Amazon today announced Amazon Key, their new smart lock platform. While Amazon Key’s primary purpose — in conjunction with the Amazon Cloud Cam — is to facilitate Amazon’s new in-home delivery option, you may be surprised to know it can work just like a full-fledged smart lock installation for you and your family to use.
In fact, you may also be surprised to know that Amazon Key is not just one hardware product, but a handful of existing options that are certified to work with Amazon Key. Those include the SmartCode 914 and Convert from Kwik, as well as the Assure from Yale.
You’re probably wondering which of these smart locks is the best to use for Amazon Key, so let’s take a look at the differences and see if we can’t come up with that answer.
For $250, Yale’s lone option seems to be the most technologically capable. It’s the only one with a touchscreen, for starters. That could be both a blessing and a curse: a touchscreen makes it easier to see when there’s not much light, but harder to use if you’re wearing gloves.
Beyond that, the Yale Assure allows you to create up to 250 lock codes at a time, so you can generate and give codes to all your family members, as well as any friends. You can give these codes out on either a temporary or permanent basis, too, and they can be managed at any time using Amazon Alexa.
Kwikset’s model comes in $50 cheaper than the aforementioned, but that also comes at the expense of the touchscreen. To that end, it still has a physical 10-key pad for easily inputting passcodes, which may even be a positive for some.
By the way, you only get 30 of those handy lock codes to pass out to friends and family, but that should still prove plentiful for most people.
This figures to be your cheapest option at $150, but it has a niche use and may not even be appropriate for your lock type. This particular lock is different in that you don’t actually have to install a new deadbolt on your door. Instead, it acts as more of an enclosure for the inside part of your door. It can only work with a free-standing deadbolt, not one integrated into a door handle panel or for something like a rim lock.
This option is good for folks who, for one reason or another, want to continue using their current lock and set of keys. One example is an apartment or house renter whose landlord won’t allow a new type of lock to be installed. It could also be that you simply don’t trust an electronic lock that’s exposed to the outside world.
Other than that, it should offer the same smart advantages of the other two, including Amazon Key support and Amazon Alexa integration to check your lock status at any given time. It even offers guest access without a keypad thanks to a text-based authentication process.
Which is Best?
There are advantages and disadvantages with each of these models. Yale’s model offers the touchpad element with modern looks, but at the cost of a $250 price tag (and good luck dealing with that touchpad in the winter time). Kwikset’s SmartCode 914, meanwhile, is $50 cheaper, has a tactile keypad, and a more classical look. Lastly, the Kwikset Convert allows you to install a smart lock system without having to change your existing deadbolt, and for some this is the only option, the downside being that guest access is more cumbersome than the others.
If we had to crown one overall winner, though, it’d have to be the Kwikset SmartCode 914. It offers a nice balance between functionality, style, and affordability. It may only support up to 30 guest codes compared to Yale’s 250, but do you really need 250 guest codes? Even for those with the biggest and closest of families, we’re going to guess no, not at all. Kwikset’s SmartCode 914 is the pick, and you can buy it right here.
No matter which one you end up picking, they all come in some form of Brass, Nickel, or Bronze finish, with a lifetime warranty on the finish and mechanical bits, and a limited 1-year warranty on electronics.