Keypad locks for homeowners are continuing to grow in popularity. Some of you may recall our first experience with the Kwikset SmartCode technology a few months back. If you read all the way through that post, you’ll see it didn’t all go according to plan. Well Schlage got in touch with me, and, after triple checking Kim and Fred’s door hole dimensions, I had them ship over a new keypad front entry set. Having installed and used both manufacturer’s keypads, I immediately noticed a few differences. Read on to learn what I think about the Schlage keypad entry set and how it compares to Kwikset.
Installing the New Handle
Fred and Kim’s door was looking a little worse for wear. At the beginning of my quest to replace the front door hardware, this is how everything looked.
I removed all the hardware including the deadbolt, handle and knocker. Next, Kim sanded the door and gave it a fresh coat of paint.
Fred and Kim selected the Schlage Camelot set in Aged Bronze. It includes a keyless door handle and lever and keypad deadbolt.
In my paranoia that the new set wouldn’t fit, I verified the door hole locations again. You can’t really tell but everything lined up perfectly.
I’ve had the joy of installing several door locks, and have become pretty good at swapping them out. I won’t go into detail about the handle installation other than to say that it was a typical install. The only unexpected step was needing to enlarge the hole for the bottom-most bolt.
Installing the Schlage Keypad Deadbolt
I was pleased to find that the Schlage deadbolt only had a few different pieces- the exterior keypad, interior throw plate, the deadbolt, and various faceplates and screws. I also like that Schlage included the necessary 9v battery.
After installing the deadbolt, I put the exterior keypad goes on next. The wiring snakes over the deadbolt and through the mounting plate on the opposite side.
I secured the mounting plate with the two big screws. At this point, I connected the two wires and install the 9v battery. Schlage includes a picture in the instructions for tucking the wires neatly along the side.
Lastly, I put the cover on overtop.
Installing the hardware is only half the battle with these new keypad locks. Next, I needed to program the keypad. Each Schlage keypad lock comes with a factory set, 6 digit programming code and two, 4 digit user codes. The programming code allows me to add or remove user codes, enable vacation mode, turn the beeping sound on or off, and disable user codes. Schlage can store many user codes, and they serve to operate the deadbolt.
I cleared out the factory set user codes and even changed the programming code. The included programming diagram is pretty easy to follow. It involves a lot of “enter programming code” + “press Schlage button” + “pick function” + “enter new stuff” + “verify new stuff”.
How to Operate the Lock
There’s a small learning curve with keypad locks, and it’s not always intuitive how they work.
To extend the deadbolt, you press the Schlage button and rotate the thumb-turn clockwise. When you do, the Schlage button flashes green, and while it’s flashing you can still unlock the deadbolt. This lasts for about 5 seconds. Additionally, you can change the settings so that you must enter a user code before extending the deadbolt.
To unlock the deabolt, you enter the 4 digit user code and rotate the thumb-turn counter-clockwise.
If you fail to enter a user code, the thumb-turn will spin, but nothing will happen.
You’d think keyed entry would be straightforward, but you’d be wrong. Here’s my only complaint about the Schlage setup. To use your key and “manually override” the keypad, first put the key into the lock.
Turn the key 90° counterclockwise.
Push the key further into the lock.
Now you can use the thumb-turn to lock or unlock the deadbolt.
I’m sure there’s a great reason for all these extra steps, but I wish I could just use my key like always.
How Does it Compare with Kwikset
I’ve hinted at a few differences between the Schlage and Kwikset keypads. Neither set is a clear standout winner over the other, but here’s what I noticed:
- Has fewer parts making it easier to assemble
- Includes the 9v battery
- All metal covers suggest better durability
- Home Depot shows Kwikset has better prices
- Doesn’t include the 4 AA batteries
- Conceals mounting screws for a cleaner look
Overall, I liked the Schlage set better because I think they used better materials, and it feels more solidly made. Metal covers are important when you have to replace batteries. I can see accidentally stripping the plastic threads on the Kwikset set.