Skip to Content

Should You Re-Key or Change Locks?

Whether you’re a new homeowner or have been a long-time homeowner, you may be thinking about re-keying or changing the locks to your home. But what’s actually the difference? And what are the pros and cons to each option? Continue reading to learn more about re-keying and changing locks, and the pros and cons for each of them.

To Re-Key or Replace

There is no right or wrong answer to choose, both options will accomplish the same – just in different ways. Re-keying is when the inside of the lock mechanism is altered so the old key will no longer be able to open the lock and instead a new key will be used to open the lock. On the other hand, changing the lock is exactly how it sounds. The lock will be completely replaced with a new set of keys to go with it. When you are a new homeowner, its recommended to either re-key or change the locks as soon as possible. There are some other scenarios of why you’d want to change your locks or do a re-key even if you’re an existing homeowner. Examples include losing your keys, having someone break in, or wanting to consolidate multiple keys so you’re able to use one key for all locks in your home. See below the pros and cons for re-keying and changing the locks to see which option will work best for you and your home.



Cost Effective:

As mentioned above, re-keying a lock involves changing the lock mechanism to be able to work with a new key. The existing key pins and springs will be swapped out and replaced. And if you already have an existing key that fits the lock you’re re-keying, you can even re-key the lock to work with the teeth of that key. Since key pins are fairly inexpensive compared to new locksets, you are only paying for the labor to get the job done. This makes re-keying a very cost-effective option for any homeowner.

Quick & Easy Process

The process of re-keying a lock is very easy and quick for a professional locksmith to do. It should only take an experienced professional locksmith about 10 to 20 minutes to complete the re-key process. And while the locksmith is working on your lock, they are able to check the lock’s current condition and will be able to correct any issues such as lack of lubrication. 

Included with Choice Home Warranty*

If you decide to re-key, we have great news- re-key is included on all Choice Home Warranty buyer policies for up to 4 standard cylinder door locks and deadbolts*. If you’re buying a home and don’t yet have a Choice Home Warranty included, speak to your agent or go here to find your local account representative.

Click Here to view complete limits of liability and any exclusions.


Less Options

A con to re-keying your locks is that you don’t have as many options compared to lock replacement. From a security perspective, you don’t have to worry about anyone with the old keys getting in anymore, but if you wanted to upgrade to something more secure, you’d need to replace the locks. If you’re concerned about the durability of the current locks, replacement may be your better option.  

Lock Replacement



Getting completely new locks allows you to customize your locks to your liking. You have the control to choose how the locks will look and feel; and you’re also able to control the way they function alongside other components of your home security. Other customization options include installing longer screws and inserting additional security pins.

Security Upgrades Available

Choosing to change your locks allows you the luxury of being able to update your locks and by association, your home security. The security measures you already have in place will be strengthened with a new lock. When changing your locks, you have the option to ditch traditional locks and upgrade to smart locks, or you could even upgrade the grade of your deadbolts. You’ll be able to have more customization and upgrades available when you choose to change your locks compared to re-keying.    



Unlike the re-keying process, changing your locks tends to be more costly. This is due to the fact that you’ll have to pay for the locksmith’s labor in addition to the new lockset that you want installed. The key pins that are replaced when re-keying is much cheaper than any new lockset you will want. For many homeowners, this additional cost is worth it – for the additional security upgrades and customization options. However, if you’re not looking to spend too much money to replace your lock, re-keying might be the better option for you.

Back to top