Sam Walton opened the first Walmart in Arkansas in 1962 to help people save money on everyday goods and services.
Walmart offers some cool tech-related services that weren’t around when the store began in the ’60s.
However, people still need simple services, like making an extra key for a house, car, trailer, boat, vacation home, Airbnb, or for another reason.
But, can you make a key at Walmart?
Does Walmart Make Keys?
Yes, Walmart customers can make their own duplicate keys with an existing key.
The only exception is for keys that are clearly labeled, “Do Not Duplicate Keys.”
These types of keys are protected for security clearance reasons or for special uses like prisons, institutions, and other high-security areas, armored vehicles, heavy construction vehicles that require a special license to drive, and the like.
There are key duplication pop-ups called MinuteKey kiosks within most Walmart stores.
It’s best to call the store nearest you to verify that it has a key-cutting service before you go.
That way, you can look for alternatives if you live near the rare Walmart that doesn’t offer this simple service.
Also, if you’re trying to duplicate a car key with a microchip inside, you won’t be able to make a copy of it at one of Walmart’s key kiosks.
Those keys must be retrieved from a car dealership or a special service center that deals with computerized keys.
More and more keys have computerized components these days, so if it isn’t a simple house key, you may need to visit another provider to duplicate it.
What Type Of Key Do I Need?
There are around ten different key types:
- Flat-fronted key: Usually used in traditional tumbler locks. This key type is used for many older model cars, office cabinets, and front doors to homes or offices.
- Dimple keys: This key is similar to a flat-fronted key with the addition of a small dimple. It has similar cuts in the long portion of the key, but also small indentations.
- Corrugated keys: These keys are also used in tumbler locks but look more jagged. They’re also used for vending machines, cash registers, and padlocks.
- Tubular keys: As the name suggests, this key is cylindrical in shape and is used for many different types of locks. It is most commonly used for older homes, lockboxes, and other types of locks.
- Sidebar keys: These keys are most often used for bank safes and high-security vaults. You won’t always be able to make a copy of this type of key because they are often marked “do not duplicate.”
- Skeleton keys: These keys are popular in Europe and consist of a long body with sections jutting out to fit a lock. They look very much like the bones of a skeleton, thus the name.
- Double-sided keys: This is one of the most popularly used keys because it can fit so many lock types. There are grooves or indentations on both sides of the key.
- Mixed key: A mixed key is similar to a double-sided key but the “cuts” in the key are made so that they don’t fit most typical locks. This isn’t a commonly used key but most Walmart key kiosks can still duplicate this key type.
- Jagged key: This key purposefully takes a little wiggling in a lock to open, since it is cut to be jagged and to slip into a lock with a little maneuvering, ideally to make the lock a little harder to open.
- Spool key: This type of key is used only in spool locks. Spool locks aren’t used in many houses or cars, so you may not need to make a duplicate of this key type.
What’s The Cost For Key Duplication At Walmart?
Key duplication is beyond affordable!
The cost for key duplication ranges from $2 to $12 at Walmart, depending on the type of key you need to make, and the duplicate key type you choose.
Some keys offered for purchase are colorful so that they stand out from other keys on your keychain.
Some keys are the typical silver, bronze, or gold color, but you can purchase slip-on key tags or differentiators to keep all the keys on your keychain from becoming a jumbled, confusing mess.
The head of the key might be a different shape, too, than the original, with an oval, squared, or rounded edge on top.
As long as the teeth of the key are cut to be the same as the original, you should be able to open the intended lock or door.
Three Reasons You Need Extra Keys from Walmart
There are many reasons people need extra keys from Walmart.
The most common one is to avoid having to call a locksmith.
Lockouts can be very inconvenient, especially in inclement or extreme weather or if you live or work in a remote area.
Most people can also think of other things they’d rather spend several hundred dollars on.
- Lockouts are expensive. While there are many locksmith services available, they can be very costly. Forbes magazine reports that locksmith services can cost anywhere from $75 to $800. That’s reason enough to get an extra key made at Walmart for a few dollars.
The average cost is $165 to unlock a car door, and if you need someone to rescue you in the middle of the night, it can cost at least $300. If a locksmith is already booked for the day or evening, they are likely to charge you even more. If your lock-out was due to someone stealing your keys, you’d also have the extra expense of redoing the locks. The cost of replacing a lock for a car or a home can vary tremendously from a few hundred dollars to thousands.
- Lockouts are inconvenient. It can often take several hours to service an area that is far removed from a major city. If you live in an urban area, you can often find a locksmith on-demand, but wouldn’t you rather instead just make an extra key so that you don’t end up waiting hours outside your home or car trying to get back in? If it’s the heat of summer or the deepest cold of winter, you’re going to feel like every second of waiting for a locksmith is an eternity, too.
- Lockouts can be avoided. There’s an opportunity cost for every mistake we make in life. Sometimes we need to have extra keys made because they are stolen, which is entirely out of our control. Other times, even if we lose a key due to absentmindedness, having an extra key tucked away can prevent extra cost, time, and hassle.
Having an extra key made at Walmart can save you the opportunity cost of doing something much more fun than sitting around waiting for a locksmith to arrive on a Saturday night when you could be out laughing with friends at a sports game, or tucked inside, cozy on your sofa watching your favorite sitcom.
How Much Time Does It Take To Get A Key Made At Walmart?
If you head to a Walmart in a busy city during peak hours, you’ll spend more time waiting in line than actually getting your key made.
If you time it just right, though, it takes less than three minutes to cut most keys.
If you’re really pressed for time, you can schedule your key cutting while you shop for other household items or groceries so that you can multi-task.
Walmart’s sales associates at the key kiosks are more than happy to help make your keys while you purchase dinner or even get your tires rotated at a Walmart that also has an auto service center.
Does Walmart Guarantee That A Duplicate Key Will Work?
There are instances when you get a key made and it doesn’t quite fit the lock of the house, office, boat, or car that it was meant to open.
Walmart will either give you your money back or try making the key a second time from the original.
When a duplicate key made at Walmart or another hardware store doesn’t work, it’s usually for one of the following reasons:
- The key is damaged. The key used to cut the copy was slightly warped, rusted, or covered in any additional substance like a sticky price tag that wasn’t completely removed.
- The blank is wrong. An incorrect blank was used to cut your new key. Key blanks usually have a short number on the head of the key to indicate what key type it is. If the wrong number was used to make your blank, you may have trouble fitting it in a lock.
- A duplicate key was made from a duplicate. A key copied again and again will start to lose integrity over time. The machines used to cut keys are very precise, but very slight changes to the angle, or the cuts in a key repeatedly can cause a key to not fit the original if it is copied too many times.
- The key cutting machine needs to be serviced. After heavy use, any machine needs to be serviced. This goes for everything from cars to sewing machines to key-cutting machines. If a key cutting machine hasn’t been calibrated and serviced in a long time, it can start to spit out keys that are just less than perfect, and therefore don’t fit in locks as they should.
Why Choose Walmart Over A Hardware Store For Making Keys?
If you want VIP service and the assurance that your key will fit your lock exactly when you make a duplicate, you can entrust a locksmith to make your key.
There are both drawbacks and benefits, though, in comparison to getting your own keys duplicated at a store:
- You have to trust that the locksmith won’t make additional copies of your keys and give them to someone else.
- You will pay a lot more for a locksmith to make your keys rather than making them yourself.
- There may be instances where you need a locksmith because the keys being duplicated are for a computerized, smart home, a safe with a complicated lock, or some other lock that doesn’t easily take a standard key cut from a blank at a hardware store or Walmart.
- Locksmiths often have the most recent key-duplication technology, for both traditional metal keys, as well as smart keys, or anything in between. However, 90% of the keys people need duplicates for don’t need any fancy technology. They can just be cut easily on a well-calibrated key-cutting machine.
Summing It Up: Why Make Keys At Walmart?
You can choose a locksmith, go to a hardware store, or another store like Walmart to cut a new key, but Walmart’s key cutting services are ideal for roughly 95% of your key duplication needs.
Spending a few extra minutes getting a key cut while you shop for groceries or get your tires rotated the next time you’re at Walmart could mean saving you tons of time, money, and frustration should you lose your keys or accidentally lock yourself out of your home, office, or car.
Making an extra key for yourself and hiding it somewhere discreet or making copies of keys and giving them to a trusted friend or relative who lives close by is an insurance policy should you ever need to get into your home or car because you don’t have your keys for some reason.
Getting extra keys can also be useful if you need to let people other than your immediate family into your home, such as friends who are house sitting or pet sitting while you’re on vacation.
Giving an extra key to maid service, yard service, handyman, or another service provider that you trust can also save you time and frustration if you won’t be home when they are working in your house or yard, or if you are running late and don’t want to make them wait for you while you’re stuck in traffic or picking your kids up from school.
You can always call a locksmith if you lock yourself out of your home or car, but making a phone call to a friend or neighbor with whom you’ve left a backup set of keys is free.
A locksmith is going to cost hundreds, though, instead of the few dollars it will take you to make an extra key or keys for yourself and a family member or trusted friend.
You can also return the favor and hold a set of keys for your friends, children, or neighbors so that you all have an insurance policy should one of you ever misplace your keys.
Having an extra set of keys will also save you valuable time, and prevent the inconvenience of waiting if a locksmith isn’t immediately available where you live or work.
In brief, getting keys duplicated is a smart way to ensure entry into your home or vehicle, even on those days when you’re pulling your hair out, screaming, “Where’d I put my keys?”