(571) 888-3230

Key Duplication: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

Most people will create a copy of their residential house key at some point in their lives. We recommend doing this sooner rather than later – so you’re always prepared. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when creating a duplicate of your house key


How Spare Keys Are Made

First, let’s dive into how key duplications are made. The original key is placed in a tool with a blank key directly on top. The key guide, or alignment bar, ensures they are properly lined up. Then, the key duplicator cuts through the blank key using the original key like a template. Once the tool has created a copy, a lock technician will sand the duplicate to make sure it precisely matches the original. Most keys are made from brass or a nickel-brass mixture. Your lock tech will choose the right kind of blank key to match the existing one. It’s important to always use the original key for duplications. In addition to unique etchings, each key has different depth cuts. By using the original key, duplicates will be more accurate.

You may wonder why you should have professional lock tech duplicate your key instead of using a self-service kiosk. The answer is simple— there’s no way to tell whether those machines are regularly calibrated and maintained. Over time, kiosk machines will likely decline in performance, which means your duplicate key may not actually be a duplicate. Also, these kiosks cannot choose the perfect blank, like a lock tech can. We recommend always using a professional service when getting your key copied.

Why Duplicate a Key?

It’s always better to have a spare key than to be locked out. It helps save a lot of time in emergencies, and may bring you a sense of comfort. There’s a lot of reasons you may want a spare, including:

  • Losing the original— If you lose your original key, the spare can act as a backup until you get it replaced.
  • Getting locked out— This makes getting in your home much quicker and less stressful.
  • Multiple residents in a home who need access— You may need to give a key to each member of the family, including children.
  • Giving a neighbor or family member access— Giving a trusted person access to your home helps in emergencies and when you’re out of town.

Staying Safe With Duplicates

When giving a spare key to a child or young adult, always make sure it’s on a key ring, and teach them how to keep it safe. They shouldn’t carry the key while they’re walking, as this increases the risk of losing the key. This also makes the key visible to others, which could put your child and your home in danger. Children should keep their spare keys in their backpacks until they get home.

You may be duplicating a key so you can give a copy to a neighbor or family member. Always be sure you trust the people you give spare keys to. This can be helpful for several reasons. Specifically, someone with a spare key to your home can check the mail and take out your trash while you’re on vacation. This will also make your home appear occupied, reducing the risk of burglaries.

You may decide you want a copy of your key to store around the perimeter of your home in case of emergencies. In this case, always make sure the key is well-concealed in a creative hiding spot. The worst spot to hide your spare key is under a doormat, or in a flower pot near the door. These are obvious locations for burglars to find them. Instead, try hiding the key:

  • In a magnetic key holder located under your car
  • In a fake hollow rock that blends in with its surroundings
  • In the grill or doghouse in the backyard
  • In a birdhouse
  • Underneath the foam liner in a shoe

Regardless of why you want to duplicate your house key, there’s a smart way to do it. Always go to a locksmith over a kiosk to make sure you have a quality duplicate. Only share your key with trusted individuals and never hide it in plain sight. By having a spare key on hand, you’re saving money and avoiding stress. Pop-A-Lock is here for all your locksmithing needs. Whether it’s duplicating a house key, replacing a car key, or installing brand new locks on your home, we’ve got you covered. Stay safe with Pop-A-Lock!

Types of Residential Locks: Which Kind Is Best for Your Home

We use residential locks everyday – when we leave the house, come home, and when we’re inside to help keep ourselves and our family safe. Most people, however, may not even be familiar with what these locks are called and how they operate. Find the best fit for your home by reading more about each type of lock below.


The doorknob is the most common type of lock and is usually found on the front entrance to a home. These locks are composed of either a single cylinder or double cylinder. The cylinder is the part of the lock where the key goes in. A single-cylinder means that the door can only be unlocked from the outside. On the inside, you’ll find a knob which you can twist to lock the door. Double cylinder door knobs can be locked with a key from either side, and are more common in residential spaces, where locking from the inside is only permitted by those with a key.

To increase security, these kinds of doors can be paired with a deadbolt or a spring bolt. A doorknob with a deadbolt is a great option for most homeowners. Deadbolts typically help to provide the highest level of protection from the outside world, and the doorknob is a classic lock to pair with it.


Handsets are another common lock for a front door entrance; they are, however, a bit more stylish than the typical doorknob. Similar to the doorknob, these locks can also be equipped with either a single or double cylinder. In residential homes, handsets are usually equipped with a single-cylinder and can be locked from the inside by twisting a knob.

Unlike a doorknob, these locks are typically paired with a deadbolt, rather than a spring bolt, for additional security. Spring bolts work by compressing when the key is in the cylinder to unlock the door. Once the door is closed, the spring automatically jumps back. A deadbolt is manually locked when you are inside your home, to add additional securement from break-ins and even severe weather. Deadbolts are much more secure than a spring bolt, which is why most residential and commercial spaces opt for this kind of lock.

A handset is a great option for homeowners who want a more stylish option than the classic doorknob. They’re just as secure, but have a bit more curb appeal.

Hand Levers

Hand levers are another form of common residential lock, but don’t provide as much security as the doorknob or handset. For this reason, you’ll usually find them inside the home for doors to bedrooms, closets, or bathrooms. Hand levels are almost always single-cylinder locks. This is because they’re used inside the home, where locking is necessary for privacy rather than for security. The handle feature makes these doors easy to open when lugging in groceries, shopping bags, or other goods around the home.

Hand levers are a great alternative to classic door knobs inside the house. They are easier to open than a door knob, especially when your hands are full. They are also more stylish than the typical door handle.

Electronic Locks

Electronic locks are the middle option between traditional and smart locks. They usually have an electronic keypad that prompts the owner to type a passcode to unlock the door. They also have a keyhole as a backup if the electronic portion runs out of battery, or if you can’t remember your passcode. Fortunately, most electronic locks will remain charged for about 3-5 years, as unlocking takes up very minimal battery. Some are even solar-powered!

Electronic locks are great for any homeowner, particularly those who don’t want to carry around keys. They’re also perfect for larger families, so kids can get in and out of the house without worrying about losing a house key. After all, a lost key can mean an unwanted security risk!

Smart Locks

Smart locks allow you to use your phone to unlock your home. Some operate with Wi-Fi, others a Bluetooth connection. If your lock operates on Wi-Fi, you can adjust your locks wherever you are, as long as your phone has a wireless connection. This feature is perfect for anyone who drives to work and wonders, “Did I lock the front door this morning?”

Smart locks are ideal for any homeowner, since they require a personal phone to get into the house. If you’re forgetful about locking your door, you’ll love having a smart lock and the opportunity to check, double-check, or even triple-check your locks from any location.

Now that you know a little more about residential locks, it’s time for an upgrade! By understanding how each lock works and the benefit of each, you’ll feel more confident about your choice. Whenever you’re ready to change the locks on your home, Pop-A-Lock is on standby. Learn more about our residential locking services on our website. After all, your safety is our number one priority!