It is a myth that with key making machines popping up in more and more locations, particularly department stores, that the locksmith profession is dwindling. Not only is this inaccurate, but it also couldn’t be further from the truth. Locksmiths are needed now more than ever because criminals have caught up with the technology of various locks and how to penetrate them. They even started using Walmart Key Maker to copy the victim’s keys. Illegal activity aside, locksmiths are just naturally more reliable and have far more in their arsenal to handle all the types of keys that a simple store key machine cannot re/produce. There is a myriad of keys that locksmiths can deliver efficiently, and it is wise to look at some of the common ones they provide to the public.

Key Types To Keep In Mind

Before tackling keys professionals regularly come across, let’s look at some of the traditional key types implemented. Four-sided and double-sided keys are often associated with home locks. With two to four sets of teeth in them, they are durable and harder to pick. Tubular keys are for units like vending machines and some bicycles. Paracentric keys have tiny teeth on end of the key and are found in detention centers and areas where people want to heavily deter lock picking. And finally skeleton keys, which is something we have all heard, open any lock of a certain type, regardless of its makeup. Though an older type, the idea of this type of key is still used today in a more modern application.

What Are The Types Of Keys Locksmiths Make And Duplicate? 

Deadbolt keys and locks

Key Type: Deadbolt Keys and Locks

Deadbolt Keys

For home security purposes, locksmiths are constantly asked to make copies (and sometimes even original) deadbolt keys to keep unwanted guests out. For the three types of deadbolts: single cylinder, lockable thumbturn, and double cylinder, professionals are able to typically procure a cut with ease.

Most Practical Application Of This Key:

Deadbolt keys should be requested if you do not currently operate a home security system, or you simply want your door to have added reinforcement. Deadbolts are not the be all end all in this field, but a key for them is smart if it is all you have between yourself and a stranger.

Padlock Keys

Type of Key: Padlock Keys

Padlock Keys

Key-based padlocks are an area locksmiths are experienced in, however, it should be noted that some padlocks are designed where they can never have their key copied. If you are unsure of whether or not your padlock key can be copied, ask your professional which type of lock you are using.

Most Practical Application Of This Key:

You should have a locksmith produce a key for a padlock if you are needing something smaller to be contained, like a bike or locker. 

Key for Knoblocks

Type of Keys for Knoblock

Knoblock Keys

This key type is commonly requested as an alternative to deadbolt keys. The cuts for these types of keys are usually a bit more basic because these locks are slowly becoming a thing of the past. For a long time this was more or less where your simple house key would go, but even though they are a bit of a dinosaur in this field, copying them is still necessary. Knoblock keys and most padlock keys can be made in a short period of time.

Most Practical Application Of This Key:

These types of locks are one of the ‘easier’ to pick, and keys should only be copied for knoblock doors if they are your last line of defense or you just simply do not have the budget to swap it out for another type of lock.

Car Keys

Getting keys duplicated for your car is an obvious problem that needs rectifying on a daily basis across the world. Car keys are a bit more complicated, particularly because they grant access to a highly expensive item. Because of this, keys for vehicles has its own subset of ways to make them. Make, model and year affect the types of keys a professional can create for you.

Mechanically Cut Car Keys

Every car key has a unique series of ridges and grooves that successfully operate an automobile. A mechanically made car key is one that has cuts on one side. The importance of this is that it can only turn in the ignition one way. If flipped upside down, the key will no longer function accurately.

Most Practical Application Of This Key:

Car keys mechanically cut are ideal to ask a locksmith to replicate if you do not need all the bells and whistles of a laser cut or transponder. These options are common and while not full-proof, very reliable. These are used with regularity on older vehicles.

Laser Cut Car Keys

Conversely, laser cut car keys can ‘face up’ either way in the ignition. These types of keys are popular because they are infinitely harder for criminals to replicate because the grooves are on both sides of the metal. This essentially causes more ‘chances’ for the copy made to be inaccurate, keeping them out of your vehicle.

Most Practical Application Of This Key:

Laser cut keys are for the more tech-savvy crowd that wants an added level of protection. Whether or not they are ‘better’ than mechanically cut keys is up to the owner, but laser keys are precise and a nice countermeasure to people you don’t want controlling your vehicle. Laser cut keys are a common request by consumers.

Transponder Keys

Locksmiths can program a transponder key for your vehicle without an existing key that is working by finding the code that is necessary for your transceiver. This code can then be matched and copied onto a blank key to fire up your method of transportation.

Most Practical Application Of This Key:

If you are completely lost as to how to access your vehicle, particularly if it was manufactured after the year 1995, transponder keys may be your reprieve. These are critical in regaining your automobile if you have misplaced your original.

Furniture Keys

Keys for push button style and bolt style locks can be made by locksmiths in your area if you are needing to get into your filing cabinet or desk. These types of keys are very similar to ones made for sliding glass doors.

Most Practical Application Of This Key:

Furniture keys are a swift fix for locksmiths and perfect if you have an old bureau or something that needs an updated key created for it.

Mailbox Keys

Keys for mailboxes, especially in busy apartment complexes, are lost all the time. These keys are very quick to replicate, however very few store machines have a cut for this type of application.

Most Practical Application Of This Key:

Getting duplicates for your mailbox is logical when living with your significant other or various roommates.

Lost mailbox key? Call your nearest Key Smith to get it duplicated.

Valet Keys

Most people wonder how a valet key is different than a standard car key, but it is wise to think of this type of option as a ‘bare bones’ type duplicate. Locksmiths make valet keys to have very basic functions: unlocking doors and starting the ignition but cannot gain entry to trunks or glove boxes. Obviously, the reasons behind this are because a valet is granted very little time in the car itself, and often have no need to get into these spaces unless they are up to no good.

Most Practical Application Of This Key:

Business owners for restaurants and places where valet is critical would be behooved to have a locksmith look into this option if numerous keys are needed for the same purpose.

TSA Lock Keys

TSA locks, as the name suggests, are for flying and travel. The corresponding keys can be made by locksmiths, though this is a rare niche for them to dive into. In theory, the master key is one only TSA agents are supposed to have, but the truth of the matter is they can be duplicated with relative ease, even if it is a somewhat unusual request.

Most Practical Application Of This Key:

TSA locks are easily replaceable, so the only time a key may be necessary is if you have a trusted lock and you want to make sure you have a spare.

What Types Of Keys Don’t Locksmiths Make?

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, but locksmiths generally do not replicate educational buildings, dorms, or private property related keys, usually for legal reasons. Campus security is essential to a safe environment, so unless the university specifically requests these types, it is normally avoided.


Locksmiths provide a necessary and extremely valuable service that few others have expertise in, and are essentially a Swiss army knife in the types of keys they can make and when. Most people do not realize that sometimes it is an emergency to get a copy made, and occasionally the type of key needed in this stressful event is one a machine cannot create. The use of a locksmith service is safe, reliable, and smart in avoiding potential dire situations where you need a double at the drop of a hat.