Kwikset really outdid itself with the SmartCode 916 Touchscreen Electronic Deadbolt. In addition to feeling like a heavy-duty lock, it is substantial in other ways. Although you'll need a Z-Wave or ZigBee smart home network to take full advantage of all of its features, it works very well on its own. Its built-in alarm and ability to let you use your original deadbolt keys make this an even smarter smart lock.
The SmartCode 916 is sleek and modern, and it's designed to fit in with any existing décor. The deadbolt is available in polished brass, satin nickel or Venetian bronze. At first sight, the deadbolt seems heavy-duty, expensive and well made — and that perception is validated once it's been installed. It features a capacitive touch-screen keypad and a backup keyhole in case the four AA batteries run out; Kwikset claims the batteries will last up to one year.
The touch screen is surprisingly responsive, allowing quick access into your home. The backlight is bright white and can be seen easily in daylight. On the bottom left of the screen is a checkmark symbol that will flash green to convey a successful action, and on the bottom right is a locked padlock symbol that is used for one-touch locking.
The interior panel of the 916 deadbolt looks discreet, and it's surprisingly simple. Each component is easily identifiable, and if something were to go wrong, you could probably figure it out yourself instead of calling in the IT-team cavalry. The only inconvenience is that you have to remove the back panel with small screws to access the battery pack. Most electronic deadbolts allow you to change the batteries without any dismantling.
All it took to install the SmartCode 916 was a screwdriver and a single wire. The installation and user guides were easy to follow, and there was no need to worry about perfect door alignment because of the tapered design of the deadbolt.
It's surely easier to manage codes on your smartphone than to go through the process of using the keypad.
Between installing the deadbolt and handing the lock, it took me about 20 minutes from start to finish. It's easy to program user codes directly from the deadbolt, although Kwikset actually recommends doing this through a smart home hub. It's surely easier to manage codes on your smartphone than to go through the process of using the keypad.
You also have the option to enable a Master Code on the SmartCode 916 for added security. Having a master code gives only one person the ability to add and delete user codes on the lock. However, the master code cannot unlock the door unless the same code is also set up as a regular user code.
MORE: Best Smart Locks
You can assign friends and family permanent access codes, and give maintenance workers and guests temporary codes that grant them access for specific time periods only.
The Kwikset SmartCode 916 Touchscreen Electronic Deadbolt is not just a pretty face. There was no noticeable delay when I punched in numbers on the touch screen, and I did not experience any false locks. The bright-white LED backlight makes the numbers easily readable, and to wake it up, you just touch the screen anywhere.
Kwikset provides an extra security feature called SecureScreen, which, if activated, shows two random digits you must press before entering your user code. This makes it harder for a would-be burglar to figure out your entry code by looking for your fingerprints. The one drawback with this feature is that if this isn't explained to each person given a code, it can be confusing for a first-time user.
Once the code is entered, the checkmark will light up, letting you know that the door is unlocked. With Kwikset's one-touch lock feature, you just shut the door behind you and press the lock symbol in the bottom-right corner of the touch screen. You will hear the deadbolt click, indicating that the door is locked.
This deadbolt comes with Kwikset's SmartKey technology, which allows users to rekey the keyhole to match their existing key. I had my doubts about this feature, but I was able to use it fairly painlessly, with just a little elbow grease.
Kwikset has security covered on both the inside and the outside of this lock. With the device's optional SecureScreen technology, I don't mind entering two additional numbers in exchange for the added security that someone will not be able to crack one of my codes.
The SmartCode 916 is BHMA Grade 2 certified (Grade 1 is the highest), uses 128-bit encryption and is outfitted with Kwikset's patented BumpGuard locking bar to protect the lock from being picked or "bumped."
If someone puts in the wrong code one after the other, the deadbolt will beep, and it's loud enough to hear inside the house.
If three incorrect codes are entered one after the other, the deadbolt will start to beep. If you are inside the house, it will be loud enough to alert you that someone is trying to get in. And if no one is home, the beeps can also be enough to scare away any would-be burglars. If the deadbolt is connected to a smart home hub, an alert will be sent to the person with the master code.
Smart Home Capability
As with the Schlage Connect and the Yale Real Living Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt, you can only harness the smart capabilities of the SmartCode 916, such as controlling it remotely, if you are connected to a Z-Wave or ZigBee smart home hub, such as the $99 Samsung SmartThings.
However, the SmartCode 916 works just as well on its own as a touch-screen deadbolt for which you can have up to 30 unique user codes. It can even be rekeyed so that you can use the keys you already have for your home.
The Kwikset SmartCode 916 is a solid smart home deadbolt — both figuratively and literally — with an easy-to-use, responsive touch screen. Installation is simple for even non-tech-savvy users, and the keyless entry and one-touch locking are convenient features. The Schlage Connect has a piercing alarm and a variety of colors to choose from to fit your decor, but the Kwikset SmartCode is a bit smaller, making it less conspicuous, and allows you to use your old house keys if you want. You'll need a Z-Wave network in place to take full advantage of the SmartCode's smart features. But even on its own, the SmartCode 916 is a solid, stand-alone, touch-screen deadbolt.