Kwikset Kevo Comes To Market

April 2, 2014
New residential lock combines electronics, keyless operation and cell phone interaction, with no connection requirement to a third party monthly billing system.

Kwikset is at the top of the list of companies which have recently introduced new, different and exciting security products.   By this time every locksmith should be familiar with the Kwikset Smartkey system which allows the key combination to be changed without disassembly.

Kevo is the latest Kwikset introduction. Kevo is an exact replacement for existing deadbolts on residential doors.  While Kevo locks are not currently for sale in the locksmith distribution market, this is a unique product which locksmiths may be called on to install, repair or program. Exterior trim has the appearance of a standard cylindrical deadbolt but that is where the similarity ends.  An unobtrusive translucent light ring surrounds the lock cylinder. This light ring can change color and separate into sections of light to indicate locking conditions. 

Locking and unlocking functions of the Kwikset Kevo deadbolt lock introduce a whole new thought process as automation replaces human mechanical interaction. The need for physical action such as turning a key or pressing a series of numbers on a keypad is no longer required.  A light touch of a finger anywhere on the outer lock cylinder gives convenience a new meaning as electronics spring into action to unlock the Kevo deadbolt.       

Two systems are available for electronically operating the Kwikset Kevo deadbolt. The first system uses a fob. One fob is included with each Kevo deadbolt and extra fobs can be ordered.

Kevo deadbolts can also be operated with 4S, 5, 5C & 5S compatible iPhones.  Kevo locks use Bluetooth technology. A properly enrolled iPhone or keypad can be left in your pocket or purse and the Kevo door lock can be unlocked just by contacting the lock cylinder with your finger.

A Kevo fob must be 'awakened' before it can be initially used.  Instructions suggest using a ball point pen to depress a small button on the fob.  When an LED on the fob glows green, the fob is ready for use.  Next, place the fob near the outer lock cylinder and test lock operation by touching the cylinder ring with a finger. The Kevo deadbolt will indicate correct enrollment when a blue light within the ring momentarily rotates. The light ring then changes to a solid green color indicating that the deadbolt has moved to either a locked or unlocked position.

An App must be downloaded from the Kwikset website in order to be able to enroll a smartphone. Instructions inside the Kevo App show how to create an account and set up the lock to operate with a smartphone. An owner eKey will be assigned to the first smartphone which is enrolled.  One additional eKey will be added to the owner account which can be sent to a friend or family member. Additional eKey numbers can be purchased. Any other eKey except the owner eKey can be set as an Admin key or an Anytime key. Anytime eKeys can only be used to unlock the Kevo lock. Admin keys can be used to view a lock's history, receive notifications and delete other eKeys except for the owner’s eKey.  Cell phone eKeys and fobs both operate Kevo locks by being in the vicinity of the lock, such as in a purse or pocket, and then touching the cylinder with a finger.

Colors and light positions in the light ring indicate error notifications. A solid red flashing ring indicates that an unauthorized device (fob or smart phone) is within range. When the top half of the ring is solid red, it indicates that the Kevo deadbolt batteries are low and need replacement. When the bottom section of the ring is solid red, it indicates that the fob battery needs replacement. When the sides of the ring are flashing red, it indicates that the deadbolt is jammed, such as if the door is not fully closed or if the strike plate is out of alignment. Flip lock switches on the control panel can be set to have the lockset issue beeps during operation and to set the lockset to triple touch locking if owners are using a key for unlocking instead of calibrating the lock to be operated by fob or smart phone.

Another important feature is an inside-outside sensor.  A Kevo lock can be operated whenever an enrolled fob or smartphone is within the vicinity of the door. If a fob or phone is located inside the residence, an unauthorized person could touch the outer cylinder ring and the Kevo lock may possibly read the fob or phone and unlock the door.  Kevo locks are equipped with an inside-outside sensor function to prevent unauthorized entrance in that situation.  The lock can be programmed to determine the location of a device such as a fob or phone and prevent unlocking of the door if the enrolled fob or phone is located within the premises. Special instructions are included with Kevo locks to calibrate the inside-outside sensor function.

Kwikset Kevo deadbolts contain a Smartkey lock cylinder which can also be used to lock and unlock the deadbolt. Smartkey bump and pick resistance adds to the security of a Kevo deadbolt lock system.

Hole patterns for a Kevo lock installation are identical to most standard mechanical deadbolts.  If the original deadbolt used either a 1 1/2" or 2 1/8" cylindrical hole and the deadbolt unit is adjustable for either a 2 3/8" or 2 3/4" backset. No additional holes are needed. The outer cylinder contains two wire leads which must be correctly placed under the deadbolt unit and through a special slot on the inner plate. As with standard Kwikset deadbolts, two oversized cylinder mounting screws are provided to firmly retain the outer cylinder onto the door.

Kwikset refers to their D-shaped cylinder tailpiece as a 'torque blade.' The combined procedure of fitting the inner housing onto the torque blade after plugging the two wire leads into their proper connections and placing the lengths of wire into their assigned areas does require some dexterity.  An 'UP' marking on one cable assists in preventing any wiring connection error. The other wire lead contains a circular connector which cannot be incorrectly installed.  Two short Philips head screws are used to retain the inner housing to the mounting plate.

Four AA batteries are required.  A special battery case holds the batteries and the case is then inserted into a slot on the top of the inner housing to complete the automatic electrical connection. An easy-to-follow pictorial instruction book simplifies the installation process. A second foldout sheet provides programming procedures. An installation video can be found on the internet at:  

The final preparation step is to set the Kevo lock for left or right handing. With the door ajar, the program button in the inner housing is pressed and held until the unit emits a beep. Pressing the program button a second time causes the Kevo lock to begin a door handing procedure.  After 10 seconds the procedure is complete and Kevo is ready for use.

Kwikset Kevo deadbolt locks are one of the first introductions in a new category of locksmith products.  It is a combination of electronics, keyless operation, cell phone interaction and no connection requirement to a third party monthly billing system.  Kevo locks are presently only available at big box stores.