart hub:
- Status – you will be able to see the status of the lock i.e. (open/close)
- Programme codes remotely – this will make it easy to programme and send codes
- Alerts – notification on when the door was opened, alarm triggered and which pin has been used to open the door
In addition to above the keyless deadbolt has an excellent alarm. It is quite loud at 90 dB and will trigger in the event of a forceful break-in attempt or light tampering when something disturbs the lock. This is very useful and provide extra security comparing to your standard lock.
Auto-lock is another smart function that will lock the door after 30 second of unlocking. Many users were impressed by this feature especially those who had forgetful family members. Remember that you need to activate it as it is switched off by default. It is easy to enable with a command on the keypad. Also it does not have an auto-unlock feature, which adds to its overall security.
Installing the keyless deadbolt
- Installation should be easy for most common door and hole sizes, especially if you installed a deadbolt before. Make sure that the hole that the deadbolt extracts into is at least one inch deep. In case the door alignment is a little off, Schlage Connect may enter high-power mode during initial setup in order to lock the door and drain the battery
- Make sure it locks smoothly and doesn’t use high-power mode. The manual says: “The lock has both a low power and high power mode. It will try low power first and then high power when unsuccessful. After three times using high power, it will always use the high power mode instead of trying twice each time. You may want to adjust your door/frame to conserve battery power, but it is not necessary.”
- Protect against humidity – if it is humid where you live, you can still use the lock. It will require buying Acrylic Lacquer Conformal Coating. It is used to protect the circuit boards in wet conditions or even directly in the water.
- Another good thing about the lock is that it will auto-adjust the direction so it does not matter if you installed in right or left-handed door. Interestingly Schlage installation manual does not tell you that, but the lock will detect bolt direction upon startup. So if you have a right-hand door then ignore the part where the manual tells you to throw the bolt manually to test alignment.
- Programming is easy. You will need to programme codes in (you can do it in your smart home hub or in the lock itself). We highly recommend using the Rboy app if you have a SmartThings hub. It helps to better manage codes and to improve overall controls of any smart lock.
- Do not forget to set the alarm sensitivity. Medium sensitivity seems to be working the best. The alarm is similar to a security system chirp that happens when you open a window or door.
Tips on how to get the best of your keyless deadbolt
- Avoid high battery mode – The lock has two modes low and high energy. This depends on how difficult for Schlage to turn the deadbolt. That is why when you install the lock, it is important to make sure that the hole for the deadbolt is big enough for it, aligned correctly, and there is a room for expansion from heat. If everything is right, the lock will use low energy, and your battery usage will be low. The lock will try low energy first. If it fails to move the bolt, it will go to high energy. It will do this the first three times you open/close it. Each attempt is a pair of sounds. If it goes three times without being able to use low-energy, it will use high-energy
- Pair before installation – another installation tip for this best z-wave door lock is to pair the device with your hub before installing it on the door. Bring the device as close to the hub as you can and follow the pairing process. In the case of our setup (Home Assistant and Aeotec Zwave stick) we needed to press the button on the device to go into pair mode. Once done, you will be installing the paired device with no further troubles.
- Use the same number of digits in PIN – note that although the lock supports 30 keys they all should be the same length. So think and agree with your family what would work the best. PINs should be from 4 to 8 digits long.
- Make sure you have a certified hub – z-wave capable hub is what unlocks the smart features of the lock. Make sure you check that your hub is on this list. As of October 2018, the locks work with Smart Things, Alexa, Nexia, Wink and Iris hub
- Make more backup keys – having a backup key is extremely useful and might be a lifesaver in some cases. The lock comes with only one backup key and we suggest to invest another $10 or so and order other keys.
- Switch on the auto-lock – another tip to increase the security of your keyless deadbolt is to switch on auto-lock.
- Pay for Rboy app if you have SmartThings – SmartThings hub is quite capable in managing locks but Rboy app makes it even better. One of the things we liked is sure-programming engine. It verifies that programming was successful which is extremely useful for programming. It also has really good tamper notifications, jammed notifications, invalid/expired code notifications and so on
User feedback after 6 months and 2 years of use
I’m pretty handy so it was very easy to install. Although if you use the instructions it should be easy to install even for someone with basic handyman skills. The lock is very solid and well-made and I suspect it will last a long time. The operation is very smooth. It’s a little tricky to program, but not overly so.
I am still using the first set of batteries I installed in November and we had a pretty cold winter too which would also reduce battery life. So far I see no reduction in power being provided by the batteries.
Other than that, it’s a great lock and looks good too.
This is a well-made deadbolt and in my opinion the best z-wave door lock in the market. After two years it has held up cosmetically and the bolt action is still smooth. The touchscreen died yesterday which means I have to use the supplied key for now. The reason I still think this is an amazing product is that I was able to reach a live customer service person on the first attempt (on a Saturday) who was very helpful.
Schlage is sending me a replacement unit. Not the just the keypad part, but the entire unit. After learning that I didn’t have to return the bad unit, I removed it and broke it down into its pieces to see if I could fix it. Turns out the touchscreen is just simply dead. It’s getting power the whole way there, just not lighting up or beeping