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

Ellie Brooks

Written By Clint Bird

Published 01/16/23
Rekey Locks or Change Locks: Which One Should You Choose

When it comes to the security of your home, there are two main options for securing your locks: rekeying and changing. Simply put, lock rekeying involves resetting the pins in the lock to a different combination. Changing a lock entails replacing the existing lock with a new one. Deciding between these two options might be difficult and can depend on a variety of factors. In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of each option and give advice on how to go about both rekeying and changing a lock.

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Rekeying Vs. Changing Locks: What the Difference?

Some people use the terms rekeying and changing interchangeably when it comes to home locks, but there is a crucial difference. Rekeying a lock involves changing the pins and springs inside the lock to work with a different key. The lock assembly itself remains inside the door. Homeowners most often rekey a door lock when the same lock needs to be used with a new key, or when the original key is lost or stolen. Changing a lock, on the other hand, involves replacing the entire locking mechanism with a new one. A locksmith swaps out the full lock assembly in the door for a new one. This is often done when the lock is worn out or no longer works correctly. Homeowners might also change locks if they want a totally different style of lock.

Pros and Cons of Rekeying Locks

Pro: Rekeying is affordable. 

One of the major benefits of rekeying a lock is that it is much cheaper than replacing the entire lock. The cost of rekeying a basic lock ranges from $20-$60. More complex locks might cost a bit more to rekey, but it’s still a reasonably small price to pay for home security and peace of mind.

Pro: Rekeying is quick and easy. 

Rekeying a lock is also much faster and easier than replacing the entire lock. Depending on the type of lock and the skill of the locksmith, rekeying a lock can take as little as 10 minutes.

Con: Rekeying will not fix a faulty lock mechanism.

Rekeying is, in a way, a temporary solution. If the lock assembly itself is starting to show signs of wear and tear, rekeying won’t solve anything. If your home lock is sticky or fails to reliably secure a door, a total swap is necessary.

Pros and Cons of Changing Locks

Pro: Changing locks can upgrade your home security.

If your existing locks are faulty or of poor quality, changing your locks can make your home more secure. You have the options of traditional deadbolts, keypad locks, smart locks, and even biometric locks.

Con: Changing locks on new house doors can be expensive.

Depending on the type of lock assembly, replacing the lock entirely can be expensive. You’re not just paying for the locksmith’s time; you’re also paying for the new lock, which can be pricey if it’s more technologically advanced.

When to Rekey and When to Change a Lock

In most scenarios, it makes more sense to rekey a lock instead of changing it outright. Rekeying is usually cheaper, and it still provides you with a renewed sense of security. If you move into a new home or if your key is lost or stolen, rekeying your lock will almost always suffice.

If your lock mechanism is beginning to deteriorate, however, consider changing the lock. You can swap it with a like model and even maintain the same set of keys. Or you can take advantage of the situation and upgrade your locks for additional security.

How to Rekey a Lock

Rekeying a lock is a reasonably simple process. You’ll need a lock rekeying kit, screwdriver, pliers, and a flashlight. First remove the lock from its mounting plate by unscrewing the screws that hold it in place. Once the lock is removed from the mounting plate, remove the lock cylinder using your screwdriver. Next, insert the rekeying pins into the lock cylinder, making sure to follow the instructions provided in the rekeying kit. After the pins are inserted, use the pliers to compress the pins into the cylinder. Finally, reassemble the lock and replace the mounting plate. Once the lock is reassembled and back in place, you should be able to use the new key to operate the lock.

How to Change a Lock

To swap out a standard door lock, you’ll need a screwdriver, a new lock, and a drill with a bit sized to match the new lock’s screws. Start by unscrewing the screws on the old lock using the screwdriver and removing it from the door. Then, using the drill and bit, make any necessary holes in the door’s edge. Place the new lock in the door, aligning it with the holes. Secure it in place by screwing it in with the screwdriver. Finally, test the lock to make sure it functions properly.

More advanced locks will require additional steps. If you’ve purchased a keypad lock, smart lock, or biometric lock, defer to the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Saving Money on Your Home Security

Many people think home warranty coverage is limited to appliance and home systems protection. This is a misapprehension. A home warranty from Liberty Home Guard can also provide a suite of home services. For example, we offer homeowners the option of adding rekeying services to their home warranty plans. If you’re moving into a new home or simply misplaced your keys, we can give you peace of mind by having an expert locksmith rekey your lock in no time. Submit a claim on our website and we’ll take it from there.

Other optional home services include gutter cleaning, pest control, carpet cleaning, septic tank pumping, and more. Explore our website to craft the right plan for you and your home. If you’d prefer to discuss your options with the Liberty Home Guard team, call (866)-432-1283.



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