Earlier this year Schlage announced that the company’s newest Connect Touchscreen Deadbolts would be compatible with Amazon Alexa, and since then, I’ve been very interested in testing them out. If you haven’t made the jump to keyless entries yet, it’s far time that you’ve considered making the switch. It was back in 2014 that I outfitted my parents house with a simple Schlage keyless system, and after seeing how easy they are to use, four other members of my family have made the switch to keyless entryways. Keyless systems are convenient, easy to use, and often times much more secure than traditional locks (stop giving out keys!). Now that Schlage has integrated Amazon Alexa into the system, I really wanted to see what I could do with my growing smart-home, and I wanted to see the new features and security upgrades that Schlage has created since my first purchase.
A note before going forward, you won’t need an existing smart-home setup, an Amazon Alexa device, or any other equipment to enjoy the benefits of the Schlage Connect Touchscreen, but there are benefits if you expand your smart-home later on, or already have some devices. Your house can be in the forrest, without any internet at all, and the Schlage Connect will run with all functionality.
Schlage already leads the keyless entryway market, the company has been building either traditional or non-traditional locks since the early 1920s. The Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt is one of the newest additions to the company’s growing keyless systems, and it’s also one of the easiest I’ve ever installed. Just like other Schlage systems, you’ll start by picking out a style and color. The Connect Touchscreen comes in an elaborate ‘Camelot’ model, and a standard ‘Century’ model. Next you’ll choose a finish for the lock and the handle. You will most likely want to match your existing hardware, but now is a perfect time to upgrade that boring brass knob. There are no shortage of options in finishes to choose from, Schlage offers a Matte Black, Aged Bronzed, Oil Rubbed Bronze, Antique Pewter, Distressed Nickel, Satin Nickel, Polished Nickel, Satin Chrome, Bright Chrome, Antique Brass, Satin Brass, or Bright Brass finish. No matter what color your door is, or what model home you prefer, there’s a finish that’s just for you. This is also a great moment to mention the ‘resistive touch screen,’ which will prevent grubby fingers from smearing the face of the lock, and keep everything looking new and inviting to guests. It’s also a security measure, so possible thieves can’t tell which numbers are pressed the most often.
If you’re looking to gift a smartlock, or of this is your first, the Connect Touchscreen is a great choice. Installation is just as easy as a regular deadbolt, and the Connect Touchscreen offers a wide-array of default options to get customers up-and-running with little to no effort. There are even pre-set codes on the lock, so if you don’t want to set your own, you can install, test, and go about your day. The Connect Touchscreen offers a few upgrades if you have used Schlage products in the past, including a small checkmark indicator on the face of the lock. This handy little indicator flashes green when commands are accepted, and a small red ‘X’ will appear if they aren’t. It’s no different than an error beep, but it’s a nice little UI improvement over previous models.
When it’s finally time to install, one could easily be overwhelmed at the hardware included in the box. Don’t be intimated, you won’t be using all of those pieces. While most doors are standard, some require special hardware and optional pieces, and Schlage included all the bits and pieces one would need for almost every door in America. These optional pieces can be stored in the box, and you can hold on to them if you ever move, or replace the door. Schlage put together a little featured video showing off the Connect Touchscreen below.
If you have ever installed a deadbolt before, the entire Schlage process should take you about 30 minutes after you have all the pieces unpacked. If you have never installed a deadbolt, the included instructions are actually a joy to use, and you should be done in less than an hour. Seriously, if awards could be given in easy-to-use instructions, Schlage would take the top-prize (looking at your IKEA). I was set in about 30minutes, and it only took one screwdriver and my reading glasses.
The device runs on AA batteries, and you will get warnings from the lock when power is getting low, advising you to change them. You can always use a key to bypass the lock, even when the batteries are dead, so you don’t have to worry about being locked out of your house . That being said, you can rest assured that the lock is designed to keep everyone else out of your house. The Schlage Connect is certified with an ANSI/BHMA Grade 1 rating, the highest possible home security rating on the market. You will find a wide-array of anti-tamper and anti-theft devices on the model, including an anti-pick shield and alarms. All of the alarms and anti-theft deterrence (other than the anti-pick shielding) have settings to adjust how sensitive they are. Odds are you will never have to adjust any of them, but it’s nice that the options are there. You have several different alarm options including “Activity,” “Tamper,” and “Forced Entry”. Activity gives you two quick beeps when the door is opened, so if you’re home alone you don’t have to think “Did I just hear the door open?”. The tamper alert will sound an alarm, a 15-second 90-dB alarm, that you and the neighbors should hear if anyone is messing with the lock. The Forced Entry alarm will produce a 3-minute alarm at 90-dB to make sure everyone in the surrounding area knows that someone just forced the door open. You can choose which option you want, though I feel most people will choose the Activity option. I would leave the Forced Entry alarm for when I am traveling or on vacation. Speaking of vacations, there is even a ‘Vacation Mode,’ allowing you to disable the keypad and turn the lock into a normal deadbolt should you need to.
I mentioned earlier that you don’t need to program codes, but if you would like to, you can store up to 30 of them. This is a great feature, and any keyless lock that you choose should have this feature. The lock itself comes with 2 codes pre-programmed, so if you gift this device and they somehow hit a snag in programming their own code, they will still be able to lock their door and use the keyless entry. Of course there’s always the standard key-lock backup, but it’s great that anyone can install the lock and start using it right away. You can assign different codes for babysitters, cleaning services, house-sitters, dog-walkers, milkmen, traveling guests, or neighbors. Then you can easily change, or delete, the codes to keep your house safe and secure. No more copying keys, no more people having access to your house, everyone gets a code (4 to 8 digits) and you’re in control of all of it. Just know that codes have to be the same length, so if you choose 8 digits the first time, you’ll have to keep that streak going for everyone else. Most people will use the keypad to set the codes, and it’s a very straightforward process, but if you have a Z-Wave enabled smart-hub, you’ll be able to use your connection to set codes and edit them later.
Once installed, you just tap the Schlage logo at the top of the lock and enter your code. You will see that green checkmark I mentioned earlier, and a beep indicates that you are cleared for entry. Welcome to the future! You won’t even need a key to lock the door, just hit the Schlage button outside and wait for the green checkmark. You can rest assured it’s locked because you will always see the red ‘X’ if there is a problem. There is also a pretty audible ‘click’ when the door locks and unlocks. The Schlage lock that I installed at my parents house has the auto-lock feature, and so does this device, but it’s nice that you can set this one to manual and set it with the press of a button.
Now that the standard keyless system is up and running, advanced users can dive into the wonderful world of the Internet Of Things (IoT). Using my Samsung SmartThings, I connected my lock in a matter of minutes, and started programming away. Setup was as easy as touching the Schlage button, entering in the correct code, and waiting for the handy check. The lock works with other Z-Wave devices in your house connected to the hub, so you can start programming actions to go along with unlocking and locking the house. Now if you also have Alexa enabled in your home, and have already connected Alexa to your Z-Wave devices, you can get even craftier. Now Alexa can lock and unlock the door from any room in the house. You can do this with any of the devices that currently run on your Alexa network, and it’s an amazing addition to the smart home. You can also start pairing other smart-home actions to work when the lock is enabled or disabled. You can have the lights go on in the foyer when you unlock the door, or tell the security cameras in your house to start recording when the lock is on. The options are endless, and the IoT is only getting bigger. I’ve also seen people rig their systems to take pictures of the porch every time the door is unlocked, and store the pictures in the cloud. A crafty thought for home security, though most of my pictures would be of me bringing in Amazon packages.
Even if you don’t want to invest in a smart-home, or if you don’t want to get into the Alexa game quite yet, the Schlage Connect is one of the best keyless deadbolt options on the market. It’s incredibly easy to use, and easy to install. Schlage is also one of the safest brands on the market, and since you are buying a lock for your home, this should be the highest priority to begin with. The safety features, programable codes, pre-installed codes, alarm, and manual door lock options are all terrific, and not standard on most keyless systems. If you, or your extended family, hasn’t started making the switch to keyless locks, get them started. So far everyone I’ve seen make the switch hasn’t gone back. In fact, they have only expanded.