Is the Kwikset SmartKey really … Smart?

“Smart” is one term that has just about been run into the ground. We have Smart Cars, Smart Phones and Smart Houses. Consequently, Like “Green” the word “Smart” raises some red flags with me.

Smart, as applied to products, has been around a little longer than Green. Even as a kid, I seem to remember the word being a favorite in advertising with catchphrases like “Its smart design will make you re-think what a (Insert Product) can be.” Not all things which claim to be smart impress us as such, and supposedly smart things which make us feel dumb incur a special wrath. How many times have you heard someone exclaim “Stupid Phone!”?

Kwikset’s SmartKey Keys and Codes

So, I think it is a good idea to determine the intention of the meaning behind the word “smart” when applied to a product, or the criteria for the term, if you will. In the case of Kwikset‘s SmartCode & SmartKey I think the company intends for smart to mean “intelligently designed” but even more importantly “easy”.

Judging by the small amount of time and lack of frustration involved in dealing with both of these products/systems, and applying our criteria, I think Kwikset has earned the moniker of “Smart”. Truthfully, neither SmartCode nor SmartKey could be much easier. In fact, it is interesting to note that Kwikset seems to increasingly be living up to its name.

In the early 90’s, I worked at a hardware store and learned how to re-key Kwikset locks. As I remember, It was a delicate process of taking the lock apart down to the cylinder, removing the old pins and replacing them with carefully chosen new ones which corresponded to the cut of the new key. The pins were installed with springs behind them and powdered graphite made it all move smoothly in the end. One could get good at it but it took a few tries. I believe the kit was fairly costly and there was a charge to the customer for the service.

DIY Re-Key

With SmartKey, the homeowner is empowered to re-key their locks, quickly and easily, as often as they would like. This makes it possible to change a single lock to a service key for the day to allow entry, for say a plumber, and then to change it back to the family’s master key that night.

(1) Insert functioning key and turn 1/4 turn clockwise.
(2) Insert and remove the SmartKey learn tool. Remove functioning key.
(3) Insert new key and turn 1/4 turn counter-clockwise. Done. Your lock is now re-keyed!

Kwikset - SmartKey - Re-key

Pretty smart! And it really is that simple. JB sent along to me THIS video from Dave West of Meadowview Construction performing the re-key.

It occurred to me that a likely unintended benefit of the SmartKey re-key system is that it allows us to take all of those mystery KW1 keys we have tucked away, which no longer open any lock that we know of, and press them into service again. Key recycling is pretty cool.

The Kwikset touch pad keyless entry dead latch comes with the SmartCode system which is similarly simple to set.

* Three Steps for Re-Keying with the SmartCode System:

(1) Press the program button on the interior unit once.
(2) Enter in 4 to 8 digit code on the keypad.
(3) Press the lock button to save the code.

By following the directions it is possible to program a second 4 to 8 digit code and there are user selectable options such as whether the keypad emits a beep when the buttons are pressed and enabling the dead latch to lock automatically after thirty seconds.

Kwikset Touchpad Keyless Entry Progam Button & Settings

I mentioned yesterday that the housing for the automatic locking mechanism is much smaller in the new unit than another I have which is twelve years old. I am also happy to report that the locking action on the new unit is much smoother as well.

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Tomorrow we’ll learn more about lock BUMPING and Kwikset’s means of protecting against the practice with something called BumpGuard.


There are 2 previous posts in this series:

(1)  Home Depot, Kwikset SmartKey & Me – Introduction
(2)  Home Depot, Kwikset SmartKey & Me – Purchase & Installation

These posts were made possible by The Home Depot.


Links and Statements

Kwikset Shop on Amazon.

The Home Depot partnered with bloggers such as me to help promote their KwikSet Lock product. As part of this promotion, I received compensation. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products. The Home Depot believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. The Home Depot’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.