Cheapest Way to Change Locks in 2023 (Quick & Easy)

by Timothy Ronaldson


When people move into a new place, they want to feel safe and secure. One of the first things they often do is get new locks.

This can be expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing, which is why many people are looking for the cheapest way to change locks. 

When searching for a cheap way to rekey locks, you’ll have many options. We have laid out some of the top ways below to help you in your search.

Why would you want to change locks?

Locks on doors is the simplest line of defense to your home, and often the first line as well. 

If anyone could simply turn the knob and open your door, they would have easy access to your home and everything inside it. 

While nearly all homes have locks on them, most people will change them whenever they get a new place to live.

This is done so that people who had previous access to your home can’t access it after you moved in, if they’ve kept a set of keys, for example. 

There are many other reasons why you might want to change your locks, though, including:

  • Lost Keys – If you’ve lost your keys, it’s a good idea to find the cheapest way to replace locks in case someone else finds them.
  • Break In – If your home was broken into recently, you might want to change your locks in case someone stole your keys and made a copy.
  • Break Up – If you’ve recently gotten divorced or broke up with a significant other, you might want to change your locks so they don’t have access anymore.
  • Need an Update – Your lifestyle may have changed and you might want a lock with technological features.

Trend on the Rise

The Bureau of Justice reports that 34% of all burglars actually use the front door when they go to break into a home. This might be surprising, but it’s the easiest path of entry. This is another reason why it’s important to have a good lock on your front door.


How much should it cost to change a lock?

Changing a lock can be relatively inexpensive to rather expensive, based on a number of different factors. 

On average, it could cost you anywhere between $50 to up to $500 or more to change a lock. 

So, what’s the reason for the big price range difference? 


Some of the things that could affect the cost of changing a lock include:

  • Type of Lock – More modern locks such as smart locks are much more expensive than traditional dead bolts.
  • Who’s Doing It – It’s cheaper for you to replace it yourself than it is to hire someone to do it for you.
  • Replace or Rekey – Rekeying a lock would be much cheaper than completely replacing it, though there are advantages to a complete replacement.
  • Door Layout – The cheapest replacement is if the new lock fits the same holes that are already on your door, otherwise, it’s more expensive. 

These are all factors to consider when you’re pricing out how much it would cost you to either change or rekey your locks. 

If you’re budgeting and looking for the cheapest route, then doing it yourself and rekeying rather than replacing is the way to go.

Trend on the Rise

Smart locks are growing in popularity every year, with more and more people opting for the advanced technology. The market for smart locks is expected to reach $4 billion globally by 2026. This shows the immense popularity of this type of lock, especially among people who host on Airbnb.

Can you rekey your own locks?

The simple answer to this question is yes, you can definitely rekey your own locks. In fact, this is the quickest and cheapest way that you can get new locks to your home.

It will take a little bit of handy work, but it isn’t that difficult to do overall. What you’ll need to accomplish this is a screwdriver, needle-nose pliers and tweezers.

You’ll also need to buy a rekeying kit at your local hardware store. 

Tactic for Success

Today, there are many different types of locks on the market. You don’t have to just go with a traditional dead bolt with a key. So, when you’re shopping for a secure lock, consider one that uses technology (a smart lock) and possibly even fingerprints to let you into your home. This could even increase home value.


Just make sure that the one you buy is compatible with the lock that’s currently on your home, as they are often not interchangeable between different brands.

You’ll need to remove the door knob on the side, and then the cylinder that’s located in the back of the assembly on the knob. 

In this cylinder will be what’s called a retainer ring. You’ll use the tool that the kit included to remove this part from the cylinder.

The cylinder plug will then be removed. In there, you will insert the new pins that were included with the kit, as well as the new key. 

Finally, you’ll need to reassemble the lock as it was put together originally. Once done, your lock will be rekeyed.

Is it hard to rekey a lock on your own?

It’s not that difficult to rekey a lock on your own. You’ll need to have some handy man-type experience, but it’s rather straightforward. 

The most important thing, as mentioned, is making sure that you buy the correct rekey kit for the lock that you have.

Then, just follow the simple instructions that are included with the rekey kit, and you’ll be able to do it all on your own. 

In total, the project shouldn’t take even one hour to complete. 

Is it cheaper to rekey or replace locks?

It is always going to be cheaper to rekey locks rather than replacing them outright, making this a better fit for a college student or for anyone tight on cash.

As mentioned above, all that is needed to rekey a lock is a rekey kit that you can purchase at your local hardware store. In most cases, these kits will cost well less than $50.

Aside from that, the only other supplies that you will need are some basic tools. Even if you don’t have the tools and need to purchase them, though, you could still be all-in for less than $100.

When you replace a lock completely, you will have to purchase a whole new set. 

Locks for exterior doors can start from as low as $50 for the most basic ones, but can easily increase to a few hundred dollars each. 

The locks that have a nice design and look better are often a few hundred dollars.

In addition, it’s a more complicated install process for a completely different lock, as you have to make sure that everything on your current door lines up perfectly with the new lock you have chosen. 

If it doesn’t, you may have to drill new holes in the door, which can get expensive and cause some problems.

Cost of a Locksmith to Change Locks

If you don’t have the confidence in your ability to change your locks on your own — or if the replacement process is going to be complicated because of a door change — you could always choose to hire a locksmith to do it for you. 

These are professionals who deal with locks every day and will know exactly what they are doing.

Naturally, though, if you hire a locksmith, you will be paying much more to change your locks than if you do it on your own. 

In addition to the cost of the materials you’ll need — i.e. the new lock itself — the locksmith will charge a few hundred dollars to completely replace a lock on your home.

The average hourly rate for locksmiths is $75. 

Since it might not take a locksmith an hour to change one lock, they also may charge a flat fee of $150 or more on top of the hourly fee that covers the cost of their travel and the time they spent getting to your house.

They might offer a bundled discount for multiple locks, but that could bring your total cost to a few hundred dollars for the labor.

Wrapping Up

There are many different ways that you can change your locks in 2023, and the price of doing so can vary a lot depending on the type of lock you want and how you are replacing it. 

If you are looking for the cheapest way to change your locks, rekeying a lock on your own is the way to go. 

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Tim is a classically-trained journalist who loves to share knowledge and information with others. In the past, he has worked in TV, online and print media, and currently works with companies to help design, create and strategize their messaging.

About the Author

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Tim is a classically-trained journalist who loves to share knowledge and information with others. In the past, he has worked in TV, online and print media, and currently works with companies to help design, create and strategize their messaging.