Locksmith Cost Guide 2021

Locks are easy to overlook – until something goes wrong with them! There are many reasons why a locksmith comes in handy, especially when you realise how complicated a lock’s mechanism really is. If you need one of these professionals, we’d recommend finding out roughly how much it’s going to cost and what goes into each quote. That’s what our 2021 guide is here to help with. You’ll find a locksmith cost and service overview to help you work out whether your project is viable and when the best time to do it is.

Content

Research the locksmith market

There are lots of things you’ll have to research when you’re looking for a locksmith. So, it’s vital to know what you want from your project before you get started. If you want to change your locks do you know what you’re going to replace them with? Or if you want to reinforce some of your doors do you know which ones? Decide on these details early so you don’t have to make rush decisions later.

Why do you need a locksmith?

There are four common reasons why anyone would need a locksmith. Firstly, you may have lost your key or broken it in the lock. A tradesperson can come out to open the door and replace the key, all in one go. Be aware, however, that many things affect how high or low the overall cost will be.

If it’s not an emergency, you should think about value for money. What’s a useful investment? You may have a faulty lock that needs repairing or replacing. For a higher fee than unlocking a door, the professional will bring the materials they need to fix or install your door’s lock, whether external or internal. The locksmith cost is worth the added security.

A lock upgrade is another perfectly valid reason to hire a tradesperson. Based on the type of door and degree of security you want, they can recommend the best lock type, as well as acquire and fit it. The higher the skill of the professional, the better the installation will be. Anyone with Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) or UK Locksmiths Association (UKLA) accreditation is especially worth your attention.

A locksmith can provide a range of other security measures that improve the safety and value of your home. These pros, however, can have very different rates and policies. This is why extensive research is so important before approaching any of them. Explore what services are available, but also exactly what your door needs.

Rekeying vs replacing locks

One job is less complex than the other, but you should make your choice based on the degree of security you need. The locksmith cost to rekey a house is lower than replacing the whole lock because it only involves changing the tumblers and their alignment before cutting new keys. It’s an easy way to secure your house after losing your original key or having it stolen.

The same reasons may lead you to want a lock replacement. But it could also be because you’ve moved into a new house, you want an upgrade or the lock is faulty. In this case, a locksmith will remove the old mechanism and install a new one. The type of lock and door determines the timeframe, complexity and cost of the job.

What is a BS3621 British Standard lock?

Mortice lock - Locksmith cost
Mortice lock – Locksmith cost

The UK’s British Standards Institution (BSI) has set up tests for the different types of locks available to homeowners. These ensure the products are resistant to most burglary techniques and safe to use on a property’s front and back doors. It’s important to know about this factor as you won’t be eligible for some home insurance providers’ cover without first fitting your doors with British Standard locks.

You can recognise them from the kite mark engraved on them. It should be clearly visible on both the lock and its packaging. Retailers will also provide a reference to approved products, usually alongside the product’s name and description. But there are in fact three codes for different kinds of locks.

BS3621

This code is found on cylinder and mortice products that need a key on either side of the lock. It means that the mechanism is highly secure against intruders, but you have to remember to not leave the key in the door. If there’s a window or letterbox nearby, someone could reach through and use it to get in.

BS8621

The kite mark on apartment block locks should have this code. It’s the British Standard sign of security for doors that need a key to enter but not to exit. Apart from resisting burglary attempts, it allows people to escape the building in an emergency without having to think about keys.

BS10621

Doors that only lock with a key from the outside are marked with this British Standard code. While not a common choice of security, especially for emergency situations, you may come across it in buildings with multiple entry points.

Types of lock

This is the most important component of the locksmith cost and process. There are several options available on the market, each with pros and cons you should be aware of when browsing for the best lock for your home’s security.

Cylinder

This is the most common kind of lock. It can be used on any door around the house – front, back and internal. Often paired with uPVC, composite, wooden and aluminium doors, the euro or British cylinder appears in different locking systems, including multi-lock and mortice mechanisms.

Advantages

  • Effective security measure – prevents lock picking, drilling, bumping and snapping
  • Easy to install, use and change
  • Easy to key alike and master key – the first term means that a group of keys can be cut so that each one can open that lock, while the second term refers to one key being cut so it opens all doors
  • Range of cylinder locks to choose from

Disadvantages

  • Less efficient and resistant to damage if fitted wrong
  • Needs higher quality and more expensive cylinder locks to ensure the best results
Lock type Approx. cost
Standard euro cylinder lock £5 – £20+
Anti-snap euro cylinder lock £10 – £50+
Rim cylinder £10 – £20+
British standard rim cylinder £16 – £20+

Mortice

This option comes in the form of a deadlock or sash lock. It’s fitted into the door and normally involves a bolt of up to five levers – two or above is the most secure choice. An oval or euro cylinder lock is also available, better suited for rental or commercial properties. BS3621 approved locks are offer the highest security.

Advantages

  • Three to five lever locks are very secure
  • BS3621 locks in particular are tested against drilling, picking and other burglary methods
  • Keyed alike option available

Disadvantages

  • More expensive than other lock types
  • Not suitable for uPVC or composite doors
Lock type Approx. cost
2 lever sash lock £10 – £20+
3 lever deadlock £10 – £18+
3 lever sash lock £10 – £20+
5 lever deadlock £10 – £25+
5 lever sash lock £15 – £30+
5 lever deadlock BS3621 £30 – £45+
5 lever sash lock BS3621 £15 – £55+

 

Night latch

Night latch - Locksmith cost
Night latch – Locksmith cost

Also known as a yale lock, this is another type common in UK homes. The main difference is that it’s fitted on the surface and not the inside of the door. Additional functions can be added, depending on the level of security you want. Of course, the locksmith cost goes up accordingly.

Advantages

  • Simple installation and use
  • Deadlocking option
  • Suitable for wooden and glass panelled doors
  • Highly secure if BS3621 approved
  • Can be combined with other locks

Disadvantages

  • Not secure if not BS3621 approved and the only lock on the door
  • May need a sizeable budget to cover more than one lock
Lock type Approx. cost
Night latch £22 – £70+
Night latch BS3621 £20 – £80+

 

Multi-point lock system

As the name suggests, this mechanism involves several bolts that secure the door when you turn the key in the cylinder lock. This is the kind of security most common on front and back doors, whether uPVC, timber or aluminium. The locksmith cost will be considerable, but the safest option on the 2020 market is worth the investment.

Advantages

  • Easy locking mechanism, only needing one cylinder to secure the door
  • Several locking points mean burglars will have a much harder time forcing their way in
  • Simple to change or upgrade
  • Can be used on most door types

Disadvantages

  • Most expensive locking system
  • Takes time to get used to how the mechanism works
  • This can result in mistakes and reduced security
Lock type Approx. cost
Full multi-point units £42 – £100+
Centre case £10 – £80+

 

Padlocks

A lesser calibre lock but still highly valued for securing sheds, garden rooms or outdoor possessions. Different styles and qualities exist, so you need to think about what you need the padlock for and how much you’re willing to spend on it. There’s no installation process to worry about and, so, no immediate need for a locksmith. The minor expense is in buying the right one.

Padlock type Approx. cost
Standard brass £6 – £30+
Combination £5 – £60+
High security £6 – £160+

 

Patio locks

Do you have a sliding patio door and not much of a fence? To keep your home secure, you’ll need to a bit more than extra lighting and mindful social media postings. Since that counts as a back door too, it’s a good idea to install a sturdy lock that will resist a range of burglary techniques. Fortunately, the market can help you on that end too.

Lock type Approx. cost
Push-bolt £6+
Latch and deadbolt £50+
Latch and hook £50+
Multi-point £60 – £80+

 

Types of door

The material and condition of your door affects what locking system you’ll be able to install. Even before you think about locks, navigating upgraded or new front door costs is a tricky affair. The complexity of this and the locksmithing process, as well as how long it will all take, are also subject to what you or your professional will be working with. The number of locks that need rekeying or replacing are no less important in calculating the overall cost of the project.

uPVC

This kind of door is popular across the UK because of how cheap, durable and low maintenance it is. With a decent lifespan and high resistance to most weather conditions, it’s likely you already have or are thinking of installing such a door. There are a few issues to be aware of, such as the material’s often-unappealing look and discoloration over time.

When it comes to locks, there are two you’ll be able to install:

  • Multi-point
  • Euro cylinder
Type of service Approx. cost
uPVC door £200 – £750
Euro cylinder lock installation £30 – £110+
Multi-point lock installation £60 – £100+

 

Wood

Timber doors improve a property’s look considerably, as well as its value. However, the engineered sort is the most durable. It can be upgraded even more with varnishing, weatherstripping and other techniques. A wooden door still needs considerable amount of maintenance, especially if exposed to harsh weather conditions. But, in terms of security, this is one of the best choices to go for, as long as you can afford it.

Locks you can install:

  • Mortice
  • Multi-point
  • Night latch
Type of service Approx. cost
Wooden door £200 – £1,300
Mortice lock installation £25 – £45+
Night latch installation £20 – £40+
Multi-point lock installation £60 – £100+

 

Composite

Multipoint lock - Locksmith cost
Multipoint lock – Locksmith cost

Everything known about home aesthetics and security is channelled into the design of the composite door. It’s typically a combination of different materials, adjusted to meet a particular demand. Whatever you need from your front, back or interior doors, this option will be able to provide. There are two key downsides, however. Firstly, the price can be high enough to match its quality. And you may not want to install a door with a faux wood effect instead of the real deal.

Available locks:

  • Multi-point
  • Euro cylinder
Type of service Approx. cost
Composite door £500 – £1,400
Euro cylinder lock installation £30 – £110+
Multi-point lock installation £60 – £100+

 

Aluminium

Not the most attractive choice for a residential property, but aluminium doors are very durable and reliable to keep burglars out. They’re typically found in commercial and industrial buildings, where strong, long-lasting doors are essential. Modern homes choose them too for their aesthetic and value for money. Their price is steep, however, and so can that of their locks, because of the additional attention a metal door may require.

Locks for aluminium doors:

  • Euro cylinder
  • Night latch
  • Multi-point
  • Thin mortice
Type of service Approx. cost
Aluminium door £1,400 – £2,000+
Euro cylinder lock installation £30 – £50+
Night latch installation £20 – £40+
Multi-point lock installation £60 – £100+

 

Internal or external

Depending on what doors you want to upgrade, the security demands and costs will be different. A front door, for example, will need a decent locking system, no matter how sturdy it already is. The materials and services required to satisfy the building’s needs will lead to a hefty locksmith cost. So, it’s important to find a balance between all these factors when making an investment.

An internal office door, on the other hand, may not need so much security. A decent cylinder should be enough to keep people out. But if you have extra sensitive possessions in there and you want to know they’re safe, you may have to splash out on a mortice lock or better. Replacing the door with a stronger one is common practice.

Extra lock locations

The first places to think about installing locks are the front and back doors. Don’t forget about patios, where the doors may not be as sturdy as your main entrances. If they’re also glazed, you may want to consider stronger materials, such as tempered or polycarbonate glass. The locksmith cost to enforce exterior doors should be around £100 – £200.

Windows

But there are other parts of your property that could do with extra security. Windows are the second point of entry a burglar will look for, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to invest in some quality locks and glass for them too. The market has a range of options and prices to choose from. See how many windows you need to make safer and plan how you can include these upgrades to your budget.

Lock type Approx. cost
Bolt £5 – £15+
Hinged wedge £5 – £20+
Sash £4 – £15+
Snaplock £7 – £25+

 

Garage or shed

If your property is made up of more than the main building, it’s worth considering additional security measures. Are your possessions in the shed valuable enough to need something more expensive than a good padlock? What about the shed? If your answer is ‘yes’, take a look at the type of door on your garage or shed and decide which locking system is best.

In addition to the products listed above, you also have locks specifically designed for garages:

Lock type Approx. cost
Door defender £20 – £60+
Bolts £20 – £40

 

Types of locksmith

There’s no official list of titles in this particular business, but someone with a Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) license can be distinguished as a master locksmith. Beyond that, tradespeople will advertise using common customer needs, like residential, commercial, emergency and automotive. You should be able to narrow your search for the right professional based on your project’s purpose.

The different jobs can also come at different rates – these are a result of several other factors too. An emergency locksmith cost, for instance, will revolve around an unexpected situation that may occur at any time of day. So, while a call out in the middle of the night is possible, it’s also likely to result in a hefty fee at the end of the job.

The more you look into the market, the more you’ll come to realise that a locksmith’s title is not what influences their price the most. A master locksmith may feel confident enough to charge more than the average tradesperson, but it actually all comes down to the service. What you need from them and what it will take to get it done.

Types of services

Professionals - Locksmith cost
Professionals – Locksmith cost

Unlocking a door

A minor yet very common reason for homeowners to call their local locksmith is to unlock a door, whether to their house or car. If you forgot your key or broke it in the lock, a tradesperson should be able to help and without breaking the bank. The type and complexity of the mechanism affects how much time and money the project cost you.

A quick search of tradespeople in your area should reveal who’s available and at what price. In an emergency, you may not want to waste too much time browsing, but make sure you compare a few professionals’ services before calling someone out to your property.

Replacing a key

This service shouldn’t be more expensive than unlocking a door. But professionals’ rates can vary, depending on a couple of factors, such as:

  • Key cutting materials and tools
  • Number of keys
  • Type of lock
  • Business location and distance of travel

We expand further on these factors below. Make sure you get quotes from multiple locksmiths before you settle. This way you’ll find the best deal possible and see how just much prices in your area differ.

Repairing a lock

Creating a new key is an intricate job, but far less complicated than dealing with a faulty lock. The pro needs to determine what the problem is and then decide on the best solution. This normally involves rekeying the system, which has key replacement as part of the process too. So, expect the cost to match the project’s demands.

The simplest way to deal with this expense is to prepare and set a realistic budget. If you can work out for yourself the details of your lock’s issues, you should be able to explain the situation to the locksmith more accurately before they even come out. Then they should have plenty of information to provide a more precise quote. And you can save up accordingly.

Changing a lock

This strategy is even more important when you need to change a lock. The mechanism you choose alone can set a sizeable budget, because of the product’s price and the work required to install it. Your door’s material and quality influence the fitting process. Together these factors determine how complex, time-consuming and costly the process will be.

As a rule, the less work the professional needs to do, the lower the overall cost. Assuming you know for sure that the lock needs changing, what you’ll need to research are promising and cost-effective upgrades. Don’t forget to check if your door can accommodate these products.

Emergency boarding up

Apart from dealing with locks, this kind of professional can also show up with high grade plywood to board up a door or window. They’ll assess the damage and take measurements to help you get organised with replacements. After a break in, it’s invaluable to know that you have such support available 24/7.

Prices vary, once again. But, if you have all the information they need, a reliable tradesperson should de able to give you an estimate over the phone. This is one way to identify which services in your area are trustworthy. Keep reading to find out how to identify a quality locksmith.

Decide on a budget

The most important thing to do when it comes to choosing a locksmith is to come up with a sensible budget and stick to it. Researching the market is essential to understanding how quotes are calculated, as well as knowing when you’re overpaying for a project.

You don’t want to spend too much or too little on your home’s security. You also want to be able to quickly focus your search on exactly what you need. Here are a few more points to consider.

Why do locksmith prices vary?

Unfortunately, there’s no set pricing standard for locksmiths, so each professional can decide for themselves what their skills and services are worth. But, since there’s plenty of competition dealing with both residential and commercial properties, quotes are generally kept at a reasonable level. That said, numerous factors drive the cost of different situations up or down.

Travel distance

When you have an emergency and call a professional, they need to get to your property in order to fix your problem. This means spending fuel and time, which they’ll be adding to your bill. So, one way to cut down on the locksmith cost is to choose someone local.

Location

Where the locksmith is based affects more than the distance they need to travel. A professional needs to cover their overall business expenses, which include materials, tools, travel, bills and more. So, the more expensive the city, the higher the quote of a tradesperson working there is likely to be.

Time of day

An out of hours emergency typically costs more than if you hire someone between 9am and 5pm. When getting quotes make sure you check what the rate is for locksmith services outside working hours, on weekends and bank holidays. The difference in price shouldn’t be huge, but if your funds are limited it’s worth waiting for the cheaper rates.

Timeframe

How long the project takes matters to the professional as much as you. Locksmith services are usually charged per hour because such projects shouldn’t need more than one or two hours to complete. Even if you have the most complicated lock to install or multiple mechanisms throughout the house, the process is pretty straightforward for an experienced pro.

Brand of lock

Whether you buy the lock or the tradesperson gets it for you, your expenses will include the price of the mechanism itself. And a high-end brand will come at a hefty price alongside specs of a higher quality. A pro’s quote will also count the extent of work required to install the product. So, make a careful, informed choice – and without letting the locksmith’s suggestions sway you towards needless expenses.

Standard of lock

As already mentioned, locks of a superior design and cost are worth considering for greater durability and security. But they may also need a bigger budget than you intended. Before you hire someone check what their rate is for installing this particular lock design and brand. Or, if you’re thinking together about what lock upgrade to go for, keep you budget in mind when exploring your options.

Equipment

Locksmithing tools and materials aren’t cheap. Equipment of a professional standard can be especially expensive – for the tradesperson, as well as you. So, their quote will reflect the quality of the tools supporting their services. Consumables and any replacements they need to make while working on your projects may also be added to your final bill.

Types of rates

While you can come across fixed prices too, the rate of a locksmith tends to be hourly. The difference in this type of service lies in that some tradespeople have a set rate and others charge less for every subsequent hour. The second option is obviously the most advantageous and you should be able to find someone offering it in your area. But almost all professionals charge extra for projects outside of normal working hours.

How much does a locksmith cost?

Choosing the perfect lock - Locksmith cost
Choosing the perfect lock – Locksmith cost

Despite the lack of set industry prices, the market does have some average patterns to help you determine how high you should set your budget. Because of the many factors affecting locksmith project costs, quotes will vary from place to place. To get a precise price, contact some local pros and ask for their rates, as well as an estimate for your particular situation. But to give you a rough idea, here’s a typical price guide:

Type of work Approx. cost
Hourly rates £65 – £100+ per hour
Out of hours rate 50% additional fee
Key replacement £3 – £30+
Broken key removal £60 – £140+
Lock repair £40 – £150+
Lock replacement £60 – £150+
Open a door without keys £60-£130
Emergency boarding up £200

Ways to reduce locksmith costs

While fitting your own lock is possible, hiring a professional puts the security of your home in the hands of a trained professional. They know what locks are best for your door and how to install them. And the better their qualifications, the more likely it is that you’ll get fully damage resistant locks. Such an upgrade won’t come cheap, but there are ways to manage the project so that individual expenses don’t stack up too high.

  • Assess your needs as best as you can
  • Browse plenty of local professionals and approach those with the best credentials
  • Provide accurate information when contacting them
  • Ask precise questions about their quotes, such as rate, VAT, call out charge and individual project elements

This, like any home improvement project, is a specialised process. Not paying attention can easily trip up your finances, especially with extensive works thoughout the house. Fortunately, as long as you stick to these points, you should keep locksmith costs low.

How long does it take to change a lock?

The locksmith cost to open the door shouldn’t include more than a few minutes of your time. More complex projects, like upgrading the locks on external and internal doors and windows, are likely to take a few hours. Master locksmiths or tradespeople of equivalent skill should be able to complete the job the fastest, reducing the hourly cost of their services.

To get a fair price for your locksmith job, get in touch with multiple professionals and ask them for a quote. You can then compare these and work out the best deal for you. Make sure you avoid unusually cheap or expensive quotes, as they probably won’t provide the service you expect. If you know the market, however, you should be able to immediately spot the most reliable and useful.

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how much your project is likely to cost. If you’re ready to start searching for professionals near you, fill in our online form. We’ll connect you with up to four local locksmiths that can provide help and advice for your home security needs.