The Mysteries of Key Cutting! What You Really Need to Know

key cutting

Key duplication is something that people generally get done as quickly and easily as possible and at the best price.

Actually it is advisable to be quite careful and selective when getting a spare key cut. I will explain why getting a spare key it is not a cut a dry subject. There are number of problems that can arise and a number of factors to consider when it comes to where to get a key copied.

Problems to be Aware of When Getting a Duplicate Key

  • The quality of the key can become an issue.
  • Security can be compromised if keys aren’t cut by the right person

My Top Tip For Getting a Duplicate House Key

Always keep the original key and have duplicates cut from the original. A duplicate key will never be as good as the original. This will ensure that the highest quality of duplicate key is possible and as a result increase the longevity of your lock.

Trust me this will save you money on locksmith bills!

Factors to Consider When Getting Keys Cut

Where Is It Best To Get a Key Copied?

Experience is key! Did you know that the experience of the individual cutting your key has a bearing on the quality of the key copy? There is an element of skill when it comes to cutting keys.

When considering where can I get keys duplicated choose based on experience and trust over convenience. A little extra time and consideration will save you money in the long run.

The issue that can arise from poorly cut keys is that the quality can deteriorate with each new key cut and the reliability of the key can become substandard.

This can be avoided to an extent by using my Top Tip above; always cut a duplicate key from the original.

Fascinating fact: The better the person is at cutting keys the more superior the duplicate key and the more keys can be made from the duplicates.

The potential problem with a series of badly cut keys is that eventually you may find you have problems opening the lock and may then require the services of a locksmith. This scenario could easily be avoided by choosing the right person to cut your keys.

Trust is an issue! Another issue is that you really need to know that you can trust the individual who is cutting your key. Unfortunately the locksmith industry is unregulated by the government and there is no requirement for locksmiths to even be CRB checked. This means that there is potential for an ex convict to decide to set up shop as a duplicate key maker! Read here to find out how to choose a locksmith and avoid the all too common Rogue Locksmith.

So you may ask where CAN I get a key duplicated?! Who is the best person to choose to cut a duplicate house key? Can I rely on my local high street heel bar?

The answer is that it is always advisable to choose someone who is a specialist at key cutting, a qualified locksmith. Choosing a Master Locksmith Association Locksmith guarantees quality and trust. All MLA locksmiths are qualified, CRB checked and vetted. You can search for your local MLA locksmith by postcode here.

Types Of Keys

Where you can get a key duplicated will depend on the type of key it is. There are regular keys and High Security keys.

Duplicates for regular keys can be cut almost anywhere.

Regular key types;

Mortice Lock (known as a Chubb)

Cylinder Lock (known as a Yale)

High Security Keys can only be cut with a specialist supplier. To get a duplicate house key for a high security key you will need to have the code number from the card that was supplied with the key when purchased. Some high security keys can be cut without another key and some require the use of another key to cut a duplicate.

Some High Security Key types;







At IKS Locksmiths we are specialist suppliers for Brisant and Mul-t-lock high security keys and can cut these keys to code. There are great security advantages to having high security keys that can’t be cut just anywhere and by anyone. Have you considered how many people could potentially hold copies of keys to your home? Read here to find out about the importance of protecting your keys.

Lost Keys

If you need a lost key replacement for a regular key and there is another copy of the key this can be cut by your local trusted locksmith no problem.

If however you don’t have another key you will need to have the locks changed by a locksmith. Read here for our guide on How to Choose a Locksmith.

High security keys differ in this respect. As mentioned above there are some high security keys that can be cut to code without another key, however the key code number is required.

How Many Copies of a Key

When I fit a lock I always advise my customers to allow for the following;

  • One for each key holder
  • One for visitors
  • One for a trusted neighbour (to avoid the need to call a locksmith!)
  • Retain and clearly mark the original, only to be used for cutting duplicates.

Therefore if there were 2 key holders there would be 5 keys in total (including the original).

At IKS Locksmiths we are MLA approved mobile locksmiths as opposed to a key cutting shop. We mainly provide duplicate keys on the job with locks that we fit. We do however cut duplicate keys to code for high security locks such as Brisant and Mul-t-lock (sometimes known as Multilock). There are online key cutting services offering very competitive prices on cutting high security keys and we offer equally competitive prices.

Should you require duplicate keys for High Security Locks do get in touch. If you have any further questions on the subject of key cutting we would be happy to help.

Image by Jay Gooby via Flicker.



6 Replies to “The Mysteries of Key Cutting! What You Really Need to Know”

  1. Hi I have had 4 sets of keys cut for my front door in the last week, each set don’t fit, they can open from the outside but not from the inside and some won’t even go in, can you please advise

    1. Thank you for your comment. It is important to cut from the original key if possible and to use a qualified locksmith as opposed to a key cutting shop. The standards really do vary. I do hope you have success with getting some high quality keys cut by an experienced locksmith. Check https://www.locksmiths.co.uk/ for your nearest MLA approved locksmith.

    1. It would be the key(s) provided when the lock was originally installed or changed. It’s a good idea to label these keys as originals.

    1. Thanks for you question. A poorly cut key can damage a lock over a long period of time, however any key can damage a lock over a long period of time, not just a poorly cut key.

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