Master key systems make it possible to have one unique key to fit all cylinder locks for the doors of one building. This is an effective solution for business owners or landlords to avoid having to keep multiple keys at any one time. 

However, the solution to greater property security isn’t as straightforward as having one master key with access to all your doors. There’s plenty of planning and preparation you need to consider to have an effective and accessible master key system.

Understanding the Benefits of Using a Master Key System

There are numerous ways to go about implementing a cylinder lock master key system. 

The most basic system allows one single master key to open all your building’s cylinder locks. However, there’s the added benefit of security by allowing each door cylinder to be openable with their own key, also known as a change key. This system works best for landlords that want their own master key but needs to provide individual entry and exit access for different tenants’ rooms. Additionally, it’s common for landlords and business owners to have a cylinder lock fitted to their main exterior door as a common entrance that’s accessible to owners of both the master key and change key.

Planning a Master Key System for Your Building

Euro cylinder lock master key systems are the most convenient systems to use in today’s society. These are a result of traditional cylinder door lock designs that have been re-engineered in recent years to implement a master key. 

When planning a Euro Cylinder Master Key System, it’s important to plot how the master key holder, or principal, can navigate through the property with other key holders in mind. The starting point of the process requires determining the number of cylinder changes around the property and if there will be additional cylinder locks that need installation.

Besides the basic Master Key System mentioned above, there can be greater levels of complexity added to have a more secure building. This includes organizing door options, cylinder placements, and individual key holders to outline increasing access levels. Within one master key system, you can have several doors openable by more keys than one. Alternatively, you can appoint other sub-master key holders with limited or greater access to several entryways in your property.

Selecting a Master Key System: A Balance of Security and Convenience

Planning a master key system requires a professional locksmith to draw up a blueprint of the project. A system can not use existing tenant keys to add a new master key, without key security interchange problems.

A master key system boasts both security and convenience, but only if it’s done correctly. We advise getting it done right the first time, involving a professional locksmith from the beginning. Cutting corners can very easily result in some future security problems for the establishment in question. 

As an example, a new master key system for an apartment complex can not be retroactively fit to previous door lock systems because you can run into an issue where tenants can gain access to doors other than their own. The master key system should be designed from the top down, or in other words from master down to individual room or unit change keys, to avoid potential security issues.


Although having a master key system for your building has many advantages, it can also put you in a risky situation. Losing a master key can be a potential security breach to your property. You’re left with two options to ensure the safety of your building: to replace your external doors’ locks or replace or your building’s locks. Whatever option you choose, remember that it’s best to handle it immediately if you’re unsure about the whereabouts of your lost key!

Working with a reputable local locksmith can make it easier to receive repairs and maintenance work on your security needs. At Allied lock & Door, our staff can give your property the complex protection of a master key system. If you need an expert locksmith in Cincinnati, OH, call us today!