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Stealthy retrofit smart lock hides inside the door

Stealthy retrofit smart lock h...
The in-door Level Lock mechanism (left) and its accompanying deadbolt
The in-door Level Lock mechanism (left) and its accompanying deadbolt
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The Level Lock app can also be used to remotely grant lock access to other people for certain days and times, to track who has entered and exited the house, and to receive alerts such as low-battery warnings
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The Level Lock app can also be used to remotely grant lock access to other people for certain days and times, to track who has entered and exited the house, and to receive alerts such as low-battery warnings
An x-ray view of an installed Level Lock, minus the old lock's cylinder housings
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An x-ray view of an installed Level Lock, minus the old lock's cylinder housings
The in-door Level Lock mechanism (left) and its accompanying deadbolt
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The in-door Level Lock mechanism (left) and its accompanying deadbolt
View gallery - 3 images

We're seeing an increasing number of "smart" locks that are installed over top of a door's existing old-school lock. This means that they protrude from the door, looking a bit gawky and potentially getting in the way. The Level Lock, however, gets around this problem by going inside the door.

Installation of the device appears to be relatively simple.

Utilizing nothing but a screwdriver, users start by removing their existing deadbolt-style lock. They then slip in the Level Lock's deadbolt – that's the part that slides horizontally in and out as the door gets locked and unlocked.

Next they install the actual motorized locking mechanism. It engages the inside end of the deadbolt, and sits within the existing door-hole that was home to the old lock's mechanism.

Finally, they reinstall the original lock's interior and exterior cylinder housings – these are the bits that contain the keyholes and handles. They're not just put back on for the sake of esthetics, as their interior cam bar runs through the Level Lock's mechanism. This means that they can still be used to manually lock and unlock the door, if needed.

An x-ray view of an installed Level Lock, minus the old lock's cylinder housings
An x-ray view of an installed Level Lock, minus the old lock's cylinder housings

Once it's up and running, the Level Lock offers the same basic features as other smart locks.

For instance, it can be wirelessly locked/unlocked using an iOS/Android app, plus it can be set to automatically lock within a set amount of time after the door has been closed, or to unlock when it detects the approaching Bluetooth signal of its returning user's smartphone.

The app can also be used to remotely grant lock access to other people for certain days and times, to track who has entered and exited the house, and to receive alerts such as low-battery warnings. Speaking of which, the lock is powered by an externally-accessible CR2 battery, that reportedly should be good for over a year of use before needing to be replaced.

Prospective buyers can reserve a Level Lock now via the first link below, for a special price of US$199 – shipping should begin in the coming months. The planned retail price is $249.

Source: Level via Popular Science

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12 comments
guzmanchinky
See I like having a keypad and therefore no key or phone needed
RobC
The battery replacement in the deadbolt is a clever design. I was wondering how much of a pain it would be to change the batteries every year. The site video shows a nice view of this that would be great to include in the article.
sidmehta
Expensive
Terry Pardy
Most doors in the U.K. use a multi locking system nowadays so it would be useless for that sort of door.
zr2s10
I like this because I've yet to find a double cylinder (need a key on both sides) smart deadbolt. I have a smart door handle, but it can be opened on the inside without unlocking it. I have two small children, one of which is, let's say, difficult. I had to put a double cylinder deadbolt on the door, so that she can't just run up and open it. I started with a chain, but when I needed to go outside to get something from the shed, I'd come around from the back of the house, and she would be standing outside. My house is 50ft from a busy road, so this was very bad. And compared to many smart locks, the price isn't bad. I imagine within a year, even at retail you'd be able to find it for $200. I may pre-order one to be sure I get that price.
McDesign
Double-cylinder deadbolts are hugely dangerous for fire safety.
Worzel
All electric gizmo's add another potential level of failure, compared to plain mechanics. eg, poor contacts to the battery, as surfaces tend to corrode, etc. Similarly for metal parts. Ultimately, they're only as strong as the door, and that is weakened by fitting the lock! The simplest child -proof lock I had was just a 'D' shaped disk with two opposed spring loaded pads that had to be pressed simultaneously for the disk to be turned. The disk was just too broad, and the springs too strong, for small hands. I fitted it to the under sink cabinet, where all the household chemicals were kept. My kids never managed to open it while they were too small and curious. As they got older other things occupied them, and they lost interest in the cabinets. I was also, probably the first person in the world to have a coiled cable to my electric kettle, to keep my kids from pulling a boiling kettle over themselves, as I fitted a piece that I stole from work, years before they came on the market. (Probably missed a patent opportunity there!)
PAV
For me this is a nice design because my HOA governs how the lock should look. It did mention integration with siri on the website but no mention of Alexa or Google.
zr2s10
McDesign, That's why I keep my keys right by the door, so they're easy to get the door unlocked in time. In addition, I have multiple floor level windows that are easy to exit, along with a roof over my porch, that allows easy exit from the top floor. So fire egress is covered, and my kids can't get out the door when they shouldn't, and risk being lost or hit by a car. As a single parent of two kids, when I have them, you can't always have your eye on both of them, and accomplish making dinner. Also, there is glass by both doors that someone could reach in and unbolt a standard deadbolt, but they can't reach where I keep my keys, so it's more secure for breaking and entering.
DaleBarclay
Your door is only as secure as the frame it is attached to which is attached to the wall of the house. Take the time to add some extra screws and nails for a more secure attachment. And get a solid core door also, preferably a steel one with insulation inside.