When you’re setting up a new smart home, one of the easiest gadgets you can add to your arsenal is a smart lock. It’s not much more difficult than changing the standard lock on your home. Here’s what to do.


For this guide, we are installing the Schlage Encode smart lock. Even if you have a different brand of smart lock, most (if not all) of the steps will be the same. Typically, you will find three main components in a smart lock: the outer element, which may have a keypad, key lock, or both, the inner element, which houses the batteries and circuitry, and the deadbolt, which holds your door. The tricky part is connecting them all.

As a quick tip, you may have seen the advice to test your smart lock before installation by inserting batteries to turn it on. Then you can be sure that the lock will turn on before he enters the door.

This seems like sound advice, but the first time the smart lock is turned on, it checks if the door is pointing left or right and adjusts the shutter mechanism accordingly. Without a real door to check against, it might guess and your setup won’t work correctly. If you want to perform this test, you should check the instructions for the factory reset process. After running the test, reset the lock settings to factory settings.

Removing the old lock

Before you can install a new smart lock, you need to remove the old one. Standard locks are easy to remove if you still have access to the inside of your home. Start by finding two screws on the inside pivot of your thumb. Then unscrew them.

A standard thumbturn on a padlock with two red arrows pointing to two screws.

Open the door (if you haven’t already) and go to the front of the lock (where you insert your key). The key assembly must be loosened, remove it.

The key is assembled with a lock, slightly tilted out of the door.

Now on the side of your door, find the bolt that pops out when you lock it. Loosen the two screws and pull out the bolt assembly.

Installing your smart lock

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

Insert the latch into the door frame and make sure the «top» is pointing up. Look through the door opening to see if the deadbolt is well centered inside your door. You will notice three holes in the assembly — they should be as close to the center as possible. If it doesn’t, you can either lengthen or shorten the bolt (depending on the current length) to center it. You usually do this by turning the bolt mechanism, but you may also need to use a screwdriver. Then install two screws to secure the bolt in place.

Lock the cavity with a bolt and lines crossing the vertical and horizontal center.
It doesn’t have to be perfectly centered, but it should be close.

Then find the part of the outer assembly to the castle. Notice the long thin rod and the electronic wire.

Schlage Encode assembly with red border around wire assembly and bar.

Insert the assembly to your door. At the same time, pass the rod through the middle hole in the bolt assembly. This should be the only hole the bar goes through. Carefully position the wiring under the bolt fastener. You want to make sure that the equipment will not pinch the wiring.

Interior door lock hole showing wiring under bolt assembly.

If your smart lock seems prone to fall out of the door at this point, we will secure it in the next steps. This is especially true for high keyboards. You may consider using double-sided tape to hold it in place until you can fully secure the lock.

Some smart locks include a steel or plastic plate that runs deep into the door. Take it and run the wire through it from the front. Then locate the two long screws and thread them through the other two mounting bolt assemblies towards the front. This will block everything in place.

With some locks, you will attach the inner assembly with two long screws without a metal plate.

A metal plate with two screws and a power wire sticking out of it.

Connect the wire from the outer part to the inner assembly. Typically, the interior contains channels for the passage of wiring and to prevent pinching.

The interior of the castle is connected to the rest of the castle.

After connecting the wire, install the internal lock on the door and fix it with screws.

A close Schlage encoding lock, showing the stabilizing screws.

Now all that’s left to do is insert your batteries. The first time the lock is turned on, it will check which way the door is facing. It’s okay to lock and unlock multiple times as part of this process. Once it’s over, you can start pairing your app and setting up PINs if you have a keyboard.

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