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How Does Kwikset SmartKey Work? Simplified Explanation

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how does kwikset smart key work

In this day and age of modern technology, traditional locks are still relevant and commonly used both for residential and commercial purposes. Traditional locks, such as padlocks and cylinder locks, are reliable, sturdy, and often difficult to pick.

To revolutionize such types of locks, Kwikset has their patented technology called SmartKey Security, which makes Kwikset locks more secure and more convenient. Read further into this article and find out the answer to the question “how does Kwikset SmartKey work?”

Brief Overview of Kwikset SmartKey

As one of the top lock companies internationally, Kwikset devised an advanced technology for their locks and keys — SmartKey Security.


This patented technology lets Kwikset consumers have rekeyable keys so that you can have multiple locks in their house that can be opened with just one key.

Another feature of this technology helps strengthen the security around the consumers’ residents or businesses by preventing break-in techniques. This includes kick-ins and lockpicking that can bypass fragile and easy-to-pick locks.

Operation Principles of Kwikset SmartKey

Technology behind Kwikset SmartKey

To learn how to use Kwikset SmartKey, we should first understand how it works first.


What makes the Kwikset SmartKey Security bump-proof and pick-proof is because of its unique keyway.

Instead of the usual pin-tumbler design, locks that have SmartKey Security make use of wafers or horizontal slots that are difficult to pick because of the serrations, stopping the pick from setting the wafers.

On the other hand, the rekeying feature of the Kwikset SmartKey can be attributed to the wafers inside the lock that can be set to different positions. This means that there are around 7,776 different combinations of wafers that only a single lock can open.

However, due to the Kwikset SmartKey vulnerability, the number of key combinations is down to 243.

When a key is inserted into the lock, the SmartKey lock “reads” the bitings of the key and “remembers” the positions of the wafers so that the next time the key is inserted, it will allow the lock to be put in an unlocked position.

Components of the lock system

Here are the components of the Kwikset Smartkey lock:


  • Cylinder.

The cylinder is responsible for the locking mechanism of the Kwikset SmartKey lock. Depending on the type of lock that you have, you can have a single or double cylinder.

  • Cylinder cover.

To avoid Kwikset SmartKey problems, a cylinder cover will stop dirt and dust from entering the cylinder and messing up the lock.

  • Key.

The key will put the lock in the unlocked position when inserted.

  • Wafers

The wafers are responsible for “reading” and “remembering” the bitings of the key in order for the lock to be rekeyed.

  • SmartKey tool.

The Kwikset SmartKey tool is a thin metal that is inserted unto the rekey hole to either delete or add a key that can be recognized by the lock.

  • Reset cradle.

The Kwikset SmartKey lock reset cradle is used to program another key if you lost the original key for your Kwikset SmartKey lock.

Note: some of the components stated in this part may not be the same for other models of Kwikset locks.

Guide on How to Use Kwikset SmartKey


Here’s the instructions on how you can rekey a Kwikset lock:

  1. Check if your desired key is compatible with Kwikset SmartKey by inserting the new key into the lock. If the key fully inserts, then it is compatible.
  2. Prepare the door by opening it all the way.
  3. If your SmartKey has a deadbolt or a knob, put it in a locked position.
  4. Insert the original key of the lock and turn it 90 degrees clockwise.
  5. Insert the SmartKey tool inside the SmartKey hole. The tool should click inside the hole.
  6. Remove the tool from the lock.
  7. Without rotating the original key, remove it from the lock.
  8. Fully insert the new key onto the lock.
  9. Turn the key counter-clockwise by 180 degrees without pushing or pulling it during the process.
  10. Turn the new key clockwise by 90 degrees.
  11. Remove your new key from the lock.
  12. Test the key to see if it works by reinserting it and ensuring that it works smoothly and can open the lock.
  13. Test the original key of the lock. It should no longer operate after you rekey the Kwikset SmartKey lock.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can you use any key with Kwikset SmartKey?

No, you can only use standard Kwikset key blanks that are from 1-1063 and that can work in “KS” keyways. Examples of these types of keys are Taylor 54KS, Silca KS1, ILCO 1176, KW1, and Axxess 66.

If you are trying to rekey and the reset failed, you might be using a non-compatible key.

Benefits of Kwikset SmartKey

Here are the benefits that you can get if you decide to have your locks replaced with Kwikset SmartKey:

  • Convenient.

If carrying multiple keys isn’t for you, then have a single key for all the locks of your house through rekey technology by rekeying every Kwikset SmartKey lock inside your home.

  • Pick-proof and bump-proof.

If you want a lock that is much safer than other types of locks, then Kwikset SmartKey is for you. Because of its lock design, you can be sure that picking Kwikset SmartKey will become near impossible to do and bumping cannot be done since it doesn’t work as a pin-tumbler lock.

  • Security.

Is Kwikset SmartKey safe? Well, if you have recently moved into a new house and you worry that the old tenants might have the old key for the locks, you can rekey those locks so that they don’t have access to it anymore. It’s incredibly tricky to pick a Kwikset smartkey.

Comparison vs Other Smart Locks and Traditional Locks

The difference between the Kwikset SmartKey lock and the traditional wafer lock is that the Kwikset SmartKey lock heavily changes the inner working mechanism of the lock when it is rekeyed.

This is because when a key is inserted into the lock, it sets the guide pins inside the lock instead of the wafers. These guide pins help the wafers to be raised in a certain position in order to put the lock in lock or unlocked position.


It’s important to understand that there is no foolproof lock that can withstand any bypass measures. You would have to combine that with other security measures in order to avoid burglary and loss of valuables.

Knowing the answer to the question “how does Kwikset SmartKey work?” will give you the idea how you can improve the security measures in your home and business. Don’t let this slide and share this article with others to help them become better house or business owners.

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