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What Type of House Key Do I Have?

We use different key types every day, but if we’re honest with ourselves, we might only ever use three physical keys regularly. One for the home, one for the car and one for the mail. Yet there’s far more than three key types. Go to any Home Depot and just look at one of the old keysmith machines—there’s literally over one hundred key types on file! The sheer amount implies a mindboggling diversity but actually many of the key types overlap for the same purpose. Metro Lock and Safe is here to provide all of the answers for the most important type of keys: the house key.

Common Types of House Keys

Most people buy their keyed door locks from one of the big box home improvement stores, like Home Depot or Lowe’s, which offer a multitude of brands developed by two manufacturers Kwikset and Schlage. While their marques may change, the key types are mostly the same. They both largely use a 5 or 6 pin tumbler lock.

Moreover all of them should have the following keycodes imprinted on to the keyhead. Because the majority of consumers buy their types of keys based on these two manufacturers, we’re going to focus on them today. However, if you don’t think your key fits into one of these different, we can still likely cut it. Bring your keys down to Metro Lock & Safe where our experienced locksmith company can help you with your duplicate needs today!


Kwikset key codes are usually prefixed as KW-xx and are somewhat interchangeable with other Kwikset key types. This feature offers a great selection of workable keys at slight cost of decreased security. They work with either 5-pin and 6-pin tumbler locks but come with different heads, shoulders and grooves.


The KW1 is quite possibly the most common house key on the market right now. In fact it’s so common it has multiple different versions, including brass metal and “big head” versions. It uses a 5-pin template that fits a wide variety of products from other manufacturers including Defiant, Fortress and Troy. Its hexagon-shaped head and level shoulders are defining features and the key itself can be duplicated with ease by most locksmiths.


Another Kwikset key made of brass, the KW10 uses a 6-pin template for an extra layer of security. It only works with Kwikset and Titan locks. The key is very long with offset shoulders and a curvy head. The KW10 usually is sold with Kwikset’s upscale products.


Longer than the KW1 and using the offset shoulders of the KW10, the KW11 is a happy medium between the two. The KW11 can be cut to any 5- or 6-pin configuration and keyed to select Kwikset, Defiant and Baldwin locks. The standard key also comes with the hexagonal head of the KW1, so look for those shoulders if you are wondering what you have in your hand is a KW1 or KW11.


Schlage key codes are usually prefixed as SC-xxxx and are not interchangeable to allow for greater security but a particular selection. Each of their four digit keys has a different groove to service a different make of Schlage locks. They work with mostly 6-pin locks though some rare Schlage keycodes do use 5 pin tumbler locks.


The standard key type for Schlage, Baldwin and Almet marques, this brass 6-pin is a durable yet cheap workhorse key that can be bought at any local hardware store or locksmith’s shop. With level shoulders and its trademark pyramidal keyring shape continuing through to the head, SC4’s have an unmistakable keyway ready for duplication in nearly all professional locksmith toolkits. The SC4 uses a C-section groove to fit into most standard Schlage locks.


A keyway used for specialty door locks made by Schlage and Dexter, the DE9 uses a 6-pin, E-section groove. This keyway is synonymous with the SC9. The only difference between the two lies in their head shapes and coloring. The DE9 comes in nickel plated brass with a rectangular head and level shoulders, while the brass SC9 uses that trademark pyramidal key ring loop with level shoulders. This means both the DE9 and SC9 can be cut for the same locks as the other.


The SC22 is another brass key made for specialty Schlage locks with the pyramidal keyring loop. Instead of continuing that shape into the keyhead however, it uses a curved trapezoidal shape with slightly offset shoulders. Because it only works with Schlage locks, it is one of the rarer house keys you will find in the market today.

SC1246 and above

The SC1246 is made in nickel silver and uses a 6-pin tumber lock. These keys are mainly used in specialized settings but it’s important to know what they look like so as not to confused them. Its sibling 4-digits ranging from the SC1247 to the SC1468 all use different keyways particular to each.

Make sure you don’t mix up an SC1246 key with an SC1247 or the like. It may be the last thing you do to an erstwhile healthy lock. The keys may look the same but forcing the wrong key into a lock can break both lock and key at the same time, leaving you with a costly replacement bill.

Metro Lock and Safe Offer Lock and Key Services

Now that you know what type of key your door uses, it’s time to make sure you have a copy in case of emergency. Trust the experts at Metro Lock and Safe for all your key duplication needs! We are dedicated to assisting both residential and commercial customers with any locksmith services they need. Whether a simple key duplication, questions about different types of safes or purchasing a new home security system. You’ll always receive great quality hardware and services from Metro Lock and Safe.

Our expert technicians will quickly identify which Schlage or Kwikset keyway is needed and then duplicate an exact copy. Call today if you would like more information about how we can help keep your property safe in the Valley.

Posted on by Metro-admin
What Type of House Key Do I Have?

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