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The First Smart Lock I’ve Ever Loved

August 5, 2021  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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This post is sponsored by Level

Smart locks aren’t often seen as a necessity – even for us, and we’ve used ’em all! There’s just usually something about them that doesn’t quite click – usability, quality, design! But I’m ready to say we’ve found the first smart lock we feel good claiming is a must-have – Level locks.

Let’s talk about the obvious one first – looks. The above lock is a Level Lock! Smart locks are infamously bulky, claiming it as a trade-off for more robust features. We’re used to smart locks that look like hotel room locks… or bulky hospital door locks. But this is 2021! Aren’t we beyond sacrificing design for features? Level locks are designed to disappear, not interfere, which is why they’re called The invisible Smart Lock. In fact, if nobody told me these were smart locks, I would have never known.

We chose to install Level Lock (new product!) and Level Lock – Touch Edition to explore the functionality of both. I have to say — one hour after installation, we already love it so much. Both Level Locks are designed to be unlocked in several ways!

1. Using your phone. We just swipe to the Level Home app, and tap “Unlock” and we hear the pleasant jingle of the “confirmation noise” that the door is unlocked, and I didn’t have to bring out keys or try and remember any codes.

2. Touch of a finger. With the Level Lock – Touch Edition (the one with the most advanced technology that can do it all) we need only touch the deadbolt, and we’re in. Your phone is required to be on you, but it’s so easy to just touch a deadbolt! This is great for when your hands are full and you’re carrying grocery bags in one hand and holding a kid’s hand in the other. The lock uses a technology similar to keyless cars. When you have your phone nearby, you can touch the housing to unlock your door (doesn’t use your fingerprint!).

3. Key Cards. The Level Lock – Touch Edition also comes with two key cards key cards you can use to unlock the door, and you’re in – just like a hotel! These key cards are great to hand out to the nanny or our contractor, or have regular visitors download the Level Home app so you can give them “Guest Access.”

In the Level Home app, you can send an access code to anyone in your contacts. Better yet, you can grant access on a schedule. For example, our nanny is here from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. Her access code is good during those hours! The contractor sent over a drywall team that had access for a few hours on Thursday morning. It’s dreamy! We’re not giving out a bunch of keys or passcodes, which gives us A LOT more peace of mind. In fact, Level is certified BHMA AAA for security (this is the highest rating there is). And there’s end-to-end encryption with complete data privacy. No trackers.

We’re really looking forward to the “Event Access” function, where we can designate access for an entire group for a certain amount of time. We could make an event called “Dinner at the Marcums!”, or “Game Night” (!!), set the date and time and select all of our invitees from our contact list. Because we all know the best of friends don’t have to knock.

If you really love your current door hardware, Level also makes a product called the Level Bolt. It’s a great way to make the move to Smart tech without disrupting the look. You can make your current lock smart and transform your existing deadbolt. It’s designed to work with most American standard deadbolts (these are the ones where the handles and deadbolts are separate). With Level Bolt, you only swap out the insides of the deadbolt, keeping the same look you already love. Installation is quick and only requires a screwdriver. You won’t have the touch or the key card functions, but you’ll still have ALL of the other cool features.

Before you ask, Level locks *are* compatible with Alexa and Ring, as well as Apple’s HomeKit (“Hey Siri, unlock the patio door!).

Overall, the Level locks marry technology and aesthetics in a way that most things in the home category have not been able to achieve. (They come in four gorgeous finishes. We went with polished brass, but I’ve got my eye on matte black…) It’s an elevated, elegant experience — so easy to install and easier to use. We truly feel like we’ve leveled up.

 

What do you think?

  1. Courtney says:

    Hi! Love this version! I hate the look of the key pad locks too. Would the “fingerprint” access work for more than one person? We are a family of 4 and I would love it to work for everyone. I couldn’t find the answer on their site. Thanks!

  2. BethAnn Filingeri says:

    Thanks for explain these!!! I have had my eye on them since you started talking about them. I went to their website but it did not explain the touch….how it works!! You did and sold me. This will work great in my garage, where I schlep my groceries in from!!!! Thanks!!! Ordering now!!

  3. Drew says:

    Love the concept of this lock and they countered every scenario in which it might not fit with a great design solution. However it just wasn’t strong enough to turn our deadbolt. I had to return it and my search continues.

  4. Renee says:

    What if the internet or cell towers go down? Something to consider in “hurricane country”. I’m on the Crystal Coast east of you.

  5. Sarah says:

    I would love one of these, but our house is 150 years old and closing/locking doors is not a straightforward task (lots of pulling, pushing, shimmying to get doors to close and locks to properly engage). I wonder if these types of locks would work.

    • Chris Loves Julia says:

      A door can sag or warp over time, causing it to sit unevenly in the door frame. You might have to lift/pull/push on the door in order to lock it. If that’s the case, you’ll want to make sure your door has a single closed position before installing a Level lock. The articles here might help: https://level.co/support/articles/360049138934

  6. Rosemary says:

    This is great. We live in a coach home which is a 2nd floor unit and the front door is first floor. Requires us to go down stairs to unlock door for visitors. Just broke my leg and this will be a godsend! Thank you. I can now unlock the door from 2nd floor by saying Hey Siri…. I love it.

  7. Lauren says:

    Wish they had more coordinating knobs! This deadbolt sounds great but would like the finish to work with the handle.

  8. Rosie says:

    I see it has a battery – what happens when the battery dies? Possibly not an issue if you have several access doors but if you have a single access door, it could be an issue. I see there is still a key hole so perhaps you can still override it with the key?

    • Chris Loves Julia says:

      Level lock’s are powered by a Lithium 3-volt CR2 battery, which lasts about one year with average use. When your lock’s battery life has 10-20%, you’ll see “Low” in Level App. As an alternative, you can still use a regular key to enter and exit your home.

  9. Danna F says:

    Wow always amazed at more and more technology that makes living easier! We live in a rental and the level bolt would be perfect for our two older kids to have access when we are away and don’t have to hide a key for them. When our new home is built I like the option of the level lock touch. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Julie Marquez says:

    Great smart feature! What’s the keyway for Level Locks? I’ll be checking them out.

  11. Jenni says:

    I’m down for this !! I literally can’t stand digging for a key and 99.9% of the time have my hands full to even use a code. Imma try this!!!

  12. A B Seawell says:

    Ok with lock. What protection does all that glass provide?

  13. LizM says:

    We have a triple deadbolt door because its 8 feet tall. Can this work with those kinds of doors? So far no smart locks are compatible with mutli dead bolt doors! :)

    • Chris Loves Julia says:

      Unfortunately, Level lock’s are not compatible with multi-deadbolt doors. For more information on compatibility, and to view a full list of compatible deadbolts, check out our support page on level.co/support.

  14. Mara says:

    Personally, I would still choose a lock with a keypad. We are constantly in and out, between work, school, taking the dog out, going for a walk or playing. I don’t always have my phone on me. It’s been a lifesaver when having been locked out to just enter my code. I’d be really upset if I couldn’t enter my home because I couldn’t open the app, have my phone on my or a card.

    • Jordanne says:

      You can also use your fingerprint according to Julia’s post, so this would solve that problem for you!

      • Mara says:

        Only if you have the phone in your pocket, from what she wrote.

      • Amy says:

        It says you need your phone on you for the fingerprint access.

      • JG says:

        The post says to use your finger you have to have your phone on you, so it’s not reading a fingerprint, it’s just like a car where you have to have your fob on you.

        For the feature where you can schedule a time for people to have access do they need to have the app on their phone?

        I had the same concern as Mara – the point of the smart lock for me is that I can go for a run or just be outside without having to carry a key or a phone. I’m not seeing the benefit of it if I still need to have my phone or a keycard.

      • Chris Loves Julia says:

        When sending a guest pass, your guest will need to install the Level app to accept the invite. They do not have to create an account to access entry, but it is recommended. When you go for a run, you can control your lock by voice through your apple watch if it’s connected to HomeKit.

      • Kim says:

        can you use fingerprint access WITHOUT the phone in your pocket? I frequently take the dog for a walk with no phone. I just want the time away not being connected. How do I get back in without a phone. I can’t tell from the website how that works.

      • Chris Loves Julia says:

        It’s actually not fingerprint access. The lock uses a technology similar to keyless cars. When you have your phone nearby, you can touch the housing to unlock the door. Without your phone nearby, you can use a key card or an old fashioned key.

    • Jennifer says:

      It’s not clear to me how the access code for one-time visitors works, such as the drywall team or party invitees. Do they have to download the app?

      • Chris Loves Julia says:

        When you send them the code, if they do not yet have the app, they’ll be directed to download it to use the code. In your Guest Access, you can limit guests to a certain time or a recurring time.

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