Locksmithing/Keyway C or K?


Thank you in advance for your attention. Sorry if this question has been asked before. I have looked over this site and the web. I'm researching entry door handle sets. Under the specifications it has: keyway k or keyway c. What is the difference?

Also is the SmartKey (Side-Locking Bar Mechanism) deadbolt better than the  pin-and-tumbler locking mechanism?

I didn't realize there was so much to choosing a door knob for your front and back door! Never had a choice. I am replacing my front and back doors with new "complete" door kits. No daylight shining from around the door seams. So the need for new handles. So much info online my head is spinning. I do want a grade deadbolt. Found a few online I would be interested in but found this keyway c or k thing. I think c in for the pin-and-tumbler and the k is for the SmartKey.

Thanks again for your time.


Hello Melodie,

I know you are already overwhelmed but in order for me to assist you I felt the need to explain some things to hopefully help you figure out what is best for your doors and your family.

Keyway generally refers to the milling of the key, that is, the grooves in the key.  Each keyway is different from the next although some manufacturers have ones that are similar to each other but not exactly the same.

Whether or not what you found is referring to the actual keyway is hard to know unless you can provide a manufacturer name, link to the product or something else that would help me determine what the description is referring to.

The most common keyways in the US are Schlage C or E, Kwikset KW1 (might be known as K but this could also be another Schlage) Kwikset KW10 or KW11, Weiser WR3 or WR4 and possibly a few others but those would mostly be used more on commercial applications.

SmartKey = the second dumbest idea for locks since the invention of locks.  They are easily bypassed by anyone with knowledge of this thing called YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-9YNcnegjY).  Anyone can open the lock, rob your house, leave and lock the door back and you'd have no idea how they got in, neither would the police or the insurance company unless they were to have a forensic locksmith disassemble your SmartKey lock.  Once this method of bypass is used you can no longer rekey the lock, ever, and now that it's broken, it's easier for anyone to get in - and your key still works it.

Stay away from SmartKey locks!  You can easily tell if it is one.
1. It's a Kwikset;
2. It has a little slot next to where the key goes in.

SmartKey is technically not a side locking bar or sidebar lock, it's a wafer lock that will cause nothing but headaches.  Sidebar locks for homes or businesses have standard pins and an actual bar that prevents the lock from turning without the proper key being inserted.  The key must have the proper cuts for the pins as well as a side milling for the sidebar pins.

ASSA (http://www.assalock.com/en/site/assalock_com/Products2/?groupId=1369768&productI), Medeco  (http://www.medeco.com/en/site/medeco/Products/) and others use this to add to the security of their locks.  They are great at preventing most methods of bypass and they keys are restricted meaning only someone on the signature list can get copies made and only locksmiths have access to those key blanks, not any hardware store, home center or wal-mart can get them.

When you say 'handles' that could be different things.  Do you mean levers, knobs or handlesets?

A lever lock is one where the part you grab to actuate the door is horizontal and parallel to the door face.  You generally press down on levers to open them.  This is a standard leverset or lever lock: http://www.jmlock.com/kwikset-maximum-security-tustin-entry-leverset.aspx

A knob lock is generally the shape of a tennis ball, a squished tennis ball, a tulip (like the flower), an egg or possibly a few others depending upon brand.  This is a knob lock: http://www.jmlock.com/kwikset-hancock-entry-lockset.aspx

A handleset is a curved piece of metal that is connected at the top and bottom of the assembly and has a section in the middle that is away from the door which allows your hand to fit under it, grabbing it then you press down with your thumb on a piece that actuates the lock mechanism.  Most handlesets do not have a locking function, that is accomplished via a deadbolt lock mounted above the handleset.  Here are some handlesets: http://www.kwikset.com/products/categories/handlesets.aspx

The above links are for Kwikset locks.  Those are one of the most common brands but if you decide upon Kwikset, again stay away from SmartKey versions of those.  Hardware stores and home centers have these locks but they will all be SmartKey.  Go to a locksmith shop to get ones without it.  Kwikset is the only brand that has SmartKey so if you choose a different brand you'll have no need to watch out for it.

You said you want 'a grade deadbolt' but unfortunately I don't know which grade.  Grades are 1, 2 & 3.
Grade 3 is residential duty designed for minimal use, no abuse.
Grade 2 is commercial duty designed for about 50-200 times per day use with minimal abuse.
Grade 1 is institutional and is designed for hundreds of uses per day and will generally withstand excessive abuse.

By abuse I'm referring to the way that some people use locks.  They see a door lever and force it down.  They see an exit device/panic bar and force it in.  They see a door and push hard.  They don't care about the abuse they are putting out.

The higher the grade the better the quality materials, the longer it lasts in most situations and the tougher it is to bypass, generally.

I think I'd recommend to you a Kwikset Grade 1 Deadbolt - http://www.jmlock.com/kwikset-980-single-cylinder-deadbolt-brass.aspx (available in other finishes) or the Schlage Grade 1 - http://www.jmlock.com/schlage-b60-single-cyl-deadbolt.aspx also available in other finishes.

These locks are rated at Grade 1 residential which is confusing even to me but they are made with quality materials and from what I can tell they will last a long time in residential settings providing you and your family with years of security.  Just make sure they are installed correctly.

I hope I didn't cause more head spinning.
Let me know if I need to clarify anything for you or if you have further questions.



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I do not answer Safe or automotive questions. Period. I am knowledgeable in almost every area of Locksmithing. This includes locks, keys, lost keys, residential and commercial lockouts, rekeying, masterkeying, high security locks, access control, electric locks, security cameras and home safety. I have been running an online business since 2004 where I sell all types of lock and security hardware to everyone from apartment renters to business owners to the US government. Before that I started a locksmith service in 1999. I deal with many types of security equipment including high security safe locks, heavy duty padlocks, exit devices, biometric readers, electric strikes, magnetic locks, full surface hinges and I only sell what I personally stand behind 100%. The online business has given me a more in-depth look at the locksmithing industry, helping me to learn more about each and every product that I offer, as well as products I don't have but end up finding for customers to solve any issues they have with security or door hardware.

Please don't submit any automotive or safe questions as these aren't areas that I can help in.


I have been Locksmithing since 1999 and own my own Locksmithing business. I have many years of hands-on experience through the many services I have performed for my customers. I've run my business the way I wanted, treating everyone as I would like to be treated and knowing that any customer could be my last if I didn't perform my locksmithing duties as I had promised.

I have a diploma in Masterkeying, Advanced Locksmithing & Locksmithing from Foley-Belsaw.

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