checking the microphone and webcam

How To Pick A Door Lock With Household Items

How Easy Is It to Pick a Lock?

Your first lock may be tough.

A key works by pushing a pin and spring located within a door lock or padlock in a predefined pattern.

The key is inserted and turned clockwise to lose tension in the tiny springs to unlock.

Lock picking involves a variety of tools to manipulate the pins and springs to gain entry when the correct key isn’t available.

Let’s be clear that the following skills apply to traditional door lock and padlock only. Picking the locks of a biometric door lock that requires facial recognition or fingerprints for activation, is impossible.

On top of this, some locks  are connected to silent alarm systems that trigger whenever someone is attempting through brute force.

Lock picking requires consistent practice to gain confidence and experience. It’s also a fun experience, thanks to the thrill when you finally see the door knob or tumbler lock open.

More helpful reading:


How to Pick a Padlock with a Lock Pick Set

1. Pick among tension wrenches, the small metal with a 90-degree tip bend, and gently plug it. Your tools holds the cylinder locks firmly to prevent movement when manipulating the key pins.

2. Choose a lockpick with a rugged tip, the rake pick, to enter keyhole and plug, while maintaining a grip on the tools. Gently push the rake in and out to move the pins and springs upwards for 10 seconds or less.

3. Take out the rake then turn the tension tools clockwise and your padlock will open in about 10 seconds.

Tip Guide to Optimize Lockpick Set

1. Use a rugged lockpick to engage all the pins. A flat lockpick cannot push the spring-loaded pins attached to the cylinder.

2. Consider practicing with a transparent padlock for a clear picture of how the lock picks engage with the cylinder and key pins.

How To Pick Locks: With Security Pins

As we have already discussed in the Basics of Manipulation section, security pins change the way that manipulation works by adding a layer of additional complexity. It helps to know how to identify when a lock is not opening because of security pins.

Because of how these pins work, they will give the feeling that the driver pins have set above the shear line, but the driver pins are actually jamming between the plug and the bible.

The sensation you feel with a pin that has set in this way gives the misleading lack of spring tension you would associate with a set pin. This is why a security pin that is hung up on the shear line is called a “false set”.

The likelihood of a false set can be increased when pin chambers are threaded or counter milled. This type of precaution creates more ledges in the lock for the security pins to catch on.

The lock will often telegraph why it is not opening. This can be subtle, but if you don’t know what to look for, you are sure to miss it. To pick a lock with security pins, you need to know what type of security pin you are picking.

In the world of locksport, you can get incredibly complicated and unique security pins. Pins such as the pin in pin security pins and hand sculpted designs can create many unique challenges, but there are too many possibilities to address.

I will address the security pins you are most likely encounter, and that should help you to understand the types of approaches you should take when you know there are security pins in the lock you are picking.

Spool Pins

One of the most popular types of security pins you will find are spool pins. These security pins are the go to for most lock manufacturers. They have a capital “I” shape: thin in the middle, with more material on both the top and the bottom.

This shape has the pin catch on the ledge caused by the imperfect pin chamber orientation. The driver pin gets hung up on at the shear line, without ever clearing it, but the spring tension will feel as if it is gone.

When you get a false set with a spool pin, you will be able to see and feel a significant amount of rotation from the plug. This is because the thin part of the spool is allowing for rotation while still jamming between the bible and plug.

Simply lighten your tension and push on the pin so that the pin can squeak past the ridge long enough to not catch on the ledge until it has cleared the shear line.

You might drop other pins as a result of this lessening of tension, or overset a key pin so that it is jammed at the shear line. So be patient and precise.

Mushroom Pins

With the appearance much like that of a mushroom, the “T” shape has a similar effect as the spool pin. However, where the spool has a thin middle, the mushroom pin has a wide middle that slims only slightly as it approaches the “hat” of the “T”.

The resulting slope of the graduated slimming, gets your tension to rotate the plug in order to force a ledge that will catch the “hat” of the “T”.

The rotation of the plug will not be as dramatic, as it happens gradually and not all at once. But even with a different method of detection, they are picked successfully and unsuccessfully the same ways as spool pins.

Serrated Pins

One of the most complicated security pins are serrated pins, which you have probably gathered, are serrated. This means that they are ribbed, getting thin then extending like several spool pins stacked and compacted.

They do not feel all that different during a “false set” than a standard pin does when it actually sets. This makes them very difficult to detect. They might also make other pins feel as though they are binding.

When it feels like other pins are ready to bind, while they are not, the sensation is that you have found the next step in the binding order, but cannot set the next pin.

When everything feels like it should be going right, but nothing is, it is time to start anticipating serrated pins. Then it is time to ease off pressure and work the pins again.

Words of Advice

These false sets are the reason that raking is rarely effective on locks that use security pins. You will need to use single pin picking (described in the How To Pick Locks: The Hard Way section) to address each pin.

This is one of the reasons there is a debate between the effectiveness of raking vs. single pin picking. You can rake the lock to a false set, but then it is time to find the binding order and work with each pin, one at a time.

Remember, when you are working with the pins that you should never remove tension all together. You need to lessen the tension while still maintaining it. And make sure the lessening is not severe.

The more severely you ease off the tension, the more likely you are to drop pins. The more pins you drop, the more time you will need to spend re-picking the lock.

Lock Picking Tools 101

Lock picking tools are often one of the most confusing and daunting parts of getting started in this awesome craft.

But the truth is, you don't need very many tools to get started or progress at lock picking. Even advanced pickers only use a few different picks—even if they own hundreds of tools to choose from.

When it comes to picking the pin tumbler lock, there are only three different types of tools:

  1. Hooks
  2. Rakes
  3. The Tension Wrench

Let's briefly cover each and look at a good beginner set that has everything you need to get a running start at lock picking!

1. Hooks

Hooks are narrow and pointy types of lock picks that are very pinpoint and precise within the lock. This precision makes them ideal weapons for single pin picking where you are required to locate and manipulate one pin at a time.

There are a variety of different styles of hooks t

There are a variety of different styles of hooks that range from different lengths to different shapes. However, all perform the same task of manipulating individual pins one at a time.

The absolute best hook to start with is the standard short hook as shown above!

2. Rakes

Rakes are basically the opposite of the hook. They are typically erratic looking and are designed with a ton of humps and bumps that helps them manipulate as many pins as possible in the shortest amount of time. This makes them ideal for raking where you rapidly and randomly pull them across the pins with the goal of setting multiple pins at once.

Just like the hook, there is a wide variety of rak

Just like the hook, there is a wide variety of rakes. However, all perform the same task of manipulating multiple pins at the same time.

The absolute best rake to start with as a beginner is the Bogota as shown above!

3. Tensioning Tools

Funny enough the most important lock picking tool is one very few non-lock pickers know about.

It's called the tension wrench or turning tool!

The tensioning tool is used to apply torque to the plug and bind the pins. Without this tool, picking a lock is impossible.


Lock picking is an art as old as locks themselves.

And over the centuries, locks have become even more sophisticated. But so have the methods of breaking into them.

Sure, anyone with a paperclip can defeat the simple privacy pop lock on a bathroom door. But a modern deadbolt can prove a formidable challenge for even the best locksmith in town.

With such a variety of lock types on the market, it’s worth taking a look at several of them.

But there are a ton of lock variations out there. The good news is, while, there are many different locks, some are much more common and popular than others.

So, here are the most popular locks, and the ones worth spending time learning how to pick.

1. Pin Tumbler Locks

The pin tumbler lock is the most common lock available today. You’ll find them in key-based padlocks, standard exterior doorknob locks, AND Deadbolts.

So, if you’re interested in gaining access to a range of sheds, warehouses, and most homes, this is the type of lock you’re most interested in picking.

2. Combination Locks

Combination locks are known for their use with gym lockers. They’re often built into school lockers. You’ll also find them on old-style safes.

So, if you lose the secret combination of numbers, you’ll want to learn how to “pick” the combination.

3. Tubular Lock

You’ll find this unique type of lock on smaller containers such as file cabinets or RV compartments.

They are unique in how they work. Thus, they take a special set of tools to pick them. But basically they use the same concept as a pin and tumbler lock but orient the pins in a circular pattern.

Using the Tension Wrench

It's finally time to learn how to use your first tool—the tension wrench!

This little guy does two very important things:

  1. Firstly, it gives you the leverage you need to rotate the plug and create a binding pin. Remember, the binding pin is the key to lock picking.
  2. Secondly, it holds the pins that you lift with your pick above the shear line—much like the key!

Here is how it works!

You begin by placing the tension wrench into the bottom of the keyway and applying a very light degree of force in the direction that the key would turn to disengage the lock—typically clockwise.

Also, by light force, I mean something similar to the amount of force that it takes to press a key on your keyboard. It's that light.

This light degree of force—or tension—is typically

This light degree of force—or tension—is typically enough to create a binding pin. This is where you learn the importance of the binding pin!

See Also: Light vs. Heavy Tension: Benefits & Best Uses

If you take a pick and lift that binding pin to the shear line—or the height that the correct key would lift it to—the bind will break and the plug will continue to rotate ever so slightly until it binds on another pin—the next binding pin.

However, something really cool also happens!

Because the plug slightly rotates when the driver pin passes the shear line, there is a small ledge that is produced by the plug that the driver pin can set on. This is called "setting a pin" and as a result, the driver pin stays above the shear line and out of the plug!

To help fully understand setting a pin, check out the animation below!

So now that we know what we are trying to accompli

So now that we know what we are trying to accomplish inside the lock, let’s get down to it. Take your tension wrench and insert the shorter end into the lower part of the keyhole.

While not always necessary, we sometimes need to determine in which direction the lock opens. To accomplish this apply pressure to the tension wrench clockwise and then counterclockwise. The plug should turn slightly both ways before it stops.

As you rotate the plug both ways, focus on how the tension wrench feels as it stops. If it feels stiff and has little give, this is likely the wrong direction of rotation. Whereas the right direction of rotation will feel mushy and give a little more. Something else to keep in mind is some cheaper locks will open in whichever way you rotate the plug, such as the majority of padlocks.

Once we are aware of which way the plug turns we can begin to put tension on the wrench in that direction.

The amount of tension we exert is key to successfully picking the lock. If we exert too much pressure the pins will bind below the shear line. If we don’t use enough tension the pins will simply fall back into the plug. Developing this feel for the tension wrench is the primary skill involved in picking a lock.

See Also: The Tension Wrench – Everything You Need to Know

A general rule of thumb when using the tension wrench is to use one finger and start with the slightest touch, increasing pressure as you find it necessary. As we apply slight tension to the plug, the binding pin will begin to bind. The next step is to find this pin and push it above the shear line.

With that, let's finally move on and learn our first lock picking technique.

Find out the Pros and Cons of Using a Kwikset Smart Lock Key

Everything comes with good and bad sides; as Kwikset has been one of the leading lock manufacturer brands, you must know both advantages and disadvantages.

How To Pick A Door Lock Step-by-Step

  1. Put the pick inside, it’ll pressurize the corresponding key pin which will descend as the parallel driver pin intercepts the end of the plug. It’ll keep it above the split line mechanism. In knowing how to pick this type of lock, you’ll realize that consistency is key. So, you should continue elevating the connecting key pins with the tension tool until the split line has no obstruction.
  1. According to basic lessons on how to pick a door lock, you’ll need to employ the best rake. The three-ridge pick rake can literally hijack any lock and it’s the least complicated tool to employ. When you’re picking the lock with a rake, you should slide it back until it’s completely engaged.
  1. As you increase the pressure on your tension tool, be sure to keep scrubbing the rake pick back inside the lock’s keyhole chamber. You should rake or scrub the cavity of the split line using the pick as you elevate it unison to pressurize the corresponding key pins.
  1. You should employ this technique until you have reset all the pins. For absolute results, be sure to increase tension on the parallel key pins using the tension tool. While it’s fundamental to employ a reasonable amount of pressure for the pins to reset properly, it’s equally important that you achieve balance. The scrubbing technique is a widely exercised method especially when hijacking pin tumbler designs.

Raking/Scrubbing Method – The Easy Way

The pick rakes usually include a multi-ridge mechanism, which enables you to unlock a series of key pins at once. Have you heard the term “scrubbing” or “raking” used in the context of lock picking? If you’re learning about this the word for the first time, it’s actually a lock picking method. Certainly, it’s not everyone’s favorite, but it’s a widely practiced exercise. It’s popularity is mainly on the basis of its simplistic nature. This guarantees an immediate solution to your lock troubles, but it’s crucial to exercise as a cautionary approach in minimizing unwanted damages.

Grab your torsion tool (tension wrench) as you’ll need it for this how to pick a door lock exercise. With your torsion tool in hand, simply insert it into the lock’s keyhole foot and rotate the cylinder. It’ll be extremely difficult to handle this task without a torsion tool. So, even with all the key picks in the world, hijacking a compromised lock won’t be a trivial exercise if you don’t have the right tension wrench on hand.

Single Pin Picking – Just In Case

You’re not required to hijack it in one go a

You’re not required to hijack it in one go as there’s a specialized pick that allows single pin picking and unlocking too. By far the easiest and quickest method for traditional lock picking is to use a rake. However, if you run into mushroom locks or other sticky situations, you may have to pick each pin individually. When you use this tool, follow the basics of the tensions wrench as you would for raking.

This time however, instead of raking or scrubbing the pick back and forth, instead move the pick down and up, pushing each individual pin upwards until it is seized and eventually exposes the center line, opening the lock.

Why Rekeying Isn’t the Answer After a Break-In

As Anthony says in the video, a lot of homeowners who’ve been robbed choose to rekey their homes, which means to reprogram or replace the cylinders inside their locks and have new keys made for the locks on their doors. Doing this makes them feel safer — they’ve replaced their locks and they feel like they’ve done their due diligence so it doesn’t happen again. 

But that assumes that the person who broke into their homes used a key, and as we can see in the video, there’s really no need for a criminal to have a key to your house in order to gain entry. They can do it in seconds with the lock bumping technique and almost no practice.

If you’re concerned about intruders entering your home, the only solution is to upgrade your security, whether that means getting high security locks that are drill, pick, and bump resistant, or by going all out and getting high security doors. 

If you take nothing else away from this video, please remember that regular locks from the hardware store are not going to keep determined intruders out of your home. They’re easily picked and very flawed. 

How to Pick a Kwikset Smart Key Lock in Different Ways?

You may follow multiple methods to open the smart lock without its key; it may cause damage and leave the safety unusable for further.

How a Key Works In a Lock

All of the components of a lock work together so that they only open with the right key. The idea is that one key opens one lock, but not another. Even if you and your neighbor have the average Kwikset deadbolt or Master Lock #3, you will not have keys that open each other’s locks (or that is the hope anyway).

This is because of how the key works. You insert the proper key for a lock into the keyhole. The key pins (which are different sizes) are raised by the grooves on the key. Both the key grooves and the key pins correspond so that even with the pin stacks having different sizes, they are all elevated to the shear line.

When the wrong key is inserted, a low cut on a key might not elevate the pin stack high enough for the driver pin to clear the shear line. A key groove that is too high, might elevate the pin stack so that the key pin is moved to block the shear line.

Once the pins are on their respective sides of the shear line, there is a gap that allows the plug to turn. You can then turn the key, and the plug will rotate. The rotation of the plug moves a cam or tail piece that retracts a bolt or locking pawl. The lock is then open.

How to Break Into a Keypad Door Lock: FAQs

Can keypad door locks be hacked?

From research, it has been observed that keypad door locks can be hacked if they are not properly set up. The Home Office’s latest figures show that car theft has increased by 50% over the last five years, with around 56,000 vehicles being stolen in the UK each year, many of which are stolen using keyless technology. Furthermore, according to vehicle tracking company Tracker, keyless car theft continued to raise in 2020, with the Range Rover Sport and BMW XF the most popular targets for thieves.

How do you pick a keyless door lock?

To pick a keyless door lock, look for the bypass key or contact the manufacturing company. For prompt resetting of the electronic keyless locks.

How do you unlock a door without a key?

You can proceed to unlock a door without a key through the following options:

  • Picking the lock 
  • Bumping the keys
  • Calling a Locksmith
  • Drilling the Lock

Basic Locksets

How Secure Is It?

A lock’s security is denoted by its American National Standards Institute (ANSI) grade, with Grade 1 the most secure and Grade 3 the least. A builder-quality tubular lock will likely be a Grade 3, a good-quality handleset a Grade 2. Only the most secure deadbolts earn a Grade 1 rating, by incorporating such features as antipick pins, extra-long bolts in extra-tough alloys, and reinforced strike plates with long screws to secure them to house framing. When choosing a lock, get the most security you can afford. Manufacturers don’t always list lockset grade, so you may have to ask. Be skeptical of a lock that boasts Grade 1 “features” — just because it has one or two high-security features doesn’t mean it has earned the ANSI grade.

Stand-alone DeadboltA keyed knob by itself doesn’t offer much in the way of security. So it’s usually paired with a deadbolt. One-cylinder deadbolts unlock with a key on the outside and a thumbturn on the inside. Double-cylinder deadbolts are keyed on both sides. While that provides extra security on doors with glass or sidelights — an intruder can’t smash the glass and open the door — it slows escape during a fire. One solution, required in some places by code, is a double-cylinder deadbolt with a “captive” feature, which prevents the interior key from being removed when the door is locked from the inside.Shown: Medeco captive thumbturn double-cylinder deadbolt, $245

Photo by Ellen Silverman

Entry HandlesetAn entry handleset combines a tubular lockset and deadbolt in one matching set. Instead of a round knob, a thumblatch retracts the lower spring-loaded mechanism. On most handlesets, only the deadbolt is keyed. Some manufacturers offer the option of a keyed thumblatch, which provides a way of securing the door in addition to the deadbolt. Shown: Baldwin, Logan series in Venetian bronze, $305; inset: Kwikset, Gibson in satin nickel, $160

Photo by Ellen Silverman

Method 3: Pick Guns

The Tools That You Need

Pick guns and bumper keys are intricate varieties that require a certain level of expertise to employ them properly. There are two basic types of pick guns, the electric ones and the mechanical ones. The great thing about mechanical pick guns is that they are never going to run out of batteries. The pro about the electric ones is that they can be a bit more dynamic and effective. So, the first and only tool that you need is the pick gun in either form