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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

How Much Does It Cost To Rekey A Lock?

by Ralph July 24, 2017
Locksmith Servicing Lock Cylinder

How much does it cost to rekey locks? That is a good question, but not one that can be answered so easily. Some locksmiths might be tempted to simply throw a price out there when they are asked how much does it cost to rekey a lock. However, we are not most locksmiths. The truth is, there are several key factors that come into play when you are trying to determine the cost to rekey locks. See what I did there? Key factors? After all, the specifications that each homeowner might require for their lock rekeying process will vary. Essentially, the process might be more complicated for some and less complicated for others.

Also, many people have a habit of thinking of cost only in terms of monetary value, which is a rather limited perspective. Cost should be viewed in terms of monetary value, time and security. I will make sure to explain the reasons why I say these elements should be viewed in terms of cost when you are trying to determine the cost to rekey locks.

For those of you who are unaware of what rekeying a lock is, the term itself might be able to give you some insight. Essentially you are going to change your lock in a manner that allows the lock to work with new sets of keys. This is usually done by targeting the internal components of a lock and changing the way the pins interact with specific keys. The locksmith uses several tools during this process to rekey locks, many of which we will discuss later. However, the crux of the process is that the key pins inside the lock mechanism are realigned so that they correspond to the grooves on a new key or set of keys.

The lock rekey process is usually carried out in lieu of undertaking a full-on lock replacement or lock repair. In most cases, lock rekeying is a good alternative to lock replacement because it can potentially be a much cheaper option. However, this option will not be suited for you if you were trying to change your lock and install new locks with higher security. There are many new homeowners who take advantage of lock rekeying rather than lock replacement, especially when they are satisfied with the overall security that their locks might provide.

This is not to say that lock rekeying should be your go to option since you should always tailor the solution you choose to the nature of your situation and the security that you want to achieve. Essentially, if you need to change the locks on your doors for several different reasons, you shouldn’t neglect your security needs simply because you want to save a few dollars. Doing so will end up costing you much more in the long run.

Factors That Influence Cost To Rekey Locks

Mortise Lock In Parts

As I mentioned earlier on, the cost to rekey locks is not necessarily set in stone, and as such you have to explore the factors that are responsible for determining the cost to rekey locks. Let’s take a quick look at the factors that influence the cost to rekey locks:

1. Complexity of The Lock

The complexity of the lock itself is a major determinant of the cost to rekey locks. This is usually because the nature of the lock helps determine how much time is spent rekeying it, as well as whether or not there is a need for extra parts or labor. Due to the fact that all locks are different, the cost to rekey locks for a standard pin tumbler lock might be much different than the necessary cost to rekey a high-security mortise lock.

The complexity of the lock also extends to the process that is required to remove the current lock that is in place. In order to carry out the lock rekeying process, the lock has to initially be removed from the door that it is in. The exact rekeying process varies from lock to lock, so for some, it will be relatively easy while for other it can end up being quite complicated. For instance, the process of removing a deadbolt lock from a door simply involves properly the lock mechanism and setting it aside, but this does not apply to all locks. In addition to this, the internal mechanisms for locks differ as well.

It goes without saying that if the lock is a more complex mechanism that it requires much more skill and attention than a standard lock. However, it should help to say that in the eyes of a locksmith, not many locks are considered complex. If the lock has been retrofitted to include security pins and wafers, it might be considered to be complex by the average person. In some cases, DIY methods can save you time and money, but this is not always the way things turn out.

2. Number of Locks To Be Rekeyed

The number of locks that have to be rekeyed also plays a huge role in the cost to rekey locks. Essentially, the total cost to rekey locks will be reflective of the number of locks that need to be rekeyed. In most cases, it would be as clear as saying that 4 rekeyed locks will be the equivalent of 4 times the cost to rekey 1 lock. However, most people that tend to have multiple locks rekeyed do not always want to have all these locks work with just one key.

For some homeowners and even commercial property managers, rekeying can be done to establish a master key system. In order to accomplish this, several locks are usually rekeyed at any given time. Master key systems work in different ways, but they most commonly allow one key to open multiple locks or an entire system of locks. This all depends on the type of master key system that is implemented and the type of master keys you choose to use.

3. Lock Variation

The varying nature of the locks also has to be taken into account. This is a much different factor than the complexity of the locks themselves. Many homeowners use doors and door locks to set up the groundwork of their physical security. This means that there is a high chance that each of the locks in their house are different so that they can serve different purposes. For instance, if you have deadbolt locks installed on your front door and other doors that lead into your home, you probably will not have them installed on bedroom doors or bathroom doors. However, if these locks do have keys and you want to rekey them, the process will be different for each lock, which is when variation comes into play.

4. Rekeying Process

The rekeying process is directly reflected in the cost to rekey locks. Unlike the other factors mentioned above, the rekeying process applies itself to much more than just monetary cost. This is not to say that the other measures that were discussed do not take time or any other factors into account, but they are mostly driven by a monetary perspective. The reason behind this is the fact that you can always make the decision to approach the lock rekeying process from a DIY standpoint. This means that in addition to having to obtain the necessary parts for carrying out the rekeying process, you will have to also put in time and energy into carrying out the process yourself. Now, I personally would not recommend that you undertake rekeying your locks unless you are extremely comfortable with your skills as an amateur locksmith.

The reason I say this is because even though the rekeying process can be a breeze for seasoned locksmiths, it is still relatively complex. If you happen to make one wrong decision, you will most likely have to start the entire process again. However, spotting a mistake should be considered beneficial in this instance, because if you continue forward without rectifying your error you will be using a lock that is potentially vulnerable. Vulnerabilities in mechanisms like locks have much farther reaching implications than one might initially think.

The Cost To Rekey A Lock

As I mentioned before, in order to determine the cost of rekeying a lock, you have to take a look at the factors that are responsible for determining the cost to rekey locks. In going through the costs below, you should keep in mind that even though most lock rekeying processes will start at a set price, there is always the possibility that the price will vary based on other factors. Also, before you decide to handle this on your own or call a locksmith, you should take the time to figure out if a lock rekey is really the service that you need. Let’s get started:

  • The base cost for rekeying locks starts at $19 if it is being handled by a locksmith, and the price can increase from there. This is usually the starting point for the most basic locks. As I mentioned, the most basic locks will take very little time to rekey, especially if you are only rekeying one and if you are not setting up a master key system.
  • The base cost for rekeying multiple locks starts at $19 as well when it is being handled by a professional locksmith. If each of the locks being rekeyed is the same, the price will incrementally increase in proportion to the number of locks being rekeyed. For example, if homeowners want three of the same locks rekeyed, the price will begin at approximately $57.
  • If you are rekeying the lock on your own, you will have to factor in the cost of the necessary materials, as well as the time to carry out the process. Depending on the type of locks that you have in place, homeowners can buy a rekeying kit from their local hardware store. The price for these rekeying kits can start as low as $8, and go as high (sometimes higher than) $300. The disparity in price for these is dependent on the type of locks that you have and the type of rekeying kit that you want. There is also the possibility that you will have to buy a key decoder, which may or may not come with your rekeying kit. The typical cost of a key decoder ranges between $1 to $20. In the event that you do decide to go the DIY route, you should also consider the timely cost that you will have to put into learning how to rekey your locks.


The lock rekeying process can be a breeze for locksmiths and homeowners if is handled in the right way. Aside from the fact that it is an expedient process, it ends up being much cheaper than lock replacement or lock repair, as well as some other options that can be used to change and fortify your locks. Always remember that you should factor in the other elements of cost, not just monetary value when you want to take stock of the cost to rekey locks. These additional costs include time and security, and they are all very important to the average homeowner. If you found your way to this page, looking for an answer to “how much does it cost to rekey a house”, then I hope that the explanations above give you a clear answer or at least a starting point.

Category: Buying Guides, Commercial, Residential, Safety & Security

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