Lock Picking Alert: Learn How To Open A Padlock Without Keys in 4 Ways

Key Takeaway

  • You can pick a padlock using a screwdriver by slightly pushing the pins away from the path of the barrel to move freely.
  • A smaller deadbolt may also be unlocked by tapping it with the hammer on the sides to displace the pins.
  • In cases of emergencies, you may clasp the shackles of a padlock using wrenches and break it open with force.

We all have a tendency to get a bit negligent occasionally due to the rush and bustle of daily life. For many users, forgetting the padlock’s keys or misplacing them is a frequent occurrence. However, this is not a good scenario to be in if you have anything vital locked in that you need to access right away.

In such circumstances, the art of lock picking can come to your rescue if you don’t want to spend some extra money on calling a locksmith. I learned the technique years ago, and it has helped me many times to escape such stressful situations. In this article, I will guide you through 4 ways of unlocking your padlock without a key. While a few methods involve opening your lock by smart means, some will help you bypass the lock by force. Either way, your access to your valuables is guaranteed!

So without any delay, let’s jump on how to unlock a padlock without a key. But before that, let us throw some light on the principle of opening a padlock

The Principle Of Opening A Padlock

You should be able to comprehend how to open a locked padlock without a key by picturing the interior of one.

The Principle Of Opening A Padlock

The barrel and the pins are the two components in charge of locking and unlocking a padlock. The barrel is the chamber linked to the keyhole where you insert the key. Pins are small metal cylinders that slide into the deadbolt barrel and hold it locked until a key move them out of the way. The keyway and locking mechanism typically comprises 3 to 7 tiny, spring-loaded pins.

The Principle Of Opening A Padlock

The key of the padlock is aligned with the length of the pins inside the lock. When the key is inserted, it keeps the pins out of the way so that the barrel can move freely without obstruction when it is rotated. Once the pins are released, the shackle is released too. Some padlocks include shackles that spring out when the lock is opened, while others must be manually opened. 

When you pick a padlock, you try to achieve the same effect with other objects like a screwdriver, paperclip, bobby pin, etc.

How To Open A Padlock Without Keys

In this section of the article, I shall list 4 different ways you can open your padlock without a key. All of these methods are tried and tested by me and, if followed properly, will ensure you can access your valuables or space by bypassing the padlock.

Method 1: Picking The Padlock Using A Screwdriver

Method 1: Picking The Padlock Using A Screwdriver

This method is similar to picking a deadbolt lock using a bobby pin. The basic principle remains the same, i.e., moving the pins away so that the barrel can move freely. This method is great for you if you are looking for how to open a padlock without breaking it.

Here are the steps,

  • Step 1: Take a screwdriver with an appropriately sized tip to fit the keyhole. Do not force a wide-tipped screwdriver into the lock to avoid damaging it. You may alternatively use a bobby pin, paper clip, or a similar object to carry out the task.
  • Step 2: Insert the tip of the screwdriver into the keyway of the padlock as far as it can go comfortably. If you notice that the tool won’t go too far, do not force it into the lock. Instead, use a smaller screwdriver.
  • Step 3: Jiggle the screwdriver inside the lock while slowly pushing it in and out of the padlock. Change the angle to find the correct spot to engage as many pins as possible. The idea here is to move all the pins away so that the barrel can move freely.

    If you are unable to succeed in a few attempts, gently tap the lock with a hammer while you continue jostling the tool in the keyway.
  • Step 4: Continue with the above step until all the pins are removed and the padlock spring opens. Most padlocks automatically release the shackles as the pins are removed, while some require you to remove the shackles manually.

If the method is applied correctly, the lock should open smoothly, and you should even be able to use the same lock in the future.

Method 2: Use A Hammer To Open Your Padlock

Method 2: Use A Hammer To Open Your Padlock

We may also use force to jostle the pins inside a padlock to open the lock without the key. And the great part about this method is that you may still be able to use the same padlock in the future if the process is followed smoothly and gently.

Let’s learn how,

  • Step 1: Insert two fingers inside the shackle loop of the padlock to pull up the shackle. If your padlock is smaller, you might be able to perform the same thing using a screwdriver or a similar rod-shaped tool. As a result, the locking mechanism will become tenser, and the pins within the padlock will be in their set locking position, making it easier to pick the lock quickly.

    Keep your hands off the body of the lock, as this is where you shall aim with a hammer to break the lock open.
  • Step 2: Next, gently and repeatedly tap the padlock’s side with a hammer. Keep the lock pulled during the process. For smaller locks, you may use the back of a screwdriver to tap, as a hammer may be too hard.
  • Step 3: After continuous gentle tapping, the pins slowly move aside, opening the padlock spring. This may take a few minutes as a hit-and-trial combination will move the pins aside. If it takes some time, do not tap the lock with a large force, as the pins’ movement is responsible for opening the padlock and not the force.

Method 3: Breaking The Padlock Using A Pair Of Wrenches

Breaking The Padlock Using A Pair Of Wrenches

In cases of emergency when you cannot wait to open the padlock by other means, breaking the padlock can spare you the horror. This method may damage the lock completely, but it is a sure shot bypass procedure. 

  • Step 1: Take two wrenches around the same size to distribute the force evenly on the padlock. Wrenches with bigger heads can do the job better by exerting more force on the padlock.
  • Step 2: Clasp both sides of the shackles using the mouth of the wrench. Once you have held the shackles tightly, bring the handles of the wrenches as close to each other as possible.
  • Step 3: Now force the handles of both wrenches at the same time to break the shackles. Ensure that you hold the wrenches firmly, so the head clasps the shackles tightly while applying the force. The amount of force required to break the shackles depends on how strong the shackles are. The strength of the shackles varies on their width and the metal/alloy used.
  • Step 4: Pull apart the broken pieces to remove the lock to access your valuables or space after successfully breaking the padlock.

Method 4: Opening A Small Padlock Using Compressed Air

Opening A Small Padlock Using Compressed Air

padlock like the ones installed on bicycles or small chests can be unlocked using compressed air. Yes, you read it right! Compressed air is not really air but a compressed cooling gas called difluoroethane. You may consider purchasing Falcon Compressed gas as I have used it several times and have no complaints. The principle of unlocking a small padlock using compressed air is cooling the lock enough to freeze it, so it gets easier to break it open.

Let’s learn how

  • Step 1: Take a can of compressed air and a tool like a screwdriver or a hammer to tap the lock. Since the lock in question is a smaller padlock, you do not need a very heavy tool. Compressed air is readily available on amazon and in many convenience stores. 
  • Step 2: Spray one side of the lock constantly with compressed air for about a minute or two until the color of the metal turns lighter, and the lock becomes brittle enough to be broken. Do not carry out this step without gloves, as compressed gas is cold enough to cause you frostbite on continuous exposure.
  • Step 3: Next, once the lock is cold and brittle, tap it with a screwdriver or a hammer until it breaks. You may have to hit the lock repeatedly to achieve this. If you don’t succeed, spray the lock with compressed air for a little longer before tapping again.

It is noteworthy that the padlock will shatter in pieces after the procedure and cannot be used any longer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Does the padlock function normally after it has been picked?

Answer – If the process of lock picking hasn’t done any major harm to the shackles and the internal components of the lock, the lock should function normally. While picking the padlock, there may be slight dents that may not affect the functioning of the lock but ensure that you do not apply large force in the interior of the lock as it may completely damage the lock.

Q2. Is it possible to rekey a padlock?

Answer – Rekeying a padlock is an important safety measure that one must take if you have lost the key to the lock. While all padlocks cannot be rekeyed, many named brands allow users to rekey their padlocks as an additional security measure. Once you rekey a padlock, you can only operate the lock with the new key, and the old key no longer remains functional.

Q3. What alternatives can I use to pick my deadbolt lock instead of using a screwdriver?

Answer – Instead of using a screwdriver, you may also use paper clips, bamboo skewers, or a bobby pin to pick the lock. 

Q4. Can I reuse my padlock after coaxing it with a hammer?

Answer – Unless you have hit your padlock too hard with a hammer while trying to coax it and damaged the lock’s locking mechanism, you can very well reuse the padlock after opening it. Simply test run your lock after successfully removing it to see if it functions normally. 

If you have some dents inside the lock, the lock may occasionally get stuck in the locked or unlocked position.


Even though misplacing a padlock key is normal, it is nonetheless annoying. I’m sure you may relate to the suffering if you are scrolling through this page. Fortunately, there are a few ways to open a padlock, even if you don’t have a key to gain access to your possessions or space. Some of these methods even allow you to use your padlock in the future as they do not damage the lock.

If you were seeking directions on how to open a padlock without a key, this article must have been helpful. Follow me at Lockspedia to learn more about home security. Please leave me a comment if you have any queries. I’ll be glad to assist!

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Hey! I am Mark. Though I am not a locksmith by profession, but locks have always fascinated me since my teens. And it all started when I got locked out of my house and I had to pick the lock. Since then it has become my hobby to learn more about different kinds of locks, understand their working and methods to pick them up. In due course of time, I have also become better aware of how installing the right lock goes a long way in ensuring iron clad security. I aim to share my passion (about locks) through this blog. If you are also passionate about picking locks or are just looking to beef up the security, hop on the ride.