How Secure Are Kwikset SmartKey Locks? Useful Facts About Rekeying Method

Good door locks ensure our security against criminal threats, and some folks even upgrade their locks to increase the level of security. As a result of this, many people who rent apartments or who change keys and locks frequently for safety have turned to the Kwikset SmartKey locks.

Yet, how secure are Kwikset Smartkey locks?

Though these locks have proven to be resistant to bumping, some vulnerabilities in their design have demonstrated that they can be attacked in a variety of ways.

So if you’re going to upgrade your home lock with this brand, let’s reference our post below!

What Are Kwikset SmartKey Locks?

How Secure Are Kwikset SmartKey Locks

Are they secure?

Kwikset SmartKey is a wafer lock that allows users to rekey it anytime security measures are necessary. It means that you don’t have to call a locksmith each time, such as when a tenant moves out, and a new one moves in.

They’re not only a more cost-effective and convenient alternative but also a more secure one when compared to the old locks. Kwikset SmartKey has a small rectangular-shaped hole near the bottom left of the keyhole, which is also its most distinguishing feature.

According to the ads, Kwikset produced these SmartKey to fix the flaws in their traditional pin-tumbler cylinders. These upgraded locks can protect against lockpicking and key bumping by utilizing five wafers that interact with a sidebar. They even claimed that this exclusive design is a response to those burglars who use a bump key to break into the houses. Yet, are they truly secure?

How Secure Are Kwikset SmartKey Locks?

SmartKey cylinders have ANSI Grade 1 security, are bump-proof and extremely pick-resistant. They also meet the most demanding security standards, including UL 437, par 11.6, and 11.7.

How Secure Are Kwikset SmartKey LocksRekey kit

However, many people who have successfully bumped open a SmartKey lock revealed that the product’s claimed level of protection does not match reality.

Contrary to the ads, there is a significant security weakness in the lock. A burglar can open it quickly and effortlessly in just a few seconds, and it doesn’t require any specific training. This break-in leaves no obvious damage to the lock’s outside, meaning you may not notice that someone broke into your house until it’s too late.

Burglars can make use of a paperclip and a flat head screwdriver or something also offers a flat, solid object to insert into the keyhole. Then take a thin wire-like object to insert into the small hole below on the left of the keyhole to imitate the original tool for rekeying the SmartKey.

Alternatively, they can use a specific tool designed to bump open these exclusive Kwikset SmartKey locks, which will fracture everything inside while causing no damage to the outside. It then allows them to crank and release the deadbolt to open the door.

Whatever they use, the resident may not realize the lock has been picked because there is no damage to the lock and the actual key still works.

You can watch this 4-minute video to understand how they open a Kwikset SmartKey in 10 seconds:

How To Tell If Your Locks Have Been Tampered With?

Burglars can use many ways to gain entrance to your property, even if you’ve upgraded with Kwikset SmartKey locks. Visible dents and scuff marks around the keyhole are the most obvious evidence that your lock has been tampered with. Below are some specific signs of lock tampering that you can look for.

Bumping

Locksmiths have been using a hidden technique known as “bumping” to open locks quickly since the early 1900s. The method was first unveiled in 2005 on a Dutch TV program, and it has spread to countless burglars throughout the world.

How Secure Are Kwikset SmartKey Locks

Bumping keys

They file down the teeth of a key into multiple points, like a saw, then push this “bump key” into a matching keyhole and pull it out with a single click. Next, they hit it with a blunt object, withdraw one click, and continue until all lock tumblers are caught. Finally, they open the door by turning the key.

If done correctly, this approach will leave little trace. Hasty amateurs, on the other hand, can sometimes leave identifiable marks.

Here are the signs of bumping:

  • There are new nicks around the borders of the keyhole as a result of striking the key forcefully.
  • Metal edges with a gleaming sheen appear to have been recently impacted.

Picking

The thief turns the lock using a flat screwdriver and rakes the pin tumblers with a pick (or even a dental pick). Once the tumblers catch, the lock will turn effortlessly, much like bumping.

How Secure Are Kwikset SmartKey Locks

Lockpicking takes more time.

Though this approach takes longer and requires more knowledge than bumping, it’s gentler and hence less likely to leave marks such as twisted pins or bolts. However, picks and shims (i.e. screwdrivers) can cut into the edges and leave markings as they wiggle around within.

So if you find some tiny scratch marks that reveal new, shiny metal around the keyhole, there’s a chance that your lock was picked!

Note: If your key is suddenly more difficult to turn than usual, it could be a sign of pin deformation, which can occur as a result of lock manipulation techniques like bumping or picking.

FAQ

How Do I Know If My Kwikset Lock Is Smartkey?

You can inspect closely to see whether your Kwikset has a little oval hole next to the keyhole. If yes, it’s a SmartKey lock.

Can You Change A Kwikset Lock Without The Original Key?

Actually, you can’t turn the cylinder to the 90-degree position without the operating key, which means you can not change the Kwikset with the smart key. The only other option is to disassemble the lock and manually rekey it.

Conclusion

Now that we’ve explained clearly how secure Kwikset SmartKey locks are and some signs to indicate if your locks have been tampered with.

The convenience of do-it-yourself rekeyed locks is considerably less significant than your safety and security. It’s better to leave lock rekeying to experienced professionals, who will offer you with brand new inner mechanics as well as a key that only opens that lock. Good luck!

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