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Review: Kwikset SmartCode 888 Electronic Deadbolt

Integrating a modern smart lock with a control system opens some really cool and exciting automation opportunities.

Kudos: Simple to install; easily re-key to use existing keys; incredibly simple to setup automation scenes

Concerns: Requires Hub (sold separately) for any automation or remote access features

Door locks are one of those things most of us just kind of take for granted; they’re in place when we buy our house and we generally don’t give them much thought. Heaven knows I lived in my house for over 10 years before I finally got around to changing out one of my deadbolts, and that was just because I had been sent one to review.

But the “smart lock” category is an exciting one that continues to develop and offer much in the way of functionality and enhanced security. And integrating a modern smart lock with a control system opens some really cool and exciting automation opportunities. The SmartCode 888 Touchpad Electronic Deadbolt is Kwikset’s latest introduction in its “entry-level” smart lock category, and is offered in three popular finishes: Lifetime Polished Brass, Satin Nickel, and Venetian Bronze.

The exterior portion of the 888 lock is a solid, all-metal design meant to withstand a variety of extreme elements. The touchpad features six buttons – five for entering the unlock code and one for locking the door. The interior portion is trimmed in a matching finish and has a black plastic cover that conceals the battery pack, programming buttons, and a lever for manually operating the lock.

The 888 is the fourth deadbolt I’ve installed to date, meaning I’m by no means an expert, but it also ain’t my first rodeo. If you’ve never installed a deadbolt before, fear not; it’s a pretty painless process and the included directions clearly illustrate each step. Kwikset even has a five-minute video walkthrough on its website. The biggest difficulty I ran into was needing to chisel out a bit of the door frame for the new door strike to seat properly, but it was nothing a flathead screwdriver and a few hammer blows couldn’t resolve.

Once the lock is installed and powered up via four AA-batteries (included), there are a few configuration settings that can be adjusted using the program and “A” button inside the unit. There is a status LED that defaults to blinking every six seconds to indicate if the door is locked (amber) or unlocked (green) or if the battery is low (red), which can be turned off. An “auto-lock” feature can automatically lock the door after a period of time ranging from 30 seconds to three minutes. As I installed the 888 on an exterior door leading out to a swimming pool, and since I have a two-year-old, this was a welcome feature to ensure the door was always locked. You can also mute the beeping sounds that normally accompany the lock opening or closing and add up to 30 distinct four-to-eight-digit user codes.

Though a customer is likely to only use this once, one of my favorite features is Kwikset’s SmartKey Re-key technology. This allows the user to quickly re-key the lock so the existing “house key” can be used on the new lock. Without re-key, I would need five separate keys to operate all the doors to my house…or pay to have a locksmith come out and re-key them.

While the SmartCode 888 is an effective standalone lock, taking advantage of its full range of features requires pairing it with a third-party Z-Wave-enabled home automation system. There are a variety of these available, and Kwikset sent me the popular Samsung SmartThings Hub to serve as the centerpiece of my Z-Wave system. Once the hub is installed and configured, pairing the Kwikset lock with it was simple, and gave me the ability to view the lock’s status on my phone, lock and unlock it, and setup notifications to alert me when the lock was unlocked.

Adding the SmartThings Hub opens up a massive potential of other very cool automation options. For example, I set up geo-fencing around my house tied to my iPhone, so the Hub knows when I’m home or away. I could then set up events to lock or unlock the door accordingly. An inexpensive Z-Wave contact sensor could alert me if the door had been left open, or even sound an alarm if desired. I could also easily program events around the door locking or unlocking, say to arm a security system and turn off all the lights when I leave, or turn on lights, lower the temperature, and start a playlist when I unlock the door. You can also program events to occur around specific times of the day. There are hundreds of Z-Wave sensors, lights, and modules available, making the automation possibilities nearly endless.

The 888 uses Z-Wave’s latest 500 Series chipset, which offers extended wireless range, security, and increased battery life. And after being installed and used for over a month, the system shows I still have 100 percent battery life, which is amazing.

By adding the free “Smart Locks” app within SmartThings, I could now remotely create user codes and share them with people. For example, say you were away from home and wanted to give someone temporary access. Easily create a temporary code, share it, and then delete it later. Even cooler is that the lock and app allowed me to view the history of all lock actions, letting me see exactly when each specific code was used to unlock the door, as well as all manual locking and unlocking. And since the SmartThings Hub works with Alexa, I can now use my voice to control the lock.

Being able to check and make sure you locked the doors from anywhere in the world – or grant someone access in an emergency – provides peace of mind you almost can’t put a price on. But with an MSRP of $129, the Kwikset SmartCode 888 is affordable enough to use on every exterior door in a home.

866-863-6584 – KWIKSET.COM

Product Specs

  • Motorized mechanism enables true remote locking/unlocking 
  • Status LED indicates lock status and low battery state
  • Includes latest Z-Wave 500 Series chipset with extended wireless range, security, and increased battery life
  • Can support up to 30 separate user codes
  • Kwikset SmartKey Re-key technology allows homeowner to quickly re-key lock
  • Resistant to kick-in, picks, drills, bumps, and saws
  • Available in three finishes: Lifetime Polished Brass, Satin Nickel, and Venetian Bronze