Check-ins and check-outs can take away a lot of your time—or your money if you’re paying someone to handle those tasks. An alternative way of welcoming your guests is with self-check-ins.
Self-check-ins are more convenient for both hosts and guests, so if you want to introduce this functionality to your short-term rental, you’ll need to find the best smart lock for Airbnb.
Here are our top picks for Airbnb smart locks:
- Best Overall: August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
- Most Secure: SCHLAGE Z-Wave Connect Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt
- Best App-Controlled: Yale Assure Lock
- Best Budget Pick: August Smart Lock, 3rd Generation
- Easiest to Install (No Additional Accessories Required): Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt
Why Should You Get a Smart Lock for Your Airbnb?
A smart lock is the easiest solution for your guests to check in and check out without any hassle. If you install a smart lock, you don’t need to wait around for your guests to arrive to give them the keys or pay someone else to do that for you. Guests may find themselves in situations where they arrive late so you have to wait around, or they might decide to leave early and wake you up at 3 a.m. In these cases, self-check-ins and check-outs would save you and the guest time and trouble.
On top of that, some guests look exclusively for rentals with self-check-ins. If you provide this option, you’ll get more bookings, and consequently, more earnings.
But why get a smart lock and not a lockbox?
A lockbox secures your house keys at the entrance—but once the key is in the guests’ hands, there’s still the risk of it being lost, stolen, duplicated, or locked inside the rental. A smart lock prevents all of that. Also, with the smart lock, you can set up unique codes for each new guest. With the lockbox, you can’t have unique keys for every guest, which creates a security risk.
A smart lock is a safer, simpler, and overall superior solution compared to a lockbox.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Smart Lock for Your Airbnb
When buying a smart lock for Airbnb, it all comes down to these essential factors:
Security/ANSI rating – The security system of the lock is the most important thing. You need to pick the style that works best for you. You can choose between an electronic keypad, a touchscreen keypad, and an app-controlled version. A useful security option is the ability to change the code remotely. In this way, you can enable the security code for the housekeepers only when the guests are definitely gone.
You can revise the lock’s security based on its ANSI rating. The rating goes from 1 to 3, with 1 being the most secure and 3 being the least. For a vacation rental, you should consider the locks that are fitted with grade 1 or 2.
Ease of Use – The design should be intuitive and the smart lock should be suitable for your guests. For example, some locks require guests to download the app, but if you have a lot of elderly guests this may not be the best choice. You can encounter other issues when using an app-controlled lock, such as your guests’ phones dying or guests not having access to the internet if they’re international travelers. If you want to avoid such situations, you should go with smart locks that use keycodes.
Ease of Installation – Unless you’re a tech-savvy host, you should read the installation instructions before purchasing the smart lock. Some locks are more difficult to install and need extra gadgets such as a Wi-Fi bridge. If you don’t want to pay a professional to do this job for you, find a smart lock you can install with ease.
Reliable Connectivity – The use of the lock depends on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity. If you don’t want your guests to get locked out because of a poor internet connection, you need to check which Wi-Fi configuration works best for the lock you want to buy. If you want to get a lock that can still work even if the Wi-Fi is down, you should get a lock with a keypad that has a Bluetooth function.
Battery Life – The simpler the technology of the lock is, the longer the battery will last. Read reviews to gauge the battery quality. Aim for smart locks that have a long lifespan which means that they can run for months or years without needing a replacement. Another useful feature is a notification from the app when the battery of the lock is low. In this way, you won’t end up with a dead smart lock in the middle of the night with guests waiting outside the door.
Monthly Fee – Check to see if there’s a monthly fee charged by the provider, or the smart lock might cost you much more than you planned.
Integration with Your Property Management System (PMS) – If you’re using a PMS (or you plan to use it in the future), you should look for a lock that can connect with your system.
The Best Smart Lock for Vacation Rentals
Based on the features we mentioned above, as well as the smart locks’ individual perks, our top pick for the best smart lock for Airbnb is the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock.
Besides the affordable price, rave reviews, and the many awards it’s won—Best Smart Lock by Good Housekeeping (2021), Best Smart Lock by Tom’s Guide (2021), and CNET Editor’s Choice two years in a row (2020/2021)—this is why this August lock is the winner:
Fits Over Your Existing Deadbolt – You won’t need to modify anything as this smart lock fits over most single-cylinder deadbolts. You can even use it with your existing lock and keys.
Easy, App-Free Use – Your guests won’t need to download an app because it has a smart keypad. You can set up unique codes for your guests, housekeeping, or whoever has access to the rental.
Quick Installation – Setting up the lock shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes, and anyone can do it!
Built-in Wi-Fi – You can connect the smart lock with any voice assistant, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings, which is amazing as you can control it remotely.
Auto-Unlock Feature – As you or your guests enter the rental, the smart lock will automatically unlock.
Non-Keypad Version Available – If you like this smart lock, but you don’t want a keypad, the good news is that August also has a non-keypad version.
Other Airbnb Smart Lock Alternatives
These other smart locks stood out because of key features that work well for Airbnb hosts.
The SCHLAGE Z-Wave Connect Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt is rated at ANSI Grade 1 which means that it ensures the highest residential security. This is a high-quality lock with a touchscreen system and built-in alarm technology. It is very durable and can be easily installed on most one-hole residential doors. When it comes to app integration, it connects only with Alexa.
If you’re looking for a smart lock that plays nice with other apps and has great security features, we suggest the Yale Assure Smart Lock. It works with Amazon Alexa, Hey Google, Airbnb, Philips Hue, Apple HomeKit, and more. You can choose several methods for unlocking: auto-unlock, unlocking with the keypad, or using the Yale Access app. You can install it on your existing doors or with an extra deadbolt lock if you want more security.
Since our first two runner-ups are more costly, we wanted to include a high-quality but budget-friendly option, and that’s the August Smart Lock, 3rd Generation. With its deadbolt thumb-turn, this smart lock is super easy to use. You can manage the access remotely through the app, and in case the batteries fail, you have a keyhole for backup access.
If you don’t want to think about additional accessories, you can get the Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt. It has built-in Wi-Fi, and to get it up and running you just need to pair it with the Schlage home app or Key by Amazon. You’ll be able to create and manage up to 100 recurring, temporary, or permanent access codes. When you pair that up with built-in alarm technology that senses potential security breaches, you’ll understand why it has ANSI rating of Grade 1.
Once you give smart locks a try, you will never be able to go back to your old ways. A smart lock will save you a lot of precious time, money, and effort as you can handle everything remotely and be certain that the security is at the highest level. If you want to find an affordable, easy-to-install, highly-secure smart lock that will be easy to use even for technologically challenged guests, you can’t go wrong with the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. On top of it all, it works with many different apps compared to other smart locks that only connect with Alexa. When you consider it all, you’ll understand why this is our top pick.