Front Door Keypads: Schlage vs. Kwikset

December 23, 2011 | by Ethan (email) |

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.

Keyless Entry
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.

Keyed Entry
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.

19 Responses
  1. Judith VanAlphen says:

    I have a Kwik set, my 11 yr old grandson installed this with no problems, Programing is easy and inside the battery cover is the instructions to program or change program code. No losing the instructions.
    I installed a schalge at my friends and it was a bad one. so back it went and got another. It was terrible to install and it was also bad.
    Took the second back and got a kwikset. It install in a breeze and work perfectly. My vote is kwikset.

    • Fred says:

      Judith, I think this is the first time I’ve see you comment. I just wanted to say welcome to the site and we’re glad to have you here!

    • Ethan says:

      Hi Judith,

      Kwikset has a great product, and I think they were first on the scene with these residential keypad locks. After having installed both, I lean slightly toward Schlage just because it feels like it’ll hold up and last longer.

  2. Joe says:

    My parents Schlage keyless entry handle works great at their house, I haven’t gotten motivated enough to get one of my own yet (I NEVER use the front door, and the main entry from the garage is a sliding door). My sister in law really likes the Schlage link system at her gym, she can give everyone their own code and tell when they are coming and going.

    • Ethan says:

      I’m really impressed with the one at Fred and Kim’s house and sorta wish I had installed it on my own door. I don’t have a garage so if I forgot my keys, I’m outta luck.

  3. Fred says:

    I’m a big fan of Kwikset’s SmartKey technology, but was a little disappointed with the spacing of the deadbolt handle set combo which didn’t work on our doors. In fairness, that’s probably because we had a schlage set installed before, and the holes were spaced for schlage locks. I will say that the Schlage set feels a little better quality and just a little smoother to operate, but again, that could be because of the spacing / hole location.

  4. robert says:

    Hi guys,

    Real nice review. I too am a fan of the Kwikset smart-key technology, but only because I have not installed the Schlage version yet.

    Have a great holiday – stay well!

  5. Does Schlage sell just the keyless deadbolt? I have that handle set but with the Schlage plus deadbolt. Just wondering if it possible to upgrade in the future. Isn’t Schlage the one with the wifi-enabled lock sets too? Anyone have experience with it?

    • Ethan says:

      Schlage makes a keyless deadbolt and a keyless lever, and they do have the LiNK home automation. Haven’t heard anything about that yet though

  6. dreablood says:

    My mother is in the midst of building a house, and therefore I feel like I am too. Indecisiveness runs rampant in my family, so she can’t do anything without asking me what I think several times. We just purchased the Kwikset but my brother hasn’t installed it yet. He’s headed over to my office right now, so I will definitely be showing him both articles.

    • Ethan says:

      Haven’t seen you around the site before, and I wanted to extend a welcome. I hope the articles are helpful, and please let us know how the install goes!

  7. dreablood says:

    Just found your site through a favortie DIY blog I follow, and am totally psyched about the Project Rewards! Hopefully you’ll be hearing from me more often, but being fairly new to the DIY world makes me feel intimidated my some of the intelligent responses around here.

    • Ethan says:

      We’re glad to have you around, and I hope you can take advantage of some of the items in our Reward Center. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and reader input is always welcome!

    • Fred says:

      Hey Dreablood! I echo Ethan’s welcome to you! We’ve got a great crew of readers around here. Don’t be afraid to jump in with questions and ideas. Everyone is always learning, not just you!!

  8. Danny says:

    I wanted to ask for a recommendation given my situation:

    -Front door currently kwikset deadbolt (all house locks use same kwikset key)
    -All door hardware is antique brass finish, which Kwikset doesn’t offer in their electronic deadbolt but Schlage does.

    Will the fact that my original lock was Kwikset affect installation of the Schlage? Based on Fred’s response above it seemed like that could be a problem.

    • Ethan says:

      Hi Danny,

      When replacing existing hardware, I think it’s always easier to stick with the same brand because the spacing will be more consistent. With that said, double-check the documentation, and you might get lucky. Otherwise, you could use something like Plastic Wood to fill the existing holes, sand, paint and start fresh. I hope this helps!

  9. Bob says:

    I had four Kwiksets and replaced them all with schlages. Biggest issue was that the Kwiksets use a small motor/servo to open and close the deadbolt while Schage has a manual knob for this function. The Kwksets went through batteries every few months because if there is any friction with the deadbolt closing then the battery life decreases rapidly. The batteries in my Schlages last for years – I’ve had one go four years and just changed it to be safe! Also, two of my four Kwikset failed after 3-4 years – I think the little servo/motors burned out. Schlage is clearly a better design. My two oldest Schlages are 5-6 years olds and are on outside doors – work perfectly

  10. Robert ford says:

    I did not think I would ever recommend a keiksrt product over Schlage but here I go. The keiksrt 909 deadbolt is better. One touch of button locks deadbolt. Enter 4 did hit code to unlock you don’t have to manually turn anything. My first hesitation on this was the smart key cylinder. But after five years I know you never have to use a key so not worried about the cylinder . It is simple to install and simple to program. I can buy the aa batteries and at my home they lasted over 3 years and it is used every day

  11. Patricia Mary Millar says:

    Hi, I have purchased a keyless lock and door handle, the handle has broken inside. It has a life time gaurantee. I bought this product from home depot, they are telling me to contact you for a replacement. Finish: Antique Pewter.
    Style:camelot Code:BE365 D CAM 620.Can someone inform me as what i should do, thank you Pat Millar….905-570-4704

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