Best Smart Lock for Airbnb Hosts for 2018

Locks are a “key” part of an Airbnb’s protection and enjoyability, and smart locks, in particular, make everything much easier for hosts and guests alike.

For Airbnb hosts, the safety of both their property and guests should be a top priority. To ensure the utmost security of an Airbnb space, hosts should invest in smart locks for their front and back doors.

Best Overall

Schlage Connect

Schlage Connect™ Touchscreen Deadbolt

The Schlage Connect is the most reliable and efficient smart lock for your Airbnb. With a sleek, modern keypad and a user-friendly app interface, this smart lock makes check-in and check-out a breeze.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $174.92. Image from Amazon listing.

We decided that the Schlage Connect is the easiest smart lock to use, offering you full control with the most user-friendly functionality. This lock truly integrates with your Airbnb procedures. The Schlage Connect uses Z-Wave Technology to operate, which you can connect to your lock with a Wink, Iris, or SmartThings hub. Its fingerprint-resistant, touchscreen keypad ensures intruders won’t figure out your code and its sleek, modern appearance will accent any door. For an Airbnb, we think a keypad is most useful because unique codes can be changed and deleted at any time and guests will always know how to use them. Keypads are pretty straightforward, and this lock combines that simplicity with other high-tech elements.

The Schlage Connect doesn’t require your guests to download an app or connect with Wifi or Bluetooth, but you are still able to access your property from anywhere. The Z-Wave Technology connects to your home automation system and lets you lock or unlock your door remotely via the web or your smartphone. You’ll be able to use Schlage’s app to manage your lock and view its activity. The lock offers a built-in alarm system with three different modes for general activity, tampering, and forced entry. This feature lets you know when someone is coming or going and warns you of potential security threats.

To install the Schlage Connect, you will have to replace your existing deadbolt, but it isn’t too difficult to do if you follow the lock’s manual. The process can be finished in under an hour and connecting your lock to your hub and other devices is a breeze. You’ll be able to manage your codes from anywhere, including on the lock’s physical keypad and app on your smartphone. Up to 30 user PINs can be added, and they can be between 4 and 8 digits each. However, all user PINs must be the same length. Don’t worry, though — programming the lock is quick and easy and it comes with clear instructions for how to do everything.

You will have to manually change codes every time a new person stays in the Airbnb, but it’s worth the extra 5 minutes out of your day for the best security. You could also set up any number of PINs and delete each one after its use. This lock is extremely reliable and you can expect a battery life of 1-2 years, depending on how much you use it and if it is installed correctly. Make sure to read the manual thoroughly! Keep in mind that you will probably spend a lot of time deleting and re-entering codes, but you’ll rarely have to worry about a guest having trouble getting in or out of the property.

Best Integration

August Smart Lock Pro, 3rd Gen

August Smart Lock Pro, 3rd Generation

The August Smart Lock Pro is an advanced smart lock offering Airbnb integration and high-tech, automated features. You can track the activity at your door and be connected at all times.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $199.99. Image from Amazon listing.

The August Smart Lock Pro is the best high-tech smart lock on the market and its perfect for hosts since it integrates directly with the Airbnb mobile app. If you want to give your guests an innovative experience with fancy gadgets, then the August Smart Lock is right for you. This lock, with its futuristic, streamlined look, will give a whole new flair to your Airbnb and improve your guests’ stays. Setting up is quick and easy — all you need is a screwdriver. If you install this lock, your guests will be automatically notified to download the August Home app and be ready to receive their virtual key. This key will only work for the length of their stay, expiring on the date of check-out.

It also allows for 24/7 self-check-in, since all the guest needs are their smartphone or a unique code. With one tap in the August Home app (available on iTunes and Google Play) or from the August Smart Keypad, guests can lock the door as they leave. Hosts even get an instant notification every time a guest locks or unlock the door with the August Home app. Additionally, the app logs who locks and unlocks your door, while the August Doorbell Cam records each interaction in case you need to replay audio and video. The camera can be used to greet your guests as well, letting you see and speak to guests at the door, right from your smartphone.

In general, the August Smart Lock is a real time-saver. It completely automates the check-in and check-out process; you’ll never have to worry about hiding keys or changing codes because the integrated software will take care of everything. However, there are some downsides to this seemingly gimmicky product. We had our doubts when researching the illustrious August Smart Lock, considering its high price and add-on devices.

When dealing with something that runs solely on Bluetooth or Wifi, you’re going to encounter some connectivity issues. On this lock, the door sense can be kind of buggy. You will probably have to recalibrate your lock and door sense multiple times. Also, if you want to control the lock remotely, you’re going to need an August Connect Wifi Bridge. A lot of the online descriptions for the August Lock make it seem like you can control the lock without it, but many of the features are unavailable on the base model, which is Bluetooth-only. The battery also only lasts for about 3 months.

If you want to make the most of your lock, you are going to need to purchase an August Connect or Amazon Echo. Bluetooth will still need to be enabled when using these devices, though. Not only that, but you are also going to need to purchase a separate keypad because there is the possibility that your guest doesn’t know how to operate it or doesn’t have a smartphone. So, even though you’re trying to go completely hands-free, that’s not really an option. A physical key will also be needed, and many users complain of lockouts due to a bug in the auto-unlock feature. However, when the August Smart Lock runs smoothly and your guests connect too, everything runs smoothly and the lock acts as an all-in-one solution that integrates seamlessly with your Airbnb experience.

Best Price

Lockitron Bolt

Lockitron Bolt

The Lockitron Bolt is a simple, elegant lock that uses Bluetooth Low Energy to work. For just $99, you can be smart and purchase this straightforward smart lock.

*At the time of publishing, this product was out of stock. Image from Amazon listing.

For just $99 you can purchase the Lockitron Bolt, a sweet and simple smart lock that fits onto your existing deadbolt. Installation only requires six screws and takes 20 minutes, and once you download the Lockitron App, you’re good to go. This lock is opened with a signal from your authorized Apple or Android device and a tap of your screen, though it doesn’t offer as many management and scheduling features as some of the other models.

You’re not going to be able to gather as much data on your smartphone, but the interface is very direct. Open the app and two big circles pop up on your screen, both with icons of a lock (one is locked, and one is unlocked). All you have to do is tap the icon you want and your lock will respond in record time. You can add guests and activate auto-unlock too, but that’s about as much as you can do on the app. The Lockitron Bolt also detects when someone uses a key and can notify you in the app when the lock jams. The lock is also difficult to turn by hand, which affected it in our ease of use ratings, but also means it’s a more difficult lock to pick.

If you want to have remote access to your lock and gain more control, you can purchase the other model of the bolt that comes with the Wifi Bridge for $179. There’s also the option of a keypad, but it’s not an add-on like it is for the August Smart Lock. You’ll have to purchase the specific lock that comes with it. It’s also important to note that there is usually an inventory problem with these locks, so the online sale prices are typically inflated. Additionally, the battery life on the Lockitron Bolt is only eight months, which is shorter than the industry average of 12, so you’ll have to update the battery quite frequently.

All in all, the Lockitron Bolt is one of the easiest smart locks to use and install, but it isn’t nearly as “smart” as other locks out there.

Why Use a Smart Lock?

It’s in the name — if you want to be smart about your Airbnb’s security, a smart lock just makes sense. Locks are essential with any vacation rental, considering you’re going to have lots of different people constantly coming in and out of your property. When one guest leaves, another one comes, and that usually means you have to retrieve your keys over and over again. This is bound to cause issues, especially when losing or forgetting a key is so easy. Smart locks will prevent lockouts and allow guests to get in and out of the space easily. You can also be sure that the door will always be properly secured since most of these devices have an “auto lock” feature.

Smart locks can save you a lot of trouble since you won’t have to show up all the time to pick up or give out keys. You can do everything remotely through your smartphone, making check-in and check-out a breeze. Many locks on the market today are opened with a sensor and rely exclusively on smartphone interaction. They will let you know when someone is opening the door and who is at your door. You’ll also be able to change individuals’ access with a tap of your screen. Other popular locks are opened with a special code that is entered into a keypad on the door. All you need to do is give out the code to your guests. Once their stay is over, you can easily change the code to the lock and Types of Smart Locks

Smart locks come in all kinds of shapes and styles, so it’s important to learn about the different types on the market. As mentioned previously, some smart locks are activated on smartphones and use apps to be managed, and others operate with the use of a unique code that’s entered into a keypad. Both kinds are great, but they function a lot differently. Here are some of the main differences between the average types of smart locks.

Deadbolts

The other main difference between smart locks is whether or not they are legitimate locks with their own deadbolts. Most smart locks are, but many of the popular smartphone- and hub-integrated locks are just motorized attachments that are installed over the deadbolt you already have. This usually means that the smart lock is easier to set up, but you’ll want to make sure the one you choose works with your specific deadbolt. There is also the question of connectivity and how each smart lock gives access to people.

Connectivity

The locks that are integrated with smartphones and electronic hubs will require a few more expenses and add extra steps to your guest’s check-in process. Each of these locks usually has their own applications that go with the lock and allow you to lock and unlock the doors remotely, see who is at your door, and keep track of when people come and go. Aside from the phone controls, most smart locks will also integrate with a variety of third-party platforms and devices. Most of the time, these are sold separately and lots of locks run exclusively on them. These smart locks also depend largely on Wifi, which can cause some issues if a guest’s phone isn’t connected and you are unable to communicate.

However, on the bright side, if a guest is having trouble, this kind of technology can let you unlock the door for them remotely. This is what sets smart locks apart from regular and electronic locks — the added feature of smartphone interaction and control adds another level of ease to the check-in and check-out process.

Access

Different smart locks also have different ways of being used. You want to make sure that the lock is user-friendly and easy for your guests to use. Smart locks with keypads are pretty straightforward, allowing a guest to punch in the code and turn the doorknob. Other smart locks unlock as you approach the door, sensing guests’ smartphones (usually through Bluetooth). Other locks open by simply touching it, given that the person’s smartphone is paired. There are also “virtual keys” that can be given to guests through the smart locks’ apps. To put it simply, smart locks either have a keypad or they don’t. Smart locks that don’t have a keypad require smartphone use on both the guests’ and hosts’ ends, no matter what. Although, some of the integrated locks that work with smartphones have the option to install an add-on keypad for guests who don’t want or know how to use the integrated software.

How We Chose the Best Locks

When looking at the best smart locks for Airbnb spaces, our goal was to focus on security and convenience. Sure, all the fancy bells and whistles are fun for tech-savvy Airbnb hosts with all the latest gadgets, but when it comes to functionality, your smart lock doesn’t have to be that smart. Relying solely on the power of our smartphones has its downsides, believe it or not. For this reason, we sought out a smart lock that provides maximum safety and user-friendliness without requiring other devices to be up and running.

When you start looking into the high-end smart locks that boast advanced technology and extraordinary ease, you’ll realize that using them can actually be more of a hassle. Usually, you’re going to have to invest in a specific, third-party hub that syncs with your smart lock and makes it work. Not only does this increase the cost for your smart lock, but it also adds more hoops to jump through. Guests may have to download different apps and learn how to use the software or their phones may die, have a poor connection, or not be compatible with the smart lock’s technology.

It’s also crucial to consider the use of this smart lock. The right smart lock for your home isn’t necessarily the right smart lock for your Airbnb. It’s different when you have strangers coming in and out of your property all the time at odd hours of the day. With your own family, you don’t have to worry about changing the lock every couple of days. There’s going to be a lot of traffic in your Airbnb’s doorway, so choosing the right smart lock is a tremendous task. You have to choose one that can stand the test of time and provide the most convenience for both Airbnb hosts and guests. Remember that smart locks are pretty pointless if they don’t work perfectly and some smart features can actually hinder your efficiency.

Popular Locks that Didn’t Make the Cut

There are a lot of locks on the market that are advertised everywhere and praised by tech-nerds all over the internet. However, some of these popular locks don’t actually work as well as people claim.

Unreliable Connection

Kwikset Kevo

Kwikset Kevo Touch-to-Open™ Smart Lock

The Kwikset Kevo promises unparalleledease and convenience, but for many, that’s not the case. This smart lock has a lot of syncing issues and going keyless isn’t really an option.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $181.60. Image from Amazon listing.

Even though you may have read some articles on the wonders of the Kwikset Kevo, this lock actually is more of a hassle than it is convenient. The Kevo is advertised as a “Touch-to-Open Bluetooth Smart Lock” with advanced technology designed to make your life easier. However, many users claim the opposite. The Kwikset Kevo is supposed to recognize when your phone is nearby and you can open the door by touching the lock. It is able to tell whether you and your phone are inside or outside before it unlocks. The Kevo works with Alexa and requires the Kevo Plus hub, sold separately for about $100.

You can use the Kevo app to track who is locking and unlocking your door and give eKeys to guests. The owner of the lock is also issued two Anytime eKeys that work with a compatible smartphone. If your guests do not have smartphones, you will have to purchase a Kevo fob. The Kevo fob will act just like your phone — all you have to do is touch the lock…supposedly.

In a perfect world, the Kevo sounds like a pretty cool product, but it just doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. The battery runs out quickly and the lock just stops working at random times. It also doesn’t seem to integrate very well with users’ devices; it only works sometimes, which really defeats the purpose of the product. This lock is not reliable enough to go completely keyless. If you’re trying to eliminate the hassle of putting a key under the welcome mat or coming to your Airbnb to unlock it for guests, this lock probably isn’t your solution. Guests will likely have quite a few issues learning to work it and even if it does work, the connection is often slow.

It’s not uncommon to linger in front of your door, touching the lock repeatedly and staring dumbfounded at your phone’s screen. All the Kevo really becomes is just a fancy-looking lock with a blue ring on it. This is why a smart lock with a keypad is usually a much better option. You’re guaranteed to get into your home without a physical key all the time — and you don’t have to be connected to Bluetooth or Wifi to do so.

Can’t Get It to Work

Lockstate RemoteLock

Lockstate RemoteLock

RemoteLock is a smart lock that is tightly integrated with Airbnb. In theory, the idea behind this lock is amazing, but, in reality, the lock doesn’t always work. Because RemoteLock runs exclusively on Wifi, it’s hard to rely on your lock’s connection and security.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $238.70. Image from Amazon listing.

RemoteLock is an Airbnb-integrated lock that has a variety of property management features. Though it is advertised by Airbnb and does offer great resources for hosts, RemoteLock may not be the best choice for your rental. The lock does connect with Airbnb, meaning it will help you automate a lot of your tasks. When bookings are made, reservation information is sent to the smart lock and guest code is automatically created. You can also know who enters your property and when. Whenever you want, you may issue new codes or delete codes with your computer or phone. The idea behind this smart lock is great, and when it does work, it’s awesome! However, oftentimes, RemoteLock doesn’t work. Users complain of locks working at first and then ceasing to work after a few days of use. Others just don’t work at all.

This lock works exclusively with a Wifi connection, which means you won’t have to purchase any other devices to make the lock work. However, we all know that Wifi connections can be a bit fickle. The smart lock’s app also rarely syncs up with the actual lock. This makes remotely locking and unlocking the door practically impossible. Although, if you already have Wifi set up in your Airbnb, you won’t have to purchase any other devices to connect to the lock. Note that the app is unpredictable, so it’s better to access the lock from your computer. For Airbnb hosts and guests, this is definitely not ideal. You may not be near your computer when you need to be and, unfortunately, LockState’s customer service takes days to get in touch with. So, if you encounter an issue that needs to be resolved right away, your hands will be tied until they get back to you.

The bottom line is, this lock can save you a lot of time if you can get past the tricky installation and get it working properly. These locks are some of the most expensive, though, considering their tight integration with Airbnb, but a cheaper lock with the same kind of keypad will probably work better. Even though you don’t have to buy a hub for this lock, there is a monthly service fee associated with keeping the lock connected. The battery life is questionable as well, so you may find yourself buying new batteries often. If you want to take the chance, RemoteLock has a lot of tools for managing your Airbnb, but keep in mind it may not work and its lack of security features can be compromising.

Using a Smart Lock

The majority of smart lock models can’t be purchased in stores, so you’re going to have to buy it online from Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe’s, or the model’s website. Typically, smart locks are fairly easy to install and take about 30 minutes to do so. All you’ll need is a screwdriver and your lock’s manual. It’s important that you read all of the lock’s instructions extremely carefully and test the system out on multiple smartphones before having guests book stays. Adding guests and sending them codes or keys will vary depending on the smart lock you choose. Our number one pick, the Schlage Connect, just requires that you send a new code to your guest through a message on Airbnb.

Teaching Guests How to Use It

Once you install your smart lock and get it up and running, you’re going to have to teach your guests how to use it. If the smart lock you choose isn’t integrated with Airbnb, like August or RemoteLock, then you’re going to have to do that part of the work yourself. It shouldn’t be too difficult to do. You can write your Airbnb guests a simple welcome letter that introduces them to the property, breaks down the rules, and gives a brief explanation of how to use the smart home technology. Here’s how you can describe your Airbnb’s smart lock in your message.

EXAMPLE

Hi! Welcome to our lovely home. Our front door is equipped with a smart lock: the Schlage Connect. To get in, all you have to do is enter this code: 1366. You should see a green checkmark light up on the keypad, and then the door will unlock. If you enter the code incorrectly, a red checkmark will show up. Should you have any trouble getting in, just contact me and I will unlock the door for you remotely from my phone.

Determining What’s Best for You

At the end of the day, you need to choose a smart lock that is best for you and your Airbnb. Not all spaces require the same kinds of technology and all the guests are different. However, for the most part, technology is a huge part of our lives and smart locks are a great way to streamline your check-in and check-out processes. You’ll also never have to worry about someone stealing or making a copy of your key because guests will be provided with unique codes that expire at the ends of their stays.

We think keypads are the best bet for most rentals since sometimes our phones can be unreliable. They can run out of battery, lose connection to Wifi, or completely glitch. A keypad is dependable and straightforward, so guests will always have safe and easy access to the Airbnb. Smart locks should be cool and fun features that impress guests when they walk up to your door. They shouldn’t be difficult to use — you’re paying for convenience. So, think about what your Airbnb needs: the kinds of guests you have how many guests you have, how long they usually stay, and more. This will give you insight on what kind of features your lock should have. For the most part, you want a smart lock that is secure and easy to use. Remember that just because it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles doesn’t mean it’s not efficient.

Jaleesa Bustamante