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Should you Replace or Rekey Locks?

Oftentimes, when people lose their keys or shift to a new property, the only possible answer to resolving the security issue comes in the form of new locks.

Not to say that there is something wrong with replacing locks, but it is always better to weigh out all the options and choose the one best suited to your needs.

How many of you have heard about locks being rekeyed and know what that entails? Probably not many. Most people don’t even know they can have their locks rekeyed and that, at times, it’s a more viable solution than having the locks replaced.

If you’re wondering which one would be best for you, read on to find out what replacing and rekeying your locks mean, how to determine which one you need, and the pros and cons for each.


Replacing a lock simply means changing the existing lock to a new one by getting a new lockset for the door it is installed on.

The new lock can be the same as the old one or a different one entirely, belonging to a different brand and offering a higher level of security.

Several factors must be taken into consideration when trying to determine the type of lock you want to replace your old locks with, such as the budget you are working with, the features that they offer, and the reason to have them changed in the first place.


Rekeying a lock means changing the existing keys on the lock to new ones without changing the lock – except for a few minor adjustments to accommodate the new keys.

Simply put, you can continue using your existing locks but your current keys would not be able to work on them.

Locks and keys work in pairs with each one corresponding to the other. Locks contain certain components known as tumblers or key pins that correspond to a specific key.

Any changes made to these components break the pairing, rendering the existing keys useless. Rekeying involves replacing the key pins inside the locks to set a new key that will work on them.

It might sound complicated, but it is a relatively easy procedure for a trained professional locksmith. It would be best to provide them with the current matching key to make the process even easier and quicker.

If a matching key isn’t available, it still won’t be an issue for a professional locksmith trained to do the job, however, it would incur some additional charges.


When trying to decide between replacing and rekeying your locks, it is best to understand the different situations where each would be best suited.

You should have your locks replaced if:

  • The existing ones are damaged, broken, worn out, or malfunctioning. If the components of the locks aren’t working as they should, there’s no point getting them rekeyed. It is best to have them replaced to new ones that work properly.
  • You want your locks to look a certain way to complement the aesthetics of your property. For instance, if you’ve moved into a new home that has old, not very aesthetically pleasing locks, replacing them would be a good option.
  • You wish to upgrade to higher security or digital locks. Basic locks work just fine, but with the rise in the risk of intrusions and burglaries, it is recommended to upgrade to a better security system.
  • You want to have a master key system for your residential or commercial property. For the system to work, all the locks on your property must be of the same brand or have the same type of keyway. After all the different types of locks have been replaced, you can re-key them all to work using the same key. More on that in a bit.


You should have your locks rekeyed if:

  • You lose control of your existing keys and want to change them so that they don’t work on your locks anymore. This can happen for several reasons that include the keys being lost or stolen, or you want to restrict access for someone who owns a pair.
  • You have different keys for different locks, of the same brand or keyhole, and you want them all to be operated using a single key, aka, master keying.


The advantages of replacing locks include:


Installing new locks gives you the chance to work with a blank canvas by customising your security according to your requirements. You can change the way they look and feel, in addition to the level of security they provide. You can play with the materials, colours, and sizes, and pick out the best ones that contribute to both aesthetics and security.


Replacing your locks gives you the option and ability to upgrade to locks providing you with better security. You can improve on your existing security measures and can switch to smart or digital locks for your home and business.


The disadvantage of replacing locks is:

Higher costs

The cost for having your locks replaced is much more as compared to other options because it includes not just the labour costs but the costs for the new locksets as well and quite obviously, the more sophisticated and technologically advanced a lock is, the costlier it’ll tend to be.


The advantages of rekeying locks include:

Increased security

Rekeying more or less works in the same way as you changing your Gmail password and automatically logging out of every device, nullifying all the saved password on various devices you’ve ever logged in. It comes in handy when you want to restrict access and are not sure who has your keys, giving you an increased sense of security.


As mentioned above, rekeying involves replacing the key pins inside locks instead of the entire lockset. Key pins are inexpensive, especially when compared to the cost of new locks, making rekeying an extremely cost-effective option for people looking to change some aspect of their security without having to break the bank.

Quick and easy

Compared to replacing locks, which might require time to choose the right design and level of security, along with extra manpower for the proper installation, rekeying is a very quick process when done by a professional locksmith. It requires no additional labour or tools and can be achieved fairly easily.


The disadvantage of rekeying locks is:

No security upgrades

Rekeying helps in providing a sense of security but there are no upgrades involved. Since the process works using the same locks, there are no changes in the security features. Therefore, if you have low-quality locks installed on your property, having them rekeyed will restrict unauthorised access but not change their quality or level of security.


There is no one winner here. Rather, it all depends on your requirements and reason for getting either. There are a few situations where replacing the locks would be the logical step to take whereas others might be more suited to getting them rekeyed.

The only way to determine which is the better choice for you in a particular situation is to think about what you want and how it will benefit you and your property.

Try asking yourself the following questions to help you make the right decision:

Are you satisfied with your current locks?

If there is nothing wrong with your current locks and you are happy with them, there is no need to replace them. If you wish to add a layer of security, maybe because you wish to restrict access, it is best to get them rekeyed since replacing them would be a clear waste of money.

However, if you are not content with the level of security your current locks are providing, you must have them replaced, and possibly upgraded, ASAP.

Did you lose your keys?

Losing your keys compromises the security of the entire property because whoever has access to the keys has access to your home or business. You need to ensure that the lost keys cannot be used to gain entry and to do that the keys must be changed.

Has your property been broken into recently?

If your home or business has been recently broken into, you must immediately spring into action and take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again. If the intruders broke in by damaging the locks, there is no other way than to have them replaced. This might also be a good time to upgrade the security since it is a clear sign of the existing system not being very effective.

What is your budget?

Rekeying is a lot more budget-friendly than replacing locks, and sometimes this might be the main determinant of which process you go through with. One thing to note here is that rekeying involves using the current matching key to adjust the locks and make new keys.

In the event of there being no matching key, the process becomes a bit more time-consuming and costly. It is best to compare the prices of having the locks rekeyed (without a matching key) with having them replaced and make a decision according to your budget.


Whether you need to have your locks replaced or rekeyed, it is always best to have it done by a professional locksmith.

A professional locksmith is responsible for providing a plethora of services, all that contribute to a property’s safety and security.

They not just install and repair locks but also provide valuable recommendations such as whether to opt for lock replacing or rekeying. You can count on them to provide you with sound advice that works to your advantage instead of their own.

There are different types of professional locksmiths having expertise in a certain type of property.

For homes, we have residential locksmiths who specialise in home locks and security and understand the nature of risks and threats that they face.

They do so much more than just install locks on the doors of your house. They help assess your security needs and provide tips on how to protect your home from unauthorised access.

On the other hand, we have commercial locksmiths who work on larger commercial properties such as buildings, offices, schools, hotels, warehouses, and factories. They have specialised skills to provide solutions for commercial properties on a large scale.

They not only open and change locks but also helps with a variety of other services that may include installing and servicing electronic and digital locks, and master keying.

The list of professional services that they provide include:

  • Installing locks on doors and windows
  • Repairing and fixing locks on doors and windows
  • Replacing or rekeying locks
  • Key cutting
  • Responding to lockouts
  • Master keying
  • Upgrading to digital locks
  • Providing security safe services
  • Installing alarm systems


Locks are your first line of defence against intruders and burglars, and as a home or business owner, you would want the best level of security for your premises.

Your locks and their effectiveness are only as good as the people installing them. If you hire a handyman not trained to work with locks and their mechanisms, you might be saving a few quid but jeopardising your safety and security in the long run.

Here are all the reasons why you must always opt for professional locksmith services. They:

  • Are trained to work with all kinds of locking mechanisms and have the required skill and experience.
  • Can help you make the right decision in terms of choosing the best services for your needs.
  • Understand that each client and their security needs are different.
  • Always use only quality state-of-the-art products.
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest lock technologies.
  • Offer emergency callout services and can be counted on to respond to them.
  • Carry specialised tools needed to carry out the job in the least amount of time with no or minimal damage to existing locks, doors, or windows.
  • Offer services that come with insurance which means that any damages done to your locks or doors will be covered.
  • Have clear prices and quotes and will always give invoices with the cost breakdown according to the labour, material, and time.
  • Provide services of the highest standards because they have a professional reputation to protect.


We at Calder Security are members of the Master Locksmith Association (MLA) since 1976 and can work on a wide range of locking mechanisms.

We are specialists in wooden, UPVC, and aluminium doors and the official suppliers for leading lock brands including Chubb, Yale, Securikey, and Garrison.

Our team of experienced professionals can advise on the best types of lock, and whether you need lock replacement or rekeying for your home and business.

In addition to installation services, our professional locksmiths also offer repairing services for when the locks become damaged or develop faults and may not require changing, and are also fully conversant in business master key systems.

Our qualified locksmiths have an in-depth knowledge of all kinds of locks and can often repair them on site. We can also access locks that have become jammed, including safes, and can respond to your calls quickly which can be very useful if you’ve locked yourself out.

We also offer expert key cutting services from our Lock & Safe Shop in Wakefield where you can get your keys cut while you wait.

Using our state-of-the-art digital equipment, we can cut virtually any key including cylinder keys, mortice keys, dimple keys, Mul-T-Lock keys, padlock keys, lockers keys, and safe keys to a high degree of accuracy without having to send them away to be cut.

Contact us here or call us at 0800 612 9799 to talk to our professional locksmiths right away!

Image by Uwe Baumann from Pixabay