Lock Replacements Vs Lock Rekey- What is Better?

Homeowners are fascinated when finding out that there is something like rekeying a lock rather than changing their lock set. Few people have come across this term before due to simply choosing to change their locks rather than considering rekeying. This doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with changing the locks, but the fact is, it is not the only option. Homeowners can explore the option of rekeying their locks, and in some cases, it might be a better choice than changing them out completely.

The question is how to figure out what is the best choice? Replacing your lock? Or Re-Keying it? In order to make up your mind, you need to take a closer look at both options. Keep on reading for a bit more information about each option.

Rekeying your Door Locks

The term rekey provides you an insight into the whole process and how it works. Put simply, rekeying locks is a readjustment of its internal workings so that it functions with a different key. It does this while not compromising the overall security of your home. Yes, it sounds simple, but it can be very complicated if you are not a trained and professional locksmith. The idea of rekeying is to let homeowners keep their old locks, but have a new key to open it. This means that the old one will no longer work with it. Understanding this concept is important before you move ahead with your decision.

The process of rekeying is regarded as cost-effective because it uses the existing lock body. The locksmith reworks the pins in the lock to make it function with a different key. In order to rekey the lock, a professional locksmith will need to gain access to the lock cylinder. This can only be done by removing the lock from the door. If you are handy, you might be able to do it, but it’s best left for experts as it is complicated. If you do the rekeying yourself and make a mistake, the security of your home might be compromised.


When it comes to locks, you don’t want to jeopardize your safety because you don’t wish to hire a locksmith. Rekeying a lock requires focusing on the lock cylinder and the key pins it contains. Pins are the primary components that need to be rearranged and changed for rekeying a lock. For targeting the lock cylinder, you also need to have the corresponding key with you. The locksmith will need to pick the lock if the corresponding key is missing.

Therefore, if you rearrange the key pins, the older key will no longer work on the lock. For setting up the key pins properly, you should be aware of what pin sizes are corresponding to which key depths. You have to have a key decoder, a pinning size chart and a depth chart for decoding this information. A key decoder is useful in reducing the guesswork that a locksmith has to perform for determining what key pins to use.

Benefits of Rekeying Locks

Increased sense of security

You can boost your overall sense of security when you decide to rekey your locks. This is because it is a straightforward and easy way of resetting your key control. It also nullifies the other keys that could be used for operating your lock. Rekeying is regarded as a common practice among new homeowners when they move in. By doing so, anyone with a key copy wouldn’t be able to use there key anymore. That way no one will be able to walk into a house that doesn’t belong to them. It is an excellent way of sealing up any loose ends that might exist in your security and provides you with a fresh start.

Easy and quick

When a professional locksmith performs the procedure of rekeying, it is usually quicker. It doesn’t require the use of numerous tools or a lot of manpower. Other than a few tools, and the current key, you basically need to know how it’s done. If someone hasn’t rekeyed a lock before, it will take them a lot longer.


As mentioned, while rekeying a lock, the components that change are the pins that are found in the lock cylinder. Comparing to the price of a new and high-quality lock, these key pins are low priced and will work for most customers budget. Thus, if you wish to change your security settings, rekeying is a very cost-effective option without burning a hole in your pocket. The most that people will have to pay will be the labor cost associated with hiring the services of a locksmith.

Downsides of Rekeying Locks

Limited security upgrades

There is only one major downside of choosing to rekey your locks. Choosing to rekey your lock means that you only get a limited security boost. This doesn’t mean that rekeying the lock doesn’t help, but it simply indicates that the other security features of your lock remain unchanged. Hence, if you have a low-quality lock installed and you decide to get it rekeyed, it means that you will still have the low quality lock in place. This is one of the reasons why you can enjoy only limited security upgrades when you decide to rekey.

Replacing a Lock

The primary difference between rekeying a lock and replacing it is that you will now be using a completely different lock. Replacing a lock typically means that the entire lock body will be changed. Therefore, it could be a bit of a higher expense, as you will have to purchase a new lockset for your door when replacing it. As said earlier, it is not necessary for you to do this when the lock is being rekeyed. When you decide to replace a lock, you have to determine the lock you want to use for replacing it with.

There are a number of factors that you need consider when you are trying to figure out what lock you want to use for replacing the existing one. Some of these factors include the budget for your lock, as well as the kind of features and preferences that you want your locks to have. For instance, level of security, brand, color and more. Also keep in mind, if you have decided to replace your existing lock with a lock of a different brand, usually rekeying will not be possible. When you have decided what lock you want to have installed, you can either choose to purchase it yourself or request locksmith to provide one and they will buy it for you.

Similar to everything else, there are pros and cons of replacing your door locks and you need to consider them before making your decision.

Benefits of Replacing Locks


When you install new locks throughout the house, it provides you with the ability to customize your security and this is something a lot of homeowners end up taking for granted. The term customize means that that you can influence the way your locks feel and look and also have an impact on the way they function along with the other elements of your home security. For instance, if you wish your lock to have longer screws, it is completely up to you. If you think you want additional security pins, you can have that too. When you replace your lock, you have a brand new security canvas that you can play with.

Possibility of upgrades

If you decide to replace your locks instead of rekeying them, you can enjoy the luxury of being able to give your locks an upgrade as well as to your home security. On the flipside, you can also decide to get rid of your traditional locks and instead move onto smart locks. Regardless of the situation, you now have the ability and option of upgrading your locks.

Downsides of Replacing Locks

Paying for the locks and labor

As opposed to rekeying, changing your locks entirely will result in a much higher cost. This is mostly due to the fact that you will have to pay for the locks and also for the labor of installing them. The cost of purchasing the locksets is much more expensive than paying for parts and labor while choosing to rekey. This is not much of a con for those who have a very large budget, but if you have a financial limit, it could be a problem for you.

What is the Best Choice?

If you take a look at both options, making a clear-cut decision becomes difficult. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that can be used in this case because the situation is different for everyone. In order to figure out what works best for you and your home, you have to face the specific circumstances you are posed with. There are some cases where rekeying a lock might be more suitable and affordable while for others replacing a lock sounds like a good idea. You can come to a decision by considering the following questions:

Are you satisfied with your brand of locks?

If you are fully satisfied with the brand of locks you have and they are functioning properly, then it is better to rekey the locks. If you wish to add a layer of security to your home you can introduce a master key system. You can still replace your locks, but it would be a waste of money and perfectly good locks. In this situation, it is cheaper and easier to rekey them.

Have you recently lost one of your keys?

It happens to everyone at some point; you have just realized that you lost a copy of your keys. However, a lost key means your home’s security is also compromised and needs to be dealt with immediately. In this instance, rekeying your locks is the cheapest solution because the problem is with the key whereas the locks are working just fine.

Do you want to replace locks for security reasons?

If security is your motto, you can either rekey or replace your locks. With security, you need to narrow things down a bit more. For instance, if there has been an increase in crime around your neighborhood, you might need higher quality locks. Research various locks and check their attributes. If you are just looking to tighten up loose ends, then you can choose to rekey.

How much can you spend?

Last, but not least, your budget will have a huge influence on your decision. If you are on a tight budget and cannot spend a lot of money, rekeying might be the only option. But, if you have some wiggle room, you can opt to change your locks and provide your home with great security. The labor paid to the locksmith will also vary for each option.

You can consider these questions and weigh in the pros and cons of each option carefully. After doing this, you can make a decision and choose what the right option for you and your house is.