Can You Master Key My Locks?

Master Key

In most instances, yes we can Master Key your locks but we should explain something here. There appears to be a lot of confusion about what a master keyed lock is. Some people are of the opinion that a Master Key will operate every lock that they have. This is true but not completely correct. If you want all of your locks to operate with a single key then this is what is known in locksmith terms as keying the locks alike. Another words, the exact same bottom pins are placed into each lock cylinder. This allows the exact same key to operate all of the locks. There is no Master Key and Master Pins are not required nor are they used in order to key your locks alike.

With a master keyed lock there is the addition, usually to each chamber, of a master pin. A lock that is keyed alike only has the bottom pins changed in order to allow the same key to operate multiple locks. In a keyed alike lock, there is no addition of Master Pins.

It is never a good idea to add master pins to external locks because they can easily be picked open. If a master keyed lock has a master pin in each chamber of a 5 chamber lock then it is possible for a professional locksmith to cut 32 different keys that will operate the lock. This may sound like a high number of keys that are able to open the lock. If you consider that a 5 pin lock is able to have 53,565 different key combinations then it is next to impossible to have a second key that will operate the lock except for the master key that it was designed to work with.

In reality, only someone who understands the principals of Master Keying, like a locksmith could tell you what the 32 different keys are that can work the lock. There is really nothing to worry about concerning Master Keyed locks that are contained inside of a building except for the fact that they can be easily picked open.

Someone with even a limited amount of knowledge can quickly and easily learn to pick a lock that has Master Pins in it. The more chambers that contain a Master Pin, the easier it is to pick open the lock.

Usually interior doors are Master Keyed where access is required to every suite. In a situation where every door is Master Keyed like an office building, apartment building or condominium a single key can quickly gain access to all suites in the event of a fire, flood or any other emergency.

We do not reccommend having any exterior door locks Master Keyed because of how easily they can be circumvented.

Security Article Written by: Toronto Locksmith


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