One of the biggest problems with most smart locks comes down to aesthetics. Not only do many people not want to advertise the fact that they have a smart lock, but they also don't want to have a big chunk of tech on their front door.
Like its original model, Level's newest smart lock, the Level Touch, doesn't look like a smart lock from the outside, or inside. And, it has a few new features, including the ability to open with your finger or by using an NFC card. The Level Touch is available today for $329.
The original Level Bolt smart lock is hidden completely inside your door, and uses your existing deadbolt's exterior hardware. It's a clever design that conceals the fact that your deadbolt can be operated by your phone or HomeKit.
The new Level Touch takes things further; instead of replacing just the guts of your deadbolt, it replaces the lock entirely, but still retains the look of a traditional deadbolt. It's available in Satin Nickel, Satin Chrome, Polished Brass, and in 2021, Matte Black.
Because the Level Touch now includes the exterior parts, the company was able to add a few more ways to unlock the door. First, you can simply touch the exterior of the lock to unlock your door, provided your phone (used to authenticate the user) is nearby.
The Level Touch also has an NFC reader, and included with the lock are two NFC cards, which can be used to unlock the door—much like the cards many of you used to get into your office, back when we went to offices. The cards can be programmed to only work during specific times, and can be wiped in the event they're lost. It's a good alternative if you want to provide access to someone who doesn't have a smartphone, or who doesn't want to go through the trouble of downloading the Level app.
Like its original smart lock, the Level Touch only has Bluetooth, and only works with Apple HomeKit, though the company is looking to add compatibility with other smart home systems.
However, it's also added a new auto lock and unlock feature in its app (which will also work with the Level Bolt), so you don't need to use HomeKit if you want to make sure it locks behind you on your way out.
The $329 Level Touch is one of the more expensive smart locks out there; our favorite smart lock, the August Wi-Fi Lock, costs $249, and works with more smart home systems. But, if you're looking for the best smart lock that doesn't look like a smart lock, the Level Touch is worth considering.
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Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.