The Level Bolt levels the competition

The Level Bolt smart lock on a door.
Credit: Level Lock

The invisible smart lock is certainly a great slogan for the Level Bolt. Like many people at the start of a professional career, I rent an apartment. When I wanted to try a smart lock, I had to agree with the landlord that I would put the original lock back in the place after I tested the Bolt. No one thought I would be able to install it in the house. What I didn’t know was that Level Bolt would still use my old door key and be a smart lock door at the same time. 

Surprisingly, the Bolt just changed in my existing deadbolt but kept my old doorknobs. So I never had to worry about changing the keys and breaking the interior of my house. In other words, I kept my exact same lock, but now I can open it with my phone. So I am less worried about forgetting my keys inside and locking myself out. But is it reliable?

The Level Bolt claims that it has a stainless steel gearbox that can survive over 1,000,000 cycles. It all happens through one single CR2 battery that powers it for the whole year. The company also claimed that it works in the toughest conditions. In practice, it does work, but I was lucky one night to have a key on me. Otherwise, I would have had to sleep in my car because the lock failed when I used my phone. It was 30 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

The Level Bolt app being used on a phone with an invitation to let a person in the house.
Credit: Level Lock

It’s as simple as opening a door with a few clicks in your app but it tells me so much more. The app lets me see what time the door was locked and unlocked. The company went even further and allows me to determine whether the lock was set manually or through the app. Finally, it tells me who opened the door. The activity history allows me to say “Yes” to friends and kids coming back from school.

I can also involve friends and family in events at my home. The smart lock app allows me to create one-time event passes for parties like Thanksgiving or Christmas. I just create a list, choose a time, date, and which people will have lock access. Don’t worry, it’s not that easy to get in without an invitation. The lock has a security feature that gives a visitor only two minutes to connect to your lock via Bluetooth when you install it in the door. 

In addition to spontaneous meetings in your house, if you are an iPhone user, you have an option to add the Bolt to your Apple HomeKit and open the door remotely. It works even if you are out of state. If you are an Android user, you have to share a link with a friend, have that person install the app, and only after that, they can get the green light to enter.

Wondering if the Level Bolt will work with your door? Bolt uses a standard for American sized doors and comes with one-size-fits-all type of backset (length of your bolt). That means that it comes in one adjustable size with the option to add on a strike plate. If your door is between 1 ¾ to 2 inches thick, it will be a perfect match. The installation took me using a screwdriver and making a call to Customer Service. Hint: If your phone doesn’t connect to the Bolt, try to press that small white button on the lock to make a hard reset. You will hear the pleasant sound of victory like I did. 

Using the Smart Home features has become a new hobby for me during the recent quarantine. Also, it makes me curious about how else I can spend time at my house. Now, I can experiment with my doors and close people out. Can I also open and close the windows downstairs while I am upstairs? Only time will tell.

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