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Kwikset Premis HomeKit-enabled Smart Lock review: Kwikset's HomeKit deadbolt: A solid smart lock that works with Siri

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The premise is simple: Kwikset's been making locks for generations now, and making smart locks for years. Now, it's introducing a smart lock that works with Siri.

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7.9

Kwikset Premis HomeKit-enabled Smart Lock

The Good

Kwikset's HomeKit-compatible smart lock puts Apple's connected home controls to good use, including Siri voice controls. It also does an outstanding job with user management, letting you create user-specific, time-sensitive entry codes without ever charging you a fee.

The Bad

You can't control the lock from beyond the range of its Bluetooth radio unless you have a third-gen or better Apple TV in your home. The touchscreen is also slightly sluggish.

The Bottom Line

The Kwikset Premis works well and gets user management absolutely right, making it a solid choice for anyone with an interest in Apple HomeKit.

It's called the Kwikset Premis, and it's a touchpad deadbolt that works with Apple HomeKit, the smart-home control service built into to Apple's iOS devices. With HomeKit compatibility, you can control and automate the Premis directly from Apple's Home app or from your iPhone's Control Center, alongside other HomeKit-compatible gadgets, and you can lock and unlock it using Siri voice commands, too.

At a retail price of $229, the Premis isn't any less expensive than other popular smart locks, including ones from August that also work with HomeKit and Kwikset's own touch-to-open Kevo smart lock, now in its 2nd generation. But it's a very decent smart lock in its own right, boasting a good-looking build, a well-designed app filled with features, and terrific controls for managing multiple users without additional fees. If you're buying in on the Siri-controlled smart home, the Premis is worth consideration.

The Kwikset Premis is a smart lock that's built for Siri

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Design and installation

I like the way this lock looks, but it isn't a groundbreaking design. Essentially, Kwikset just took its existing touchpad smart lock and swapped out the Z-Wave radio for a Bluetooth radio and the necessary HomeKit chipset.

Still, like I said, it's a decent design. Like we've seen with other recent smart locks, the interior housing is a little smaller than past generations, making it less of an eyesore. My only real complaint is that the touchpad is just slightly less responsive than I would like, occasionally requiring an extra stab of my thumb to enter a digit.

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Chris Monroe/CNET

I didn't have any trouble installing a Kwikset Premis at the CNET Smart Home, but like with other smart locks, I needed to make sure the door I wanted to smarten up was properly aligned with the latch. Smart locks turn the deadbolt on their own, without help from you. That means that they'll jam if there isn't a smooth path from the door to your door frame. In other words, if you need to push or pull on your doorknob in order to turn your key, that's something you'll need to fix before buying a smart lock like this one.

With that concern in mind, I picked out a particularly well-aligned door in the smart home's mud room and got to work. The Premis doesn't include any installation instructions in the box -- instead, you'll need to download the app for a step-by-step walkthrough. It's definitely helpful, but I would have liked some physical instructions nonetheless.

Still, installation was straightforward, and only took me about twenty minutes or so. All I needed was a screwdriver and some measuring tape. The only steps in addition to what you'd expect from a standard deadbolt are connecting a small cable and inserting four AA batteries, which come included.

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Kwikset's iOS app will pair you up with HomeKit -- and with Siri -- in a matter of seconds.

Ry Crist/CNET

App controls

With the lock successfully installed, the app did a great job of pairing it with our existing HomeKit setup. Within seconds, I was up and running, both in the Kwikset app and in Apple's Home app. I could lock and unlock the door using both, or by using Siri.

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The Kwikset app makes it easy to share and restrict coded access across multiple users. None of it costs anything extra.

Ry Crist/CNET

As cool as those Siri controls are, the real standout is the Kwikset app. It's smartly designed and filled with features -- most notably, a very strong set of controls for managing multiple users. You can assign each one their own four- to eight-digit code, then choose when those codes will work -- a handy way to let dog sitters or service providers in without giving them 24/7 access.

The best part is that none of that costs anything extra. With some smart locks, including the Kwikset Kevo, you'll need to pay a fee to add an additional user to the lock. That's not the case with the Premis -- you can add as many users as needed for free, then monitor all of the comings and goings from the app's activity log.

I appreciated the lock's other features, too. One of the most clever: a touchpad randomizer that displays two random digits whenever you wake the touchscreen to enter your code. You'll need to press those two digits before proceeding. That might sound like an annoying extra step, but it's actually a smart way to prevent would-be thieves from scanning your smudgy fingerprints to figure out which digits will open the door.

One thing to be aware of, though -- as with other HomeKit-compatible products, you won't be able to access the lock from outside of its Bluetooth range unless you've got a third-gen-or-better Apple TV in your home to act as relay. That's the same shortcoming we saw with the HomeKit-compatible Schlage Sense Bluetooth Deadbolt, to which this lock is very similar. At this point, though, an Apple TV is practically a must-have if you're seriously interested in HomeKit.

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The SmartKey deadbolt in the Kwikset Premis can resist lock picking, lock bumping, and brute-force attacks.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Security

The Kwikset Premis uses the newest version of its "SmartKey" deadbolt, the same as you'll find in other Kwikset locks, including the Kevo. With SmartKey, you can use a little tool to "re-key" the lock and make it work with your existing house key.

Perhaps more importantly, the current-gen SmartKey deadbolt is about as secure as they come. It uses a sliding bar instead of the traditional pin and tumblers, which means that you can't "bump" it open with a key blank. It's also highly rated against lock-picking, and, unlike earlier versions, it does a good job resisting brute-force attacks like the one we were able to successfully use on the first-gen Kevo a few years ago.

I also appreciated the app's "Code Disabled" mode, which lets you temporarily deactivate all codes and restrict the lock to keyed entry only.

Cybersecurity is another reasonable concern, but Kwikset's on good ground here, too. Apple HomeKit is one of the most security-centric smart home platforms we've tested, demanding robust end-to-end encryption on all of the lock's broadcasts. I'd have plenty of confidence in the Premis if I had one installed in my own home.

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The verdict

At $229, the Kwikset Premis does nothing to break the smart lock mold. It looks and behaves just like the smart locks that came before it, and it's just as expensive as they are, too. Even the addition of HomeKit controls is nothing new -- August and Schlage got there first.

But sometimes, in absence of a true step forward, a lateral move can do the trick. In this case, Kwikset did an admirable job of refining its app and offering deep controls over who can use your lock, and how they can use it. It also smartly leaned on Apple HomeKit at a point where the platform's strengths are really starting to shine. This isn't a groundbreaking product, but it's a good one, and it might very well be the right smart lock at the right time.

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7.9

Kwikset Premis HomeKit-enabled Smart Lock

Score Breakdown

Features 9Usability 7Design 7.5Performance 8