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Can I swap the tumblers between two different locks from the same manufacturer? Matching set of locks

In this particular case, is it possible to swap the set of tumblers from one of the knobs into the wave handle?

The deadbolt on my front door is difficult to get the key into and out of and I've currently got no key to my back door at all. So I'd like to just replace both sets and get everything operating on one key that works everywhere.

The only catch is that I've got a lever on the front door instead of a knob, and I actually really like that as it's much easier to operate when you have groceries or the like. So, I'm planning to buy a full double-set of keyed alike knobs and deadbolts for the front and back door and a lever for the front foor. Then just swap out one of the sets of tumblers from the full set into the lever if possible. I'd hope it would be, but I'm uncertain.

  • This is somewhat specialized knowledge. A locksmith would be in the best position to know what's interchangeable. They might even be able to provide components that would allow you to accomplish what you want without having to buy complete hardware just to get tumblers (and they can key everything to match). – fixer1234 Sep 3 '18 at 20:44
  • Sure, if you can get 'em out and if the manufacturer hasn't done something to make it impossible. But I see a shopping basket and consumer packaging, which says you're shopping in a big-box store, which has pretty limited selection when you start getting into tricks like that. You know some locks have a "rekey-your-own-lock" function, that's still in the consumer tier and was probably on the same aisle, except from a company with an actual reputation in the lock business. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 3 '18 at 20:47
  • Yeah, you're best off going to your local locksmith for this -- they'll be able to get you into better hardware, and have a much better idea what's compatible/interchangeable with what in terms of deadbolt/mortise vs KiK (Key in Knob) form factors. – ThreePhaseEel Sep 3 '18 at 20:55
  • The lock cylinders of the same brand are usually the same if the keyway is the same. We used to use quickset with close to 100 locations it only took 4 or 6 master keys to open every one several different different keyways, yes these are elcheep-o's and I would never use a standard lock set on my personal home as mentioned in an answer. But no lock in a residential location is that safe, modern 1/2" battery drills can have them open in less than a minute, even steel framed doors can be opened with my size 15 boot in 2-3 seconds but then there is repairs needed. We changed cylinders regularly. – Ed Beal Sep 3 '18 at 23:27
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I generally go to a locksmith for that kind of thing. Locksmiths come in 3 flavors.

  • Scammers and lead-generators
  • Outbound locksmiths who want to drive their truck to your location, and charge you a king's ransom for the privilege
  • local community locksmiths with a retail shop who are happy to let you bring your lock-sets into their shop and charge you a sensible price (for a locksmith)

Use the third kind. They're the hardest to find, natch.


That said, the big-box stores do have a possible option for you. One lock manufacturer (don't recall, except they actually do have a reasonably well-reputed history in the lock business) has a mid-consumer-tier product where you can re-key the tumbler yourself. It's pretty slick.

You stick the old key in. You stick a special slotted tool in a tiny slot. This allows you to turn the old key in a weird, awkward, backward way. You pull that key out, put in your new key, and then do some other twist with it. Voilà - your lock is now keyed to the new key.

We're not a shopping site so it isn't really for me to say the brand, but you shouldn't have any trouble finding it.


One more thing about buying consumer tier locks at the big-box store. Look at the package. That package came in a cardboard box which holds 4-12 packages. Flip the package over. You'll see there's a "Key Code" displayed somewhere on the package. Every package in that box has the same Key Code - go look! That's handy if you want more than one package's worth of locks keyed alike - in fact, that's why they do it.

However, it also means anyone else who buys that lock, that store, that time, has a key to your house. Ewww. For this reason, when I buy locksets, I buy them at a store far, far away from my usual paths.

  • The home-rekey option is handy, and works for most, but I've had a couple of these go bad and lock my clients out. (Granted, not a scientific sample by any stretch, but just something to be aware of.) – Aloysius Defenestrate Sep 3 '18 at 23:48
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What you want to do is likely possible but probably not the way you think.

Locks that utilize the same keyway (that is, the same exact type of key will fit into the lock cylinder) can have the pins (some people call these the tumblers) arranged such that they work with the same key (or multiple keys).

You would not

swap the set of tumblers from one of the knobs into the wave handle

You would use new pins to make the "wave handle" lockset open with the key of your choice as long as that key fits the cylinder keyway. Locksmiths have huge sets of the mostly universal pins.

  • Yup -- all pin tumblers that aren't American/Master padlock cores basically use the same pin chamber diameters, so you can come up with all sorts of crazy Frankenpinnings for locks (ASSA barrel drivers in a Schlage Everest? why not?!) – ThreePhaseEel Sep 4 '18 at 3:23

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