Smart locks offer an easy way to control access to your home and monitor comings and goings using your phone, but they typically require new interior and/or or exterior components. If you’re perfectly happy with your existing hardware but want to smarten up your entryway, the $229 Level Lock is a Bluetooth-enabled internal lock component that transforms your traditional lock into a smart lock. It’s easy to install and works with Apple HomeKit, which means you can control it with Automations, Scenes, and Siri voice commands. That said, it doesn’t offer the compatibility with third-party devices or Wi-Fi connectivity that you get with our similarly priced Editors’ Choice, Utec’s Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro.
Design and Features
Unlike other smart locks such as the Kwikset Premis Contemporary and the RemoteLock OpenEdge RG Deadbolt, the Level Lock doesn’t replace any exterior part of your existing lock. In fact, once it’s installed, you won’t even know it’s there.
It consists of a motorized gear case assembly, a deadbolt latch, and a strike plate, and it comes with mounting screws, three tailpiece adapters, a quick start guide, and a CR2 battery that is rated to last up to one year before requiring replacement.
The battery is installed by unscrewing a cap on the end of the deadbolt latch and sliding the battery into the compartment. While convenient, it’s hard to imagine that a bolt with a 1-inch hollowed-out battery compartment will hold up as well as the solid steel bolt that you get with most locks.
The puck-shaped motor casing is 1.7 inches wide and 1.0 inches thick and has three holes: one is for the tailpiece and adapter and the other two are for the mounting bolts. It contains a Bluetooth radio for connecting to your mobile device using the Level Home app, but lacks a Wi-Fi radio, which means you can’t connect it directly to your home network. It works with most standard deadbolt locks, but as is the case with most smart locks, it doesn’t work with Mortise locks.
The Level Lock will send a push alert and sound a chime whenever it is locked or unlocked. It supports Apple HomeKit and works with Siri voice commands and HomeKit Automations and Scenes, but you’ll have to have an internet-connected Apple TV or HomePod to use Automations and to control the lock outside of its native Bluetooth range of around 40 feet or so. It doesn’t support Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands, nor does it support IFTTT applets that allow smart devices such as door locks, cameras, and lights to interact with each other.
The lock uses the Level Home mobile app for Android and iOS devices. It opens to a screen that displays the name of your lock, its location, and the last activity. To lock or unlock the door, press and hold the lock icon. The lock will chirp each time it is locked or unlocked. Tap the activity area below the lock icon to view daily lock and unlock activities with the name of the mobile user, the time of the event, and if the lock was manually or automatically activated. A gear icon in the bottom right corner takes you to a Settings screen where you can enable the Auto Lock feature that automatically locks the door after being open for a preset period of time. Here you can also set the lock chime sound (low, medium, high), calibrate the lock for jam-free operation, check the battery level, and update the firmware. Tap the people icon in the upper right corner to add users and assign permanent and temporary access to the lock.
Installation and Performance
The Level Lock is easy to install, but if you’re not all that handy, the company has partnered with HelloTech, a service that will install the lock for $79.
I started by downloading the app and creating an account. I tapped Add Lock and followed the instructions to disassemble my existing keyed cylinder and thumbscrew lock and remove the deadbolt latch. Next, I installed the new deadbolt latch, slid the motor assembly into a groove on the latch, and tightened the retaining screw. I selected the correct tailpiece adapter for my existing lock, slid it into the tailpiece hole on the motor assembly, and reinstalled my original cylinder and thumb turn components. I extended the deadbolt using the thumb turn, unscrewed the cap on the end of the bolt, and inserted the battery, which elicited a chirp from the lock. With the lock installed I tapped Continue, paired the lock to the app, and gave it a name and a location. After a quick firmware update, I scanned the HomeKit code located on the back of the quick start guide to add the lock to my HomeKit home, and the installation was complete.
The Level Lock performed well in testing. It responded quickly to lock and unlock commands using the app, and worked smoothly with my old thumb turn mechanism. I hooked up an Apple TV device and created an Automation to have the door automatically unlock when I arrived home and it worked perfectly, as did my automation to have a Yeelight bulb light turn on when the door was unlocked. The Level Lock’s Auto Lock feature also worked well, as did Siri voice commands to lock and unlock the door.
If you’re looking to add smart technology to your doorways, but don’t want to change the look of your interior and exterior locking hardware, the Level Lock is worth a look. This unique smart lock component, which resides inside your door’s lock assembly and is invisible from the outside, easy to install, and adds Bluetooth and Apple HomeKit connectivity to your existing lock. You can have it work with HomeKit Scenes and with other HomeKit devices using Automations, but you’ll have to have an Apple TV or HomePod to do so and to control the lock remotely.
The lock performed as advertised in testing, but its semi-hollow bolt seems cause for concern as it doesn’t appear as durable as the solid bolts that come with most smart and traditional deadbolt locks. Moreover, the Level Lock doesn’t work with the popular Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice services, nor does it work with third-party devices using IFTTT applets. For a few dollars less, our Editors’ Choice, the Utec Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro, gets you a lot more features including a fingerprint scanner, Alexa and Google voice control, support for IFTTT applets, and both keypad and keyed cylinder locking and unlocking.
Level Lock Specs