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Review: Level Lock+ Is a Top

Aug 11, 2023

While expensive compared to other options, support for Apple Home Key and the great design make the smart lock a winner.

Security, and a smart home, can start at the front door. A smart lock is one of the easiest ways to bring technology to your home.

Along with being able to easily control access to your home and always see who is coming and going, another big advantage is that you can say goodbye to keys and instead use your smartphone or other device.

The Level Lock+ provides all of those advantages with a unique twist—it looks like a regular deadbolt. But that simplicity does come at a cost.

The Level Lock+ packs substantial technology, but you can’t tell by looking at the smart lock. All of that is contained in the inner parts of the lock, and the final result looks like your run-of-the-mill door lock. You can use the smart lock with Apple HomeKit or Amazon Alexa. Apple fans can make use of Apple Home Key technology that allows you to quickly and easily open the lock with a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch.

Getting the Level Lock+ installed is the most difficult part of the entire experience, but don’t let that dissuade you from making the purchase. While most other smart home devices take just a few seconds to get installed, smart locks are a bit different as they require a fair bit of time and experience.

That being said, if you have even the smallest amount of home improvement skills and knowledge, installing the lock shouldn’t be a problem.

The only tool you’ll need is a Philips screwdriver. If you’re using an existing door, you’ll need to remove the entire lock first. That step took the most time for me, as I had never replaced the entire lock on the 30-year-old door, including the deadbolt itself.

Some smart locks use the existing deadbolt while switching out the lock parts. But that’s not the case with the Level Lock+, and for a unique reason. To better fit most doors, the backset (the actual piece that goes into the strike plate) is adjustable to fit both 2 3/8-inch and 2 3/4-inch profiles. There are also two strike plates with different cutouts.

Installing all the Level Lock+ hardware was a fairly straightforward process. All total, I spent around 30 minutes on the installation. You can choose one of four different colors of the lock hardware: matte black, satin nickel, satin chrome, and polished brass.

I used the satin nickel option and it looks very high quality. All the hardware is well-made and seems to be able to stand up to the test of time and significant use.

On most smart locks, it’s obvious where the batteries go—inside the lock. But since the Level Lock+ goes incognito, you’ll place the CR2 battery in the bolt.

There’s no average battery life listed for the lock, but being able to simply unscrew the end of the bolt and pop in a replacement makes it easy for anyone. Since CR2 batteries aren’t as widely available as other sizes, make sure to order a pack to have one on hand. A quick check on Amazon shows you can find the battery for around $3.

Once you hear a beep confirming the battery is in place and powering the system, it’s time to install the Level Home app on your iPhone.

The lock works with Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit; I used the latter. Getting it set up with the app took just a few steps.

After the app found the lock, it was installed and added to HomeKit in just a few steps. To note, you will need an Apple Home Hub, like an Apple TV or HomePod, to use the lock with HomeKit.

The headlining feature of the Level Lock+ is compatibility with Apple Home Key. With the technology, you can quickly and easily unlock the door with your compatible Apple Watch or iPhone.

Rather than the Level Home app, you’ll set that feature up with Apple’s Home app. You should see a banner that states New Features for Locks at the top of the Home app. Select Set Up Now to continue—it will update the lock to add a Home Key to the Wallet app in your iPhone and Apple Watch.

If you allow others to control your HomeKit accessories, they can also use the Home Key for the lock.

Another great option is Express Mode. If you choose to turn that on, you can unlock the door by just holding your iPhone near the lock. You don’t need to pick up your iPhone and authenticate with Face ID or Touch ID. That is especially handy if you’re at the door with bags of groceries.

Currently, along with the Level Lock+, only one other model on the market supports Home Key. And that’s a shame. In my time using the feature, it’s been wonderful to just be able to have my iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock the door. It’s one of the best reasons to purchase the Level Lock+.

While I’ve mostly used Home Key support with the Level Lock+, there are a number of other ways to use the smart technology.

One of the unique options is an NFC key card. Two are included with the lock. Using the Level Home app, scan the card using your iPhone and then assign it a name. You can then give it to a neighbor or someone else who can lock and unlock the door without needing to use a key or the Level Home app. If you ever need to, you can also revoke a card’s access.

Another option you can enable with the Level Home app is the ability to touch to lock or unlock. It uses NFC technology to confirm that your phone is nearby. I tried using the feature a few times, and it was sometimes hit or miss, but I’ve left it on so that I can use it without any internet access.

Since the lock is HomeKit compatible, you can control it with Siri on any of your devices. It can also be added as part of a HomeKit automation. I created a Good Night automation that dims lights at specific locations around my home and will automatically lock the door.

For the completely tech-adverse, two keys are also included.

Optionally, you can purchase a $79 add-on keypad and assign key codes, much like with other smart locks. The keypad is wireless and weatherproof and also uses LEDs to see the keys at night. Even though it’s not included, it’s nice to know that you can add it to your system later.

I’ve been using smart locks for years as part of my smart home, but the Level Lock+ definitely stands out. If you’re an Apple fan, and want to make use of the great Home Key feature, the Level Lock+ should top your list.

Even though the Level Lock+ is more than twice the price of some HomeKit-compatible locks, it’s worth the extra cash. The outstanding features like Home Key, high-quality hardware, and incognito technology come together to be one of the top smart locks on the market.

Born and raised in sunny west Texas, Brent graduated from Texas Tech University with a BA in journalism. He's been writing about technology for more than 5 years and enjoys all things Apple, accessories, and security.

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