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Keyed Alike, Keyed Differ and Master Key suites explained.

July 15, 2013

What is ‘Keying Alike’ or what is a ‘Keyed Alike’ lock?

Keyed Alike locks are a set or ‘suite’ of locks that all have the same key code, i.e. one key fits all locks. This is convenient when two or more locks are to be used by the same group of people or person.

Example: – You work at the local leisure centre, doing fitness classes etc… there are four different storage cupboards to keep all your relevant equipment. Each cupboard is locked with a padlock. Having these four padlocks ‘keyed alike’ means you only need to carry one key around with you to open all four cupboards instead of four keys, one key fitting each different padlock.

What is ‘Keyed to Differ’ or what is a ‘Keyed to Differ’ lock?

All locks have different key combinations, i.e. a key from one lock will not fit any other lock in the same group, there is usually a limit to the total number of differs available for a particular lock group but is generally high and not normally a problem for most applications.

Example: – At your local College the students get the choice to hire out a locker for each term. Each locker is locked with a keyed to differ padlock. This means every padlock has a different key code to ensure no one else using the lockers can gain access to your locker with their own key.

What is ‘Master Keying’?

These are a number of locks where one ‘master’ key can open all the locks in a suite, each lock within a master key suite also has its own set of keys.  A basic master key system comprises of a Master Key which passes a group of locks, each with its own separate ‘differ’ key.

A larger group of locks may require dividing, into departments for example, and each department’ locks would have a separate ‘sub’ master key which would pass the locks in that department but not the locks in other departments, The Grand Master Key would of still operate all locks in all departments.

Example 1: – A block of 12 flats has a master key which passes all locks, tenants would be issued with a key that operated their individual flats but each tenant key would also pass a ‘common’ cylinder fitted to the external entrance door to the flats. Another key may be allowed to access the main entrance and a Cleaners cupboard only.

Example 2:- Your local School has six departments and ten buildings. The site manager requires one master key that passes all locks. He requires six sub master keys, each one passing locks in the relevant department. Each classroom has its own ‘differ key’ Sub Master Keys are issued to the relevant Department Head and ‘differ keys’ are issued to teachers so that they have a key to their own classroom. Separate keyed alike locks still passing the master key are fitted to Cleaners Cupboards, another keyed alike set to Store Cupboards. Main entrance doors are fitted with keyed alike locks which remain outside of the main master key suite due to the consequences of a master key being mislaid or stolen. In these circumstances, only the outer door cylinders would need to be changed.

Locktrader can offer a master key suite tailored to your requirements and budget, even introduce the system in stages. Let our experts help you plan your system. Choose from Patented Systems from the Evva range and Asec.

A Patented mechanism and key blank affords many years of protection against unauthorized key duplication.

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