How to Install a Smart Lock

A Schlage Encode satin style smartlock installed on a green door.
Josh Hendrickson

When you are set up a new smarthome, one of the easiest gadgets to add to your arsenal is a smart lock. It's not much more difficult than changing a standard lock at home. Here is what to do.

The basics

For this guide, we install a Schlage Encode smart lock. Even if you have a different smart lock from another brand, most (if not all) steps will be the same. You will typically find three main components in a smart lock: an outside room that can have a keypad, a lock for a key or both, an interior room that contains the batteries and circuits, and the lock that locks your door. The tricky part is to connect them all.

Tip: You may have already advised to test your smart lock before installing it by inserting the batteries to turn it on. Then you can be sure that the lock will turn on before going to the door.

This seems like a good tip, but the first time a smart lock is activated, it checks whether the door is turned to the left or to the right and adjusts the locking mechanism accordingly. Without a door to test, the system may be guessing wrong and your installation will not work properly. If you want to perform this test, you must check the instructions for a factory reset process. After running the test, reset the lock at the factory.

Removing the old lock

Before you can install your new smart lock, you must remove the old one. Standard locks are easy to remove, as long as you always have access to the interior of your home. Start by finding the two screws on the inner rotating part of the thumb. Then unscrew them.

A standard lock on a lock, with two red arrows pointing to two screws.
Josh Hendrickson

Open the door (if you have not already done so) and go to the front of the lock (where you insert your key). The key must be loosened, remove it.

The key of the lock, slightly inclined towards the door.
Josh Hendrickson

Now on the side of your door, look for the lock that slips when you lock it. Unscrew the two screws and remove the bolt.

Install your Smart Lock

Now find the lock for your new lock and look for the top mark:

Slide the bolt into the frame of your door and make sure to keep the "up" face up. Look in the hole of the door to see if the inside of the bolt is centered with your door. You will notice three holes in the assembly – these must be as close as possible to the center. If this is not the case, you can lengthen or shorten the bolt (depending on the current length) to center it. Generally, you do this by turning the bolt mechanism, but you may also need to use a screwdriver. Then install the two screws to lock the bolt in place.

A lock cavity with a lock and lines crossing the vertical and horizontal center.
It does not have to be perfectly centered, but it must be close. Josh Hendrickson

Then find the outside mounting piece to the lock. Pay attention to the long thin bar and the electronic wire.

A Schlage Encode assembly with a red box around an assembly of wire and a bar.
Josh Hendrickson

Insert the assembly to your door. In doing so, insert the object bar into the center hole of the bolt assembly. This should be the only hole through which the bar passes. Carefully side of the wiring under the bolt hardware. You want to make sure that the hardware will not pinch the wiring.

Inside the door lock hole, showing the wiring going under the bolt assembly.
Josh Hendrickson

If your smart locking system seems inclined to fall out of the door at this point, we will secure it later. This is especially common with large keyboards. You may want to consider using double-sided tape to keep it in place until you can secure the lock completely.

Some smart locks include a steel or plastic plate against the inside of the door. Take this and pass the wire from the front assembly through. Next, find the two long screws and pass them through the other two holding the bolt assembly to the front. This locks everything in place.

With some locks, you will fix the inside using the two long screws without the metal plate.

A metal plate with two screws and a power wire sticking through it.
Josh Hendrickson

Connect the wire of the outer piece to the inner set. Usually, the inner room contains channels to pass the wiring and avoid pinching.

Inner lock piece connected to the rest of the lock.
Josh Hendrickson

Once the wire is connected, place the inner latch on the door and secure it with the help of screws.

Closeup of a Schlage Encode padlock showing stabilization screws.
Josh Hendrickson

All you have to do is insert your batteries. The first time your lock is activated, it will test the orientation of the door. It is normal that it locks and unlocks several times as part of this process. Once this is complete, you can start to pair your app and set up PINs if you have a keyboard.

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