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How to Pick a Door Lock Without Breaking It

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.

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If you’re looking for a way to pick a door lock without breaking it, then you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to pick a door lock without damaging it, so that you can get into your home or office without any problems.


Learning how to pick a door lock without breaking it is an important skill to have both in the security industry and for general peace of mind. Not only is lock picking an inexpensive way to open doors without a key, it can also serve as an invaluable tool for people who find themselves locked out of their home or vehicle. Lock picking requires patience, the right tools, and practice; however, with skill and practice, anyone can learn how to pick a door lock without breaking it.

When you’re learning how to pick a door lock without breaking it, it is essential to use the correct tools for the job. Lock picks come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on what kind of locks you are picking – from basic pin tumbler locks all the way up to advanced combination locks. The most commonly used lock picks are small hooked probes called “rake picks” and special tension wrenches that apply torque while pressure is applied via precisely shaped rake picks. Additionally, lock picks set will include other specialized tools such as “tryouts” which try out various combinations of pins and tension wrenches designed specifically for various kinds of locks. Additionally, lubrication such as graphite powder or graphite spray should always be used on locks when attempting to pick them – this will help prevent you from damaging or deforming internal parts of the lock while helping maintain security integrity by reducing wear on pins during picking attempts.

Gathering the Tools

Picking a locked door is an art form and requires special tools and delicate handling. Whether you’re a professional locksmith or a DIY enthusiast, there are certain tools and materials you’ll need in order to successfully pick a door lock without breaking it. To begin, you’ll need a tension wrench and a selection of different picks. Let’s explore the tools you’ll need to pick a door lock without breaking it.

Lock Pick

Lock picking is a skill that requires the user to have the appropriate tools in order to gain access to the locking mechanism. Before attempting to pick a lock, you’ll need a few items.

The pick itself is the primary tool for lock picking. It is made of thin steel and has multiple small teeth or bumps at its tip. This is used to manipulate the pins within a lock so that they align properly and unlock it.
A tension wrench (also known as a “tensioner”) may also be necessary, depending on the type of lock you are trying to open. This thin tool provides added torque to a picked pin when they are inserted into a keyway next to each other, allowing them both to stay aligned while turning the pick simultaneously.

If you are unsure of how much pressure should be applied when using your tools, practice with an old or discarded lock before attempting anything on an important security system. Additionally, there are several devices available commercially which can aid in unlocking locks with precision and accuracy, such as specially designed tweezers and torque wrenches that provide exact tension ratings for specific locks.

Tension Wrench

A tension wrench is one of the essential tools when picking a door lock. It is necessary to apply torque to the lock cylinder in order to get the pins lining up properly. One end of the wrench must fit snugly into a hole on the bottom of the keyhole, and move as few degrees as possible. This allows for thin, precise control of torque that’s required to move each pin up and out of its chamber in order to open the lock.

Though this tool is nearly ubiquitous with any lock picking set, DIYers may be able to fabricate their own tension wrench from a paper clip, wire or even an old pocket knife blade. However, it’s important for would-be locksmiths looking to work without destroying property or endangering safety that they purchase professional-grade tension wrenches designed specifically for lock picking. The smooth and consistent shape will allow more precise control over torque while attempting to unlock any door handle.


A paperclip is one of the most common tools used to pick a lock. It’s cheap and easy to find, making it an ideal choice for picking locks without breaking them. Although some people may think that it’s too flimsy or that it has a higher chance of slipping or slipping off the tool, paperclips are actually very reliable for this type of work. They also come in different sizes and shapes, which can make them easier to use for many applications.

To use a paperclip to pick a lock, start by straightening the paperclip out as much as possible before attempting to slide it into the lock. Make sure that you insert the straightened part first so that you don’t slip out at any point during your efforts. Once inserted, gently move the paperclip around in circles until you feel it hit something inside the lock (most likely an internal pin). Try to press gently with even pressure so that you don’t accidentally break any parts while using your tool. Continue moving around until you hear a click or other sound indicating that you have successfully opened the lock.

Preparing the Lock

Before you can pick a door lock without breaking it, you need to prepare the lock. This includes collecting the necessary tools, such as a tension wrench, pick, and rake. You also need to make sure you have a steady hand and plenty of patience. Once you’ve collected the tools and prepared yourself, you can begin the process of picking the lock.

Identifying the Lock

Choosing the right lock can help reduce the amount of time spent attempting to pick a door lock, as well as increase your chances of successfully using a picking tool. Before attempting to pick a door lock, it is important to identify what type of lock you are trying to pick.

The most common types of locks come in five varieties – pin tumbler, lever tumbler, wafer tumbler, dimple key and disc detainer locks. Pin tumbler locks are typically seen in residential use with both single and double cylinder configurations being used. Lever tumbler locks often have only one cylinder configuration and are designed for commercial use. Wafer tumbler locks looks similar to pin tumblers but have a different internal configuration which adds complexity if you are attempting to pick them by hand. Dimple key locks are also common for residential use and should not be confused with disc detainer locks which require specialized tools or knowledge in order to operate them properly.

It is advisable that anyone who is attempting to pick a door lock take the time necessary to identify the type of lock they are dealing with before proceeding with any type of picking tool or method. By taking the time to choose the right equipment or technique for the job at hand, you can reduce the risk that you will damage both your tools and your door’s locking mechanism during an attempt at unlocking it without prior authorization from an authorized source.

Applying the Tension Wrench

Applying the tension wrench is the first step in picking a pin-and-tumbler lock. The tension wrench is inserted into the keyhole along with a pick – usually either a hook or a diamond – and pushed to the back of the lock. Applying pressure against this mechanism forces the pins upward, which allow you to move them out of their positions and unlock your door.

Make sure you choose a tension wrench that fits comfortably in your hand and that is long enough to reach down into the keyhole while you are applying force to it. You can purchase special picks to help guide your tools around inside of the lock, but you can also make these at home with simple materials like paperclips, safety pins, and other small objects.

The best way to apply force evenly when picking a door lock without breaking it is by using steady pressure with your wrists as though you were turning an old-fashioned key. For more complex locks, using slight adjustments in increasing pressure might be necessary; however, for most standard pin-and-tumble locks attacking them with constant pressure works best.

Inserting the Pick

Inserting a lock pick into a locked door is the first step for successfully unlocking a door without a key. Lock picking requires a very delicate and precise technique. While it may seem difficult, with the right tools and guidance, you can learn how to master the process of lock picking. In this article, we will focus on explaining how to insert the pick into a door lock so you can successfully open it without breaking it.

Inserting the Pick at the Right Angle

Inserting the pick correctly is one of the most important steps when it comes to picking a door lock without breaking it. You must make sure that you insert the pick into the keyhole at the right angle, otherwise there is a risk of damaging either the lock or the pick itself. Depending on your lock type, you may have to adjust your angle slightly.

When inserting a rigid pick, such as a half diamond, try and angle it towards the top corner of the keyway opening. That way, when tension is applied with your tension wrench, you can push down gently on top of it for better feedback and control. With more flexible picks, like Bogotas and rakes, you should start by angling them towards the center of your keyway opening and then adjust as needed as go along with your picking process.

Be sure to stay aware of which direction you are moving in so that when tension is applied correctly, you do not twist or bend your pick in directions you are unfamiliar with – if this happens during insertion or manipulation then it could do permanent damage to both tools and locks alike!

Moving the Pick in a Rotating Motion

Once you have inserted the pick, move it back and forth a few times, allowing the tension wrench to hold the pins in place while attempting to lift each pin up. Starting at the top of your lock and working downward is often most effective. Using a continuously rotating motion will help you gain better control over each pin as you try to set it. Keep your handle steady while turning the pick clockwise then counterclockwise, alternating between both directions with each pin encountered. Make sure to listen for clicking sounds from within the lock as you perform this process; these are signs that you’ve successfully managed to lift that particular pin up. If a pin does not seem to budge, do not force it- instead retract the pick slightly and try again using a different angle of attack before increasing pressure or continuing with another pin. Eventually one or two pins may become harder than others; continue trying on them until they give way.

Applying Pressure

The most important tool for how to pick a door lock without breaking it is constant pressure. Applying gentle, but consistent tension throughout the process prevents any pins from being bumped out of alignment and helps ensure that you don’t break anything. Insert the tension wrench into the keyhole as far as it will go. Twist the wrench in whichever direction is necessary to apply tension to the key cylinder, then insert a pick into the slot in order to press each pin down individually. Applying pressure with the wrench should make it easier for you to locate and press each individual pin. Continue this process until all of them have been depressed and properly aligned, allowing you to unlock the door. Be aware of changing pressure that may cause pins to be knocked out of alignment and spend extra time carefully manipulating them back into place before attempting again.

Testing the Lock

Picking a lock requires an understanding of the mechanics behind it and, most importantly, a great deal of patience. Before you begin attempting to pick the lock, ensure that no other methods can open the door. These include key bumping and lock bypass techniques. If either of these solutions turns out to be possible, use it instead of picking the lock-certainly a much less arduous endeavor!

Once you’ve determined that your only course of action will be picking the lock directly, unlock your set of picks and look at the different tools included in your kit. The most important elements are tension tools and probes. Tension tools create pressure on the pins inside the lock; this is usually performed by applying pressure on one side while pushing up with a probe tool on the opposite side. Some locksets require replacing existing pins with ones that are much thinner than normal to make room for both tension tools and probes.

Take advantage of any visual indicators contained in your kit as they provide helpful hints as to which tool should come into contact with which lever or pin inside. Be sure to maintain minimal contact when experimenting with each tool; too much contact can break off pieces from even good quality locksets. If you’re still having difficulty getting past a specific latch or pin after several attempts, consider switching strategies or taking a break before going back into it again.


In conclusion, picking a lock without breaking it is possible if you have the right tools and enough patience. To pick a lock, first identify the type of lock to determine which techniques you can use. If the lock is of an older variety, use paperclips and tension wrenches to try the different angles and apply pressure along the pins of the lock to open it. If your lock is of a more modern variety, you will need specific tools like L-shaped locks or cylinder locks and a specialty set of tension tools to try different combinations of pressure. Make sure to practice on lightweight locks or discarded locks first so that you are familiar with your tools and technique before attempting to pick a door lock that needs to remain intact.

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