Kwikset Home Connect 620: A Closer Look

July 20, 2021
The new smart lock has a number of potential installation pitfalls that locksmiths should know about.

At ISC West 2021, Kwikset showed its new smart lock aimed at the residential market, the Home Connect 620 deadbolt.

The 620 is the first product in Kwikset’s Home Connect line, which is meant to distinguish more clearly locks that can be connected to a smart-home system. Such a connection allows for features such as smartphone lock and unlock capability and remote status notification. Kwikset is pitching the 620 as an “entry level” solution with respect to its price. The 620 was expected to begin being sold through the professional chain in September 2021 before moving into the consumer market later in the year.

A Sneak Peek

Before ISC West, Jason Tu, product marketing manager for Spectrum Brands, which owns Kwikset, gave us a presentation on the 620. Even though the lock will be available through big-box retail and aimed at DIY installation, it’s worth taking a peek behind the curtain. Locksmiths most certainly will encounter this lock in the field for, hopefully, sales and installation or, possibly, repair.

Tu notes four potential areas where the installation of a 620 might go awry:

1.     Alignment with the door strike.

The door prep on a retrofit for a standard deadbolt calls for a 1-1/2-inch or a 2-1/8-inch bore hole on a 1-3/8–2-inch door. The backset is adjustable between 2-3/8 inches and 2-3/4 inches. The strike is 1-1/8 inches by 2-3/4 inches, but it’s a round-corner strike. This is important to note, because the 1-inch deadbolt also has rounded corners.

The strike is included in the box with the 620, and Tu recommends using the proper strike, because it’s fitted specifically for the deadbolt. A misalignment could cause the bolt to not secure the door.

To check the alignment, Tu instructs that after installation, you should insert the key into the lock with the door closed. The bolt should slide easily.

2.      The deadbolt hole on the frame.

The deadbolt hole should be at least 1 inch deep, Tu says. Anything less will cause problems.

“If something gets inside that 1 inch, it will cause a jam on the frame side,” he explains. “Some environments have weatherstripping. You want the pressure of the door held back by the latch, not the deadbolt.” That’s so the deadbolt doesn’t have to overcome any misalignment in the door or frame and lead to battery drain as well as a possible jam.

3.      Tightening of the screws.

Tu identifies this as the problem that’s the easiest to make and the easiest to fix. Overtightening the screws that hold the mounting plate to the door could pinch the deadbolt and cause it to bind, particularly when the installer uses a power drill to speed up the installation process.

“It’s easy to overtighten the screws” in this scenario, Tu says. “A hand screwdriver is not that much slower.” He says the entire installation in a retrofit should take no more than 10 minutes.

Testing for possible overtightening and binding problems is similar to that of strike alignment. You insert the key into the lock and turn it but this time with the door open. Again, the key should turn with minimal force, and the bolt should slide easily.

4.      Using the correct screws.

All screws necessary for the installation, including for the strike, are included. The screws that are meant for the interior assembly and cover are blunt-tip screws that are less than one-half of an inch long. You shouldn’t use pointed-tip wood screws, particularly for the assembly, Tu says, because they could pierce the motor housing and render the lock nonfunctional.

This was much more of a problem before the 620, Tu notes. “We made some improvements to the mounting plate, so it’s a lot harder for it to accept the wood screw.”

One such improvement was beefing up the interior assembly. Tu reports that testing showed it would require 15–20 minutes of “hard drilling” before a pointed-tip screw would damage the interior assembly.

Further Installation Notes

The Home Connect 620, which is ANSI/BHMA certified Grade 2, can be used as a stand-alone lock, with the user turning the deadbolt via a key or a PIN code on the 10-button numerical push-button keypad. The code can be four to eight digits, and the 620 will handle up to 250 codes, which Tu notes, was an improvement from the 30 on other Kwikset smart locks. A push of the single “Kwikset” button locks the door. No wiring is involved, merely connecting the cable that runs from the exterior assembly to the interior battery pack, which holds four standard AA batteries.

The keyway for the 620 is the SmartKey keyway, which is known for its rekeying capability as well as its resistance to picking or bumping. The 620 will have the SmartKey KW1 keyway only, however. Tu says the company has no plans to add the newer SmartKey Schlage SC1 keyway to the 620.

But the real push by Kwikset — thus the Home Connect name — is to tout the lock’s capability to connect with a smart-home hub through the lock’s Z-Wave wireless technology and the benefits that that connection would provide.

In fact, the new Z-Wave 700 chip helps with the installation and setup of the 620. The interior housing has a QR code. Scanning the QR code with the app that corresponds with the smart-home hub will allow the smart-home system to enroll the lock without having to push any buttons.

“You don’t need to have the lock installed or powered to scan the QR code,” Tu says. “You can pre-enroll it and then power it up. It will start broadcasting, and the smart-home system will go, ‘hey, I recognize that lock.’”

Other Features

The improved 700 chip also allows for S2 enrollment, which means a smart-home system will enroll each lock with a specific ID, which makes the system more secure. Other benefits include improved battery life 18 months, or 25% improvement, Tu says and a longer wireless range, which allows the signal to penetrate through building materials more easily.

One improvement that Kwikset provided is in the 620’s electronic locking, Tu notes. Quite simply, older models were too loud and took too long for the motor to throw the deadbolt. Conversely, consumers didn’t want the operation to be too quiet either.

“They wanted to hear the motor, so we found the sweet spot — a duration of half as long,” Tu says. “It doesn’t sound off for quite as long, and they can be on their way that much quicker.” He adds that the 620 is about 50 percent quieter than previous models.

The 620 comes in two styles — traditional or contemporary — and three or four finishes, depending on the choice. (Contemporary adds a Matte Black finish.)

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