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Yale T1L vs. Kwikset Kevo 2nd Generation Smart Lock

28 Feb 2019

If you’ve ever lost or forgotten a set of keys somewhere and you were unable to get into your house, you may want to consider getting a smart lock.

But even those that aren't forgetful can benefit from installing a smart lock on their door. The additional security, connectivity, and remote capabilities smart locks give you ease of access even when your hands are full. And when used in conjunction with a doorbell camera, the smart lock can help you verify visitors remotely before giving them access to your home.

If you're passionate about Internet of Things (IoT), If This Then That (IFTTT), and have been looking to streamline the way you enter and exit your home or any property, a smart door lock will fit right in with the rest of your smart home devices.

What Is a Smart Lock?

A smart lock is simply a lock that communicates over a home automation protocol such as Z-Wave to link up to other devices in your home security system.

When combined with a smartphone app, you’re able to lock and unlock your door from your phone. Smart locks can sometimes be entirely controlled through a touchscreen, while others have number pads or regular keyholes.

Linking your smart lock with other devices gives you more control over your home while requiring fewer commands. You can synchronize your lights to turn on when you unlock your door, or have your thermostat turn down when you lock up on the way to work.

Things to Consider When Choosing Between the Yale T1L and the Kwikset Kevo 2nd Generation

There are several different kinds of smart door locks available, but the Yale T1L and the Kwikset Kevo 2nd Generation are two of the most popular options on the market.

yale-t1l-vs-kwikset-kevo

Before we jump into a review of each, here are some questions to ask yourself when considering what kind of smart lock to purchase:

  • Are you looking to improve the security in your home or just make access more convenient?
  • What other kinds of technology would you like your smart lock to be compatible with?
  • How many people will need to use the smart lock?
  • Is it important for you to be able to use an app with your smart lock?

Once you’ve had a good think about all of these questions, you’ll find it easier to decide which of the two locks below will work best for you.

Yale T1L Overview

To kick off our review, we’ll start with the Yale T1L. With a solid brand name, it’s understandable that you’d be expecting something as reliable as other kinds of Yale locks.

In this regard, it doesn’t disappoint. The device is cylinderless—which means that no one can easily tamper with the lock—and the key code can only be accessed from the outside.

Style

The size of the smart lock is small, but it's solidly built as you'd expect. And like previous Yale locks, the design is minimalist and classic.

Security_Solutions_Yale_locks-189217-edited

The lock comes in three different metallic finishes: satin nickel, oil rubbed bronze or polished brass. All three have a sleek and rounded appearance, and you can even buy matching door knobs from Yale to create a unified aesthetic.

Features

  • Rubber gasket to protect the lock from the elements
  • 9V battery contact in case of emergencies
  • Up to 25 programmable user codes
  • Manual programming interface (no app) with audio commands
  • Compatible with Z-wave smart home hubs (for an additional cost)
  • One-touch locking
  • Keypad with daylight visibility
  • ANSI/BHMA Grade 2 security rating

Kwikset Kevo 2nd Generation Overview

The Kwikset Kevo 2nd Generation smart lock on the other hand looks very similar to a normal lock, but it has the added benefit of smart home functionality.

You have the option of using your key the regular way, or you can use your smartphone and the Kwikset Kevo app to unlock the door using Bluetooth.

Style

The design of this lock is simple and subtle. The only way you can really tell that it’s a smart lock is by the blue ring around the keyhole.

kwikset-kevo

Utilitarian and straightforward, this lock is subtle to the point of being rather dull. But if price is more important to you than appearance, it's definitely an option worth considering.

Features

  • “Touch to open” technology using Bluetooth
  • Option to use fobs to gain access
  • Additional e-keys available online at no extra charge
  • Smart home compatible (for an additional cost))
  • IFTTT supported

Comparing the Yale T1L and the Kwikset Kevo

Ease of Installation

The Yale T1L is easy to install, but setting up key codes takes longer than it needs to.

yale-touchscreen-door-handle

On the other hand, Kwikset Kevo allows you to set up keys online using an app, which is definitely a more convenient option.

Ease of Use

Both of these locks are very simple to use. The Kwikset’s “touch to open” feature makes getting into your home as easy as pressing a button, but you also have the option of using a key if necessary.

kwikset-touch-to-open

However, while the “touch to open” feature is a crowd-pleaser, it’s really only basic Bluetooth technology. Unlike other automation protocols, Bluetooth is designed for short-range communication only, so you’ll be restricted in the IFTTT recipes you can choose from.

The Yale may not have as many programmable options. But, with a simple touchpad, it's a much more streamlined option which you can enhance with further Z-wave functionality.

Smart Home Compatibility

Both locks are compatible with smart home hubs, but only the Kwikset Kevo is set up to work in tandem with Alexa.

As mentioned above, for both of these locks you’re going to have to invest in additional functionality to take advantage of any smart home capabilities.

Reliability

With a standard lock setup, the Kwikset Kevo device is sturdy but could potentially still be picked (with difficulty) like a normal lock. This device is also known to sometimes struggle a bit with commands. And even though it is tough, the smart lock is getting on in years.

The cylinderless Yale T1L, on the other hand, is a solid option because it’s impossible to try and crack the codes from the other side of the device.

yale-smart-lock

Plus, we like that thought has been given to an emergency no-power situation with the addition of the 9V battery contact point (even though the AA batteries should last you for about a year).

Cost

In comparison to other similar locks on the market, the Kwikset Kevo is reliable but expensive if you compare it to other locks in the same category.

The Yale T1L, on the other hand, is a lot more competitively priced if you look at other similar types of smart door locks on the market.

Bottom Line

It all comes down to preference, but it must be said that even with all the additional functionality that the Kwikset Kevo lock provides, buyers may be overwhelmed by the array of features, many of which only appeal to a narrow audience.

While having a smartphone app might make it easier to set up the Kwikset Kevo lock in the beginning, it can become annoying to have to always have your phone or keys on you to access your home.

When it comes down to it too, a lock is all about being solid and not easy to tamper with. So while the Kwikset Kevo might have some crowd-pleasing features, the presence of a keyhole calls into question whether the device is truly tamper-proof, resisting lock picking and lock bumping.

While both options are solid and each of them has their pros and cons, overall we think the Yale T1L comes out on top because it is just a no mess, no fuss option that is less complicated and more secure.

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