Last Updated on November 18, 2022
Help! I’ve Lost the Key to My Safe!
If you’re looking for how to open a safe when you’ve lost the combination check out our other blog post.
Here we are talking about safes or lock boxes that take keys or have key overrides to open them.
We get several calls a year from customers that have lock boxes, gun chests, or safes, and they have lost their safe keys. These safes either take keys to open them, or the safes have key overrides that will get the owner in the safe when the combination has been lost or the batteries have died.
Usually keys are found on smaller home safes, but larger more secure safes may use keys to lock the dial from spinning.
You can get a replacement safe key by calling the manufacturer of the safe or by using a locksmith service to create a new key. Locksmiths are often less expensive than the manufacturer when you can take the safe into a lock shop.
When you take the safe to the locksmith, the cost to create a replacement key will be $30-$50, plus the keys (see How much does it cost to open safe). Locksmith services may be the only choice when a manufacturer has gone at a business.
Some safe manufactures, typically inexpensive safes, provide keys as either the main method of opening the safe or a secondary method to get into the safe. There are two primary reasons keys are provided to open the safe.
- A keyed lock is less expensive than a dial or electronic safe lock so they are used to build less expensive safes
- Some manufactures put the batteries for their safes inside of the safe. The key override allows you to get into the safe if the batteries die.
Have the Safe Manufacturer Mail You a Key
If there is a key override, your safe manufacture may mail you the override key so you can get into your safe. They will require ID and proof of ownership to do this. In some cases, they will only accept proof of ownership from a locksmith company that has gone to your address and verified you are the owner.
If you buy a safe or safe box that takes a key, be sure to register it under your name as that will simplify the verification process should you ever lose your safe’s key.
If the safe manufacture won’t or can’t provide a key, you can take the safe to a locksmith or have one come to your location.
Have a Locksmith Make the Replacement Safe Key
Locksmiths can often gain access to a safe or lock box without a key by using several techniques. Once in, the locksmith can make a replacement key.
- Often a locksmith can pick the keyed lock open for you and once open, disable the lock to make a replacement key.
- If there is a number stamped near the keyhole, a locksmith should be able to make a replacement safe key quickly by cutting a key by code. That number tells the locksmith what key blank is needed and how to cut the key. With that, a key to your safe can be easily made.
- If there is no number stamped on the keyhole, the locksmith may use a technique called impressioning to make the key. This take a bit longer to do because the locksmith will first need to determine what key blank needs to be used from thousands of possible blanks. An experienced local locksmith shop, such as our Arizona lock shops, should be able to make it rather quickly though. Check out our YouTube video below on impressioning
- If the safe is a barrel key (round key with a hole in the middle) a special tool is used to pick open the lock. Once open that pick retains the key information and can then be placed on a special barrel key duplicator to create a replacement key.
- Sometimes the safe key needed will be a restricted key. This means that it doesn’t take a standard key blank that the locksmith has access to, or it may take a high-security key that cannot be picked or impressioned. When this is the case, the locksmith can still get you in. but they lock may need to be drilled out and then replaced (if possible).
See our article on What it Costs to Open a Safe.
How Locksmiths Impression Safe Keys
What our Phoenix Store Manager Make a key for a cam lock.
When a Safe Key Won’t Get You Into the Safe
On many safes there is usually a key that must be used WITH the combination. That is, the key hole you see is not an override key. It is a key that must be used in conjunction with the combination in order to get into the safe.
When this is the case, you will still need to have a key made to get into the safe, but you will also need to figure out the safe’s combination. Check out our article on How to find the Combination to a Safe.
Safe keys make it pretty easy to get into a safe without drilling the safe open so you can save a bit of money. Once open, a locksmith can reset the combination of the safe for you.
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Robert has been the Owner of ACME Locksmith, Arizona’s #1 Rated Locksmith, since 2007. ACME has provided locksmith service to over 160,000 Phoenix houses and businesses.
Over 1400 5-Star Rated, Verifiable Arizona Customer Reviews
Super Service Award Winner Eight Years Running
Selected as an Angie List Phoenix-Best Contractor
BBB International Marketplace Excellence Award Finalist
BBB Ethics Award Winner – The Only Locksmith to Ever Win this Award