The Ultimate Guide to Opening Multiple Locks With a Single Key

No matter the situation, there might come a time in your life when you wish you could open multiple locks with just one key. It’s not a far-fetched dream – it’s a reality with “Key Alike” door locks. 1ST Choice Locksmith is here to provide all the answers to your questions about this convenient solution.

Locks come in various shapes and sizes, each designed to work with different keys. If you’re tired of juggling a bunch of keys or worried about losing them, then having one key to open multiple locks could be the perfect solution. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various methods for opening multiple locks with a single key.

Three Methods to Open Multiple Locks with the Same Key

  1. Purchase New Locks If you’re looking for a quick and straightforward solution, buying new “keyed alike” locks is the easiest way to achieve this. Head over to your local hardware store, where you can purchase all the locks you need, each working with a single key. While this method might be a bit more expensive, it’s the perfect choice if you’re not familiar with rekeying or key cutting. When shopping for these locks, don’t hesitate to consult with a store associate to ensure you select the right ones. There’s nothing worse than buying the wrong locks and having to make a return trip.
  2. Rekeying If you’re working with a tight budget or don’t want to replace all your locks, rekeying them is the next best option. Rekeying a lock involves altering the internal components of the lock to match a specific key. This process typically requires the skills of a professional locksmith. But don’t worry. Rekeying is a more cost-effective solution, and with the help of our team, it becomes a hassle-free process. While it is possible to rekey a lock on your own, it does require specific tools and equipment.
  3. Hire a Locksmith When it comes to opening multiple locks with a single key, sometimes the best course of action is to contact our team of professional locksmiths. 1st choice Locksmith offers fast, reliable, and affordable locksmith services to ensure you never find yourself locked out. Whether you’re installing new “key alike” locks or rekeying your existing locks, the most efficient and effective option is to give1st choice Locksmith a call today!

How to Get Keyed Alike Locks

To open multiple locks with a single key, you need to acquire “keyed alike” locks. You’ll need to make some decisions regarding cost, procedural complexity, and tools required. This guide will help you decide whether to attempt this as a DIY project or to seek the expertise of a professional locksmith.

1. Purchasing Keyed Alike Locks

Buying new locks is typically the more expensive method of obtaining “keyed alike” locks. The expenses include the cost of the new lock hardware and any service fees for the installation. However, you can reduce the overall cost by installing the locks yourself, which is usually easier than rekeying a lock for the first time.

When purchasing new locks, make sure to follow these steps:

  • Choose a “keyed alike” option: When buying locks online, look for the “keyed alike” feature, ensuring all your purchased locks can be operated with a single key. If you’re shopping at stores like Home Depot, products with matching key codes should be clearly marked on the packaging.
  • Verify key codes: The key code refers to the groove depths on the key. If two products have the same key code, they are “keyed alike” locks. To open multiple locks with the same key, you will need to check for this key code. If you can’t find another “keyed alike” lock with the same code, you can still rekey your locks.

Key Takeaways:

  • Costs include new locks and installation.
  • Installing new locks is simpler than rekeying.
  • New locks come “keyed alike” when they are the same brand and share the same key code.

2. Rekeying Locks

Without installing new locks, you can still achieve “keyed alike” locks through the rekeying process. Rekeying involves changing the internal components of a lock to match an existing key. Most locks operate using a pin tumbler system, where pin stacks must be set to a specific height to unlock the door. By adjusting the pin stacks in multiple locks to be the same, you can open all of them with a single key.

Rekeying is an economical alternative to purchasing new locks, but it’s a task best left to professionals due to its technical nature. Although rekeying locks is not overly complex, small errors can result in a broken lock. To rekey a lock on your own, you will need specialized tools and materials. Basic rekeying sets typically include a plug follower, new pins, and a new key. Rekeying locks to open multiple doors with the same key is challenging without professional assistance.

Key Takeaways:

  • Rekeying involves altering a lock’s internal components to match a specific key.
  • Locks with the same internal components can be opened with the same key.
  • Rekeying is typically a job for a locksmith.

When to Use Keyed Alike Locks

In the world of security, there’s often a trade-off between convenience and safety. While using a single key to open multiple locks simplifies your life by reducing the number of keys you have to manage, it can also make you more vulnerable if your key is lost or copied without your knowledge.

To strike a balance, you can use keyed alike locks on doors with the same level of access. For example, all entry doors or perimeter locks can use keyed alike locks. However, you might choose to vary the keys for interior doors, especially if they lead to private rooms within shared spaces.

The concept behind grouping keyed alike locks by the level of access is that only one key needs to be compromised to undermine the security of that level. You should keep all keyed alike door locks together by type or level of access, ensuring that you don’t diminish your overall security.

Key Takeaways:

  • The convenience of keyed alike locks may come at the cost of security.
  • Group keyed alike locks by access level to minimize security risks.
  • Locks that grant access to the same area of a property belong to the same access level.

Are Keyed Alike Locks Right for You?

Several factors will determine whether keyed alike door locks are the best choice for your situation. Your decision should be based on how your property is used and your specific security concerns. The more differentiation you require among users’ access, the fewer keyed alike door locks you should use.

In terms of security risks, remember that keyed alike locks may increase your vulnerability to unauthorized key usage and bump keys. If you’ve experienced break-ins without signs of forced entry or if you suspect unauthorized key usage, you should carefully consider whether keyed alike locks are the right choice for you.

If you’re unable to tell whether your lock has been picked, this suggests a key control issue that could be exacerbated by using keyed alike door locks.

Keyed Alike Pros

The convenience of using keyed alike door locks cannot be overstated. Reducing the number of keys you need saves you time and effort every time you enter your property. Simplified access makes it more likely that you’ll use all your locks, thereby increasing your overall security. At the very least, you can use keyed alike door knobs and deadbolts, ensuring that each door can be opened with a single key.

Commercial properties, in particular, stand to benefit significantly from keyed alike door locks. If you’re replacing commercial door locks, consider purchasing them keyed alike. Buildings using mortise locks do not need matching hardware to be keyed alike. With a simple door lock cylinder replacement, various doors can be keyed alike.

The fewer keys you need to distribute to those with access to your property, the easier it becomes to track them. If you’re implementing physical access control, keyed alike locks are a necessity. Consider where visitors and other residents are restricted from while ensuring they have all the access they need.

Key Takeaways:

  • Keyed alike door locks reduce the number of keys needed for your property.
  • Fewer keys make opening doors more convenient.
  • Businesses can also benefit from keyed alike door locks.

Keyed Alike Cons

When you use keyed alike door locks, you’ll limit the variety of lock brands you can use. All the locks will have the same security vulnerabilities. If you’re not using high-security locks, you’re essentially spreading the risk of an average lock across your entire property.

The primary threat to keyed alike door locks is unauthorized access to a key that opens several locks. Unlike installing a master key system, keyed alike door locks don’t make your locks more resistant to criminal lock picking. Moreover, when it comes to preventing lock bumping, keyed alike door locks don’t offer any added security because a single bump key profile can work for all keyed alike locks.

If you ever need to replace a lock, you’ll have to purchase a new lock with a matching key code or rekey the lock to fit into the existing group of keyed alike door locks. This process can become cumbersome each time you have to change a lock.

Key Takeaways:

  • Keyed alike door locks restrict the use of a variety of lock brands.
  • Low-security locks with the same key code share the same vulnerabilities.
  • Any lock replacement will need to match the existing keyed alike locks.

Closing Considerations

By installing keyed alike door locks, you can use a single key to open multiple locks, making your life more convenient and secure. You can purchase keyed alike locks or hire a locksmith to rekey your existing locks, providing the same outcome. However, you may encounter complications when one lock needs to be changed.

Keyed alike door locks are linked by a common key, which doesn’t enhance their security but instead increases the shared vulnerability of the system. If an exploit is discovered, it can compromise multiple aspects of your security. As long as you carefully balance your security measures and keep your keyed alike door locks grouped together by type or access level, they should not pose a greater risk of theft or burglary.


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