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Make Your Own Smart Lock with a Raspberry Pi, RFID Badge, and Custom Code

A phone locked behind a false door, with an RFID card held up to it.

One of the better smart home products you can buy is the smart lock. It’ll help you know who is coming and going, and you can set up routines to lock your door at night or when you leave. But it also often means giving up your data to the company that made your smart lock and any connected smart company like Amazon and Google. If you don’t like that thought, why not make your own?

Now, let’s be transparent and honest upfront: buying a smart lock is easier. If you want something you can just install and go, this isn’t the route for you. Before tackling this, you’ll want to be comfortable with wiring diagrams and coding. You don’t have to write the code, but you’ll still have to do a bit of work.

But if you’re reasonably handy, you should be able to follow along with YenteDeWael’s directions. Over at Instructables, he laid out the process for creating your own smart lock. It doesn’t feature a traditional key, and that’s something to keep in mind, too. You’ll unlock the door with an RFID badge, as seen in many office spaces. You can also unlock it using a fingerprint or website access as well.

Still, not only can you control who comes and goes, but you can also see when the door is unlocked, along with the badge’s owner. To get started, you’ll need a Raspberry Pi 3 B+, a power supply, a fingerprint sensor, an electronic door lock, and a host of wires. You’ll find the complete list over at the Instructables guide.

You’ll also need to build a housing unit to hold everything and keep it safe from weather and prying. The system includes a screen to indicate when your badge works and a camera to take pictures of the person at the door. Altogether it’s a neat (though large and cumbersome) project.

And if all that sounds like too much work, then we suggest the Schlage Encode. It’s Wi-Fi-powered, easy to use and install, and works extremely well.

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and is responsible for the site's content direction. He has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smart home enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »