Smartkey locks, a great new invention? Perhaps not so much.
An Education On Smartkey Locks:
Smartkey locks have been available in the marketplace for quite a few years. Originally, there were 3 lock manufacturers using this technology in the locks they build. Recently, one manufacturer has since stopped production because of the problematic design of these locks.
Weiser and Kwikset continue to manufacture and put to market this kind of lock and they are both similar in design. Schlage has completely stopped production of these type of locks because of a poor design leading to a very high failure rate.
Weiser and Kwikset locks are similar in design and both require a special rekey tool in order to change the key that works the lock. Schlage requires the use of a change key in order to accomplish a lock rekey. A Schlage change key is similar to a normal key. The change key has the same cuts in the key but it’s design is a little bit different. The shoulder of the change key is a bit broader and this is what actuates the key change function in the lock. You can tell if you have a Schlage Smartkey lock by looking at the outside face of the lock. If there is a plus sign above the keyhole then this would denote that it is a SmartKey type lock.
These locks were originally invented with the intention of providing the end user with the ability to rekey their own lock. The term rekey refers to changing the key that operates the lock to a new and different key. This is supposed to save the end user money because it is not necessary to call a Locksmith to rekey the lock when the need arises. You can simply and conveniently do it yourself. You would, of course, need to have another key that is different than the one you now have in order to accomplish this.
Due to a poor lock cylinder design these locks are prone to mechanical failure. The lock cylinder and plug are constructed of cast metal which is very brittle. Due to its design, there are many narrow pieces of cast metal which, over a period of time break off and cause a person to be locked out. The broken parts fall into the lock causing it to jam. When this happens the key no longer works and you are locked out.
We’ve had countless people call concerning the malfunction of Kwikset and Weiser Smartkey locks. The reliability factor of these locks is very poor. These locks are easily identifiable because they have “SmartKey” imprinted on the head of the key and the packaging displays the same markings. Another way to tell if your lock is one of these is by looking at the face of the lock. There should only be one hole, the key hole. If there is a smaller rectangular hole to the left and near the bottom of the keyhole then you have a SmartKey type lock.
Buy a standard type handle or deadbolt and stay away from Smartkey locks. There are many other lock manufacturers who do not make use of this technology and the very best value for your dollar is a standard pin tumbler lock where the lock cylinder is made of solid brass.
Security Article Written by: Toronto Locksmith
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