Having moved from Europe to North America this year, I discover cultural, social and – courtesy of my work – technological differences between the two continents on a regular basis. One difference I wasn’t expecting (or at least deliberately looking out for) is in home security.
Back home in the UK, door locks are pretty conservative – check out a big box DIY shed like B&Q and you’ll find traditional cylinder and mortice locks – all of which use keys. So it was a surprise to wander around the local Home Depot here in Canada and see the vast range of keyless locks on offer. Numerical door locks that take a PIN code, touchscreen locks with Bluetooth support, locks that work with mobile apps – there’s a huge range of smart locks available over this side of the pond.
The Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock, introduced in October 2013, is one of the better-known solutions. Widely available from electronics stores as well as from major DIY retailers, the Bluetooth-enabled lock can be opened with a touch of the finger – that is, as long as you have a paired smartphone or the accompanying Kevo key fob in your pocket. Hey, there’s even old-school metal keys included for the Luddites in the family.
This year, the Kevo Smart Lock got smarter courtesy of Kevo Plus, a service extension to the original solution, which adds remote access capabilities to Kevo locks. It works via a Bluetooth-enabled gateway that enables real-time updates and remote functionality. The gateway plugs into your home router via Ethernet, connecting the Kevo lock to the Kevo Plus service.
Once set up, your home security is enhanced with features including remote locking and unlocking, unlimited anytime and scheduled eKeys for guests and real-time activity monitoring from your smartphones. Add integration with a number of third-party smart home products like thermostats from Nest and Honeywell plus the Ring video doorbell and you can see: the smart lock just got smarter.
Before we take a look at those features, let’s walk through getting the Kevo Lock and Kevo Plus service installed.
Installing the Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock
Kwikset sent us over the $199 Kevo Smart Lock and Kevo Plus gateway. The latter is priced at $69.99 and is available to order from the company’s website. The lock itself is available in a range of colours to match your door furniture – our review model is the Satin Nickel version, with Polished Brass and Venetian Bronze also on offer.
The lock supports a range of mobile devices – biased towards iOS phones and tablets (iPhone 4S and newer, iPad Mini and third generation iPad) but with a small selection of Android Lollipop devices also available. They include the HTC One M9, Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and newer Samsung Galaxy phones. Critically, Kevo uses the Bluetooth Low Energy 4.0 protocol, so any device must also support it to be compatible. There’s no app available for BlackBerry and Windows smartphones.
In the box, you’ll find:
- one Kevo deadbolt
- one Kevo interior assembly
- one Kevo fob
- two standard keys
- two electronic keys
- 4 AA batteries
Unlike competitor devices, such as the August Smart Lock, which fit into your existing lock assembly, the Kwikset Kevo replaces the door lock in its entirety. That means installation is a little more involved for a standard lock replacement but, if you’re installing the lock in a brand new door, you have all of the kit you need in the box.
A detailed, fully-illustrated, twenty-page installation guide is included in the box which walks you step by step through the work. You’ll also find installation videos available online which guide you through the process.
I’m installing the Kwikset Kevo on a door that has an existing lock in place, so the first step is to remove that lock from the door. At this point, I’m going to share with you that I’m not that experienced when it comes to DIY. If I can do this job, so can you!
The existing door lock unscrews easily courtesy of a Philips screwdriver. Be sure to remove all parts of the lock, including the door strike (the metal plate on the door jamb that the lock pushed into) and main front and rear assembly.
With the existing door lock removed, you’ll need a quick measurement check. The Kevo has two settings, adjustable based on the distance between the centre of the lock aperture and the edge of the door. One setting is for 2 3/8″ (60 mm) and a longer 2 3/4″ (70 mm) is available by twisting the locking mechanism. If you’re installing the lock on a new door, the installation guide includes a template allowing you to drill holes in the correct position on the door (if it hasn’t been pre-drilled, that is).