CES 2015

Schlage's smart door lock may outwit burglars

And Kwikset adds some handy security features to its Kevo 925

Published: January 06, 2015 09:00 AM

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The notion of unlocking your door with your smart phone or changing access codes on the fly is appealing. And while you might worry about the smart lock being hacked, the greater threat to electronic locks isn’t your neighborhood geek. It’s the common burglar who knows he can pick or even drill out most locks—electronic or not. Schlage Sense, the company’s first Bluetooth-enabled lock, could be the first lock to withstand both forms of attack.

Expected since before CES 2015, Schlage Sense pairs Bluetooth technology with an app to offer many features we’ve seen in other makers’ electronic locks, such as the ability to remotely check on the lock’s status, add or delete access codes from your phone, and update settings remotely. But our confidence in the lock, without having tested it yet, stems from the brand’s performance in Consumer Reports' lastest tests of door locks.

Kwikset's Kevo 925

Also at CES 2015 comes a fresh update to the Kwikset Kevo 925, the first Bluetooth-enabled deadbolt lock we tested. We liked the feature that lets you open the lock by touching it, provided you have your smart phone or a key fob. That lock hasn’t changed, but updating its app lets you set up schedules and guest eKeys (electronic keys). You can also get Nest thermostat integration, which prompts you to set the Nest to Away mode when you lock the door—and to Home mode when you return.

Kwikset hopes you’ll be willing to pay on a regular basis for your home security. Kevo Plus, an optional account upgrade, will use a free Bluetooth-enabled gateway device that plugs into your wireless router. Without that service you can send eKeys to other users, who would need to be in front of the door with their phone or fob to get in. With Kevo Plus, you can lock or unlock the door without sending an eKey. Pricing will be set closer to the service’s springtime launch. In our labs, however, the Kwikset Kevo 925 failed easily in our kick-in and drilling tests. It would have excelled in our kick-in test had it been equipped with a $10 box strike, no great expense for a $220 lock. Alas, there’s no protection against the drilling test other than pricy construction like that of the top-rated Medeco Maxum 11*603 ... or neighbors with very good ears.

Both electronic Schlage locks we tested—the $130 Schlage BE365 V CAM 619 and the similar Schlage Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt with Alarm BE469NX CAM 619, $200—were impressive or even exceptional against all our efforts in our kick-in test. That brought both locks to the top of the Ratings in those categories.

We hope to learn soon whether the Schlage Sense fares as well as its sibling products (it should come out this summer, priced similarly to the Kwikset) but if you’re looking for a deadbolt lock in the meantime, see our door lock Ratings of almost 20 conventional and electronic locks. Just be sure to first check our free buying guide.

—Ed Perratore (@EdPerratore on Twitter)

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