Types of Keys

Keys are available in many different shapes and sizes dependant on use and security level, here is a guide to the many types.

Single Sided Cylinder

Basic type of key with cut down one side, can only be inserted into lock one way, normally found on domestic doors with cylinder type locks.  When inserted the cuts down one side correspond with pins inside the lock, these are lifted. allowing the key to turn.

Double Sided Cylinder

Similar to single but with cuts on both sides, can be inserted into lock either way, often found on higher security locks and vehicle Keys.  With 2 sets of pins double sided locks are harder to pick. Often found on older cars and motorcycles.


4 sided cross shaped with cut on all four sides, often found on vehicles.  With 4 sides and 4 corresponding sets of pins these locks are harder to pick and more durable.


Long flat blade with cone shaped dimple cuts into the face of the blade at different depths, typically found with 2 rows of pins matching with 2 lines of dimples, 1 on each side of the key.  Regarded as high security locks due to the increased numbers of pins, dimple locks are often supplied with restricted keys.

Vehicle Keys

Suitable for use with Cars, Lorries, van and motorcycles, often double sided for increased security and nowadays complete with transponder.  Car keys can be used to open doors, boot and glove box and also to start the vehicle.


Key fitted with chip that transmits a code to a receiver within the lock, most commonly found on vehicles


With a hollow cylindrical shaft that is normally much shorter than others keys, this seven or eight pin locking system can often be found on Vending Machines, Laptop Locks and small versions on computers.

Skelton / Mortice Key

Standard domestic mortice locks are operated by Skelton / Mortice keys, these are distinguished by their long narrow shaft with bit on the end, the bit is cut to correspond with levers inside the lock, allowing the key to turn and operate the lock.