When a lock is too cheap to lock up anything with

Yesterday I was called out to rekey some locks at a mental health service provider. If locks are in good shape this is a slam dunk and four locks would take me twenty minutes. The locks at this location were not in working order. They were very cheap and not fit for use after only a year. I save used locks to give to the poor but these I pitched directly in the metal recycling bin. I replaced them with generic import locks but of reasonable quality.

The locks I encountered were generic grade 3 locks sold under the brandname Maxtech. These locks have their place. They are useful for low traffic and low security like a storage locker for old paint buckets or an interior door that is only accessed once a month. I cannot recommend these locks for use on a home and especially not on an office used daily by multiple people. They are so cheap that it is difficult to use them, the deadbolt jams and falls apart quickly after installation. The keys that come with these locks are so far off the Schlage standard that they won’t work in a schlage lock without modification.

Usually when I encounter these locks on a home or business it is a sign that a ripoff artist preceded me. If somebody is trying to sell you Maxtech locks for more than $10 each they are probably what is called a locksmith scammer. These locks cost $7-10 each, they are what people used to secure houses with that were foreclosed on in the mortgage crisis. Guys used them because they got paid $50 to drive out to the house, break in, disable all the locks, and then install a new lock on the front door.

Take home is that if some guy tells you they have a great Maxtech lock that is way better than your old lock, don’t believe them unless all you can afford is a $10 lock. If that is the case go to the hardware store and buy a $10 lock there which will probably be better. There may be no worse lock than a Maxtech. Maybe a Tell. There are some really bad ones. I would say I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy but that would be false.

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Bjørn Madsen

I am the Seattle locksmith you've been looking for. High Quality work at a reasonable price delivered in a timely fashion.