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How to 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 Pick a Door Lock – In this blog post, we’ll show you how to pick a door lock using a few simple tools.

Understand the Basics

Picking a door lock is a skill that can come in handy in a variety of situations. Before you begin attempting to pick a lock, it is important to understand the basics of lock picking. From different lock types and tools to proper technique, understanding the basics will help ensure your success. In this section, we’ll cover the basics of lock picking so you can be on your way to becoming a master lock picker.

Learn about the different types of locks

Learning how to pick a door lock is essential to be able to gain access quickly and effortlessly. Before picking a lock however, one must become familiar with the different types of locks. As door locks are different on various doors and buildings, the type of lock needs to be correctly identified in order for it to be picked correctly.

The most common types of locks include:
-Rim/Mortise Locks – this type of lock requires a special skeleton key. It operates by using two grub screws that penetrate the latch or deadbolt itself, making it very secure as they are resistant to picking and manipulation.

-Doorknob Lock/Latches – these locks can usually be opened in one motion with a screwdriver, paperclip or pin tumbler pick. The main inner workings of these locks are protected by a covering plate that houses five small pins which prevents access unless the combination is known.

-Deadbolt Lock – this type of lock has become increasingly popular due to its anti-picking capabilities as they normally don’t have any visible lock pins or cylinders which makes them difficult to manipulate with common tools. They consist of two cylindrical pieces driven into a door jamb/frame which requires using both hands simultaneously in order for it to open from either side; one side operates the handle (throwing or retracting bolt) while the other operates the loose cylinder housing that inserts into corresponding notch inside the jamb/frame hinges.

-Padlocks – these locks come in many variation but typically consist of four main components – shutter mechanism, shackle, body and cylinder assembly; typically made up from chromium plated or brass steel material for maximum strength and durability making them extremely difficult to pick without specialized hire tools such as specially designed keys, tension wrenches and key extractors specifically built for padlock manipulation.

Understand the mechanics of a lock

Before you can pick a lock, it is important to understand the basic mechanics of a lock and how they work. A typical pin and tumbler lock consists of a cylinder, pins, plug and housing. An outer shell holds the entire mechanism in place.

The cylinder is connected to the plug at the top of the lock and when turned, rotates the plug. The pins are arranged inside in two rows – one row contains two springs that push down on four levers, while the other uses three levers pushed up by one spring.

To activate the locking mechanism to unlock it, all eight pins need to be lifted at once so that they are even with top of the plug by using a tension wrench or ‘twist’ key. When this happens, there will be no resistance when you turn the cylinder and plug – unlocking it for entry into your home or workplace!

Prepare the Necessary Tools

Picking a door lock is a skill that requires the right tools and proper technique. You’ll need items like a tension wrench , lock pick , and rake – all of which can be found at a hardware store or online. Without these tools, it will be nearly impossible to successfully pick a lock. Make sure you have all of the materials on hand before you attempt this task.

Gather the necessary tools

When breaking into a locked door, it is important to have the right tools for the job. Depending on the type of Kwikset lock, you may need one or more of these tools: a tension wrench, a lock pick, a bump tool or bump key set, or a lock shim kit. A tension wrench is a slim metal tool that applies tension to the interior of a lock by twisting it in and out. Professional pickers use different shapes and sizes for precise control when inserting them into a lock, but for this purpose a basic flat tension wrench will do fine. Lock picks come in sets with several different shapes and sizes designed to fit different Types of Kwikset locks. Bump keys allow users to bypass any locked cylinder without having to use regular keys or pick sets-but they may cause damage if used improperly! Lock shim kits include a variety of thin strips made from various materials specifically designed for application as shims between two surfaces-like those found around deadbolts or doorknobs-to help ease them apart for opening various Types of Kwikset locks without causing lasting damage.

Understand how to use them

Before attempting to pick a door lock, it is important to understand the basic tools used in the process. To help you get started, here is an overview of what you will need:

Tension Wrench: The tension wrench applies torque to the cylinder plug while lockout picks are used to manipulate individual pins. Available in sizes ranging from 0.023-inch up to 0.14-inch, a tension wrench should be slightly thicker than the key you’re attempting to recreate for better control and easier lockpicking.

Lockpick Set: Lockpicking sets come with multiple picks designed for certain types of locks; this allows for more manipulation options and better success rates when picking a variety of locks. Sets typically include rakes, half diamonds and hook picks designed for use with a range of padlocks and deadbolts.

Hook Pick: Used during lockpicking, hook picks emulate the function of lock keys by catching or hooking onto pins inside the cylinder plug contacts one pin at a time while the two halves are pressed together at the same time. Hook picks come in different sizes depending on what type of lock you want to pick; thicker picks work best with high-security locks while thinner ones work best with standard locksets. Both skills and tools are necessary if you want to successfully pick a door lock without hurting yourself or breaking any laws!

Identify the Lock

Picking a lock can be a tricky process, but it is made easier when you know the type of lock you are dealing with. There are many different lock types, and each requires its own tools and techniques. Knowing the type of lock and the corresponding tools will save you a lot of time. To begin, you will need to identify the lock you are trying to pick.

Identify the type of lock

When attempting to pick a door lock, the first step is to identify what type of lock is installed. Knowing the type of lock you are dealing with will allow you to determine the correct tools and techniques for picking the lock. Door locks can generally be divided into three types – pin-tumbler locks, wafer tumbler locks and lever tumbler locks.

Pin-tumbler locks are used in most residential knobsets, deadbolts and entry handlesets. These locks are composed of pins that must be aligned in order for the key to turn and unlock the door. This type of lock is usually one of three varieties: a single tumbler, double cylinder or masterkeyed design.

Wafer Tumbler Locks are less common than Pin-Tumblers but may also be found in residential applications such as knobset locksets, deadbolts and entry handlesets. These consist of small flat discs that fit into grooves on either side of the keyhole; when properly aligned they allow movement of the mechanism that unlocks the door.

Lever Tumbler Locks often appear in commercial applications such as access control applications or panic hardware commonly used on doors leading to stairwells or emergency exits. These locks contain a series of levers which must be all at proper height in order for them to move into an unlocked position.

Determine the number of pins

Before attempting to pick a lock, it is important to know what type of lock you are dealing with. Look for any markings or stamps on the outside, which will help you narrow in on the type of lock and how many pins it has. Typically, locks have either two, three or five pins. The number of pins can give insight into the difficulty of opening the lock. Two-pin locks are the easiest and most common type, while five-pin locks can provide more complicated configurations that might increase their security level. Knowing how many pin tumblers exist in a lock will create more success when working to open a door.

Pick the Lock

Picking a lock can seem intimidating, but with proper instruction and some practice, anyone can learn to pick a lock. There are two main methods for picking a lock, using either a tension tool or a pick. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the best method for the job. In this section, we will cover both methods and discuss the pros and cons of each.

Insert the pick and tension wrench

Before inserting the pick, you should make sure that the tension wrench is already in place. Insert the tension wrench into the bottom of the lock where the key would normally go and apply pressure in the direction needed to unlock it. This is generally clockwise, but it always depends on how you set up your locks. Be very careful to not slip up when applying force here — if inserted incorrectly, you could cause permanent damage to the lock itself, or even completely break off your tension wrench or pick inside!

After your tension wrench is in properly, insert your pick into the top of the locks at an angle that corresponds with how you set it up. Start feeling around inside with twists and lifts, using steady pressure as recommended by most professionals on YouTube. This will help you feel out each little pin inside. If all goes well, they should all go down with a satisfying “click” when lined up correctly to unlock it! Remember to keep steady pressure on your tension wrench throughout this process and check if necessary.

Manipulate the pins

Once you have picked the tension wrench, the next step to unlocking a Kwikset Door is to manipulate the pins. There are two types of lock-picking pins that are most commonly used: half-diamond shaped and round. Half-diamond shaped pins have their tip cut at a 45 degree angle, while round pins have their tips cut off completely in order to better fit into the plug’s grooves.

These two types of pins must be manipulated independently when picking a Kwikset Door Gather necessary tools such as a tension wrench and half-diamond shaped or round pins to unlock the door. This process requires patience and a steady hand, as it can take several minutes depending on the difficulty of the lock. The tension wrench should be gently rotated in one direction while the pins are used on the other side of the plug by gently pushing and pulling each individual pin until they reach their correct height.

Feel for the pins to click

Once you have gently inserted the tension wrench into the slot at the bottom of the keyhole, apply constant pressure to it in the direction that would normally open the door (this is usually counterclockwise). Then, insert your pick into the top of the keyhole and feel around for pins inside.

When you reach a pin, listen closely and feel for it to click when you insert it. Once all pins click (for most locks this is five pins), the lock should unlock. If no pins click after a few minutes, then try using a different pick, as this usually means you’ve chosen a pick that isn’t working well with that particular lock. Continue pushing each pin until all five have clicked, then turn the tension wrench to unlock your door!


Sometimes when attempting to pick a door lock, we run into problems. It may be tricky to figure out why the picking techniques aren’t working and what needs to be done differently. Troubleshooting can help you determine the best course of action so that you can successfully pick the lock. We’ll discuss some common problems that people face when picking door locks, and offer advice on how to fix them.

Troubleshoot common problems

When attempting to pick a door lock, common problems may occur. To troubleshoot these problems and successfully open the lock, it is important to be familiar with some of the most common issues.

One potential issue is binding pins. When the pins do not slide up evenly when pressure is applied, binding pins are likely present. Make sure to take time with each pin, ensuring that you fully insert and rotate your tension wrench until all of the pins are in the correct position. Additionally, if too much torque or pressure is applied then a false set can occur. In this situation, it will be necessary to start from the beginning to ensure that all pins have been set correctly before being able to open the lock.

Another possible issue is over-plugging or over-inserting your picks into the keyway. This problem occurs if a certain pick no longer fits easily into the lock due to its size being inadvertently altered by insertion or using an incorrect pick size for insertion into the lock keyway. If this happens, try a different pick shape and size as well as different tension levels in order to try and drop every pin simultaneously and unlock your door.

Finally you may need leverage when faced with stiffer locks with high torque resistance causing difficulty setting individual pins; in this situation make sure that enough pressure had been applied while setting each pin individually so they can move freely against one another before applying more pressure while opening the lock mechanism itself

Review the basics if needed

Before attempting to pick a lock, it is important to review the basics if needed. Start by familiarizing yourself with a standard pin tumbler lock as this is most common in households. Make sure you have everything you need, including a tension wrench and two or three plastic “rakes” (pick keys). Such tools are available at your local locksmith or online for purchase.

Once you have the necessary tools, place the tension wrench in the bottom part of the keyhole and apply slight pressure upward (if facing outward) or downward (if facing inward). This puts tension on the pins inside the lock, allowing each pick to be inserted into each pin as it comes around in order.

When inserting any pick key, aim for a 45-degree angle so that all pins can be felt simultaneously. Use light pressure but enough for each pin to set successfully until all pins have been set and you hear a clicking sound when turning your tension wrench. If this happens two or three times and you’re still not unlocking your door, take some time to adjust the pressure on your tension wrench and how far you insert your pick keys into the lock.

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