Smart Locks for RVs: A Review of App-Connected Convenience

RVing is all about freedom. The freedom to explore new places, meet new people, and make new memories. But that freedom comes with some added concerns about security. After all, your RV contains all your most precious possessions, not to mention it’s your home away from home. You want to protect it.

That’s where smart locks come in. These clever little devices allow you to lock and unlock your RV door right from your smartphone. No more fumbling for keys or worrying if you remembered to lock up. Just tap an app and you’re set. Pretty nifty, eh?

How Do Smart Locks for RVs Work?

Smart locks use either WiFi or Bluetooth technology to connect to your smartphone. This allows you to control them remotely using a mobile app.

With a WiFi-enabled smart lock, it connects directly to your RV’s wireless internet. As long as your RV is in range of a wireless signal, you can lock or unlock the door from anywhere. No internet, no remote access.

Bluetooth smart locks have a shorter range, usually around 30 feet. But they don’t rely on WiFi, just a direct connection to your phone via Bluetooth. So as long as you’re within range, you can control the lock even without internet.

In both cases, the locks are operated by either a motorized deadbolt or a motorized latch. You use the app to extend or retract the bolt, locking or unlocking the door.

The installation process is pretty straightforward too. Most smart locks are designed to replace your existing RV door lock. You simply remove the old one and install the smart lock in its place. The whole operation takes about 10-15 minutes.

Now let’s look at some of the convenient features smart locks offer.

The Core Benefits of Smart Locks

Keyless Entry

This is the big one. With a smart lock, you don’t need to carry around a key. As long as your phone is with you, you can open the door with a tap.

For instance, say you’re sitting outside having a picnic. Nature calls. Just pull out your phone, open the app, and let yourself back in. No digging around for a key or trudging back to the picnic table to retrieve it.

It’s a convenience you don’t fully appreciate until you start using a smart lock. Once you get used to it, fumbling with keys seems so old-fashioned.

And if you’re one of those people who constantly misplaces their keys like me, then this feature alone makes smart locks worth it!

Remote Access

Going for a hike and worried you left the RV unlocked? At dinner and can’t remember if you locked up? With an app-based smart lock, you can check the status and lock or unlock the door remotely.

So no more worrying or drive-backs to double check. Just pull out your phone and tap the app anytime, anywhere. As long as you have an internet or Bluetooth connection, you’re covered.

This peace of mind is almost as valuable as the convenience factor.

Activity Tracking

Most smart locks keep a record of when the door was locked, unlocked, and by whom. So you can check the app activity log anytime to see who came and went and when.

This is great for security. If there’s ever an incident, you have a timestamped log. It also helps if you need to coordinate access with family or friends.

“Hey, could you feed Chewy while we’re gone?” Then you can see right in the app when they stopped by.

Scheduling & Users

You can set up schedules to lock and unlock automatically at certain times. This is great if you have regular comings and goings.

For example, you can schedule the door to unlock at 7 AM on weekdays so you don’t have to fumble with the app early in the morning. And lock back up at 11 PM every night.

Most smart locks also allow you to add permanent and temporary users. So you can give virtual keys to family, friends, or service providers and set dates when their access expires. No more hiding keys or changing combinations.

Alerts & Notifications

Worried about security? Smart lock apps send notifications whenever the door is opened or closed. So you’ll get an instant alert on your phone if there’s ever unexpected activity.

Some will even notify you if they sense tampering, like multiple failed unlock attempts. So you’ll know right away if a stranger tries to break in.

These real-time alerts offer serious peace of mind when you’re away from the RV.

Now that we’ve covered the core benefits, let’s look at some of the most recommended smart lock models for RVs:

Schlage Encode Plus

This WiFi-enabled lock from Schlage is a top choice for many RVers. Here are some standout features:

  • Works with Alexa and Google Home for voice control
  • Free mobile app for Android and iOS
  • Auto-locks and unlocks on schedules
  • Activity tracking and notifications
  • No monthly fees or subscriptions
  • Runs on 4 AA batteries

We installed the Schlage Encode on our RV last year and have been very happy with it. The biggest pro for us is that it doesn’t require any monthly fee to use the app features. Installation was a breeze too.

The auto-lock gives us peace of mind when wandering away from the RV. And we love getting a notification anytime the door is opened or closed when we’re away.

August WiFi Smart Lock

August is another popular WiFi-enabled smart lock choice. Highlights include:

  • Sleek minimalist design
  • Voice control through Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri
  • DoorSense tech can tell if door is open or closed
  • Auto-locks and unlocks
  • Guest access and activity notifications
  • DIY or professional installation options

The attractive design and DoorSense tech make the August lock stand out. We have some friends who installed it on their RV and love the ease of use. However, it does require an annual subscription to access some features.

If you don’t mind paying a monthly fee, the August is an excellent smart lock choice with robust features. But the subscription does add to the long term cost.

Lippert Electronic RV Lock

For a budget-friendly Bluetooth option, the Lippert lock is a great choice. Features include:

  • Bluetooth connectivity within 30 feet
  • Free mobile app for iOS and Android
  • Temporary user codes
  • Low battery indicator
  • Keys as backup

We like that the Lippert comes with a backup key in case the batteries die. The Bluetooth connectivity makes it flexible to use without relying on WiFi range.

Some users report the Bluetooth range may be shorter than advertised. But for the price, it’s hard to beat for a basic remote access smart lock.

Kwikset Halo Touch

Here are some key details on the Kwikset Halo Touch:

  • Works via WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Touchscreen for keyless entry
  • 30-day history log
  • Auto-lock and unlock
  • Remote access with app
  • Alerts for forced entry

The Kwikset Halo has the flexibility of both WiFi and Bluetooth. So you can control it via app from anywhere with WiFi or Bluetooth when in range.

The touchscreen gives you another way to unlock without a phone or key. And the 30-day log and forced entry alerts add security.

Just be aware there is a monthly fee to use the full app capabilities. But the flexibility and touchscreen may be worth the cost for some RVers.

Key Factors When Choosing a Smart Lock

Deciding which smart lock is right for your RV comes down to a few key considerations:

Installation – Do you want a DIY install or prefer hiring a pro? Some locks are more complex than others.

WiFi vs Bluetooth – Consider your connectivity needs. WiFi offers remote access anywhere with cell signal. Bluetooth works in a 30ft range without internet.

Price – Upfront costs range from $130 to $300+ and monthly fees are $2 to $10. Factor in long term costs.

Power Source – Batteries vs hardwired. Hardwired is more secure but requires wiring skills.

Design – Choose a style that fits with your RV’s existing hardware. Minimalist or bulky? Metal finish or plastic?

Features – Determine which are must-haves like activity logs, auto lock/unlock, or touchscreens.

Prioritize the factors above based on your RV lifestyle and needs. This will point you towards the best smart lock model for the way you RV.

Pro tip: Check that any lock you choose is designed for RVs and tested to withstand vibration and temperature extremes. General home smart locks may not hold up to the RV environment.

Is it Worth it?

For many RVers, smart locks are well worth the investment. The convenience and peace of mind are huge perks. But they aren’t right for everyone.

You have to be comfortable relying on battery power and technology instead of a plain old key. And willing to shell out $130+ for the lock hardware itself.

For occasional RVers who spend a few weekends a year in their RV, smart locks are probably overkill. But if you live in your RV full time or spend long stretches on the road, they make life much easier.

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