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Tubular Keys... EVERYTHING You Want to Know

Tubular Keys... EVERYTHING You Want to Know

If you work with locks and keys, for sure you’ve confronted a tubular key or lock. I'm not talking about the tubular 70s vibe, I'm talking about keys that are shaped like a tube. They are commonly used on vending machine locks, bike locks, and many other types of locks. And if you have questions about tubular keys, these bits of information are for you!



The image above has four part numbers (1136S, 1137B, 1137S, and L1137) of three different sizes. You’ll notice that there is a letter at the end of part numbers 1136S, 1137B, and 1137S. These letters do not imply sizes Big and Small, instead, these letters tell us what the cutting part of the tubular key is made out of. Meaning to say 1136S is made out of steel and 137B is made out of brass. Part number L1137, the largest version, is made out of steel but doesn’t end with S and there is no explanation for that. Be mindful of the letters at the end of the part number when ordering one because that is where a lot of confusion comes from.


The image below highlights the outside diameter (OD) and the inside diameter (ID) of each one of these keys. By using this inside and outside diameter information, you can measure the outside diameter opening and the inside diameter opening and make sure that you're ordering the proper key. You can also this principle to measure an existing key that you have if you don't have any to compare it to. 



Typically, whether it's an SC1 or SC4 five-pin, six-pin, or a seven-pin, they're going to be different in length. Well, in the case of tubular keys, you use the same exact key for both seven and eight-pin keys. They're the same key and the difference is the spacing on the key itself. 


  • By far the most popular size is 1137, so if you're going to stock choose the 1137B or S. Along with that, a lot of times, other manufacturers and us refer to that key as the 137B or the 137S or you'll even hear a 136B. So, if you hear someone talking about 137B or 136S something like that, they're referring to these keys. 
  • Because we cut keys, our cutters go dull and we have to buy new ones. I highly recommend ordering the 1137B, the brass cutting part so that your cutter will last longer. 
  • And lastly, if you find yourself cutting a lot of these tubular keys, in particular, the 137B, ensure that you're ordering the part number HPC- 137B. It's a 50-pack at an extreme discount over buying keys in a 10-pack.

I hope this information is helpful! Make sure you download the PDF on these tubular keys. I would love to know your thoughts in the comment section of our YouTube video; make sure that you include the #LockBoss to automatically get entered into one of five free prizes we give away. Thank you, and we'll see you next time.

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