Kwikset Smart Locks Review

We spent time testing Kwikset's latest smart lock and found out where it fits in the Kwikset landscape.
Best overall
Kwikset Halo
Kwikset Halo
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Wi-Fi
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Alexa and Google compatibility
Best value
Best for smart hubs
Kwikset SmartCode 916
Kwikset SmartCode 916
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Z-Wave or Zigbee
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Good battery life
Best fingerprint lock
Best keyless lock

Kwikset's smart locks—like the Kwikset Halo Wi-Fi lock—do well enough in a head-to-head battle with competitors like Schlage and Yale, but it stands out for being more affordable overall. Naturally, this means Kwikset smart locks don't sport as many features (like geofencing).

But it makes up for that by offering innovative options like SmartKey rekeying and SecureScreen touchscreen keypads on some models. We're also fans of the style of these smart locks, which is more striking than the competition. Check out our full breakdown of Kwikset's best smart locks to see why we like them and what improvements we'd like.

Kwikset smart locks pros and cons

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Easy to assign user codes
Pro Bullet Attractive designs
Pro Bullet Easy to rekey with SmartKey
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Poor battery life on Halo and Aura
Con Bullet Some locks require smart hubs

Kwikset smart locks in this review


Compare Kwikset smart locks

Lock
Price
Physical key option
Smart home compatibilityIcon Tooltip  Dark
Learn more
Read review
Best overall
Kwikset HaloKwikset Halo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Amazon, Google
Best value
Kwikset AuraKwikset Aura
Icon Yes  LightYes
None
Best for smart hubs
Kwikset SmartCode 916Kwikset SmartCode 916
Icon Yes  LightYes
Z-Wave, Zigbee*
Best fingerprint lock
Kwikset Halo TouchKwikset Halo Touch
Icon Yes  LightYes
Amazon, Google
Best keyless lock
Kwikset ObsidianKwikset Obsidian
Icon Cons  LightNo
Z-Wave, Zigbee*

Amazon.com price as of 07/16/2021 at 12:00 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.
*The Amazon link is for the Z-Wave version.

How smart locks work

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What to expect with Kwikset smart locks

Although you can customize your Kwikset smart lock plenty of ways, the underlying features are consistent between models. Here are a few similarities and differences to help you decide which model is best for your needs.

Similarities between Kwikset's smart locks

Here are the basic features you can expect on most Kwikset smart locks:

  • Battery power: All smart locks require batteries; Kwikset's tool of choice is four AA batteries. These go in an enclosure (which is why it's so bulky looking) on the inside of your door. But the batteries on the Wi-Fi (Halo) and Bluetooth (Aura) locks don't last as long as they do on the HomeKit, Z-Wave, or Zigbee models.
  • Mobile app controls: All of Kwikset's smart locks work with a mobile app, though the app depends on the smart home platform you use and whether there's a smart hub.
  • Automatic locking: This allows the lock to relock after 30 seconds when you unlock it. This setting is off by default but is easy to activate by following steps in the user manual (or in the Kwikset app for Halo, Aura, and Premis).
  • Durable construction: Kwikset smart locks offer great protection against lockpicking and physical attacks. This puts Kwikset on par with Yale smart locks but they typically aren't as strong as Schlage.
  • Keypads and backup keys: In addition to opening the door through a smartphone app, you can use a PIN code or backup key to unlock Kwikset smart locks. While most models have both a keypad and keyhole, some—like the Obsidian and the Halo Touch—have only one.
  • Installation: You can install a Kwikset smart door lock in about 20 minutes or less using a simple screwdriver—there's no drilling or complex wiring.
  • SmartKey: Except for the Obsidian—which doesn't have a keyhole—you can rekey your Kwikset locks to use a different key using a special tool. This is most convenient for folks that want to keep existing house keys when upgrading to smart locks. You won't need to pay for new copies of your keys or custom order "keyed-alike" locks.

Differences between Kwikset's smart locks

Because Kwikset smart locks share many of the same features, the biggest differences lie in wireless technology and design aesthetics. Here's a crash course on how these locks differ.

Connectivity

Kwikset's smart locks work with a variety of wireless and smart home platforms:

  • Wi-Fi: The Halo and Halo Touch both use Wi-Fi to connect to your home network so you can control the locks remotely using the Kwikset app. These are also the only Kwikset smart locks that work directly with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
  • Bluetooth: The Aura's Bluetooth also works without a hub but without the remote controls of Halo. It doesn't link to a smart hub, so this lock works only when you're nearby.
  • Z-Wave and Zigbee: Kwikset SmartCode and Obsidian locks work with smart hubs like Samsung SmartThings or a home security system like Abode or Blue by ADT. By linking to these platforms, you can control the locks remotely and adjust settings with your phone. Without a hub, you need to program the devices manually using the keypad.
  • Apple HomeKit: The Kwikset Premis connects to Apple HomeKit via an Apple TV, HomePod, or iPad to enable remote access and make setup easier. These devices are optional if your iPhone is nearby, but remote access is too useful to ignore.

Keypads

  • Keypad styles: These smart locks use a variety of different keypads like touchscreens and physical buttons. The physical buttons on SmartCode models come in arrangements of 6 or 11, depending on the number of buttons you want for your lock.
    • SecureScreen: Kwikset's touchscreen locks like the Halo, Premis, and SmartCode 916 have a nifty security feature that requires you to touch two random numbers before entering your code. This helps spread fingerprints across the screen so intruders can't reverse-engineer your PIN code.
  • Number of PIN codes: Most Kwikset smart locks top out at 30 user codes, but Halo and Aura support up to 250 codes thanks to their direct communication with mobile apps. The Halo Touch supports up to 100 fingerprints across 50 users.
  • Code permissions: The Aura, Halo, and Premis have customizable user code permissions and scheduling:
    • Anytime: users with this permission can come and go as they please, which is best for family and trusted friends.
    • One-time: allow a guest to enter your home once within a 24-hour period, which is great for a neighbor dropping off a tool they borrowed.
    • Time range: If you have a friend who visits at a specific time each day, this setting allows them in, but not at other times. It's also great for enforcing a curfew to have your younger children home by a particular hour—no late-night sneak-ins.
    • Date range: this option is great for your various sitters when you go on vacation (baby, cat, plant) or grant access to short-term renters if you run an Airbnb or VRBO.

Finish selection

Depending on the lock you choose, you customize the finish to match your preferred aesthetics. Except for Satin Nickel and Venetian Bronze—which are available on all Kwikset locks—you can expect a different selection of the following finishes on your locks:

  • Satin Nickel
  • Venetian Bronze
  • Polished Brass
  • Matte Black
  • Satin Chrome
  • Polished Chrome
Bell
Kwikset lock styles

You can choose between traditional (rounded) and contemporary (straight edges) styles on most Kwikset smart locks, depending on your tastes. The Halo and Aura sport distinctive styles similar to the contemporary design but aren't available in a traditional style.

Kwikset smart lock reviews

1. Kwikset Halo: Best overall

Best overall
Kwikset Halo
Kwikset Halo
$229.00
● Wi-Fi
● Alexa and Google compatibility
● Weak battery life

Amazon.com price as of 07/16/2021 at 12:00 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The Kwikset Halo is a Wi-Fi smart lock that you can control from your smartphone without buying a smart hub. This makes Halo the only Kwikset lock series that allows remote access without an extra purchase. We love that you can create up to 250 codes and schedule them based on individual users.

From a feature standpoint, the Halo is the best that Kwikset has to offer and is the company's only lock that works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. These voice assistants allow you to lock and unlock (with a spoken PIN code) without reaching for your phone. We also like its sleek design and backup key.

But even the best smart locks have drawbacks. Based on what we found in user reviews, the Halo devours four AA batteries every 3–4 months. This isn't a huge surprise since most Wi-Fi locks struggle with battery life. By comparison, a typical Z-Wave smart lock can last six months to a year.

Overall, the Kwikset Halo smart lock is the best choice from this lock maker, but we think the Schlage Encode and August Smart Lock are generally better Wi-Fi locks.

Light Bulb
Save with Halo Keypad

If you don't want a touchscreen, you can opt for the Kwikset Halo Keypad (about $200). Its rubber buttons aren't as sleek, but they have some advantages, like allowing you to use the lock with gloves or by touch alone.

2. Kwikset Aura: Best value

Best value
Kwikset Aura
Kwikset Aura
$116.82
● Bluetooth
● Affordable
● No remote access

Amazon.com price as of 07/16/2021 at 12:00 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The Kwikset Aura uses a Bluetooth connection to talk to your smartphone for about half the price of the Halo. The best part is that it offers nearly all of the same features. It uses a keypad with rubber buttons instead of a touchscreen but still looks great on any door.

Unfortunately, Bluetooth has a more limited range (about 100 feet) and doesn't connect to the internet. This means Aura doesn't have remote access or smart home compatibility. Despite this lack of features, it's a surprisingly handy lock for most folks since you can still create and schedule visitor codes as you please.

One shared feature with Halo we dislike is the poor battery life, which lasts only a few months before you need new batteries. Overall, we like the Kwikset Aura as a solid budget smart lock, but it's up against intense competition. The Wyze Smart Lock is cheaper and has remote access, but the Kwikset Aura has a better keypad and overall appearance.

3. Kwikset SmartCode 916: Best for smart hubs

Best for smart hubs
Kwikset SmartCode 916
Kwikset SmartCode 916
$151.90
● Z-Wave or Zigbee
● Good battery life
● Requires smart hub

Amazon.com price as of 07/16/2021 at 12:00 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer. The Amazon link is for the Z-Wave version.

The Kwikset SmartCode 916 would likely beat out the Halo for our top Kwikset pick if everyone had smart hubs. This Z-Wave smart lock (or Zigbee) uses far less battery life than the energy-gobbling Wi-Fi on Halo. It's also a bit sleeker with a uniformly flat touchscreen keypad instead of the beveled sides on the Halo.

But the trouble is that you need to buy a third-party smart hub to unleash this lock's full potential, which would bring the price close to or above the Halo. And while most smart hubs give you the option to customize PIN codes, it's harder to predict if those hubs allow scheduling users. We're not sure if the extra effort is worth it for folks that don't already use a smart home system like Samsung SmartThings.

Overall, we like the Kwikset SmartCode 916's smart home potential, but it doesn't offer much for people with a casual interest in smart home tech. We think there are better Z-Wave locks available, like the Yale Assure Lock and Schlage Connect, though they cost a fair bit more.

4. Kwikset Halo Touch: Best fingerprint lock

Best fingerprint lock
Kwikset Halo Touch
Kwikset Halo Touch
$249.00
● Wi-Fi
● Fingerprint sensor
● Buggy setup

Amazon.com price as of 07/16/2021 at 12:00 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The Kwikset Halo Touch is the company's latest smart lock design and the first with a fingerprint sensor for quick unlocking. During our tests of this lock, the fingerprint sensor was lightning fast and easy to figure out—plus it's a bit more secure than a keypad. We like that you can add up to 50 users to the system, which stores up to 100 fingerprints.

Like the original Kwikset Halo smart lock, it uses Wi-Fi to communicate with your phone. This brings the same perks (remote access and compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant) and drawbacks (poor battery life and a higher price).

While we like the fingerprint sensor, it's not as convenient for letting in guests that don't already have a fingerprint in the system—one reason it's not higher up on our list. The app didn't cooperate during setup, and we even needed a factory reset (never a good sign). In total, the setup took about 45 minutes, over twice as long as it would've on another door lock.

There weren't any issues after setup. It was nice to lock the door and leave our keys inside the house while gardening in the backyard. Overall, the Kwikset Halo Touch is a great option for a fingerprint smart lock, even if it's a bit expensive.

5. Kwikset Obsidian: Best keyless lock

Best keyless lock
Kwikset Obsidian
Kwikset Obsidian
$229.00
● Z-Wave or Zigbee
● No keyhole
● Expensive

Amazon.com price as of 07/16/2021 at 12:00 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer. The Amazon link is for the Z-Wave version.

We say this without reservation: the Kwikset Obsidian is the most attractive smart lock you can buy. This compact touchscreen slab is so simple but looks stunning. It gets away with this because there's no keyhole.

As far as the internal tech goes, the Obsidian is more or less as capable as the SmartCode 916 since you can buy it in Z-Wave and Zigbee versions (though the Zigbee one is a bit harder to find these days.) So you're in business with mobile app controls and remote access once you hook it up to a smart hub.

We know you're curious about losing access to your home if the batteries die, but that's an easy fix. The bottom of the Kwikset Obsidian's keypad has a battery terminal that works with a 9-volt battery to temporarily power the touchscreen deadbolt (if you ignore the lock's battery replacement reminders too long).

You see this handy feature on other keyless smart locks like the Nest x Yale, but it might take a trip to the store for a spare 9V battery. Overall, we like the Kwikset Obsidian's simplicity and promise of a key-free future.

More Kwikset locks we considered

Lock
Price
Physical key option
Smart home compatibilityIcon Tooltip  Dark
Learn more
Kwikset PremisKwikset Premis
Icon Yes  LightYes
Apple
Kwikset SmartCode 910Kwikset SmartCode 910
Icon Yes  LightYes
Z-Wave
Kwikset SmartCode 912Kwikset SmartCode 912
Icon Yes  LightYes
Z-Wave
Kwikset SmartCode 914Kwikset SmartCode 914
Icon Yes  LightYes
Z-Wave

Amazon.com price as of 07/16/2021 at 12:00 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

  • Kwikset Premis: The Kwikset Premis bears an uncanny resemblance to the SmartCode 916, but it differs by offering Apple HomeKit compatibility and PIN code scheduling. You can control the lock locally if you have an iPhone, but you need a HomeKit hub for remote access.
  • Kwikset SmartCode 910: The Kwikset SmartCode 910 is the simplest Z-Wave smart lock that Kwikset makes. It has a simple six-button keypad (one quick-lock button and five two-number buttons). It's not as affordable as the Kwikset Aura but is a good alternative to the 916.
  • Kwikset SmartCode 912: The Kwikset SmartCode 912 is virtually identical to the 910 but includes an integrated lever for doors without deadbolts.
  • Kwikset SmartCode 914: The Kwikset SmartCode 914 offers a button-style keypad like the 910 but has individual buttons for each number instead of two numbers per button. This increases the number of distinctive PIN combinations you can create, resulting in a more secure lock.
Bell
Where's the Kwikset Kevo?

According to the Kwikset website, the Kwikset Kevo (about $190) isn't officially discontinued. But it costs more than ever and doesn't hold up well to the cheaper Kwikset Aura. It's a decent alternative to the Kwikset Halo but costs too much since you need to buy the pricey Kevo Plus Hub (about $100) to unlock remote access.

Final word

Kwikset has been making locks for 75 years and is one of the most popular brands on the market. Kwikset is also notably more affordable than smart locks from competitors like Schlage, August, and Yale, but its smart locks don't capture lightning in a bottle the way those brands do. Still, it's a great alternative for folks wanting to save some cash on a reliable smart lock.

Kwikset Halo: choose this Wi-Fi smart lock if you want smart home compatibility and if you want remote access from anywhere your phone has an internet connection.

Kwikset Aura: choose this Bluetooth smart lock if you want an affordable option you can program with your phone without remote access.

Kwikset SmartCode 916: choose this Z-Wave lock if you have a smart home hub and want better battery life than most other Kwikset locks.

Kwikset Halo Touch: choose this biometric smart lock for the security and speed of a fingerprint sensor, making it easier to use than other Kwikset locks.

Kwikset Obsidian: choose this keyless lock if you want a minimalist touchscreen keypad without a bulky keyhole, though it requires a smart hub if you want the best features.

How we reviewed Kwikset smart locks

Over the years, we've tested various Kwikset smart locks like the Kevo, Obsidian, Premis, and SmartCode 916, so we have a strong understanding of how these deadbolts perform. But we're not content to rely on past experiences, so we also tested the new Kwikset Halo Touch for this review.

For our Halo Touch testing, we focused on whether the lock is a good value for the price, which features we found most useful, how long and complex the installation was, and how we felt about the lock after using it for a few days.

Using our experiences with these locks and a healthy dose of research into online customer reviews, we ranked them for general usefulness and performance. Check out our full testing methodology to see how we rate and review products.

 

FAQ

It depends on if you buy locks that are keyed alike. You can check for matching keys by looking at the packaging, which lists a key number. You can use the SmartKey option or take your lock to a locksmith if you want to rekey a lock from its default keys.

Kwikset locks without SmartKey can be easier to pick than locks with it. All locks that use a key are susceptible to lockpicking, but few burglars use this method to open a door because it's slower than kicking in the door.

Kwikset SmartKey locks come with a rekeying tool that slides into a small hole next to the keyhole. This unlocks the pins so they can move freely and adapt to the new key.

How to change keys using Kwikset SmartKey

  1. Insert the original key and turn it clockwise a quarter turn.
  2. With the original key still in the lock, insert and remove the SmartKey tool.
  3. Remove the original key.
  4. Insert the new key and do a counter-clockwise half-turn.

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Disclaimers

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

†Google, Google Nest, Google Assistant, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over eight years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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