How Much Does It Cost to Copy a Key?

Last Updated on February 29, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Getting a copy of your key made can seem like a trivial errand, but the costs can really add up depending on the type of key and where you get it copied. Understanding the key duplication process and the factors that influence pricing will ensure you get the service you need at a fair cost.

When you need to copy a key, the first step is identifying what type of key you have. The cost to duplicate a standard metal key is far less than making copies of modern electronic, high-security keys. Your options for where to get keys copied, from local hardware stores to professional locksmiths, also impact the total expense.

This guide will walk through the typical costs for copying different keys and provide tips to keep your duplication costs affordable. With some knowledge and clever shopping, you can get the keys you need without breaking the bank!

How Much Does It Cost to Copy a Key?

Standard House Keys

The most common keys used for home entry doors and padlocks are basic flat metal keys. These standard keys usually cost just a couple dollars or less to duplicate at local hardware stores and kiosks.

Standard house keys start at around $2 to $5 per copy on average. The exact cost depends slightly on where you go and the specific key blank needed.

Car Keys

Today’s car keys are more complex than old-fashioned metal keys. Many cars now use:

  • Transponder keys – Keys with an electronic chip inside
  • Key fobs – Remotes that lock/unlock the car wirelessly

Because of the electronics inside, copying a transponder car key averages $15-$50 per key from a dealership. Working key fobs cost $30-$80+ to copy. Going to an automotive locksmith for transponder and key fob copying typically saves 20-50% off dealership prices.

High-Security and Specialty Keys

For high-security keys like those used in businesses, copying costs are understandably higher. Restricted key blanks help improve security, but that means extra effort to duplicate them. On average, expect to spend at least $5-$20 per high-security key copy.

Specialty keys like laser-cut keys have complex shapes cut by machines. Their unique designs make duplication expensive – often over $100 per laser-cut car key. Other options like RFID/proximity keys need advanced programming and run $25-$60 per copy.

According to, for example, the basic cost to copy a key is $58.39 – $213 per service in January 2024, but this can vary significantly with site conditions and options. writes that the average cost to duplicate a typical house key at a local hardware store ranges from $2 to $4. A local locksmith may charge as much as $5+. notes that self-service kiosks allow you to easily copy keys within minutes.

According to, the cost to replace standard keys ranges from $50 to $180, while replacement transponder keys (with a chip, requiring programming) cost $220 to $350. The cost to replace key FOBs depends on the specific model.

Factors Influencing Key Copying Costs

Many variables affect the cost of duplicating a key:

  • Key type and features – Standard vs. transponder, high-security, specialty keys
  • Key blank – Basic vs. restricted, brand-specific blanks
  • Level of security – Simple vs. complex key shapes and RFID technology
  • Programming – Costs $10-$75+ for electronic, transponder chip programming

Where you go also impacts the price. Hardware stores offer convenience and value for simple keys. Professionals like mobile locksmiths usually charge slightly more but can handle high-security, electronic key copying beyond the abilities of corner stores.

Where to Get Keys Copied

Hardware Stores and Home Improvement Centers

Stores like Home Depot provide self-service kiosks for quick, affordable copying of house keys and padlock keys. Kiosk prices are often $1.50-$2.00 per key copy. Bringing keys to store employees for duplication allows access to more blanks and costs around $2-$7 per copy on average.

Pros: Low prices, no appointments needed, wide availability

Cons: Staff may lack specialized key training, limited selection of car key blanks

Professional Locksmiths

For complex key duplication, automotive locksmiths and security specialists excel. They invest in specialized key cutting equipment and have advanced electronic key programming skills. While prices are often $10-$30 higher per copy, you pay for their expertise and ability to handle unusual keys.

Pros: Expertise with specialty keys, mobile service available

Cons: Premium pricing, may charge service fees

Automotive Dealerships

New car dealerships use factory key codes to cut and program replacement keys and key fobs for the vehicles they service. Dealership prices tend to be on the higher end – $50-$150 per transponder car key copy. But they maintain the equipment and software needed to duplicate modern vehicle keys.

Pros: Specialized for the vehicle make, often same-day service

Cons: Limited to their own brands, higher costs than locksmiths

You might also like our articles on the cost of lock rekeying, Minute Key services, or key copying at Lowe’s.

DIY Key Copying: Machines and Kits

Self-service key duplicating machines found at some home improvement stores allow you to copy basic keys yourself. These machines cost around $8-$20 per key, but let you skip waiting for store employees. DIY key impressioning kits are available for $15-$50, but take practice to use properly.

Pros: Convenience of self-service, good for spare copies

Cons: Only suitable for simple keys, unpredictability of DIY kits

Additional Services and Hidden Costs

Key With Do Not DuplicateBe aware of extra fees beyond the base key copy cost:

  • Service/shop fees – $10-$40 on top of duplication prices
  • Programming charges – $10-$100+ for electronic and transponder keys
  • Express/emergency fees – Extra for rush service, emergency calls

Also factor in key pickup, delivery charges, sales tax, and discounts like AAA and AARP membership perks. Considering the total cost, not just the copy fee, ensures accurate budgeting.

Saving Money on Key Duplication

Here are tips to save money when copying keys:

  • Compare prices between local businesses to find the best rates
  • Buy in bulk if you need multiple copies – shops often discount bulk key orders
  • Use coupons and loyalty programs for discounts from retailers like Home Depot
  • Join membership clubs like AAA for 10-15% discounts from locksmiths
  • Buy blank keys online and have copies made locally to save on blanks

Avoid choosing services only based on the lowest advertised fees. Incredibly cheap duplicated keys may be lower quality and less reliable than those from professional, reputable businesses.

Final Words

Understanding the differences between key types and key copying services helps estimate costs. Simple metal keys cost just a few dollars to duplicate at hardware stores and kiosks.

Vehicles with electronic keys require professional-grade equipment only dealerships and automotive locksmiths provide, for $15-$100 per copy. Specialty services for high-security and restricted key duplication also demand higher prices but deliver quality copies.

With this knowledge, you can pick cost-effective vendors for your specific key copying needs and budget. Getting quotes from multiple businesses ensures you don’t overpay. A few dollars saved means extra keys for your peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are car keys so expensive?

Car keys are expensive – $50-$300 per copy – because of the advanced technology built into them. Features like transponder chips, remote unlocking, and programming make modern car keys far more complex than old metal keys.

It requires specialized, expensive equipment to duplicate them. The overall prices of keyless entry systems from automakers lead to higher fob and transponder key costs.

How much is the most expensive key?

Luxury car keys can cost several hundred dollars to replace. For example, replacing one smart key for a current Mercedes-Benz S-Class has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of around $500.

Some ultra-high-end vehicles have keys with production costs exceeding $700. These expensive keys incorporate advanced electronic systems and security measures that raise prices.

How much does a Ferrari key cost?

Ferrari keys cost $400-$700 each to replace directly through a dealership. Each key contains electronics like an immobilizer chip and remote functionality for keyless entry and start.

Ferrari relies on proprietary key blanks and programming only available at authorized dealerships, keeping costs high. Independent auto locksmiths can often copy Ferrari keys for 10-30% less than dealership prices.


  • Transponder Key: A key with an electronic chip inside to communicate with the vehicle’s security system. Required for starting the engine.
  • Key Fob: A wireless remote that locks/unlocks the car. May also have buttons to open the trunk, activate alarms, etc.
  • Laser-Cut Key: Keys with unique grooves and cuts made by precision lasers instead of traditional machines. Offers enhanced security.
  • RFID Key: A key with radio frequency identification technology. Can unlock doors when close to the car without pressing buttons.


ALOA – Associated Locksmiths of America

Consumer Information on Key Duplication from the FTC

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