Kwikset Smart Key Locks: Selection & Installation

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We received a Kwikset SmartKey Lock for our review.

Whether you want an easy way to secure your home when you go out for dog walks without carrying your keys–or you want to provide a pet sitter or dog walk access to your home without handing over the key, you might have looked at the Kwikset Smart Key Locks at The Home Depot. This lock has a keypad to provide keyless access to your house to trusted family members and service providers–if you have shared your key code with them.

As we’ve written about before here on DogTipper, we love working on our home. John built the original portion of our home, our catio, our barn, workshop, and all our other outbuildings, so we’re always looking for ideas for projects to do around our house. (John might say I’m coming up with too many ideas for home projects…but that’s another story…)

One feature of our home that we’ve talked about improving for a long time are the locks. Recently we had the opportunity to review the Kwikset SmartKey locks at The Home Depot and we’re going to walk you through our decision on which lock to review as well as its installation and use.

Why Install the Kwikset Smart Key Lock In Pet Households

As you know, my father pet sits for us whenever we have to be away for the night but, even so, we’ve had occasions where we had to give out our housekey.

One winter we were leaving for a two-night trip, and my father was going to be at our home a few hours after we left (we had a very early flight). There was a forecast of an ice storm, though. What if he couldn’t make it in? We gave our neighbors our house key, just to be on the safe side.

We’ve known our neighbors forever so it wasn’t a worry…but we know that for so many people it can be.

You give out your housekey to a trusted neighbor…but while it’s in their care, how many people might have access to that key? Their kids? Friends of their kids??

The same situation could happen with a pet sitter.

You trust her to care for your pets…but do you know her boyfriend? Friends of her boyfriend? While that key is in her possession, they could all have access to make a copy.

The Kwikset SmartKey lock allows you to rekey your own locks without ever removing the lock from the door.

Kwikset SmartKey’s re-key technology features a patented side-locking bar, which is how the lock can rapidly and easily be re-keyed.

The bar replaces the traditional pin and tumbler design that is particularly vulnerable to increasingly common lock-bumping attacks. (Lock bumping is a way to pick locks using a special “bump key”…scary!)

The Home Depot features numerous styles of the Kwikset Smart Key locks (in a variety of finishes) including deadbolts only…

(See that tiny slot to the left of the keyhole? That’s the SmartKey technology where you’ll be able to insert a special tool to rekey your lock.)

They also have full sets with the door knob or lever…

…or doorknob only…

…and even these SmartCode locks that give you the option of unlocking the door with a key or with a code…

Choosing a Door for the Kwikset SmartKey Lock

Our first step, before deciding on a lock, was to decide which door we wanted to install the Kwikset SmartKey lock on and to measure that door. We decided on the French doors that serve as our back door.

First, John measured the inside of the door, from the center of the deadbolt the edge of the door…

…then he stepped outside and (with Tiki’s supervision) measured as well, making sure the molding around the door wouldn’t be in the way…

Choosing the Lock

With those measurements in hand, John went to The Home Depot website and started reading the specifications on each of the different kinds of locks.

After John read through all the specifications for the different lock styles, we headed off to our local The Home Depot store to check them out in person. There were a LOT of styles and finishes…

John started checking the boxes of several models he liked online…

…but I wandered off to check out a demo model of the Kwikset SmartKey Lock that has a SmartCode option so you can use a key OR a code to unlock the door.

An associate from The Home Depot walked over to help us. (Shh…he didn’t know we were writing about this!) I had a ton of questions for him and he was super helpful, even opening a box to show us the difference in a couple of the models.

So which did we choose? It was a really tough decision but we chose…drumroll, please…

…the Kwikset SmartCode Venetian Bronze Electronic Deadbolt featuring SmartKey.

Here’s why we decided to go with the lock that also included the electronic keypad entry:

  • we can head out the back door on our twice-daily dog walks a leave the keys at home!! (Is that great or what?!) We’ll be able to lock the keypad, head off on our walks, and not worry with any keys.
  • Just like with all the other Kwikset Smart Key locks, we’ll be able to rekey this lock on our own.
  • If we head outside via the front door to work in the yard or play with the dogs but decide to come in the back door, there won’t be any more of those unpleasant surprises when we learn that we forgot to unlock the back door…all we’ll have to do is unlock it using the keypad!

Installing the KwikSet Smart Key Lock

First step…read the instructions…with Tiki’s help of course!

A few minutes later, Tiki was anxious for us to get to work on the installation!

First came removal of the old deadbolt then John got to work installing the deadbolt itself then the exterior portion of the lock with the keypad…

From there, he moved on to the interior portion of the lock which includes the batteries…

The entire installation took John about an hour. He only used common tools we already had around the house.

What do we think of the Kwikset SmartKey lock?

We are loving it. The very best part: NO KEYS when we go out on our twice-daily dog walks!

We use the keypad and lock the door behind us then, when the walk is done, use the keypad to get back in the house.

  • No toting keys (which isn’t a huge deal–there’s room in our dog walking bag–but it’s still one more thing to carry).
  • even if we go out on a walk around the house and we go out the front door without locking it, we’re able to come in the back door using the keypad. No more going around the house to the door we exited.
  • if we’re out doing yard work, we’re able to come in the back door even though we hadn’t thought ahead to unlock it. (And no more yelling to the person in the house…usually in our second floor office…to unlock that back door!)

Of course, with the SmartKey technology, we can easily rekey and recode. The SmartKey technology allows us to rekey the lock itself.

Because we got the electronic keypad, we can give out the code to a neighbor and reset it when they no longer need access.

We also thought of another big bonus: what if we’re out for the day and can’t get back home due to an emergency? We can always call our neighbors and give them the code over the phone so they can come in and feed our pets…there’s no need to give them a key ahead of time!

A big paws up for the Kwikset SmartKey Lock!

This post was first published in 2012.


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