The Level Bolt is made for those who want a smart lock, but don’t want others to know they have a smart lock. That’s because all of the Level Bolt's “smarts” are hidden inside your door.
From the outside, it looks like nothing has changed; in fact, you can use your existing deadbolt just as before. But the Level Bolt adds brains to the operation, letting you lock and unlock the door from your phone or with Siri (but not with other voice assistants). That’s a very clever design, but as you’ll see in the rest of our Level Bolt review, it’s missing a few features found in the best of the best smart locks.
Level Bolt: Price and availability
The Level Bolt costs $229, and is available through Level’s website. It comes in two versions: One with a 2.75-inch “backseat” — the distance between the middle of your deadbolt and the edge of your door — and one with a 2.375-inch backseat. Be sure to measure your door before placing your order.
Level Bolt: Design
Power: One replaceable CR2 battery
Works with: HomeKit
Installation requirements: Door width at least 1.75 inches; deadbolt bore hole diameter: 2.125 inches; backset of 2.75 or 2.375 inches; cross bore hole diameter: 1 inch
It’s hard to comment on the look of the Level Bolt, as it’s designed to disappear once installed.
The Level Bolt consists of two main pieces: A center, circular section, which connects to your deadbolt, and the bolt, which locks your door when it’s closed. The components of the Level Bolt go inside your deadbolt, so no one would ever know if you had a smart lock at all.
Level Bolt: Installation
Putting the Level Bolt in my door proved to be a little more finicky than installation has been with other smart locks, as I had to remove not just the deadbolt, but the plates on both the door and the door jamb. Next, I had to insert the bolt, and the center section of the Level Bolt inside the cutout in the door, and then align it all with both halves of my deadbolt, before screwing everything tight.
After making sure the door closed and locked properly, I then inserted the Level Bolt’s battery (a CR2, which should last up to a year) into the bolt. That means that the bolt itself is hollow, which is a potential safety concern. Still, the lock has an ANSI-1 rating, meaning its bolt can withstand, among other things, two blows of 148 foot-pounds of force, and 5 minutes of a bolt saw.
After installing, the Level Bolt chirped to let me know it was working. I then connected it to the Level Bolt app (via Bluetooth) and to HomeKit by scanning a QR code. In all, I’d say it took me about 30 minutes to get everything set up.
If you’d rather a professional help, Level provides an installation service for $79.
Level Bolt: Performance
The Level Bolt performed as expected, locking and unlocking my door with ease and without delay. It moved the bolt smoothly in and out with a single press of the button on my phone.
The Level Bolt can be controlled remotely if you have a HomeKit Hub (iPad, Apple TV, or a HomePod), but because the lock communicates with the hub via Bluetooth, there are limits to that range versus a lock with Wi-Fi, Zigbee, or Z-Wave. My HomePod is in my attic office, far out of reach from my front door, so I had to make sure my phone was within Bluetooth range of the lock to use it.
Level Bolt: App features
The home screen of the Level Bolt app is pretty basic. It’s dominated by a large photo of a mid-century modern chair, with a large icon in the lower third next to the words “Level Lock.” Press and hold the icon, and the lock will open. It’s almost too cool. In contrast, the large red and green buttons in August’s smart lock app aren’t as sleek, but they better convey at a glance if your door is locked or unlocked.
As with other smart locks, you can create guest passes to allow others temporary access, or add users through their email or phone number. Adding specific individuals also lets you create recurring passes; for example, you can create a pass for your dog walker to be able to enter during working hours during the week, but not on weekends.
Other features include the ability for the Level Bolt to re-lock itself after a period of time (up to 3 minutes), but the lock can’t sense, nor can it tell you, if your door is open or closed.
Level Bolt: Smart home compatibility
As mentioned, the Level Bolt is compatible with Apple HomeKit, so if you have a HomeKit hub, you can control the lock via Siri and with an Apple Watch. You can also use HomeKit to automatically unlock the door when you arrive home, and receive notifications when others use the lock, or if the lock’s battery is getting low.
HomeKit also lets you set up some pretty good automations; for example, you can program a Good Night routine that would shut off your lights and lock your doors.
However, the Level Bolt does not work with either Alexa or Google Assistant. The company says it plans to expand to other platforms, but would not share specifics on when that will happen.
Level Lock: Verdict
Smart locks are one of the more popular smart home devices, because they add an extra layer of security and convenience to your house. But not everyone wants a high-tech looking gadget bolted to their door. Once the Level Bolt is installed, it disappears from sight, maintaining the aesthetics of your door from both the inside and out. It works well, and syncs seamlessly with Apple HomeKit.
However, there’s a few things that separate the Level Bolt from the best of the best smart locks, like the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. For one, the Level Bolt only works with HomeKit, which leaves out the two most popular smart home platforms. And while the Level Bolt can automatically lock itself after you’ve left, it can’t tell if your door has been left open.
Those two things aside, testing for our Level Lock review proved this to be a capable smart lock. Level Bolt will appeal to HomeKit users who want a completely concealed smart lock to guard their home.