The use of smart locks for vacation rentals like Airbnb, Vrbo, and HomeAway has seen a substantial increase in numbers. They make the rentals easy to manage, secure, and gives upmarket tech feel.
In a recent survey, the hosts of the rental properties felt that the smart home devices provide an edge and unique value to guest as compared to other properties.
We checked with few property managers in New York and they responded in affirmation on the rise of smart lock usage in rental homes. No one wants to manage physical keys now. Smart locks provide home access at the touch of the button without physically meeting. Does it promote social distancing? yes it does
We tested out the latest smart lock and listed our favorite smart locks for vacation rentals.
Important note: We have stayed away in listing keyless smart locks that cannot be operated remotely. They may cost you half the cost but the inability to assign or delete access code remotely defeats the big advantage of a smart lock.
[Top Pick for Vacation Rentals] August Wifi Smart Lock ( 4th Generation )
4th generation Wifi smart lock was launched in April 2020 by August. It works without any bridge or hub and connects directly to the home wifi. August has reduced the size of the lock that makes it aesthetically more attractive.
We connected the lock to two networks to test its compatibility. It connected to 2.4Ghz wifi within seconds but it took little more time to connect with the 5Ghz network. After the connection, it worked like a charm. If you share the same SSID for two networks, try turning off the 5GHz and then connect the lock. Once connected, switch on the 5Ghz network.
It easily attaches to an existing deadbolt and you can continue to use door lock with key as well as a keyless door entry.
Auto-unlock is a handy feature. It locks the door automatically when the guest arrives. The door sense feature allows you to know the status of the door in the app.
August Wifi smart lock is fully compatible with voice commands using Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa.
Battery life has improved from previous generations and will last easily from 9-12months. It is available in two color trim.
Kwikset SmartCode 914 with SmartKey Security and Z-Wave Plus
One of the hottest sellers in the Kwikset SmartCode 9xx series. The SmartCode 914 works on Z-Wave Plus. It uses Z-Wave 500 chipset inside the lock and is responsible for providing extending wireless range. A perfect smart lock for bigger rental homes.
It has 30 user access code that is enough for any Airbnb or vacation rental property. Assign access code and delete once the guest checks out.
Keyless door entry through the back-lit keypad comes handy for the low light situations and the guests will appreciate it. It also features an auto-door lock after 30 seconds.
The SmartCode 914 lock features key entry as well and the smart key is a useful feature of all Kwikset locks. With the help of the smart key, you can re-key an old Kwikset key into a new key for this lock.
Kwikset SmartCode 914 is easy to install and one screwdriver is all it takes. It has a latch with an adjustable backset that works on standard doors (2-3/8 to 2-3/4 inches).
It can be operated through the voice with Alexa but will need a compatible (Z-Wave Plus) hub. Make a note here on the protocol it uses, hence it will not work with existing devices on other protocols like ZigBee.
Yale Assure Lock SL – Key-Free Door with Touchscreen for Airbnb or Vrbo
Yale Assure SL impressed us with a few notable factors. One of them is the combo options it provides from an aesthetic point of view. You can buy a standalone lock or combine it with Ridgefield handle, Valdosta, Jamestown handle, Navis or Norwood.
We reviewed the SL model with a touchscreen and keyless door entry. There are two more options such as touchscreen with key and keypad with a key. We also recommend keypad with key as it tends to bring more touch satisfaction to guests as per our small survey with property managers.
The lock provides 25 unique access codes sufficient for your Airbnb or Vrbo property. It is a weather-resistant (not water-proof) lock with an option to enable auto-relock.
The touchscreen with cover is of high quality and won’t wear out easily. It has a back-up battery option below the touchscreen in case you run out of battery. Voice assistance for setup guidance on the menu can be helpful for a few readers.
It is one of the sleekest smart locks we have tested. It has one-touch locking that can be activated with three-finger tapping on the keypad.
Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt
Before we begin a point of note for readers, we have a detailed review Schlage Encode Wifi lock that is priced around $200 and is neck to neck with August Wifi smart lock. There are cheaper options from Schlage but with a price difference of $20 make them expensive to own when you can have an upgraded Encode with better features.
The Encode is available in two aesthetics: Camelot and Century. It is a second option if you are looking for a Wifi lock with inbuilt Wifi. It does not require any additional hub to connect and use all the smart features.
The Encode has a built-in alarm in case of any attempt to security breach. It is easy to install and uses snap ‘n’ stay technology. The technology helps you to install keeping both your hands free during the installation.
The Encode provides 100 access codes with time-based access. It works with Alexa, Keys by Amazon, Ring, etc. It has a low battery warning so that you can change your old batteries on time.
Igloohome Smart Electronic Bluetooth Deadbolt 2S – Airbnb Preferred Partner
Igloohome has partnered with Airbnb to provide smart home devices including a smart lock that has direct access to Airbnb APIs. This innovative collaboration help in encrypting and synchronizing the data. Hence the smart lock can work without the internet in offline mode.
The Airbnb API integration also helps in synchronizing the Airbnb listing calendar with access codes generated automatically and sent to guests free of cost. Please note that these functions are also available through third-party apps at a monthly fee.
The Igloohome deadbolt has an above-average battery life and usually lasts around 6-7 months. The status of the battery is available in the app so that you can replace the batteries on time.
The recommended door width for Igloohome Deadbolt 2S is 1-3/8″-2-3/8″. It has an auto-relock feature and an emergency battery backup connectivity option in case of an emergency.
The door can be unlocked by guests via PIN/Access codes, Bluetooth keys, or a physical key.
Things to Consider for Buying a Smart Lock for Airbnb, Vrbo or any Vacation Rentals
Integration with Airbnb: As more and more guests prefer locks with remote access. It is essential to understand the kind of compatibility they provide when it comes to remote features. The rental property listing providers like Airbnb have made their API accessible for enhanced utility.
Many third-party companies have joined hands with Airbnb to develop customized apps to support direct lock access within the app. These services come at an additional cost. Keyless door locks save the hassles of key management if you are handling many vacation rental properties.
Access Codes: All smart locks provide time-based access codes for guests. This is one feature that makes smart lock in the rental property market a super success. The host and guests should be able to access home with the touch of button shared through app or keypad/touchscreen. Avoid buying a smart lock with keyless entry without remote access code management.
Battery Life: Whenever there is a power outage, the smart locks work on the battery. Depending on the daily usage of the door, the battery could last anywhere from 6-9 months. Most of them are advertised to last for 1 year but under ideal usage. The smart locks listed above for vacation rentals are good on battery life.
Right Fitment: There are a variety of smart locks available now. The design varies from deadbolts to handle/levers. All of them cater to standard doors when it comes to thickness. Make sure you re-check and pick up the right size. Do check the additional cost required to fit the smart lock on your door to match your door standards.
Bluetooth or Wifi: The smart locks connect remotely to your smartphone through Bluetooth or Wifi. A Bluetooth smart lock consumes less battery whereas the Wifi smart lock requires more battery power. Wifi is an option to connect via Z-Wave Plus or ZigBee protocols. They both have their pros and cons but we recommend buying Wifi smart locks. The wifi smart locks are internet-enabled locks when connected compatible hub. The host can access and manage the lock remotely anywhere from the world. Few Wifi smart locks like August Wifi and Schlage Encode work without a hub.