How to Rekey a Lock to Match an Existing Key
You may find yourself in a situation where you’ve bought a home, but there are one or two locks in the home that work off of a different key than rest of the locks (or, you’ve simply don’t have a key for one or two of the locks). This can happen when the previous home owner bought new locks and installed them, usually to replace a broken lock.
Or you might find yourself in that same situation. You’ve bought a replacement lock, and you want the new lock to work from an existing key.
When you want EVERY lock in the house to work from the same key, Rekeying the lock can accomplish this.
You can rekey all of your locks to match an existing key only when all of the locks have the same keyway. You can test if the locks use the same keyway by taking the key you want to use and seeing if it slides into the keyholes of the locks you want to work using that key. If it slides in, they can be rekeyed to work with one key. If the key will not slide into the lock, it is another brand, using another keyway, and that lock cannot be made to work from the existing key.
Kwikset vs Schlage Keys
The figure below shows two of the most popular keyways in American, the Kwikset and Schlage. Their respective keys have raised and lowered spots so that it can slide into the keyway of its lock. I’ve highlighted in the figure, in black, the low spots of the key. You can see that the low spots of the Kwikset do NOT match the low spots of the Schlage. So it is impossible to slide a Kwikset key into a Schlage lock and a Schlage key into a Kwikset lock. These two locks cannot be rekeyed to match an existing key of the other.
When the locks you have are the same keyway, you can rekey them to use the same key by asking the reseller you’ve purchased it from to do it for you, purchasing a home rekey kit and doing it yourself, taking it to a residential locksmith shop to rekey it for you, or if it’s a Kwikset SmartKey, you will be able to rekey them yourself.
- Have them rekeyed where you bought them. Locksmiths often rekey locks to match at no cost when you buy the hardware through them. Some big box stores do it but may charge for the service. Any of our four Arizona Lock & Key Shops will rekey them for you.
- Buy a home rekey kit. If you want to take on the task of doing it yourself, rekey kits are available. But you should know rekeying does take some practice and patience. It may not be worth doing yourself if you only have one or two locks. If you make a mistake, pins and springs will fly everywhere, but a local locksmith can help you get it back together.
- Amazon sells a Schlage Rekey Kit at a good price, that can be used to rekey a Schlage lock to a key that is provided in the kit. If you want to rekey the Schlage lock to match an existing key, keep the old lock, remove its pins using the tools in the Schlage kit and install those pins into the new lock. Alternatively, you can buy a larger Schlage pinning kit off of Amazon but it may be cheaper at this point just to take the locks into a locksmith because the larger kits are more expensive. We break down rekey pricing in our article How Much do Locksmith Charge to Rekey Home Locks.
- We sell a Kwikset SmartKey rekey kit that gives you everything needed to rekey a Kwikset lock to an existing key if the locks are Kwikset Smartkey locks.
Different Lock Brands Can Often be Rekeyed to Match Another Brand’s Keys
Even though locks may be made from a different company, there several companies that use the same, or similar-enough keyways so that a key from one can be work the other brand of lock.
The table below shows brands that will typically work together. This is useful when you are replacing a lock with another and want to make sure that what you buy can be rekeyed to match your existing key.
Table: Lock Brands that May Use the Same Key
|Brands that Work With Kwikset Keys||Brands that Can Work With Schlage Keys|
|Baldwin (entry-level product)||Baldwin (high-end)|
*Yale can either way. So be careful.
Disclosure: As an eBay / Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases.
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
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- BBB Ethics Award Winner – The Only Locksmith to Ever Win this Award