Are All Vending Machine Keys The Same?

Last Updated on May 19, 2023 by River Tree Farms

The questions ‘are all vending machine keys the same?’ and ‘are vending machine keys universal?’ get many confusing answers. However, the general answer is no. They aren’t. Therefore, no universal key can work on all vending machines. Every vending machine key is different as it is suited for a unique lock. The uniqueness is meant to promote security. A key can only open a lock with a compatible key code. All key codes are unique, and it is impossible to find a key that matches all key codes.

What Are the Different Kinds of Vending Machine Keys?

Are All Vending Machine Keys The Same

There are different vending machine key types; the most common ones are flat or tubular. The tubular vending machine key types have hollow cylindrical shafts, popularly known as barrel keys. Their grooves come at different lengths and reach the outer end of the shaft. The grooves lock the pins in the lock by sliding them to the end, thereby opening the lock.

With flat keys, things are much simpler. They look like regular house keys and may have teeth on one or both sides. Those with keys on both sides offer more security.

Key Codes 

The main difference between vending machine keys is the codes. Usually, key codes are a combination of unique numbers and letters. They may look like ‘A139’ or ‘T-007’. They are clearly indicated at the side or front of the key. Note that you won’t find the key code anywhere other than on the original key. The number on the lock face isn’t helpful and can’t help you find the key code.

The codes are randomly distributed, so users in the same area don’t always have the same one. If you have multiple vending machines, you can request to have them keyed the same way. That way, the same key can access multiple machines.

What to Do If You Lose the Original Key and Don’t Remember the Key Code

If you are like most vending machine owners, you have probably lost your keys at some point. You’ll need a second hand if you cannot find the original key’s code. Second-hand keys don’t come with codes. However, you can continue using your vending machine as usual. All you need to do is change the lock for your safety.

Making a Vending Machine Key

Making A Vending Machine Key

Manufacturers of vending machines have created some of the safest lock systems. Tubular lock systems are popular as they prevent the traditional picking of locks. And key bumping. They limit access to your vending machine’s internal locking mechanism. However, you can duplicate your machine’s key regardless of its locking mechanism. Tubular key duplicators are great for making replacement vending machine keys.

Your machine distributor should be able to give you a replacement vending machine keyset if you lose yours. When in doubt, look for a list of reliable distributors online. You will need to provide the four-digit number on your lock assembly and the model details. You should receive your replacement key in the mail.

Since every key machine uses a unique technique, there are unique processes for making keys. While some machines copy a key and cut a different one simultaneously, others measure a key and replace it with a blank. Key duplicators come with instructional materials to help.

Making Backup Copies

Saving copies of your vending machine keys will save you a lot of money. No matter how careful you may be, making extra copies is always a good idea. You don’t need to worry about downtime when you have a spare. Take care of the original keys and track who can access them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are vending machine locks universal?

No, vending machine locks are unique, each with a unique key. There is no such thing as a universal vending machine key. If you lose yours, the best option is to get a copy from the manufacturer.

What type of key do vending machines use?

Vending machine keys come in two main types: tubular and flat. The difference is in shape and locking systems.

Can a locksmith make a key for a vending machine?

Yes. If a locksmith works on commercial lock hardware, they should be able to make a key for your vending machine. In addition, they can pick the lock open if you lose your keys.

Does a vending machine key work for all vending machines?

For security reasons, all vending machine keys are different. Only a key with a compatible key code can open the machine. It is impossible to find a key that is compatible with all codes.


Are all vending machine keys the same? No. They are not. Your vending machine locks will only open if a key has a compatible key code. The codes are what differentiate keys. Since every key is different, there are no universal vending machine keys.