A truly remarkable evolution of the smart lock. 

Nearly six years ago, I installed our first smart lock at our house. It was the August Smart Lock and at the time, it was only the smart locks in the market. The lock worked using Bluetooth and it worked with your existing deadbolt. That was one of the appealing features of the product. Since that time I’ve become somewhat of a connoisseur of smart locks by virtue of the fact that I’ve worked with several of them. So, when I heard about the world’s first ‘invisible’ smart lock, I knew I had to try it out. 

DETAILS

The Level Lock is a lock that is designed to provide people with an ‘invisible’ smart lock. It takes the place of a deadbolt mechanism within a traditional deadbolt lock. Why is this a benefit to a traditional smart lock? The answer is that users can keep the design integrity of their home and still have smart lock features. With the Level Lock, you can use your phone to lock and unlock your door, share access, and always know who is coming and going. Your phone becomes your key. Guests can also use their phones to access your home when you send them invites. The owner will receive a notification when the lock is opened.

Level Lock is compatible with Apple HomeKit so you have the ability to use Siri to lock or unlock the door with your iPhone or Apple Watch. The Level Lock features a ‘puzzle piece’ interface that allows the bolt piece of the lock to connect to the body, which ensures a secure fit. The battery for the lock is housed inside the bolt so that changing it out is simple and painless. The Level Lock is built with a 6-stage, stainless steel gearbox that’s strong and efficient with power. The single CR2 battery that comes with the lock should deliver enough power for one year’s worth of use. 

Features at a Glance 

Invitations: Share access with friends and family based on specified time and day
Keyless Entry: Use your iOS or Android device as a secure key to lock or unlock your door
Auto Lock: Have your door automatically lock based on designated time settings
Activity History: Keep track of all activity so you always know who’s coming and going
Activity History: Keep track of all activity so you always know who’s coming and going
Access Anytime: Give access to people when they’re at your home and you’re not
Auto Unlock: Use HomeKit™ to have your door automatically unlock as you approach
Voice Control: Use Siri® on your iOS device to lock or unlock your door
Notifications: Get notified when friends arrive or when it’s time to change the battery
Remote Entry: Unlock your door from anywhere using your iPhone® or Apple Watch®
Automations: Create schedules and routines that automatically run for common tasks

First Impressions

The first thing I noticed about Level Lock was its simplicity. I’ve worked with many different styles of deadbolts over the years and even though some have easy installations, they have lots of complicated mechanical parts. The Level Lock is essentially just two parts — the bolt and the body. When you open the box, which is very stylish on its own, you will find the body, bolt, hardware kit (screws and battery), strike plate (optional), and the tailpiece that connects to the existing deadbolt kit. The lock and all its parts are covered with a satin nickel finish and simply looks elegant. I truly appreciate this about the Level Lock because even though it’s designed to be ‘invisible’ and will likely never be seen by anyone, time and effort was put into how it looks. This speaks to me on so many levels because it reminds me of Steve Jobs’ obsession with the quality of things unseen. He wanted everything — outside and inside — to be perfection and I feel like the designers of the Level Lock took that same pride in designing this product.

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Installation Process 

The first step of the installation process is to determine if you have the right type of deadbolt. Because Level Lock is designed specifically to work with deadbolts that are already installed, it will work with most American standard deadbolts. Level Lock does, however, provide a compatibility guide on their website, which takes you through a questionnaire to size up your current lock against the standards needed for the Level Lock. You will see from the images that we had a standard Schlage B60 Single Cylinder Deadbolt to replace with the Level Lock. The installation instructions will tell you to remove your old deadbolt mechanism and lock cover, which makes your door a blank canvas to work with.

Even though Level Lock is designed to work with ‘most standard deadbolts’ one thing you must consider is the depth of your cutout on your door. The image below shows the inside of the Level Lock bolt. From this angle it’s a little hard to see, but the inside edge of the bolt just barely clears the cutout hole that was there from the previous deadbolt. I had to use a file to rub off some of the excess wood around the bolt cutout so that it would lock in place properly with the body of the Level Lock. I was eventually able to push the bolt through and connect it with the Level Lock body, but it was a tight squeeze.

Once the Level Lock body is inserted, you will want to insert the battery into the bolt. The battery is designed to power the lock for up to one year with the standard use of the lock. When the battery is inserted, you will hear a small chiming sound. This is just to let you know the lock is active and ready for use. At this point, the next step is to connect the lock to the app and HomeKit if you choose. The app is very simple to use. When you open it for the first time, you will be asked to sign up for an account. Once it’s verified you can add the lock if it’s already installed. If it’s not, you have the option to follow step-by-step instructions from the app. The app will direct you to name your lock (make it something unique) and select a location for it in your home. At this point, the app should connect to the deadbolt.

If you want to connect it to HomeKit, you simply have to enter or have your phone scan the code on the bottom of the lock. The HomeKit code can also be found on the user manual included in the box. In my experience, it is also possible to grab a photo of a HomeKit code off of a product and have a second phone be able to scan it in. My luck with HomeKit set-up has been hit and miss. Sometimes a product will connect immediately and sometimes it takes a product two or three times before HomeKit will accept it. This time around, the code was immediately recognized and I was able to start asking Siri to open and lock the Level Lock (video demonstration located below).

Final Thoughts

I feel that the designers of the Level Lock hit one out of the park. I love how they designed it with a puzzle-locking mechanism to join the bolt and the body together. I also really love the hidden battery inside the bolt. Not only does it make it easy to replace when the battery is depleted, but it also keeps the design tidy. I also really love how Level Lock engineers worked to make this lock universal so that it wouldn’t require people to replace their entire lock just to have a smart functioning deadbolt. Speaking of function, it worked just as it should. After the installation process and connection to HomeKit, I was able to tell Siri to lock and unlock the Level Lock (as shown in the included video clip) and use the Level Lock app to complete the same functions. It’s worked beautifully.

For more information, visit level.co, Facebook, and Twitter.