Let’s say you’ve recently moved to a new home. On top of the list of improvements you want to make to your new home, you may also have some security concerns, but you are also on a budget. The first obvious step for many homeowners would be replacing old locks with new ones. There’s an even better option that is less expensive yet almost equally as effective as a total lock replacement – rekeying locks.
For most people, moving into a new home entails changing all their locks. New homeowners can’t be quite sure who else has a key to the old lock and usually settle for a complete lock replacement. And since you’re already replacing your locks – which should be a long-term solution to the problem – you want the best lock money can buy. While a logical solution, replacing your locks can be a bit pricey. If you’re not a DIY person, apart from buying a new lock, you need to factor in the cost of installation. If your budget is tight, rekeying is the alternative you want to consider.
A lock change is when a locksmith replaces an old lock with a new one. So, you get a new lock(s) and a new key that goes with it. When rekeying a lock, the locksmith makes changes to the lock’s hardware (tumblers and/or key pins) to make it compatible with a new key. The rekeying process involves dismantling the existing lock and replacing its tumbler and pins so as to match a new key. With rekeying, you hold onto your current lock, but the locksmith has tweaked its mechanism and adjusted it for a new key.
In terms of security, replacing your lock may seem the better alternative. However, the difference in safety can be insignificant, depending on the type of new lock. More high-end locks would undoubtedly be more complex to crack, but the result is pretty much the same. You get a new key whether you replace or rekey your lock. Sure, popular door lock brands like Schlage, Kwikset, and Yale produce smart door locks that considerably enhance security. Yet these locks come at a price significantly higher than the cost of the simple process of rekeying your lock.
The benefits of new locks are that they would have a longer lifespan and bring additional security upgrades. But the one downside of new locks is their cost. Rekeying is a much more cost-efficient option to ramp up security. For example, the cost of Yale smart locks ranges from $180 to $310 just for the lock. The average cost of hiring a locksmith can range between $75 and $200.
Therefore, replacing a lock would definitely be costlier than rekeying it. Depending on the brand and features of the lock, including labor (installation), replacing a lock can cost you between $120 and $500. On the low end, rekeying your locks can cost you between $35 and $55. However, depending on the complexity of the lock and the time it takes the locksmith to rekey it, rekeying can cost you from $70 to $160.
Many scenarios would necessitate replacing your lock rather than rekeying it. When you don’t want to leave anything to chance and have money to spare, upgrading to a higher-end lock would be the smart move. You should also change your lock when the old one starts to deteriorate and when the option of rekeying would be futile.
Unless you are bent on installing a high-security smart lock or your old lock is damaged, replacing your existing lock with a same-grade lock, but new, would be pointless. In this case, rekeying is the better choice as it maintains security yet costs significantly less. You can rekey if you’ve damaged or lost your keys or if you want all locks to have the same matching key. Moreover, rekeying should be a priority if you’ve just moved into a new place.
You can perform the rekeying process yourself, provided you possess the technical know-how and right tool kit. If you are uncertain about how to properly rekey your lock, it’s best to call a professional locksmith lest you cause irreparable damage and be forced into a lock replacement.