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Are All Vending Machine Keys the Same?

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Is There a Universal Key that Gives Access to All Vending Machines? 

The first thing you need to know is that there is no such thing as a universal key that will open all machines.  For security purposes, vending machine keys are all keyed differently.  The locks on these machines can only be opened by a key that has a compatible "key code".  Key codes are what distinguish one key from another.  There is no key on the market that is compatible with all key codes.

Types of Vending Machine Keys

The most common vending machine keys are either tubular or flat.

The tubular version, sometimes referred to as a barrel key, has a hollow, cylindrical shaft with grooves of varying length cut into the exterior surface at the end of the shaft. These grooves cause the pins in the lock to slide to the end of the groove and open the lock.

Close up view of Ilco tubular  or cylindrical bladed key

The flat key looks like your typical house key and can have teeth on one or two sides, the latter being more secure.

Close up view of Beaver flat bladed key

The Carousel Gumball machine is a unique case as the traditional lock and key sets for these machines are no longer being produced.  Instead Carousel Industries has replaced the lock with what is known as a "screw lock".   

                                     Lid for a Junior Carousel that shows a screw lock that can be opened with a coin or screw driver

               These screw locks can be opened with a flathead screwdriver.

Which brands use which type of key?

  • Titan / V-Line -Tubular
  • LYPC - Tubular (previosly flat)
  • Beaver - Both flat & tubular
  • Wizard - Tubular
  • Roadrunner - Flat
  • Carousel - No key required (opened with a flathead scewdriver)

Key Codes

The way to tell keys apart is by determining the key code.  Key codes are usually a combination of numbers and letters, for example 'T-008' and 'B230'.  These codes are typically found on the front or side of the key.  It is important to note that the key code can only be found on the original key itself.  Unfortunately, the number stamped on the lock face is not useful and will not help you determine which key code is required. 

Pictures of 2 keys showing their key codes   

Key codes are distributed randomly across the country, it is especially important to randomize codes sent to the same region as to prevent end users in the same area from having the same key.  In some cases, users with multiple machines will request to have their machines keyed alike so that they may use a single key to access all of their machines.

What if I lost the original key or what if I don't know my key code?

Often times, vending machine owners are unable to determine their key code as the original key has gone missing or they bought a machine secondhand and it did not come included with a key.  Many times this happens when machines are purchased from places such as the internet, swap meets, thrift stores, or garage sales.  Do not worry though!  You will still be able to use this machine.  What you will need to do is remove and replace the lock that is currently installed.  We have detailed instructions on this procedure at the following link: 

How to drill out a lock on a gumball/candy machine


Once the lock is removed.  You will then need to purchase a new lock & key set for your machine.  Install this new lock, and gain access to your machine by using the key that came included in the set.

Where to Buy a Replacement Lock & Key Sets

We offer a comprehensive selection of gumball and candy machine lock & key sets at the following link:

Click to shop for gumball machine lock & key sets

You can view our entire selection of vending machine replacement parts at the link below:

Vending Machine Parts

If you have additional questions in regards to gumball machine locks and keys, give us a call at (800) 260-0010 or send an email to

Comments on this post (3)

  • May 16, 2023

    I do not know the name of the company who has a gumball machine on my property. They are not a local company inland come from another city, but I don’t know where or the company name but they have not been back to service machine in four years. Do I consider this as abandoned?

    — Connie

  • Apr 04, 2023

    I have a Carousel gumball machine with the following numbers: No.87, B 001149. I did not see this number on the list given online. Any info available on this model. It measures 14-15 inches high. Thank you.

    — john gargiulo

  • Dec 20, 2021

    I have a gym all machine made by yall and I would like to know how old it is. The sticker on the back says NO. 95 Junior and the number under that says 031920. Is there any way I can get information on my machine?

    — Faith Prudhomme

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