Rob Gabriele

Gone are the days of hiding your keys under a rock, or worse, in a planter or under your doormat. With today’s smart locks, you can give your friends and family virtual access codes, and you can remotely lock and unlock your door from your smartphone. We were tired of fumbling with keys, so we set out to test and review the best smart locks on the market. Among those was Kwikset, which seamlessly connects into the Vivint smart home security system.

If you’re a Vivint user, you already know about the power and intelligence of this wireless security system. However, if you’re saying to yourself, “What’s a Vivint?” then we highly recommend checking out our hands-on Vivint review. The truth is, you won’t be able to tap the potential of the Kwikset smart lock without a smart home platform like Vivint. Don’t worry, this will all make sense. Let’s jump right in.

Pro Tip: Never hide keys in a hide-a-key rock — you know, those synthetic rocks that are made to resemble real rocks. That’s one of the first places a criminal will look for hidden keys.

Vivint Smart Lock Options

Vivint Smart Lock Options

Vivint Smart Lock – Kwikset 888 SmartCode

Vivint works with the 888 SmartCode Electronic Deadbolt with Z-Wave Technology. Technically, the Vivint smart home system is compatible with all Kwikset smart locks, since they run on the Z-Wave protocol. But the 888 SmartCode is the only model that Vivint sells (as far as we know).

This specific device comes in three different colors: Satin Nickel, Venetian Bronze, and Polished Brass. If you have a color preference, we suggest you tell your Vivint sales rep, otherwise they’ll just bring the Satin Nickel. At least, that was our experience.

Vivint Smart Lock Color Options

Vivint Smart Lock Color Options

Like Vivint’s indoor and outdoor cameras, this smart lock connects to your home’s Wi-Fi. But note that it’s a battery-powered device, so you will have to change out batteries every so often. This is par for the course in the world of smart locks.

FYI: The Kwikset SmartCode 888 is powered by 4 AA batteries. From our experience with this brand, the batteries should last upwards of 6-months to a year, depending on how often you open and close your door.

The Installation Process

We’ve installed Kwikset locks in the past, and as far as DIY security products go, it’s relatively fast and easy. With the 888 SmartCode, there’s no hardwiring or drilling. It replaces your existing deadbolt and only takes a few minutes to install.

Better yet, if you buy this smart lock with a Vivint smart home system, your Vivint technician will install it for you. Easy-peezy. In fact, Vivint requires professional installation, which is fine by us. We had a nice fellow named Don get us all connected (we snapped a pic of him below). You can read about our Vivint installation experience here. Trust us, it’s more exciting than it sounds.

Photo of our Vivint Installation Specialist, Don

Photo of our Vivint Installation Specialist, Don

How It Works

The Basics

You’ll be able to remotely lock and unlock your front door in the Vivint app. There’s a keyhole for good measure, but we mostly used the push-button codes for quick access. You can assign up to 30 unique codes, and you can keep track of who’s coming and going in the mobile app. You can also give temporary codes, so people who don't need permanent access to your home (think house cleaners, pet walkers, etc.) can gain entry when they need to without you giving them unrestricted access. Even at its most basic use, we think the Vivint door lock adds a touch of convenience and peace of mind to everyday life.

The Not-So-Basics

Beyond the basic functionality, Vivint’s smart locks really come to life as part of the Vivint smart home ecosystem. Imagine coming home and entering the key code, and the moment the deadbolt turns, your Vivint alarm system disarms, your thermostat dials in to your preferred temps, your living room lights turn on, and your window blinds open. What kind of sorcery is that? That right there is Vivint’s smart home chops. Needless to say, the Kwikset 888 SmartCode is a solid product, but it’s 10x better when integrated with Vivint.

FYI: If you really want to take Vivint’s smart lock to the limits, then you’ll want to get other Z-Wave compatible smart devices. Vivint sells some of the most sophisticated (yet easy to use) equipment we’ve seen, like their Outdoor Camera Pro, smart garage door controller, the smart Element Thermostat, and Philips Hue smart lighting. Expect to pay between $100 and $500 for smart home products, depending on the items you choose.

Vivint Smart Locks Features

Smartphone Controls

After using Vivint for a solid month, we really have to commend the company on their mobile app. Sure, their systems come with the Smart Hub touchscreen panel (which is also pretty slick), but the app is where we spent most of our time controlling the Vivint system and smart lock. You’ll notice at the bottom of your mobile app dashboard a little icon that says “Front Door” with a lock/unlock toggle. This gives you one-touch locking and unlocking — whether you’re at your office or halfway across the world on vacation.

Armed with a Vivint lock, this means you can let people in your home at the last second. This came in handy when our in-laws rolled into town and we hadn’t made it home from the zoo (long story). We just opened the app and hit “unlock.” We also issued them a digital key code for the future. Whether or not this was a smart idea, time will tell. Here’s a quick look at Vivint’s dashboard.

Vivint Smart Home App

Vivint Smart Home App

Vivint also sends instant mobile alerts whenever someone comes in or out. These may be helpful in certain cases, but honestly, we ended up disabling these notifications because it was always just family coming and going. That said, if you batten down the hatches and leave town on vacation, it’s probably wise to turn on your smart lock notifications.

Unique Access Codes

As mentioned, the Unique Access Codes proved quite useful for us. Keep in mind that you can assign up to 30 different codes, and you can delete these at any time in the app. We think 30 unique codes is plenty, but if you think you’ll need more, we recommend looking into August smart locks, our top-rated pick. With August, you can assign unlimited key codes for unlimited users. If nothing else, it’s an excuse to get out and make more friends!

Did You Know: Vivint’s smart lock is ultra-secure with a 128-bit encryption, making it nearly impossible for a burglar (even a tech-savvy one) to bypass it. You’ll also create a unique 5-digit passcode, and the odds of guessing a 5-digit combination are 1 in 100,000. That means a burglar would have to try up to 100,000 times before guessing your code correctly. And if you bought the Vivint Video Doorbell, as well, you would have been notified about the person trying to unlock your door before he or she guessed your passcode. Sayonara bad guys.

Access Logs

Within the app, you’ll also find an Access Log that keeps a record of who’s coming and going. We found this to be helpful — but we think you’ll really love this feature if you have service workers, like dog-walkers, stopping by. Wondering why Sparky keeps wetting the doggy-bed? Check the app and you just might find that your dog walker isn’t as reliable as you thought. You can also check the activity log to see what time your teens are getting home from school and who’s sneaking out at night (kids these days). The Vivint smart lock tracks each access code and displays the activity timeline in the app.

Voice Control with Alexa & Google Home

We’ve used our Amazon Echo with Kwikset smart locks before, and we found this integration to work great for hands-free voice control. Just say, “Alexa, tell Vivint to lock my front door,” and voila! — you’re safe and secure. Vivint is compatible with Alexa and Google Home voice assistants, and we highly recommend setting up this skill.

Just note that when you’re sitting on the couch, halfway through your Netflix series du jour, Alexa or Google will not unlock your door to let someone in. Why not? Well, could you imagine the security risk? A crook could yell through your front door “Alexa, unlock my door,” and they’d have free rein. Not good.

Pro Tip: You can set Vivint to sound the alarm after 3 failed attempts at the keypad. Now, you probably shouldn’t set this rule while family is in town, or while visitors are still trying to memorize their codes (can you say false alarms?). But we recommend enabling this extra layer of security when you have no visitors and business is usual on the homefront.

Custom Actions

As mentioned, Vivint and Kwikset operate on the Z-Wave platform, which means you can integrate all sorts of devices into your smart home ecosystem and have them communicate on the same wave-length, if you will. But to really automate your home, you’ll need to get acquainted with Vivint’s Custom Actions. You’ll find this in the ‘Settings’ dropdown in the app.

Vivint App - Custom Actions

Vivint App – Custom Actions

For instance, want to lower the temperature when you leave your home in the morning? Just set it as a Custom Action in the Vivint app. These custom actions, or rules, can get pretty granular. We were able to set our indoor Ping camera to record when our front door unlocked, we set all cameras to record when our alarm sounded, and we even set our Kwikset smart lock to automatically lock when our house was armed in “Home” or “Away.”

You’ll find dozens of these custom actions in the app, which really helps to supercharge the Vivint smart lock experience. In fact, we can say that Vivint does customizations and smart home automations better than any home security brand on the market.

Sure, some people don’t geek out about tech like we do, in which case the custom actions might be overkill. But if you’re the type who likes to make technology work for you, then we think you’ll like Vivint’s functionality here.

Works with Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro

Vivint’s smart lock also integrates with the company’s Doorbell Camera Pro. We won’t get into all the features and tech of the video doorbell here (you can check out our hands-on Vivint doorbell review for that), but just know that these components work together to protect your entryway and watch over the castle.

One action you should definitely enable, though, is setting your smart lock to automatically lock when the doorbell camera detects a person. This will ensure that you and your family are safe and secure when it matters most.

Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro Video Quality

Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro Video Quality

Around the Clock Monitoring

Can you just buy a Vivint smart lock, set it up, and call it a day? Unfortunately, Vivint will only set you up with a Kwikset smart lock if you purchase their smart home security system and sign up for a 24/7 monitoring plan. If you want smart home support, you’ll have to get their mid-tier plan which runs $39.99 per month. And honestly, if you’re OK with paying $39.99 per month, we recommend bumping up to Vivint’s Smart Control plan for $44.99 per month. It’s just a few dollars more, but this premium plan offers video support.

Vivint Smart Lock Pricing

So… how much does a fancy smart lock even cost? Typically, we see prices range between $125 on the low end, and upwards of $300+ for high-end devices. Vivint’s Kwikset 880 SmartCode comes in at $179.99. We think it’s a fair price, but keep in mind that you’ll need other equipment like Vivint’s sensors, the Smart Hub, and probably a security camera or two. Have a look at Vivint’s latest prices here.

When the dust settles, it really adds up. But then again, Vivint makes the most sense for well-established homeowners who have the disposable income to invest in top-of-the-line products. If you currently rent your home, not to worry, we’ve found lots of great home security options for renters.

Bottom Line on Vivint Smart Locks

You can’t be everywhere at once. That’s the beauty of smart locks — they let you lock and unlock your door from virtually anywhere. And although you can get a standalone electronic door lock, we definitely recommend checking out Vivint and their mid-tier smart lock option, the Kwikset SmartCode 888.

It comes with plenty of native features, like one-touch lock/unlock, Unique Passcodes, and an in-app Activity Log. But once you integrate it into your Vivint smart home system, you’ll “unlock” custom features you never even knew were possible.

Is it the perfect smart lock? Not really. We’d like it if it didn’t come with strings attached (see our complete guide on Vivint contracts), and it would be nice if Vivint allowed us to install it on our own. With that said, is Vivint’s smart lock worth your time and money? We’ll answer that with an emphatic “Yes.”