One of the most common questions we receive from customers is whether it’s possible to use the same keys for multiple locks on their homes. The best response to this question is not necessarily an easy answer. In general, the answer is yes. But are you absolutely sure you want all of your locks to open with the same key?
In the locksmith industry, we use the following two terms quite often:
Keyed Alike – When your locks are keyed alike, it means that you have multiple locks (for example, your front door, your back door, and the door that leads from your garage to the inside of your house) that will all open with the same exact key.
Keyed Different – When your locks are keyed different, it means that you have multiple locks that all open with different keys. There are situations in which the locks look exactly the same (same brand, same shape, same color), but they each require a separate, unique key.
Before making the decision on whether to have all of your home’s locks keyed alike or keyed different, make sure to consider the following:
Convenience – It’s certainly more convenient to have one key that will open all door locks on your house. Rather than having to carry around an entire keychain full of unique keys (and labeling each key so you can differentiate them), you can utilize one key for each and every lock. This eliminates the need for a bulky keychain as well as the need to figure out which key fits each lock every time you want to enter your home.
The Ability to Restrict Access – Some homeowners do not want all of their home’s locks keyed alike because they want the ability to restrict access to certain parts of the home to people who have keys to the home. For example, some people want their neighbors to have a key to their home for emergency purposes, but they don’t want them to have free access to a particular area – such as the garage.
Lost Keys – No matter how hard you try, someone with a key to your home is undoubtedly going to lose it at some point. When all of your locks are keyed alike, a lost key results in the need to re-key every lock in your home. When each of your locks is keyed different, a lost key results in the need to re-key only one lock – the one that’s associated with the lost key.
Different Brand Locks and Various Lock Types – It is not always possible for locksmiths to re-key all locks in a home to accept the same key if the locks are of various brands and types. We must evaluate this type of situation on an individual basis and give you our opinion on whether this is a possibility. In some cases it is, but other cases it isn’t.
Remember – if you are moving into a new house or apartment, it’s important to re-key the doors because previous owners or tenants may still have copies of the keys to your living quarters. The decision on whether to re-key the locks as keyed alike or keyed different is up to you. Give us a call today and we will be happy to go over your options and provide you with advice that will work best in your unique situation.