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Making the Decision to Re-Key or Replace a Lock

Re-Key or Replace a Lock?

Homeowners may run into situations where they feel they need to change the locks on their homes, but there is often another option. Choosing to re-key a lock can be a less expensive, more efficient option. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to either procedure. We’ll look at the different choices available along with the pros and cons of each, so you can make the best possible decision for your needs. Re-key or replace a lock, that is the question. Let’s explore.

Man replacing lock to interior door
Man replacing lock to interior door

Advantages of Rekeying a Lock

The first advantage of rekeying is that it can help your home be more secure. That’s because it immediately resets the lock and makes it impossible for someone with an old key to operate the lock and get inside. This is why new homeowners often choose this process upon moving into their home. It gives a completely fresh start when it comes to door security and keeps anyone you don’t know from walking into your home.

Another advantage is that to re-key a lock is more cost-efficient than the alternative. The parts that are replaced are nothing more than the key pins within the lock cylinder. These are often inexpensive, especially if you are comparing the cost with a completely new lockset. For those on a budget, rekeying is the best option to regain security without spending extra money. You’ll only need to pay for the key pins and the labor of a locksmith.

Finally, rekeying a lock is simple and doesn’t take long at all. The only things needed are a spanner, current key for the lock, and a key decoder. If you are using a professional locksmith, they can make the change in a few minutes. Even those who choose to go with DIY, it will be simpler than replacing the entire lock and likely take less time.

Disadvantages of Rekeying a Lock

The main disadvantage to the process of rekey of a lock is that it’s only capable of a limited boost to security. That is because you are using the same lock with the same features it already had. If the lock is low-quality, it will still be subpar after the change has been made. It’s not to say it isn’t worthwhile, it just has limited effectiveness.

Advantages of Replacing a Lock

You can customize your security in a more tangible way when you install new locks. This means you can choose the way the lock feels and looks. You can also look at added functions you want included in your new lock. You can add extra security pins if you want or invest in longer screws. There are simply more ways to make your lock more secure than if you were only to rekey a lock.

Changing out the lock also means that you can upgrade them in the process. If you have a Grade 2 lock currently, you could choose to upgrade that to a Grade 1. You could also completely ditch your old locks and upgrade to a smart lock that connects with your mobile devices. Whatever you want to do, it’s likely to be possible with a complete replacement.

Disadvantages of Replacing

The biggest disadvantage for replacing the lock is that it is likely to be quite expensive compared to the cost to rekey a lock. You have to pay for labor, as well as the cost for whatever lockset you use. The set itself is going to be more expensive than rekeying will be, which is a problem for those who are on a strict budget. However, this may not matter if you want a strong upgrade to home security.

Choosing the Right Option

As you can see, the choice you make will often be a personal one based on your needs. There are a number of things to consider going into this process. It can take some time and research to narrow down the options to which is best for you, but we will provide the information needed to make an educated decision.

Satisfaction with Current Locks

If you are happy with the locks you have and don’t feel a need to upgrade them, you should probably rekey the lock instead of replacing it. Paying the extra cost isn’t worth it if you aren’t planning to increase the security of your home. It’s cheaper and easier to rekey the locks instead of going through the trouble of replacement.

Lost Keys

For those who have lost a set of keys, that makes things a bit more complicated. Your doors are going to be compromised and that knocks down your security. If you want to handle this quickly, rekeying is the best option. Nobody can use the lost keys to enter the home. Of course, you can choose to take the time to change out the locks, but it’s often not needed.

Budget and Value

Your budget is going to matter on this front as well. If you can afford to have your locks changed, it’s worth considering it for the security upgrade, however that may not always be the case. If you need to have something done immediately, and don’t have the extra money, rekeying the home is going to be the best option available to you. However, if you already need and upgrade and the money is available, changing the locks can be a reasonable option too.

Moving into a Home

While your new home will likely have security features, don’t assume that these will keep you safe. You should consider whether the features are inclusive of what you personally need. You also never know who might have an extra set of keys to the home, which means that having the locks rekeyed should be done, at a minimum. Upgrading the locks is an option if you want the extra security.

In many cases, rekeying a lock is the best option in terms of time, energy, and money. However, sometimes having the locks changed out can be an excellent idea, too. By perusing this article, we look to offer you the information you need to make that decision and keep your home and family safe.


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