Under 30 min ETA

work hours: 24/7

All organizations want to maintain the security of their employees, products and facilities. Despite advances in digital technology, there is no more effective way to physically protect the safety of the company than the key and lock. Also, the cost-effectiveness is much higher. Key system effectiveness and security is called key control. Building the safest and most effective key control for your organization requires several different components. One of them is the master key door locks. Master key locks provide high-level access and streamline daily key management for employees and stakeholders who need to easily open many doors.

How Master Key Door Locks Work

In addition, the Personnel Department has an area where others cannot enter, and the cleaning staff must be able to pass through all the doors in the building. In this situation, what should you do as a manager? It is a master key system. We recommend you seek assistance from Patriot Locksmith, which is the best locksmith in Kansas. As a commercial locksmith in Missouri, we explain this complex topic to everyone.

Master Key System

Now that we know how the Pin and Tumbler lock works, let’s look at how to make a master key system using this type of lock. The master key system is a system where one key, called the master key, can open all the keys in a group. Each key has a unique key, called a change key, that can only open a specific key. For example, in the case of an apartment, each tenant can have a change key that can only open the door of his apartment, and the landlord can have a master key that can open the door of all apartments.

Master Key System

Working of Master Key System:

The trick is to add another part, a master wafer or a spacer, to the pin-and-tumbler tablet. The master wafer is a thin piece of metal that is inserted between the pin pairs to form a third position where the pins are aligned. This means that two possible combinations of pin heights rotate the plug: one for the change key and one for the master key.

In the figure above, the blue pin is the top pin, the red pin is the bottom pin, and the yellow piece is the master wafer. The change key has a cut matching the total length of the bottom pin and the master wafer, and the master key has a cut matching the total length of the top pin and the master wafer. When either key is inserted, the pin is aligned in the gap between the plug and the key, and the lock can be opened.

How many hierarchies have a master key system?

A master key system can have multiple hierarchies depending on the number of groups and subgroups of locks. For example, in an office complex, there may be a grand master key that can open all the keys in the complex, a grand master key that can open all the keys in the building, a master key that can open all the keys in the floor, and a change key that can open the doors of a particular office. With each rise in the hierarchy, more master wafers and more complex keying are required.

Pin and Tumbler Design

Master Key Before we talk about the system, let’s first understand the basic design and mechanism of the pin & tumbler lock, a common type of lock. The lock consists of two main parts: a plug and a house. When you insert and turn the key, the cylindrical part called the plug rotates. The housing is an outer part that fixes the plug. The key groove is a groove on the plug where the key goes in, and the hole is an opening on the housing where the plug goes in.

Pin and Tumbler Design

Inside the plug and the housing, there are several pairs of pins of different lengths. A spring fixed the pin and can move up and down along the hole. When the plug is at the lock position, the pins are aligned in a straight line at a shear line which is a boundary between the plug and the housing. This will prevent the plug from rotating and the lock from opening.

To open the lock, the correct key must be inserted into the keyway. The key has a series of cuts and grooves of different depths corresponding to the length of the pin. The key cuts push up the pins to different heights when you insert the key completely. The pins line up straight in the gap between the plug and the key, not in a shearing line. This causes the plug to rotate and the lock to open.

Benefits and Risks of Master Key Door Locks

The master key system can provide several advantages in various environments and situations. Here are some of the benefits:


Master key systems reduce the number of keys that people have to carry and manage. Especially for those who access multiple locks, such as landlords, maintenance workers, security guards, and administrators. Instead of carrying a heavy key holder with many keys, you can open all the necessary keys with one master key. But sometimes may wonder about how to become a locksmith in Missouri. Because they earn a healthy amount by providing their services. But there is a hard job, practice and time spent behind all their services.


Master key systems can provide different levels of access and control depending on their roles and responsibilities. For example, in a hotel, a guest can have a change key that can only open the door of his room, and a housekeeping staff can have a master key that can open the door of all rooms, but not the door of the lobby or office. This allows staff to efficiently perform their work while maintaining the security of the hotel.


The master key system can save time and money by simplifying the lock-opening and closing process. Reducing the need for matching keys and lock replacement also helps a lot. For example, in a school, a teacher can have a change key that can only open the door of his or her classroom. A principal can have a master key that can open not only all classroom doors but also office and library doors. This way, teachers do not have to worry about missing or forgetting keys, and the principal has easy access to any room in emergencies or checkups.

However, there are also disadvantages and problems with the master key door locks. Risks include the following:


The Master Key System may present a serious security threat if the Master Key is lost, stolen, duplicated, or at any risk. Since the master key can open all locks in the system, anyone who has access to the master key can break into any room or area and cause damage, theft, or harm. For example, losing the master key that can open all the rooms, pharmacies, and laboratories in the hospital could endanger the safety and privacy of the hospital.


Master key systems are difficult to design, install, and maintain, especially for large and complex systems with many tiers and locks. Master key systems require careful planning, coordination, and documentation to ensure the system meets security needs and user access requirements. The master key system also requires periodic audits, rekeys, and lock and key exchanges. This is to prevent exhaustion and update the system as needed. But sometimes you may select a locksmith to open a deadbolt lock. They can charge a heavy fee to open a deadbolt lock. But you can do this on your own if you are creative.


Master key systems are expensive and time-consuming to maintain, especially when the system is well-managed and insecure. The master key system requires a lot of resources and expertise, including key and lock management, master key and key code storage and protection. Lock and key repair and replacement as needed, and response in the event of an accident or problem are also important in maintenance. The master key system also requires a great deal of trust and responsibility to ensure that users of the system follow the rules and best practices. This also observes whether the user does not abuse or abuse the system.

Master Key Door Locks Management and Update Best Practices

The master key system is neither static nor transient. The master key system is a dynamic and continuous process that requires periodic management and updates to ensure its efficiency. You should manage and update master key systems according to changes in the needs and circumstances of real estate and its users. You should also audit and monitor the master key system to ensure its compliance and performance. This includes checking the status and functionality of locks and keys, identifying key owners and their rights, and reviewing key and lock usage records and reports. The following are best practices for managing and updating master key systems:

Updated in Master key Door Locks

Audits are conducted periodically, such as every half year or every year, depending on the size and complexity of the system. During the audit, check for lock and key damage, wear and failure, and test operation and compatibility. A catalogue of keys and locks is also created and compared with the schematic and key codes. This is performed to verify their accuracy and completeness. In addition, it will verify the owner of the key and its level of access and verify its identity and authority to ensure its validity and appropriateness. Any discrepancies, problems or problems found shall be reported and resolved promptly.

Reasons to rekey the system:

You should rekey the system as necessary, for example, when you lose, steal, duplicate, damage or compromise a key. When you remove the key holder from employment or change roles, or when you need to change access level or group. Rekeying the system involves changing the pins and tumblers in the lock cylinder. So that they work with the new key instead of the old one. By rekeying the system, you can recover the security and control of the system without having to completely replace the lock or key. However, the systems rekey may affect other keys and locks in the system, depending on their relationship and hierarchy. Therefore, you must do the system Rekey carefully and strategically, following the schematic and key code, and consulting a professional keyman.

Important Tips to use for maintenance:

You should replace the locks, or the keys as needed, for example, when they break, wear out, or become outdated. In case when they fail to meet the security standards or the regulations you should replace the keys. Replacing the locks or the keys can improve the security and convenience of the system. Adding new technologies, such as electronic, biometric, or smart locks, or changing the style, colour, or shape of the locks or the keys can achieve this. However, replacing the locks or the keys can also alter the structure and the operation of the system. This happens depending on their compatibility and their integration with the other locks or keys in the system.  Follow the schematic and the key codes and consult a professional locksmith.

Video Guidance:

Here is a video guidance for you to understand how the master key door locks work:


In this article, we have explained the importance of keeping the master key door locks schematic, the key codes, and the master key itself safe and confidential. We have also suggested some best practices for managing and updating the master key system. These practices are such as auditing, rekeying, and replacing locks and keys as needed. Finally, we have recommended some ways to prevent or respond to master key door locks maintained. We hope that this article has given you some useful and informative insights into master key systems. Your questions, comments, or feedback are valuable to us. Please contact us anytime you want. We would love to hear from you. If you need any professional and reliable locksmith services for your master key door locks. Please do not hesitate to contact Patriot Locksmith, the best locksmith in Kansas. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *