Skip to content

How to Easily Pick a Door Lock

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Muhammad Baballe Ahmad, Mehmet Cavas, Sudhir Chitnis, and Zhen-ya Liu.

✓ Verified & Tested Information

How to Easily Pick a Door Lock – A locksmith blog with tips, tricks & tutorials to help you easily pick a door lock.


Learning how to pick a door lock can be a very valuable skill to have. Although it does take some practice, it is much easier than you might think. With the proper tools and some basic instructions, you can master the art of lock picking and open a wide variety of locks in no time. In this article, we will explain the different types of door locks and how to use the different tools to pick them.

Types of door locks

Do you need to pick a lock for your door? There are a variety of differently structured locks that may require different techniques to open. The type of lock you need to pick will depend on the job, and understanding the various types of locks can be helpful when attempting to become a proficient lockpicking hobbyist. Below is an overview of typical lock styles and each type’s particular characteristics.

Warded Locks – These are basic locks with simple keyways consisting of pins, wards, and often only one or two levers. Warded locks are distinctive in appearance due to their raised barriers which prevent most keys from entering the keyway. While these locks have fewer integral parts than other types of locks, they are also easier to pick due to their relatively simplistic design.

Pin Tumbler Locks – Most residential door locks utilize this type of locking mechanism due to its cost-effective design and ease of use for homeowners. In this system, pins located at different heights must be aligned before the plug can be turned and the door opened; when properly aligned by a key’s ridges or “teeth”, these pins move upwards along chambers within the cylinder allowing it to rotate freely as needed. As pin tumbler locks may contain several different sizes and types of pins, they can be slightly more difficult for an amateur lock-picker to open than warded keys.

Disc Detainer Locks – This more sophisticated locking system utilizes flat discs lined up in perfect order; once pushed up in the correct way by a properly fitting key insert,each disc works with one another so that when one moves up another falls into place allowing you entry into a room or building. Disc detainer locks offer superior security against most traditional forms of picking but can still be manipulated using special tools such as decoders or peeling picks if an individual possesses enough knowledge on the matter.

Tubular Lock – A Tubular Lock is usually found on vending machines or bicycle U-Locks; its’ design consists of discs arranged around circular springs rather than linear pins making it much more difficult for even professional hackers and thieves to unlock without specialized tools as mentioned above. Tubular Locks must also resist against various methods such as raking (a technique involving repeated insertion) before access is granted through each disc simultaneously being pushed upwards in perfect order – making it one third harder than any pin tumbler based system around today!

Required tools

Before one can start picking a door lock, it is important to gather all the necessary tools for the job. Depending on the type of lock, some basic tools may include:

-Lock pick set – A set of picks designed to open pin and tumbler locks. Most sets usually contain five or more picks. They come in various shapes, sizes and thicknesses and serve as the foundation of any successful lock picking routine.

-Tension wrench – This small tool helps apply tension to the plug allowing one to find which pins are binding in a pin tumbler lock while they are being picked. It usually comes as a flat or L-shaped piece which can be easily inserted into most locks and can have variations in size depending on where the tension needs to be applied.

-Gravity pick gun – This tool provides faster results when tackling pin tumbler locks with several pins (typically five or more). It uses gravity powered pins that rapidly strike each of the other pins in an attempt to align them for proper entry into the lock plug.

Tools such as these will make it much easier for someone attempting to pick a door lock because it is more efficient than trying to do so by hand alone. Once these items have been gathered, anyone with patience and practice can become an expert at picking door locks quickly and easily with just these supplies!

Picking a Pin Tumbler Lock

Picking a pin tumbler lock is one of the most popular and easiest forms of lock picking. Pin tumbler locks are the most commonly used type of lock and are typically found in homes, offices, and vehicles. Learning how to pick a pin tumbler lock is relatively simple and doesn’t require any special tools. This section will cover the basics of how to pick a pin tumbler lock step-by-step.

Insert the tension wrench

Once you have got the correct tension wrench to match your chosen lock pin, you should insert it firmly into the lower part of the lock on the side you can see, near to the keyhole. This is usually referred to as ‘the plug’. The plug is where all of the pins are located, so it’s important that your tension wrench is placed snugly here in order for you to be able to move and manipulate them within the lock cylinder.

You should be able to feel when it has been inserted properly, as it should fit nicely and easily into position. If this isn’t successful on your first attempt, don’t worry – just flip your tension wrench over and try again until it clicks into place. Once inserted correctly, grip your tension wrench with little pressure – too much pressure may Jam the pins and stop them from moving correctly. This slight pressure supplied by the wrench is what allows you to correctly manipulate each pin individually when inserting the pick.

Insert the pick

The next step in picking a tumbler lock is to insert the pick into the keyway. The purpose of this step is to separate the individual tumblers inside the cylinder and align them into their open positions.

When you first insert the pick, you will likely need to move it left, right and up and down along all of the tumblers until you feel that they are slightly loose or “float”. When all of the pins reach this state, you should be able to hear a clicking sound as they move slightly.

Once you have achieved correct alignment, it’s time to apply some pressure to each pin. Start by pushing each pin up with your pick while using your tension wrench in its corresponding direction. You should feel slight resistance when pushing on each individual pin – if it feels like you’re pushing against a solid wall or it doesn’t move, then start over from step one and make sure that every pin has been aligned properly before applying pressure. If any pins don’t move with pressure being applied, then gently tap them with your pick until they do before continuing onward.

Manipulate the pins

The action of picking a pin tumbler lock is fairly simple, but it can be deceptively difficult at first. The goal is to have all of the pins fit into the shear line, which permits the driver pin to reach the point of complete rotation. This will allow you to turn the plug and open the lock.

When manipulating your pins, you should start from left to right. As you move from pin to pin with your pick, aim for each one ‘just above’ its binding point since that’s where it won’t require much force to set the pin and feel it click when it reaches its peak. You may have gaps in between pins (caused by drivers out of place) and picking these is essential so that all pins can fit into their respective slots.

For completing this step, use a combination of light torque on your pick and slight pressure in order to rigidly hold each driver that are still not set while setting other drivers one-by-one until they all sit in their shear line bound together as one uniform unit. This can be tricky because there is still some finesse required – too much pressure applied might cause some pins not properly set while too little rotating torque might cause other pins fly up out of position again. Keep in mind that practice makes perfect for successfully manipulating a lock’s pins!

Turn the tension wrench

Once the pins are set in the correct position, it’s time to start turning the tension wrench. This tension wrench is inserted in the bottom of the lock and turns as you attempt to turn the lock to the open position. The tension wrench should be held in with slight pressure and should turn as you move the plug, attempting to open it. As you do this, keep applying a little pressure with your tension wrench until it stops. At this point, continue applying pressure on the other side of the plug and attempt to rotate it further until it completely opens. If successful, congratulations! You’ve just picked a pin tumbler lock!

Remember that locks are not all created equal – some may take longer or require more pressure than others. Don’t get frustrated; practice makes perfect! With enough practice and patience, eventually you’ll find yourself becoming an expert at picking locks in no time.

Picking a Lever Lock

Picking a lever lock is one of the most commonly used lock types and one of the easiest to pick if you have the right tools and knowledge. Lever locks have a unique design which can be manipulated using a tension wrench and a pick. With the right technique, it is possible to pick the lock relatively quickly and with minimal effort. Let’s delve deeper into the process of picking a lever lock.

Insert the tension wrench

Using a tension wrench is essential when picking a lever style door lock. This device is inserted into the plug of the lock and applies the necessary force, or torque, to keep the lock cylinder in place so that it does not rotate as you pick it. Once the tension wrench is inserted into the plug, turn it slightly to apply torque, then use your pick tool to locate and activate each of the binding pins inside.

The tension wrench should be held at a consistent angle and only slight adjustments should be made as you work with your pick tool. To get started in practice picking a lever lock, begin by selecting a very small tension wrench. Doing this will make it easier for you to identify binding pins more quickly and understand how each pin interacts with your pick tool. With time and practice playing around with different size wrenches and locks, you’ll find the right walking tension for different locks while becoming an expert at ‘feeling’ what’s happening inside the lock when using your tools.

Insert the pick

After you have selected a pick for your lock, start by lightly inserting the point of the pick into the keyway of the lock. Once it is in, position it so that it’s at an angle which will allow you to access all of the pins in the locks core. Ensure that it is firmly in place and that no portions of the locking mechanism are obstructing your access to any of the pins.

Carefully probe around with the pick until you feel some resistance as each pin setter gives way to further engagement with continual probing. You should be able to feel each pin as its dimensional depth drops, while simultaneously maintaining a slight steady pressure on each pin until they are all depressed and allow for lock cylinder rotation.

When you sense one or multiple pins falling into place within its chamber, shorten your grip on the pick so you can precisely control how deep each pin must go before releasing enough tension to enable easy cylinder rotation. You may find this step challenging for smaller finger movements necessary for deceptively small sized lever locks.

Keep experimenting with various amounts of pressure and angles throughout this operation until eventually all pins are within their respective chamber depths & activation criteria has been simultaneously attained thus allowing both free lock rotation & unlocking of your secured entrance or storage facility!

Manipulate the levers

In order to open a lever lock, the levers must be manipulated in order to separate the locking interface, allowing the shackle or lever arm to move freely. Manipulation of the levers can be done in several ways, depending on the type of lock and its mechanism.

The most common method is to use a tension wrench in order to apply gradual pressure on one lever while manipulating another with a pick. It is important that both levers are worked simultaneously in order for them to line up correctly for unlocking the door.

Additionally, there are specialized tools designed for the purpose of manipulating lever locks such as picks designed specifically for this type of lock and various ‘rake’ tools that can help simplify the process. When making use of these tools, it is important to ensure that only light pressure is applied when manipulating each lever – excessive pressure may damage or misalign parts rendering it impossible or difficult to open afterwards.

Turn the tension wrench

Turning the tension wrench into the bottom part of the lock is the next step in picking a lever lock. For typical lever locks, inserting tension wrench should be done quickly and lightly to retain a conical shape instead of a straight one. Your free hand should be able to feel for when the main pin sets. If it does not happen quickly, it might be necessary to remove the tension wrench from the lock and try again, as too much torque can cause damage or jamming of a lever lock.

Once inserted into the plug hole in an appropriate amount of torque, try turning either direction with added pressure until you can feel when all levers have opened up or you hear clicks. Depending on the depth and quality of each specific ward or pin stack, different levels of speed or dexterity might come into play until you hit that right note and your drop springs open! However, this method isn’t foolproof and could take some practice before opening successfully on first attempt – so consider carefully if professional assistance is needed when attempting to pick a door lever lock without supervision.

Picking a Wafer Lock

Picking a wafer lock is a technique of lock picking that is often used when a person wants to open a door without a key. Wafer locks are cylinder locks that are made up of flat, thin pieces of metal called wafers. This method of picking a lock is relatively simple and can be done with a basic lock pick set. This article will go over the steps of how to pick a wafer lock with ease.

Insert the tension wrench

Inserting the tension wrench is the first step in picking a wafer lock. It is a thin metal tool that looks like a tiny screwdriver and has two ends. The tip of the tension wrench should be placed inside the keyhole at the bottom of the wafer lock and twisted in either direction to create tension and move pins within the lock chamber. The tension should be constant, but it should not be excessive or you may break the lock.

Once you have inserted the tension wrench, you will need to insert a pick – usually an adjustable-tip pick or a larger rake-like one. This tool is designed to engage with each pin in order to line them up properly so that they move together when the pressure from your tension wrench is released. Engaging each pin requires some skill and practice, but once done properly, your wafer lock will open quickly and easily!

Insert the pick

Now that the wafer lock has been lined up, the pick needs to be inserted into the keyhole. With consistent pressure, push the pick until it reaches the barrel of the lock. Once inside, begin to search for each individual wafer in order to test their movement and disable them one by one. To do this, try sliding each pick from side-to-side and back-and-forth as far as it goes in both directions. The goal is to find out which wafers are out of alignment or failing to engage with the pins and take note of which wafers are difficult to move or do not slide at all.

Manipulate the wafers

Once you have identified the type of door lock, the next step is to manipulate the wafers inside. Wafers are located between the plug and the cylinder of a lock and it’s important to remember that some wafer locks use lots of wafers while others may only have a few. To manipulate the wafers, you’ll need to make sure that all the wafer heights are flush with one another in order to unlock the door.

The two most common methods used to manipulate a wafer lock are raking and single pin picking. Rake picking is when you apply tension against the pins while running a key or other tool along them very quickly in an attempt to jostle them into alignment. Single pin picking is more precise and involves manipulating each pin separately until it’s aligned with its shear line. Both methods can take some time and practice, so be patient as you learn how to pick a door lock using wafer mechanisms!

Turn the tension wrench

Turning the tension wrench is an essential part of picking a wafer lock. This small, U-shaped piece of metal should be placed into the lock’s keyhole and turned slightly when picking a wafer lock. The objective is to create friction by pressing down on all the pins inside the lock simultaneously. Once you feel even pressure on all pins at once, you can start to look for the most pin with a hook or rake tool. As you progress through each of the pins, continuing to apply pressure with the tension wrench can make it easier to turn each one. When all pins are in their proper position, they will produce an audible click as you rotate them and eventually turn the cylinder completely, unlocking the door.


In conclusion, picking a door lock is a challenging but ultimately rewarding process. It takes patience, skill, and practice to master the technique of lockpicking a closed door. With the right tools, some patience and an understanding of the workings of locks and tumblers, most amateur locksmiths can learn to quickly break into any lock. However, remember that lockpicking should always be used in a legal manner. Don’t attempt to pick locks which don’t belong to you; it is illegal and punishable by law. Always consult with your local security expert before attempting any type of locksmithing activity.

How to Easily Pick a Door LockCheckout this video:

Share this Article