With so many smart locks elbowing for the spotlight, Kwikset keeps it simple with its newest touchscreen deadbolt, the Obsidian. No keys, no Bluetooth, just a touchscreen keypad and a deadbolt. At $229, Kwikset's Z-Wave-compatible model is a minimalistic and smart approach to keyless entry that makes a great addition to homes with a Z-Wave hub.
Named for the volcanic rock it channels in the black shine of the keypad, the Obsidian comes in two versions. The $180 standalone version is a touchscreen deadbolt and nothing more. A $229 Home Connect version includes Z-Wave Plus, a certification for the latest Z-Wave 500 series platform with extended wireless range, over-the-air firmware updates and wireless encryption. I tested both the standalone and Z-Wave versions of the Obsidian.
Editors' note, Dec. 13: A previous version of this review, published Nov. 2, covered only the standalone Kwikset Obsidian. We've updated with testing of the Z-Wave version, and made a small downward adjustment of the rating, from 7.4 to 7.2.
The touchscreen keypad is the centerpiece here, and it looks very similar to the keypad on the Kwikset Premis ($146 at Amazon) model we tested last year. Like most smart locks, the Obsidian is powered by four AA batteries that sit in the top of the lock. Audio and LED light alerts notify you of low batteries at three low battery levels, but should your batteries die, there are 9V jumpstart nodes on the bottom of the lock.
Installation was simple. I measured two different dimensions of my door to be sure I was using the correct screws and to determine if I needed an adapter plate. Kwikset includes detailed instructions on how to measure and plenty of hardware options. Once you've attached both sides of the lock to the door, the Obsidian automatically calibrates itself and you're ready to connect to your smart home platform.
The Obsidian currently works with Z-Wave hubs like Wink and SmartThings. While the Obsidian doesn't currently work with HomeKit or Google Home ($129 at Walmart) and Kwikset has no dedicated IFTTT service, you can still lock the Obsidian with a custom IFTTT recipe using Google Assistant and SmartThings IFTTT services. Once I created a custom IFTTT recipe, I was able to ask the Google Assistant to lock the door with success every time.
I tested the Obsidian at the CNET Smart Home by connecting it to a SmartThings hub and using Amazon Alexa voice commands to lock the door. Alexa promptly locked the Obsidian each time. A button on the rear of the lock initiates pairing mode and both SmartThings and Alexa had no problems finding the lock. Connecting the lock to my home automation platform and incorporating it into routines took just a few minutes.
The standalone Obsidian accepts up to 16 user codes, while the Z-Wave version supports 30 codes. Each code must be between four and eight digits. You can also enable a mastercode to approve additional codes or remove them. To add a user code, push the programming button under the lock's interior cover, press the checkmark symbol on the keypad and enter a four- to eight-digit code followed by the lock symbol. The Obsidian doesn't have its own app like the Kevo lock, so you must create codes either through the keypad itself or your respective smart home platform. SmartThings and the Alexa app didn't offer this option for the Obsidian when I tested. That's a disappointment, as it would be really nice to be able to generate codes remotely.