This article provides an overview of copying keys. It discusses where to copy keys, the anticipated costs and how different keys can be copied.
Locks and keys are a huge part of life. From keeping you safe in your home to giving you access to your car, it's hard to go anywhere or do anything without access to a full set of keys.
In a perfect world, your keys are in your pocket, in your purse or close by at all times — but things happen. Sometimes, keys get lost, stolen or broken, and that means copies are needed. This is everything you need to know about copying keys, from expected costs to where to go to what keys a locksmith can copy.
Key copies are usually quite easy to obtain. Most hardware stores, including both independent locations and big chain names like Home Depot, can provide key copies, as can locksmiths, particularly for standard keys. More complicated security styles or restricted keys may require specialist locksmiths, but in general, key copies are quite accessible. These can include basic house keys as well as car keys.
In some apartment or condo complexes, duplicates of home keys can be obtained by the management company; for car keys, duplicates can usually be purchased through a dealership. However, this can be more expensive than making a duplicate through other methods, should that be an option.
Copies of standard keys are very affordable, often costing a few dollars for a basic duplication. High-security keys, like Medeco keys, may be closer to $20 and can require authorization for the installer to allow a duplicate.
Car keys can come in a range of prices. A key thatcan be used to manually unlock a car door can be as low as $10, while a smart key for a newer model car could be over $300.
In most areas, there are no laws surrounding keys that have "Do not duplicate" or "Do not copy" printed on them. This is more of a request than a demand, and duplicating such an unrestricted key carries no consequences. Some corporate stores may not permit copies due to policy, but many independent hardware stores or locksmiths will make duplicates — perhaps for a higher price.
The exception here is for high-security keys that aren't compatible with standard key blanks or are otherwise restricted. Locksmiths may need permission from the company that installed the lock to create duplicates, or duplicates may need to be ordered directly from the source due to the use of a code machine or other security device.
Yes, it's possible to copy a key from a photo, but generally only a basic key from a known brand. Legitimate hardware stores and locksmiths may be unlikely to do this, however, as it can be a security hazard or facilitate criminal entry into cars or homes. More complex key styles may require a physical key to create a duplicate.
Yes, it's possible to obtain a copy of a key fob, but it can require the use of a specialist service rather than going to a standard hardware store. This is because a key fob relies on more advanced technology rather than a simple piece of metal that can be cut as needed. Standard RFID fobs can be duplicated via kiosks or shops set up for this purpose and typically require the original fob to be present. This is usually affordable and fast, often costing $25 or less.
More advanced types of fobs, like those that use technology beyond RFID, can usually be copied in this way but can take longer and cost more.
Yes, car keys, like most other keys, can be copied. Basic car keys can be duplicated by a standard locksmith, but more advanced keys, like smart keys, are often limited to specialty services or going through a dealership. Car key copies can be as cheap as house keys for the most basic models, but newer models with high-security standards in place or that use computer technology can cost hundreds of dollars.