Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt Review: Elegant, smart and safe

Cupertino, March 8, 2020

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt in matte black installed on a door

Source: Christopher Close / iMore

Smart door locks and door locks are one of the largest categories in the smart home world, due to their ability to check the state of our entry points while traveling. Forgot to lock the door at the exit? A smart jam can put your mind off the ground. Do you want to know when a door opens? You can deal with notifications through an app on your phone. Do you have to let someone take something? Just assign them a code or unlock the door with a faucet. These smart accessories are simply priceless.

As you may have guessed, I already have some smart locks / locks in my house, but as long as there are doors to cover, I will continue to install them. My most recent installation was the Century model of the Schlbol Sense Smart Deadbolt line, which was one of the best experiences I have had with a jam so far.

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The Deadbolt was easy to install, requiring only one tool, and thanks to HomeKit, it was ready for all Siri and the kindness of the application in minutes. The Century model is also easy on the eyes, at least on the outside, and the slightly added bonuses, such as a built-in alarm, make it a solid choice for anyone on the market.

Elegant, smart and confident

schlage sense smart deadbolt century matte black render cropped

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt

Bottom line: Schlage Sense is an easy-to-install, reliable, homeKit-connected framework that also happens to have a superb keyboard layout. Even though Alexa and Google Assistant require a separate Wi-Fi adapter, Sense is still one of the best jams around.


  • Easy installation
  • Clean modern design
  • Illuminated keyboard
  • Built-in alarm
  • Accepts the HomeKit wireless adapter

The river

  • Bluetooth response times
  • Bulky interior assembly
  • Alexa / Google Assistant requires Wi-Fi adapter

Clean design

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt: features

Schlage Sense before installation

Source: Christopher Close / iMore

The Schlage Sense line comes in two different cutting models, the sleek modern Century look and a more traditional Camelot model. Each model comes in two finishes, sharing a standard Nickel Satin color, but things are different for the darker versions, with Century getting a matte black style compared to the older bronze. Both models have a touch-based illuminated keyboard on the outside, but have a different font to better fit the overall theme.

In addition to a keyboard for quick entry, Schlage Sense has a spare 1-key physical key cylinder included in the box. Deadbolt connects to HomeKit via Bluetooth, keeping power consumption low as it runs on 4 AA batteries, which are also included, fortunately. Schlage says the lock should work about a year before its batteries are replaced and suggests replacing them with the smoke detector batteries to stay on top. While I can't think of how long the battery life will last, with the lock being installed for just over a week, I can report that the Schlage Home app looks 100% on my batteries even after my initial testing.

Schlage hardware is listed as a BHMA (Association of Manufacturers of Hardware Manufacturers) certificate with AAA rating in terms of safety, durability and finish. Schlage offers a 3-year limited warranty for Sense's electrical components and a limited lifetime warranty for mechanical parts and finishes. Unlike some of the other smart locks we have installed, Schlage includes a reinforcement plate and extra-long screws in the box, which are required to perform at BHMA-certified security levels.

Another unique feature of the lock is that it includes a built-in alarm. This alarm allows it to ring when it detects any forced entry attempts and can act as a rudder to warn those in the house if the door opens or closes. While alarm and alarm features can be replicated by HomeKit automation with speakers or other accessories, it's nice to see it built-in to make sure something will always be available if a problem arises.

Home app and Siri controls

Source: Christopher Close / iMore

Smart connectivity is powered by Bluetooth, connecting the lock directly to your phone or a smart home platform, such as HomeKit. To access remotely the deadlock requires a HomeKit hub, such as Apple TV, HomePod or iPad, and for those who do not use HomeKit, a Wi-Fi adapter is required to connect the Bluetooth connection to the local network. There are no subscriptions for additional features, and in its configuration in the box using only Bluetooth, there are no clouds involved. Smart features include standards such as application access, assignable pin codes, schedules and status reports through a connected voice assistant.

HomeKit is ready

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt: What I like

Schlage Sense keyboard up close

Source: Christopher Close / iMore

Installing Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt was a breeze, which took less than 20 minutes from start to finish and only required a screwdriver. Once installed, pairing the deadbolt to the Apple HomeKit was also pretty easy, with a simple scan of the included HomeKit code and it was ready to start. Downloading and installing Schlage Home is completely optional, bypassing the need to create another account, which is a huge plus in my book.

For additional controls and settings, however, the Schlage Home application is required, and for these purposes, the work is done with minor distractions. In-app settings include deactivating the built-in alarm, keypad beeps, auto-lock delay, and 1-touch lock, all accessible with simple switches. Some security settings, such as forced entry, are set as default, which I found a bit strange, but it was painless enough to activate.

Sensitive in terms of performance, Schlage Sense worked admirably, always showing at home through the app and always responding to commands by app and voice.

Sensitive in terms of performance, Schlage Sense worked admirably, always showing at home through the app and always responding to commands by app and voice. The touch portion of the keyboard on the outer portion of the lock is also sensitive, catching a discoloration effect when activated. The Deadbolt turns smoothly, manually and via remote controls, but, like other smart solutions, it is somewhat noisy when in use.

Schlage Home application

Source: Christopher Close / iMore

Access codes can also be assigned within the application, allowing up to 30 unique codes to be assigned to friends, family or guests. I liked the way the application allowed codes that use more than just 4 digits, supporting up to 8 in total, which is nice to see for a little peace of mind. I also liked how the Schlage Sense app could limit and when codes could be used, preventing access to the home outside of set times, which might be useful for visitor recurrence or simply, a nice thing to have if you forget to disable a code.

Junk in the trunk

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt: What I do not like

Schlage Sense interior assembly, compared to Reagle Smart Lock

Source: Christopher Close / iMore

Despite the front or outer portion of Schlage Sense, which has one of the best looks around, the interior assembly part is not as elegant. Compared to one of my existing smart locks, Reagle Smart Deadbolt, Schlage Sense is both wider and taller, and extends even further out the door. I suppose this is because Schlage's offer has a built-in alarm, but it doesn't come out as a big toe, screaming it's a connected lock.

As mentioned above, Schlage Sense has been extremely reliable since the installation, responding to every order sent through the Home and Siri application. However, since Sense uses Bluetooth for connectivity, it may take a while for the lock to secure your door or unlock it once a command is sent. Executing an initial command to say, lock the door took about 5 seconds on average, and subsequent orders take 2-3 seconds if sent within a few moments.

I will notice that the response time of the Sense is quite equal for the course with Bluetooth accessories, so it is not a defect of the jam itself, and the speed can, of course, vary according to proximity. Speaking of Bluetooth, Schlage Sense can connect to the Apple HomeKit right out of the box. Since I'm completely immersed in everything, HomeKit didn't stop me from integrating it into my home, but those living the Alexa and Google Assistant lives will need a Wi-Fi adapter to add a little more price.

Elegant and smart

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt: Bottom line

out of 5

When it comes to smart locks, the Schlage Sense line is simply one of the best for its combination of security, reliability, good looks and easy installation. Reinforced hardware, a built-in alarm and a secure-local connection to HomeKit keep access to your home in your hands. However, if your needs are evolving and you want to connect it to a web service, such as Alexa or Google Assistant, you can have an optional adapter, putting it back in control.

Schlage Sense is also very reliable, always ready for orders or for a quick on-demand status check via the Home, Schlage or Siri application. Reliability is also enhanced by a fantastic guarantee policy, protecting the investment for years to come. The Century of the Sense model, with its modern design and elegant keyboard, also happens to have one of the best deadbolt designs available, making the entire package an absolute winner.

Elegant, smart and confident

schlage sense smart deadbolt century matte black render cropped

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt

Bottom line: Schlage Sense is an easy-to-install, reliable, homeKit-connected framework, which also happens to have a superb keyboard layout. Even though Alexa and Google Assistant require a separate Wi-Fi adapter, Sense is still one of the best jams around.

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