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Rekeying VS. Changing Locks

Man changing core of a door lock of the entrance glass door, close-up view with no face

Rh2010 from Adobe Stock

If you ever moved into a new place, lost your house keys, or had to fire an angry employee, then chances are good that the thought of changing locks came up sooner rather than later. Most people don’t know there is another alternative – rekeying them!

This article will give you the lowdown on what it means to “rekey” your lock, and more importantly, when should I do this rather than changing my locks? Why is rekeying important–you ask! It can save a lot of money. Some locksmiths take advantage that people aren’t informed about differences in options; instead, they recommend the expensive option.

What Is Rekeying?

Let’s start off by talking about what rekeying is. Rekeying is when you change the original key to a different one without changing the lock. You may be asking, how exactly does that work? It is simple. To rekey a lock, a locksmith will take apart your lock and change some of the tumblers and key pins so that your original key will no longer work.

This is a very quick process and simple for a professional locksmith to do in just a few minutes. Different or specialty tools may be needed depending on your lock. More secure locks often need unique tools to rekey. This process is much easier to do if you have the original key. A locksmith may still be able to do it if they pick the lock; however, this is usually an added cost and may turn out to be more expensive than replacing the locks altogether.

Rekeying will be cheaper than replacing all the locks most of the time. When you replace locks, you are paying not only for the labor cost of having it completed but also for the new parts, i.e., the locks. Rekeying gives you the same peace of mind and security as changing the locks at a much lower cost.

When To Choose to Rekey Instead?

Ultimately, the choice is yours to decide whether you wish to rekey or change your locks. We encourage you to research your options, budget, and needs before making a final decision. However, there are certain times where we believe it makes more sense to rekey versus changing the locks.

If your purpose in making the change is to keep someone out who has a copy of the original key, rekeying will provide this for you at a much cheaper price. Another common reason to rekey is that you have many locks with different keys and want them to match instead. Rekeying will make all your locks match just one key. Note that this can only be done if all the locks are of the same brand or the same type of keyway. If the current key doesn’t fit in the lock, there is no way to match it as the two are incompatible.

 Workman repairing entrance door lock of the modern house or hotel during the sunny weather outdoors

When To Change Your Locks?

In some cases, changing your locks may be the better option. A few examples of this are when you want a different lock design or a more secure lock. Also, if you want to match all of your locks, they are other brands or types. In this case, you will need to change at least some of the locks, so they can be matched appropriately. In this instance, changing all the locks may be more cost-effective versus changing some and rekeying others. Keep in mind that a locksmith can install matching locks if you ask them, and hardware stores can also sell you matching locks.

Do You Need a Professional?

Another question that may have come to your mind is can I make this change myself? You may be concerned about price, security, or you just enjoy completing projects around the house. Rest assured that if you choose to call a locksmith, they will make sure you are happy and secure before leaving, so security issues should never be a reason to forego calling a professional. They will also complete the work for you without unnecessary charges. A locksmith aims to provide you with the best customer service possible and leave you feeling more secure in the home you love.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer and want to see if this is a project you can tackle, the answer is maybe. Most locks can be changed successfully by an amateur, and it isn’t much you can do to a brand-new lock to destroy it if it is installed incorrectly. Also, new locks typically come with some directions that you can follow to help you complete this process.

Rekeying locks, however, is a very different situation. While this process is easy for the trained professional, it is much more difficult for a novice. Also, when you consider the cost of the tools needed, the expenditure can easily surpass that of having a professional do it. It is very easy to damage a lock to no longer usable when rekeying if you are not skilled in the process.


There are many factors to consider when deciding whether you want to rekey or change your locks. We hope that the information in this article has helped clarify some of these decisions for you and makes it easier for you to make a decision on what is best for your home. If you would like help determining which option is right, contact a professional locksmith company in your area to help you figure out what your best options are.

When choosing a locksmith company make sure you consider the tips written in this article

ASAP Locksmith

1201 Main Street Dallas, Texas 75202