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How to Hide a Key (And Keep Home Invaders in the Dark)

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We’ve all been there: you step outside for just thirty seconds to take the trash out, and suddenly the wind slams your front door shut. Unless you happen to be the most well-prepared person to walk planet earth, chances are you don’t have a key on you.

It’s situations like this where the decision to hide a key under the doormat seems like it may have been a wise thing to do after all. This, of course, would be incorrect.

To hide a key successfully takes a little thinking outside the box. Burglars and home invaders know every trick in the book—and the very first chapter of that book is ‘under the doormat’.

Find out all you need to know about how to successfully hide a key while minimizing the risks posed to home’s security, so that the next time the wind decides to shut your front door on you, you aren’t stranded on the porch.

Places You Should Not Hide a Key

So, you want to hide a key but you’re afraid of intruders discovering it. The most important thing when considering where to hide a key, then, is actually where not to hide it. Let’s discover the unsafe spaces to avoid. 


According to Eagle Operators, the mailbox is a highly suspect place to hide a key, and by far most dangerous. Despite it being one of the least safe options, it remains one of the most popular. 

Shockingly, statistics have shown that keys in the mailbox could be responsible for up to 34% of home invasions. That’s over a third of all home invasions. Needless to say, immediately rethink using your mailbox as spare key storage!

Under the doormat

Hiding keys under the doormat is another grievous error many homeowners should avoid. The first place you will likely look for your spare key is under the doormat, or in that rather inconspicuous upside-down flower pot. Yes, gnomes are also a firm ‘no’ when it comes to safely hiding your keys.

Hiding a key under the patio may not be as common as hiding it under the front doormat or in a disused flower pot, but it is still fairly unsafe, since it’s a relatively obvious place which is easy to access. 

In fact, the tendency to utilize ‘easy access’ hiding spots likely increases the chances of the key being found.

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Where Should You Hide a Key?

With that in mind, the question now is, where should I hide my key? Limiting how accessible the key is, even to yourself, will help keep your property safe and the key hidden.

Key Safe 

a keysafe made by master lock
A Keysafe. Image via Amazon

Key safes are one of the few options for key hiding that actually come with the police’s approval. A number of these devices are available on the market, including on Amazon, which has a number of fairly inexpensive options. 

Key safes are especially advantageous because they are wall mounted, meaning, in theory, you could place them so high as to be inaccessible. 

Sure, this might be a little inconvenient for you, but the likelihood of a burglar bothering to struggle up a wall is low, since it is noisy and attracts attention. They are also fairly small devices, making them much more subtle than a regular locked safe and more conspicuous.


Speaking of height, an unconventional but easy way to achieve this is by using a birdhouse. If your property has any tall trees, place the birdhouse inside the tree, or otherwise nail it high up on the trunk. Even if it occurs to a home invader to check somewhere like this, it’s unlikely they will if it isn’t easy to reach. 

Just make sure you also have a means of reaching it, whether that’s an old ladder hidden round the back of the property or a childhood spent climbing trees! 

Hide-A-Key Objects

Realistic looking objects, from simple garden rocks to dog excrement, are a fairly common means of hiding a key. Perhaps one of the more obvious ways is to invest in a hide a key rock. Reddit users recommend using a key hider to safely keep an emergency key. 

Many of these objects are weather-proof, so you can use them all year round. The small ones can comfortably keep keys that are not longer than 2.9 inches and 1 inch in length and width, respectively.

a hide-a-key rock
hide-a-key rock

For a more unconventional approach, a hide-a-key dog poo might be a fun option—and one that’s guaranteed to keep home intruders far away. Again, realism is the key to success here (no pun intended), and this option from the one-stop-fun-shop definitely certainly that. 

Though they are a fairly common option, what’s important is the placement of the objects. Subtle placement is best, but height is better. The higher up the placement can be, the less likely it will be discovered, even if this is somewhat inconvenient for you. 

Likewise, having the object somewhere ‘deep’ within the outside of the property (like up a tree or in the back garden) is best if space permits it.

hide a key in a fake faucet
hide a key in a fake faucet

Adding a Pair of Eyes and Ears

Regardless of where exactly you opt to hide your key, it pays to be realistic about the risks this can pose. By having a key anywhere outside of your property and not on your person, there is always going to be a risk that it is found and used to initiate a home invasion.

That’s why having some kind of home surveillance is a logical next step to ensuring the safety and security of your property.

Recommended Reading: Porch Pirates: 5 Ways To Stop It From Happening To You

AlfredCamera is one such option. By turning your old phone into a fully-functioning security camera, you are able to have another pair of eyes and ears watching over your spare key and your front door.

If someone starts snooping around the stones on the porch, AlfredCamera can immediately alert you through push notifications. Did we mention it’s free?

Download now for iOS and Android devices, and start protecting your home today.


How do I identify the area to put a key-hiding device?

The best place to put a hide-a-key device is in an area that allows it to mimic a natural setting. For instance, you should place the hide-a-key rock amongst other rocks outside of your home. Only choose an item that looks realistic in context. If a garden gnome sticks out like a sore thumb against your ultra-modern front door, don’t use it.

Does it make sense to use multiple key-hiding devices?

According to experts, it will be more convenient for you to use one key-hiding device at a time. Having multiple devices scattered around your home can quickly begin to confuse family members. Not to mention, the more of them there are, the more likely they will draw attention to themselves, especially if they are all wall mounted.

Where do burglars look for keys?

Common places that burglars look for keys include mailboxes, doormats, and flower pots. Also avoid putting your key under your patio furniture or under the garbage bin. As a rule of thumb, avoid places that are close to the ground – the higher up the key is positioned, the more likely the home invader will be deterred, even if it seems fairly obvious to them where it is. Attracting attention is never going to be the aim of a burglar, so if a spare key requires five years of elite gymnastics to even attempt to reach it, they probably won’t bother.


There are clearly quite a few options when it comes to making decisions on how to hide a key outside your home. That’s why it’s best if everyone living in the property is well aware of where the key will be, as this will help prevent confusion and ultimately reduce the risks associated with it.

We also suggest you compliment your key-hiders with other security features. Surveillance cameras, like AlfredCamera, and alarms can act as additional deterrences and allow you to improve your home’s security. 

Hiding a spare key is never going to be a failsafe, 100% secure endeavour, no matter how ingenious a technique you decide upon. If you can avoid it altogether, do so. 

That being said, there are several smart ways you can make your home more secure, especially when you travel out of town, and mounting security gadgets can greatly reduce the risks associated with hiding spare keys.