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Rekey Locks or Change Locks: Which One Should You Choose?

Securing our homes is a paramount concern in an ever-changing world. The locks on our doors serve as the first line of defence, safeguarding our personal space and belongings. However, there comes a time in every homeowner’s journey when a crucial decision arises—should one rekey the existing locks or opt for an outright replacement? This dilemma often surfaces in everyday scenarios such as moving to a new home, experiencing a security breach, or even during a simple upgrade. This article will examine when to rekey, when to change locks, and which factors to consider to make an informed decision. 

So, read for the answer to Rekey locks or change locks: Which one should You Choose?

Understanding the Basics: Rekey Locks or Change Locks

Before diving into the decision-making process whether to rekey or change locks, let’s establish a foundation by understanding the basics of rekeying and changing locks. Rekeying a lock involves altering the internal mechanism of the lock so that it works with a different key. Essentially, you keep the existing lock but render the old keys ineffective. On the other hand, changing locks is a more comprehensive approach—it entails removing the current lock and replacing it with an entirely new one, accompanied by a new set of keys.

Now, the critical difference lies in the extent of transformation. Rekeying is like giving your lock a security makeover without changing its physical structure; changing locks is akin to a complete overhaul. Both methods address security concerns, but the choice between them depends on various factors, including the level of security needed, budget considerations, and the specific circumstances prompting the decision.

Locks, in essence, are the guardians of our homes. They provide a tangible barrier against unwanted intrusions and play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of our loved ones and prized possessions. Understanding the importance of locks in home security is crucial as we navigate the decision-making process between rekeying and changing locks. These small yet robust devices are the first line of defence, and choosing the right course of action can significantly impact the overall safety of your living space. So, let’s delve deeper into the nuances of rekeying and changing locks to unravel which option best fits your home security needs.

Also Read: 7 Signs You Should Replace Your Door Locks Right Away

When to Rekey Locks

Rekeying locksbecomes a compelling choice in various scenarios, offering a practical solution for specific security needs. One common situation where rekeying is a suitable option is when moving into a new home. In such cases, you may not be aware of who possesses copies of the existing keys, making it prudent to rekey the locks and establish control over access.

Another instance where rekeying proves beneficial is when keys are lost or stolen. Rather than replacing the entire lock, rekeying allows you to invalidate the missing keys, preventing unauthorized entry without needing a complete lock overhaul.

For rental property owners experiencing tenant turnover, rekeying offers a cost-effective means of ensuring security. It provides a swift solution to revoke access for previous tenants while allowing new ones to use the same locks with fresh keys.

The benefits of rekeying are noteworthy. Firstly, it is a cost-effective option compared to changing locks entirely. Rekeying allows you to achieve enhanced security without incurring the expenses associated with new lock installations. Additionally, rekeying maintains the existing hardware, saving you from the hassle of replacing door handles and other components.

Moreover, rekeying offers a practical compromise between security and convenience. It provides an effective security boost without needing a complete lock replacement, balancing cost-effectiveness and safety.

However, it’s essential to acknowledge the limitations of rekeying. While it enhances security, it may not provide the same level of robustness as a complete lock change. If your existing lock is in poor condition, rekeying might be less effective, and investing in a new lock becomes imperative.

Furthermore, rekeying may pose challenges with complex locks, especially high-security or electronic ones. In such cases, the intricate mechanisms may make rekeying a more complicated process, potentially limiting the desired security outcome. As we decide between rekeying and changing locks, we must weigh these pros and cons based on the specific circumstances.

When to Change Locks

Changing locks becomes a necessary course of action in specific situations that demand a more comprehensive security solution. One clear instance is when dealing with damaged or old locks. Over time, wear and tear can compromise the effectiveness of a lock, making a complete replacement essential for maintaining a robust security infrastructure.

Upgrading to more secure locks is another scenario that warrants a lock change. As technology advances, so do the capabilities of locks. If you’re seeking a higher level of security, modern lock systems with advanced features such as biometrics or smart technology might be the way to go.

Security breaches or break-ins represent a critical juncture where changing locks is imperative. In the aftermath of such incidents, restoring security and regaining peace of mind often involves a complete overhaul of the existing lock system.

The advantages of changing locks are significant. Firstly, it provides higher security levels compared to rekeying. New locks often come with improved technologies and features that enhance their resistance to tampering, offering a more robust defence against unauthorized access.

Embracing modern lock technology is another advantage of changing locks. Smart locks, for example, bring convenience and additional security features such as remote monitoring and keyless entry, elevating the overall security posture of your home.

One of the most intangible but valuable benefits of changing locks is peace of mind. Knowing that you have invested in the latest and most secure lock technology contributes to a sense of safety and security, allowing you to rest easy.

However, it’s essential to consider the drawbacks of changing locks. Firstly, there’s the higher cost associated with purchasing new hardware and covering installation expenses. This cost factor often makes changing locks a more significant investment than the relatively economical rekeying option.

Replacement time is another consideration. Changing locks might take longer, especially if upgrading to a more complex system requires careful installation and configuration.

Additionally, changing locks might necessitate aesthetic alterations to doors or frames, potentially impacting the visual harmony of your property. As we weigh the decision between rekeying and changing locks, understanding these pros and cons is crucial in making an informed choice tailored to your security needs and circumstances.

Also Read: 7 Key Advantages Of High-Security Locks for Home or Business

Decision-Making Process

Navigating the decision between rekeying and changing locks involves a thoughtful and systematic process. To begin, assess the current lock situation. Evaluate the condition of the locks, consider their age, and determine if there are any signs of wear or damage. This initial assessment provides a foundation for understanding whether rekeying or changing locks is more appropriate.

Next, evaluate your security needs. Identify the specific concerns and risks relevant to your living situation. Changing locks might be the preferred option if there’s a need for an enhanced security level due to recent incidents or a desire to embrace modern lock technology.

Setting a budget is a crucial step in the decision-making process. Consider the financial aspects of both rekeying and changing locks. Rekeying is generally more cost-effective, making it suitable for those on a tighter budget. On the other hand, changing locks may incur higher costs due to purchasing new hardware and professional installation.

Time constraints play a role in the decision-making process as well. Rekeying is often a quicker process compared to changing locks. If time is of the essence, rekeying might be a more practical choice, especially when security needs to be addressed promptly.

Weighing the pros and cons of each option is the final step in the decision-making process. Consider the benefits and limitations of rekeying and changing locks concerning your specific circumstances. If cost-effectiveness, maintaining existing hardware, and a swift solution are top priorities, rekeying might be the optimal choice. On the other hand, if you seek higher security levels, modern technology, and a complete security overhaul, changing locks could be the more suitable path.

By systematically assessing the current situation, understanding security needs, setting a budget, considering time constraints, and weighing the pros and cons, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your priorities and enhances the overall security of your home.


In summary, the decision between rekeying and changing locks hinges on carefully evaluating your current lock situation, security needs, budget constraints, and time considerations. Rekeying proves advantageous in scenarios like moving into a new home, lost keys, or tenant turnover, offering cost-effectiveness and security enhancement without replacing the entire lock. However, its limitations include a limited security upgrade and challenges with certain lock types.

On the other hand, changing locks becomes essential for damaged or old locks, upgrading to more secure systems, or in the aftermath of security breaches. This option provides higher security levels, modern lock technology, and peace of mind. Yet, it comes with a higher cost, potential time constraints, and the need to consider aesthetic changes.

In making a final recommendation, aligning the choice with your unique circumstances is crucial. If swift, budget-friendly security enhancement is paramount, rekeying is likely the optimal choice. However, for those seeking a comprehensive security upgrade with a willingness to invest in the latest technology, changing locks offers a robust solution.

Above all, this decision underscores the importance of prioritizing home security. Whether through rekeying or changing locks, taking proactive measures to safeguard your living space is a fundamental step towards ensuring the well-being of your loved ones and protecting your cherished belongings. Home security is not just an investment; it’s a commitment to creating a safe haven. So, as you embark on this decision-making journey, let the paramount importance of home security guide your choice.

Whether you are looking for rekeying or lock replacement services, Locksmith On Demand has highly qualified experts to help you. We have competitive prices. And we are fully equipped to help you quickly and efficiently.

Contact Locksmith on Demand today at 647-477-4108 to find out how we can help you!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does it Take to Rekey a Lock?

The time it takes to rekey a lock can vary based on factors such as the type of lock, the skill of the locksmith or individual performing the rekeying, and the complexity of the process. On average, a professional locksmith might take 20-30 minutes per lock.

Can I Rekey My Own Locks?

While it is possible for some individuals to rekey their own locks, it requires a certain level of skill and knowledge about lock mechanisms. Rekeying involves disassembling the lock, rearranging the pins, and ensuring proper alignment. If you’re confident in your abilities and have the necessary tools, DIY rekeying is an option with a rekey kit. However, many prefer to hire a professional locksmith to ensure the job is done correctly. You can simply google “rekey locks near me” to get a list of locksmiths in your area.

How to Rekey a Lock to Match an Existing Key?

To rekey a lock to match an existing key, remove the lock cylinder, take out the plug, replace old pins with new ones matching the cuts of the existing key, and ensure smooth operation by checking that the key turns effortlessly.

What’s the Rekeying vs Changing Locks Cost?

Rekeying is generally more cost-effective than changing locks, as it involves adjusting the existing lock mechanism, while changing locks incurs expenses for new hardware and installation. The choice depends on budget considerations and the desired level of security.

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