What is a Cylinder Lock?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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Cylinder locks are a common form of lock that can be rekeyed with a relative amount of ease. The main benefit to the design of a cylinder lock is that it is possible to open the cylinder and begin the process of rekeying the mechanism by simply removing a couple of screws. Because of the lack of difficulty in performing this task, a locksmith can rekey a cylinder lock in a matter of minutes.

The essential design for any cylinder lock is the ability to access the cylinder quickly and efficiently, and thus make any necessary changes in a short period of time. This can be a real benefit when there is a need to change locks on entrances and exits to the home or workplace quickly. A cylinder lock may be configured in several different types, including a wafer tumbler lock, a disc tumbler lock, or a pin tumble lock.

The third advantage to the use of a cylinder lock is that it is possible to have several different types of cylinder locks all keyed to work with a common key. Thus, it is possible to use a disc tumbler for one door, while using a wafer tumbler for another door, while still using one key to open both doors. This benefit can help to minimize the fumbling around with keys when trying to enter or exit the home, since one key fits all the locks.


Along with a master key approach to the use of cylinder locks, it is also possible to have each cylinder lock keyed so that a different key is needed for each lock on the premises. This can help helpful in the workplace, as locks that can be keyed to only work with keys issued to employees with authorized access to restricted areas. At the same time, sections of the workplace that are open to all employees can still be secured by using locks that are keyed to match keys issued to everyone who works in the space, regardless of the level of security clearance.


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