Keys have come a long way in terms of technology and development since their earliest invention and use. The keys we use now don’t look anything like those used 6,000 years ago in ancient Babylon and Egypt. Ancient keys were wooden, bulky, and heavy. Keys are now typically metal, compact, and light. There are many different types of keys still in use today.
- Transponder Key. This is also called a chip key because there is a microchip inside that sends a radio signal to the car to lock or unlock it when a button is pushed. Sometimes the remote is all one piece with a metal key attached, and sometimes the remote is separate from the metal key. This type of key is very secure and expensive to duplicate. Some vehicles will even shut down completely if the wrong transponder key is used. Most recent vehicles come with a transponder key.
- Laser Cut Key. Sometimes called a sidewinder key because the key pattern is cut into both sides of the key, the laser cut key is also very difficult and expensive to duplicate, making it very secure. It is often used in combination with a transponder key.
- Valet Key. A valet key is useful if you ever use a valet service to park your car. The valet key allows limited access to the car for extra security. The valet key will unlock the doors and start the car only. It will not allow access to the glove box or trunk, allowing you to keep your luggage and valuables secure while using valet service. Don’t confuse it with your door key, which only unlocks the doors but won’t start the vehicle.
- Smart Car Key. Similar to a transponder key but much more advanced, smart car keys can not only unlock the car from a distance, but also start the car remotely. These are even more difficult to duplicate, making them extremely secure.
- Vehicle Anti-Theft Key (VAT). This key is an upgrade to the standard car key, which includes an additional security chip imbedded into the blade of the key. These are very difficult to replace if lost and difficult for locksmiths to access.
Commercial Building Keys
- Key Cards. Often used in hotels, key cards can be programmed to open certain doors only. They contain magnetic strips that can be easily reset many times. These are also used in hospitals, government buildings, banks, and any building where access to specific areas needs to be limited to certain individuals.
- Master Key. Designed to open multiple doors, master keys are often used in buildings such as schools, churches, and other community buildings. The advantage to master keys is that many individuals can have access to many different rooms in a building without having to carry a lot of keys. And if one person loses a key, the door can still be opened by someone else. These are not ideal for high security areas.
- Skeleton Key. A skeleton key is basically a key that has been filed down in order to become a master key. The term “skeleton” refers to the fact that the key has been reduced to its bare bones so that it can open many doors.
- Magnetic Key. Using a series of magnets, the key will push and pull internal tumblers inside a lock to release it. It is harder to pick than a standard lock but does not require any electricity to operate.
- Mechanically Cut Key. Most homes are equipped with a standard doorknob lock and deadbolt, which comes with a basic mechanically cut key. These are easy to duplicate in self-service key cutting machines, meaning the security level is pretty low. Many homeowners compensate for this by installing security systems in their home or other door locking mechanisms. Mechanically cut keys were also used for older cars before transponder keys and smart keys were invented.
There are a variety of other key types available which may be less common or used for other purposes beyond your usual daily activities. These include:
- Double or Four Sided
If you have a key or lock that you want to know more about, contact a locksmith for assistance.
Need the Help of a Professional Locksmith?
Whether you’re locked out of your home or car, or you have a mysterious lock you can’t open, call Texas Premier Locksmith: (866) 948-8188. Emergency service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.