Keypad Door Knobs and Deadbolts

September 8th, 2009 · 6 Comments

Have you ever locked yourself out of your house?  I have and it is really no fun.  Especially when your husband is at work, in a meeting, and can’t come home to let you back in, thus you have to sit on your patio for a couple of hours (luckily, with a book to read).  I’m still stinging a little from this goofy careless behavior.  I have lots of excuses but it was just a little flaky of me and really, excuses aren’t what matters.  Figuring out a good way to prevent this is my real concern at this point.  So, I’ve been looking at door knobs and deadbolts with keypads or thumbprint scanners in addition to keys.

At this point, from things I’ve read and research I’ve done, I think that perhaps the keypad versions are better for us. So I felt really lucky when a recent Costco.com email I received, had one of the keypad handles in it.  I immediately went online to check it out.  And not only did they have the one in the email, they had several others too; five in all.  They also have one door knob that can be opened by remote, which is really kind of cool too.  But it’s the keypad sets that I’m interested in really.  Four of the sets are made by Schlage and one comes from a different manufacturer (that I can’t identify at Costco.com).  The unknown manufacturer set looks kind of thick and clunky and isn’t all that attractive either but at $75.00 – $85.00 it is less expensive than any of the Schlage lock sets.

The Schlage people are selling a couple of different models through Costco.com, two are for front doors and two are for other entry points.  I believe that they all come with deadbolts, but it is a little hard to tell from the site descriptions.  As  I mentioned earlier, you have both a keypad and a traditional key for all of the handles, as well.  The keypad works with a 9V battery, which should last for about 3 years, and you’ll get a head’s up via a warning light and tone 100 days before the battery runs out.  And you can easily replace the battery from the inside, without removing the lock from the door.  Of course, since they say that it should only take about 30 minutes to install the new door knob set with just a Phillips head screwdriver, it wouldn’t be a big deal to take it off the door.  Another nice feature is that the keypad is illuminated when it is dark so that you don’t have to fumble around at night.

Schlage Keypad Lock Lineup at Costco.com
(click on images to link to product info)

Camelot Keypad Set, $219.99

Camelot Keypad Set, $219.99

Plymouth Keypad Set, $199.99

Plymouth Keypad Set, $199.99

Camelot Lever Handle Set, $139.99

Camelot Lever Flex Lock, $139.99

Camelot Lever Deadbolt Set

Camelot Lever Deadbolt, $129.99

The coolest part, of course, is the keypad and how easy it is to set access codes though.  The lock comes with a 6-digit programming code that will allow you to set the codes and control all of the keypad features, as well as two random 4-digit user codes.  Since this is all about safety, the pre-set codes can all be re-programmed, including the 6-digit programming control code.  You can setup the lock to use up to 19 different user codes at; which is quite a large number.  This is great because it means that you can set family codes but still have enough to give out, even temporarily, to a number of other people.   There’s another nice feature that allows you to put the lock on “hold” when you’ll be gone for an extended period of time, like a vacation.  And you won’t have to worry about a power outage be a problem, like you do with your garage remote since the door works via battery power, so you’ll still be able to get inside.

I’ve got to say, I like the flexibility that you can have with these types of locks.  You can easily give a code to service people that might clean your house on a regular basis or you can hand out a temporary code to someone that will be doing work for just a day too.  Not to mention, I could not take my keys when I go for a walk or a jog.  And most importantly, I won’t have to be locked out of the house next time I forget my keys when I drop my car off for service!

But am I crazy to want one of these?  Will it actually make my house less secure or give me a false sense of security?  Dave and I are still debating all of these points.  If anyone has any thoughts or experience with this type of door knob set, I’d appreciate your comments.

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6 Responses so far ↓

  1. 1 Trina // 2009.09.15 at 8:14 pm

    Part of my job includes looking at crime reports. Can’t think of the last time we had a residential burglary where they picked the lock to get in. Not saying it doesn’t happen, but that’s not the security issue I would worry about. The convenience of a key code and/or remote front door lock is appealing to me!

  2. 2 Linden // 2009.09.15 at 1:25 am

    From a probability point of view, the keypad lock will be less secure: there’s a non-zero (albeit small) chance that someone will hit the right combination and gain access to your house without a key.

  3. 3 Dave // 2009.09.13 at 4:35 am

    @JL: That’s exactly why I’ve been reluctant to run right out and purchase one of these, an inability to figure out if it is at least as hard to get past as a regular keyed lock. But I’ve been unable to find alot of believable information, and I just don’t know enough lock pickers to do my own survey. :-)

    On the other hand, doors aren’t the only way to get into a house. If you’ve got windows, and most of us have, then that is probably an easier avenue of entry for a serious criminal. What with glass cutters and all. That being said, I guess all I really care about is making sure that the home insurance people are satisified enough to pay a claim should we need to make one.

  4. 4 JL // 2009.09.10 at 7:07 pm

    Anyone have any information on the real security of these devices? I know many of them are really not that secure, and easily hackable or otherwise overcome, and I was wondering if there are some recommendations for real security.

  5. 5 Clue // 2009.09.09 at 9:00 pm

    Our kiddo needed to be able to lock the door on his way out fo the house in the morning, but wasn’t trustworthy with a key. We were thrilled to find a Weiser Powerbolt, which allowed him to lock the door with the push of a button. We had the Powerbolt on our front door for 6 years and it was was great, but went through its 4 AA batteries about every 3-4 weeks. We only had to replace it when we got a gorgeous new front door with different colored hardware.

    That’s when we got the first of too many Kwikset SmartCode locks . Kwikset SmartCodes appear to be identical to the Weiser Powerbolts, and their batteries last much longer, but they have been a nightmare! !! We are on our 5th one in 3 years and it too is no longer working properly. The doorway where both brands were installed faces direct west, and it seems as of the heat in the later part of the day fries the electronic circuitry in Kwiksets, but was never a problem with the Weiser. We know never to leave home without our key, because you never know when the damned keypad will just stop irreparably working. The only reason we still have one at al is that I don’t want t mar our beautiful new door with a different style/brand/type[e of lock set.

    We’re moving soon to a house where the front door faces north, and we’ll try again there, maybe with these Schlage selections. I know for certain that it won’t be with more Kwiksets though!

  6. 6 Paul // 2009.09.09 at 7:16 pm

    We have a Kwikset keypad deadbolt on our front door and it’s great. Easy to set up and use, and I don’t have to give the kids a key, just the code. When we had pet sitters coming by the house I set up a temporary code for them without any problem. I don’t see why it would be less secure than a regular deadbolt. We’re happy with it, and I’m sure the Schlage ones are just as good.

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