New homeowners, customers who want to change their home or business locks for better security usually wonder what is the difference between changing the locks and rekeying locks.
First, a general explanation of what rekeying a lock means.
It means that you keep the existing lock, but changing only the key.
Therefore, the old keys won’t work, but you still get to keep the same lock you had.
In addition, you can choose to have all locks operated on the same key, giving you the convenience of having only one key.
The only way to rekey two locks to the same key is when they have the same keyway.
The keyway of the lock is determined by the lock manufacturer. E.g. Kwikset locks and Defiant can be rekeyed to the same key because they have the same keyway.
However, when locks have a different keyway, e.g. Schlage and Kwikset, they cannot operate on.
The process is a pretty simple one. The core of the lock is taken out and instead of the pins that are currently there are taken out and replaced by new ones.
Thus, the old key won’t “fit” to the new “code” created by the new pins.
A locksmith will provide a new key that fits the new code and therefore unlock the lock.
Furthermore, when the locksmith matches the key for a few locks, he inserts the same code, or use the same pins for all the locks and therefore the same key will operate them all.
A: Generally speaking, it is much cheaper to rekey locks than to replace them.
The process of rekeying locks basically means changing the pins inside the lock cylinder as shown below:
In other words, you just have to change the pins to have a new key to operate the lock.
Replacing a lock means to completely change all the lock parts, including new cylinder, latch, housing, etc as shown below:
Therefore, changing a lock is more expensive. Sometimes it could cost up to 3 or 4 times more than rekeying the lock.
Finally, always ask to rekey your locks instead of changing them, especially if there is nothing wrong with the locks.
A: Rekeying high-security cylinders is possible, however, not any locksmith or shop can do that. In addition, it requires the locksmith to have a unique rekey kit specifically for the same brand as the high-security locks that need to be rekeyed. Therefore, it is much less common. We would highly recommend calling around to make sure the locksmith has the necessary tools and kit to do that.