Rekey or Replace? What Do You Choose?

We get calls frequently asking us about “Changing locks.”  When we get those calls, we usually ask callers whether they want to rekey the lock, or to replace the lock.  When asked what we suggest, we let people know the decision to rekey a lock or replace it depends on the their situation and needs.  Sometimes we end up doing a simple rekey.  Sometimes we replace all the locks in a building.  Frequently, it ends up being a combination of rekeying and replacing old locks.

Let’s go through the differences between the two options to help you make an informed decision:To Replace or Rekey?

  1. Rekeying a lock:
  • Rekeying a lock means you’re changing out the lock’s internal pins so that a different key can operate it.  Sometimes this is to add a key that works, such as when a business wants a master key that works on different locks.  Sometimes it’s done to prevent the old key from working at all.
  • This is generally a more cost-effective option compared to replacing the entire lock, as it only requires the expertise of a locksmith to modify the existing lock; and only in a limited way.
  • Rekeying is a good choice if you want to keep the same physical lock but want and/or need to prevent access with the old keys, such as when moving into a new home or business location, changing tenants, or if you’ve lost a key… Or worse, a whole ring of keys!
  • A quick caveat:  Many people want to rekey their home so they have all one key.  If you have mixed locks, that is not always possible.  That is a situation where a rekey and replacement come into play, together.                                                                    Rekeying Locks
  1. Replacing a lock:
  • Replacing a lock involves installing an entirely new lockset, which may include changing brands, and may require extra work on a door to make the new lock fit properly.
  • This option is frequently necessary if the current lock is damaged, outdated, or worn.  Sometimes rekeying can fix a problem with a key not working properly, but will require assessment by a professional locksmith.  Frequently, though, it’s better to just replace them.
  • If you want all your locks on one key, but have a Kwikset and Schlage keyways (or two other different keyways), one or more locks will need to be replaced so everything is matching.
  • Replacing your locks allows you to upgrade to a more secure and modern lock system, such as electronic or smart locks.  We don’t suggest using the Bluetooth locks quite yet, as the technology is still relatively easy to bypass. It’s getting better, though!Replacing Electronic Locks

In short, rekeying is usually better when you want to maintain the same lock but change the keys for whatever reason. Replacing the lock is a better option if you want to upgrade the security level, want everything on one key, or if the current lock is damaged. A professional locksmith can help you make the best decision based on your specific circumstances.


Katz Locksmith is a full-service company that specializes in commercial locksmith work.  We are family and woman-owned, and we’re committed to providing great service!  We service businesses in areas such as Eastvale, Claremont, Corona, Fontana, Glendora, Montclair, Ontario, Rialto, San Bernardino, Upland, and more!  We go into mountain area such as Mt. Baldy, Crestline, and Big Bear.  For additional information or booking a service call us @ (909) 942-0282.

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Athena Parker