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Should You Have a Master Key for Your Home?

You have heard of it — a single key that can open your home’s front door, your gate, and even your garage. A key that opens two or more unique locks, with each lock being operated by its own separate key, is called a ‘master key.’ Primarily used for business security, master keys are also a perfect lock solution for realtors and landlords who own multiple properties.

This versatile technology is becoming a popular lock solution for many homeowners, as well. Having a master key system can effectively boost your home’s security and give you access to all of your doors, as well as cabinets and drawers, without the hassle of keeping too many keys. It is an affordable security solution that has many advantages.

Homeowners use master keys for many different purposes.  For example, a homeowner will have a different key for their front gate so that a gardener can access the property.  The gardener will only be able to get into the yard, while the homeowner with a master key can open both their front gate and the front door of their home.  Another example is a home that is used for an Airbnb rental on a part-time basis.  The homeowner can lock valuable property in a closet or a secured room that the renters cannot access with a regular key.  The homeowner, with the master key, will be able to access every lock in the house.

What is a master key system?

A master key system consists of different levels of keys that will allow you to have complete or restricted access to different doors. In a master key system, you can designate specific keys to open a certain number of doors. In a commercial master key system, there are multiple levels of master keys depending on the authority level of the keyholder. You will only need a master key for your home, which unlocks all the other locks in your system.

How does a master key system work?

Standard cylindrical locks have two sets of pins — key pins (bottom) and driver pins (top). When you insert a key into the lock, the ridges on the key touch the key pins, so they slightly raise. The driver pins (located above the key pins) also raise when the key ridges push the key pins. With the right key, these two sets of pins will align the shear line in the middle, and the lock will open when you twist the key.

A master key makes use of a third pin called a master pin or master wafer. They are placed between the key pins and the driver pins to create a second shear line. With two shear lines, a lock can be opened by two different keys with different ridges.

What are the benefits of a home master key system?


Keeping track of multiple keys is bothersome, to say the least, not to mention that many homeowners tend to forget where they placed their keys when they need them. In an emergency, you also would want to lose precious time fumbling through a bunch of keys. A master key allows you to minimize the number of keys you need for home doors. This will eliminate the stress of finding which key is for which lock and help you access your home’s doors as quickly as possible.


Master keys and locks are some of the sturdiest and most reliable door lock systems in the market. Their custom-made design and high-quality construction make high-security master locks difficult to pick or manipulate. Master locks, on the other hand, are designed with restricted keyway technology that makes copying of your unique master key nearly impossible. Duplicating the original key is easy with standard home security locks.

Serialized Tracking

The individual keys in a master key system have unique serial numbers, making them trackable. This means you can identify which family member has a copy of which key and track every key in case any has been misplaced or lost.

Are you looking for a residential locksmith to switch your house locks into a master key system? What you need is a master key locksmith who has expertise in setting up master key systems. At MacArthur Locks & Doors, we offer affordable locksmith Washington DC services, and you can trust us for your master key system needs. Call us today for more information on our locksmith service.

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