The Difference Between Smart Key vs. Keyless Entry

Are you looking for a car offering keyless or smart key entry system? Although, both of these systems are interchangeable but have some major differences amongst themselves. When you want to purchase a new vehicle, one of the things often asked includes the system of entry to the car. It is here that many are not aware of the difference of smart key vs. keyless entry for the vehicle. However, there is no need to fret over this, as we will provide you complete information on this difference including the features of both the systems.

Smart Key vs. Keyless Entry – Know Here the Difference

Firstly, you need to understand that keyless or smart key; each of these has separate technology. The first one is the difference in how they unlock the car doors. We recommend you search online to find the best maintenance tips for keeping the car secure against any unauthorized access.

Now, let us understand what makes one car door unlocking system different from the other. First, let us understand a bit about the keyless system.

Keyless Entry

On the one hand, the keyless entry system to a car includes unlocking and locking the car doors using the conventional key or with the help of a button on the remote. However, you must understand that Keyless entry does not stand for “without a key.”

When you enter the vehicle using the keyless entry system, you easily control the engine without using an actual car key for the ignition. It contains an in-built transponder, which identifies the vehicle and activates the ignition systems. The best thing about it is the car will not lock until the key remains inside the vehicle.

It means there is no need to utilize the physical metal key for the lock or ignition of the car. It was the case in earlier generations of cars. It is the first difference between the debate of smart key vs. keyless entry.

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Keyless Entry
One Does Not Need the Actual Key For Ignition With a Keyless Entry (Photo Source: vox)

Smart Key

On the other hand, the Smart Key is a car key containing a microcomputer, which lets the owner gain access to and unlocks the vehicle’s locking mechanism. It completely replaces the metal key found in many modern-day cars.

The driver can easily unlock or lock, and start the car. It happens when the vehicle identifies the radio signals coming from the radio pulse generator of the Smart Key. The technology also comes with a Start-Stop switch for controlling the car ignition.

Siemens was the first to develop the electronic Smart Key system during the 90s, whereas Mercedes-Benz developed for its S-Class in 1998.


One might prefer to use the keyless entry and smart keys via interchanging both. However, in the war of smart key vs. keyless entry, the latter is a preference of the majority. The reason is that keyless entry surpasses any automobile unlocking technology.