I’ve Had My New Invisible Smart Locks For 4 Months – Here’s An Honest Review

As someone who is “tech-wary” in my home, I am starting to make some pretty *smart* choices (this one I can even install myself). Sometimes “smart” stuff can actually overcomplicate, intimidate and frustrate people (myself), but not these – Level Home smart locks are shockingly simple, smart, and stylish. I had been eyeing Level’s products for a minute – I wanted something that didn’t scream “this house is a vacation rental,” but was still functional enough to provide controlled access for Airbnb guests, cleaning services, our property managers, handypeople, friends, family, etc. – so when Caitlin mentioned that Level had reached out about partnering on some social content, it was an easy “yes.” We installed the Level Lock – Touch Edition at the Mountain House earlier this year and love it so much that we ended up installing them at the Farm, too.

Their smart locks are aesthetically pleasing and easy to use for everyone, knowing that different people have different tech preferences and comfort levels. They can be locked and unlocked with a traditional/old school key, with your phone, with a key card (like a hotel!), with mini key cards (we put these on keychains), with your voice, with a keypad…Level Home is the creme de la creme of smart locks, folks. It’s VERY genius and I hope this is a new trend – having both manual and tech ways to operate something in your home.

We considered three of Level’s offerings: The Level Bolt, which goes inside your existing lock and transforms it into a smart lock (a great option for those who want to keep the aesthetics of their door the same, which wasn’t the case for us). Note: Level locks are compatible with residential doors that meet something called “ANSI standards” (American National Standards Institute). At the Farm, our vintage front door was an old-world mortise and tenon lock so Jamie had to fill the original hole/cartridge area to retrofit it for a 21st-century ANSI deadbolt lock (which he says he does all the time).

Since we were looking for a new slim profile for our Mountain House door, our two frontrunners were the Level Lock and the Level Lock – Touch Edition. Both have a ton of functionality, like access with a mobile app, key codes, voice entry and remote connectivity (so we can make sure the doors are locked from bed), but we ended up going with the latter because of its bonus touch and key card functionality. Being able to lock and unlock the front door with just a touch of my finger (if I have my phone with me) is game-changing, especially when you’re trying to get everything out of a car and into the house in one trip.

The Ingredients – So Simple

I originally figured I’d hire our handyman to install the lock, but after I opened the box, I realized it only required a screwdriver and that I’d be able to do it myself. (We also made a partnership reel documenting the process, which you can watch right here.) You can really see how sleek and well-designed the lock is here – it has the smallest footprint on the market (I checked) and it doesn’t scream “dorky smart lock,” which is nice (especially for the farm that is an older vintage door). We opted to add the Level Keypad accessory to pair with our lock for our Airbnb guests, and for a set of Key Card Minis for the kids.

STEP ONE AND TWO: Screw In The Deadbolt, Then Pop In The Motor

It’s recommended to use a screwdriver to prevent possible damage to the lock, but I couldn’t find one so I broke out the drill. Do you see that little Level logo? That’s actually where the battery that powers the lock will live – it has a lifespan of about a year and you’ll see a message in the app before it’s time to swap it out for a fresh battery. You can also always use the lock manually with a traditional key, so the technology can really meet you where you’re comfortable. Some people prefer using keys because that’s what they’re used to, while others prefer the app or entering with a code to be phone-free. It’s a smart lock that gives you the freedom to enter however you want.

STEP THREE: Add The Lock Exterior

We picked the Matte Black finish for both the Mountain and Farm, but Level locks also come in Polished Brass, Satin Chrome, and Satin Nickel.

STEP FOUR: Attach Backplate, Secure Thumbturn

Again, it was super easy, fast, and intuitive.

STEP FIVE: Insert the Battery

The lock makes a sweet little chirp when everything is turned on and ready to go. We took a few steps back to admire the handy work and were so excited by how simple and clean both sides of the lock looked against our current door. It was a nice improvement visually and functionally from the big, bulky keypad lock that had been taking up a ton of real estate previously. Also with our old lock, when the keypad would malfunction or run out of batteries, there was no way to get into the house. We love that we can use a traditional key backup with Level.

STEP SIX: Connect Your Level Lock To The App

The app is really intuitive and easy to use, so we set up two Key Cards (for me and Brian) and Key Card Minis (for the kids, which we also really really love having at the Farm).

It’s easy to keep track of who has what, when they enter and exit, and it also shows you how long they were there. For instance, if you want to give your cleaning crew space to clean the house without you lingering, you can check the app to see if they’re still working. It’s also great to give easy access to handypeople, dog walkers, contractors, etc. (our property manager uses it to know when guests or the cleaning crew has left so she can ready the house for the next family). With Apple Home or Ring connected, there’s also a ton of other functionality, like the ability to remotely lock and unlock the doors, so there’s no more “wait…did I lock the door?” panic moments when we’re in the middle of a trip back to Portland. You can even create automations (i.e. locking and unlocking the door at certain times every day).

STEP SEVEN (Optional): Install a Keypad

As someone who loses most small things or whose phone/wallet is always at the bottom of my purses, I really like the Level Keypad, which can be placed anywhere within 30 feet of the lock (so it doesn’t need to be in plain sight – did you notice it in the earlier shots of the entry?). You are even able to create custom entry codes for guests, the dog walker, etc. (Fun fact: I was a dog walker in New York when I was 22 and yes, keeping track of all the keys was difficult – a code would have been wonderful.)

The codes are much quicker to generate and easier to share than I anticipated. Take it from this formerly tech-wary person 🙂

STEP EIGHT: Enjoy Entering A Billion Different Ways

You can use a Level Key Card just by tapping it (like a hotel key you keep in your wallet with the rest of your cards).

Or you can enter with a simple touch of your finger (hence the “Touch Edition” name). This works when your phone is within range of the lock (and the locks work with Bluetooth, so no worries if your WiFi goes out or if the power is off). The app doesn’t have to be open, your phone just needs to be near you (like in the bottom of your purse).

If you’re like Brian and like to go on runs without your phone, Key Card Minis are easy to keep on a zipper or inside a pocket. It’s great to be truly hands-free (and I could always use the Keypad in a pinch, too).

We installed and shot this over summer while we were living there. Since then, the kids (and the Airbnb guests) have been loving the Level Keypad.

And it’s been awesome to have a backup set of Key Cards that we can both just keep in our wallets.

When all else fails, we can break out the good old-fashioned hard metal keys. I LOVE THIS. This means that should you ignore the battery warning (that again, lasts a really long time) you can always have the OG key in a nearby lockbox or like us at a neighbor’s. No one will ever be locked out again. There’s an entry option that can make anyone feel comfortable!

We’ll be rolling out a few more Reels with Level over the next few months, so keep an eye out for those. We did a ton of research on the best smart locks on the market and Level’s options were outstanding in every aspect – they’re beautiful, easy to use, functional, and very safe (fully certified to meet highest standards for security/durability/reliability). I know that locks aren’t usually a super sexy topic, but we’ve genuinely loved our experience with these at both houses and I’m excited to support a brand that’s really innovating in the space. And with the holidays coming up…maybe it’s time to try a new lock at your house, too? (Imagine this: you can set up temporary codes for your family so they can enter and leave your home as they please. Kinda nice, right?) 

*This post was sponsored by Level Home but all thoughts are my own
**Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

The post I’ve Had My New Invisible Smart Locks For 4 Months – Here’s An Honest Review appeared first on Emily Henderson.

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