Master Key System

Always know who has a copy of the keys that open doors to you commercial property doors or to the doors of a residential complex you manage. Get rid of those bulky key chains that carry numerous keys, and restrict access based on employee responsibilities when you set up a Master Key System.

Master Key Systems Get Rid of Bulky Key Chains

A Master Key System is a system that allows two or more keys to open one lock. Master keys are a fascinating solution that allows you to use one key to open two or more doors within the master key system. For instance, one apartment key opens only that apartment, and your neighbor’s key opens only his or her apartment door. Yet, the apartment manager or maintenance workers have one key that will open them both. It is based on a hierarchy system with the Master Key or Grand Master Key at the top and a Change Key at the bottom.

The Change Key is sometimes called a sub-master key. This key opens one lock, and will only open locks that are exactly the same. However, the Master Key will open all of the Change Keys locks that are in the same master key system. Sometimes, the master key system is more complicated and goes up a step or more with Grand Master or Great Grand Master keys.


How Does A Master Key System Work?

Most master key systems are based on a basic pin tumbler lock. To open a pin tumbler lock, the driver pins and a key pin must be elevated so the two are on opposite sides of the shear line. The key is inserted into the cylinder, turned, and lifts key pins within the lock. These key pins sizes are all different. The driver pins are universal. The key has to have the right set of grooves in order to lift the key pins to the correct height. To convert a lock to a master key system, a master wafer, sometimes also called a master pin, is inserted between the driver and the key pin. This master wafer is shaped like a small disk or hockey puck. When it is in the proper position, the pin stack will have two shear lines – one for the pin stack with a master wafer below or above the line.

Master Key System

Stay Secure

One main concern when it comes to master key systems is security. If one key is able to open any of the locks underneath it within the system, it is important to implement safety measures to make sure only trusted individuals have access to the master key. Also, take steps to make your locks more difficult to pick or decode. Design and implement a master key system that lasts and maintains necessary levels of security that you need.


Three ways to stay secure include:

  1. Work With Your Locksmith – Coordinate all re-keying through the locksmith who set up your master key system. This locksmith will have the original records. Never allow a key to be issued or for a lock to be changed within your facility without referencing these master key records.
  2. Duplicate Keys – Stamping “DO NOT DUPLICATE” on a key does not ensure that it won’t be copied. The only way to prevent unauthorized key duplication is to install key cylinders that use restricted keys. Most restricted key systems have keys that may only be duplicated by a qualified locksmith who supplied you with the cylinders. These locksmiths keep a signature card on file and will only release keys to authorized administrators. These keys often contain serial numbers so that they may be tracked. All of these measures hold the key holder accountable.
  3. Key Distribution Control – The only fail-safe step to ensure keys are not duplicated or fall into the hands of the wrong person is to use extreme caution and excellent judgment when distributing the keys in the first place.


Need Master Key System Installed At Your Home, Office Or Business?

Start with a qualified and trusted locksmith. Discuss your Master Key System needs, and establish a relationship with a locksmith you trust. Get started today by contacting a local locksmith company who handles Master Key Systems.

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