A Stepwise Guide On How to Open A Chain Lock From The Outside

Key Takeaway

  • To open a chain door lock from the outside, take a rubber band and slide your hand inside to loop the band around the chain lock as close as possible to the metal casing. 
  • Loop the other end of the band to the door handle and shut the door to release the chain.
  • If the locking mechanism of your chain lock is complex, you may have to cut the chain to gain entry to your home.

It may be hard to believe, but statistics reveal that in the United States, an estimated 4,800 house break-ins take place daily, adding up to an astonishing two million yearly incidents. Shockingly, this number is likely much higher, considering that numerous cases go unreported. Even more alarming is the fact that, on average, a house robbery is carried out every 18 seconds, making burglary a reality for many American households.

However, the more you learn about home security, the better you can protect your family and belongings. And one way to enhance the security of your home is by installing chain locks on your door. But with the installation of chain locks, you also need to have knowledge about how to open chain locks from outside in case of emergencies. 

This blog post will provide a step-by-step guide on how to unlock a chain lock from the outside. We’ll discuss the different methods for unlocking a chain lock, the tools needed, and the potential risks associated with each method. By the end of this post, you should have a better understanding of how to open a chain lock from the outside and be able to do it safely and efficiently.

What Is A Chain Lock?

What Is A Chain Lock?

A chain lock, also known as a door restrictor, is a simple device that is basically a few inches long chain that attaches to your door and the doorframe. These locks prevent the door from opening beyond a certain point, so there is just enough space for the person opening the door to communicate with the person on the other side.

Chain locks can be used in combination with other locking devices, such as padlocks or deadbolts, for added security. When properly installed, a high-quality door chain is resistant to tampering and requires physical force to open. 

Chain locks are inexpensive and easy to install. However, please note that a chain lock alone is not sufficient for your door security. It should be used as an additional layer of protection.

How To Open A Chain Lock From The Outside

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are locked out of your home with the chain lock on, I have got you covered in this section, we shall learn how to open a chain lock from outside in emergency situations.

Open A Chain Lock From The Outside Using a Rubber Band

Open A Chain Lock From The Outside Using a Rubber Band

It is possible to unlock your chain lock from the outside without any fancy tools. All you need is a rubber band or an elastic loop. Donald E. Westlake described this technique of opening a chain lock from the outside in one of his novels, but I tried this hack myself, and it worked when I followed the steps correctly.

Here are the steps on how you can do this yourself:

  • Step 1: Take a rubber band or an elastic loop and insert your hand inside the door through the opening allowed by the chain lock.
  • Step 2: Wrap one end of the band or elastic around the chain lock near the metal lock at the door.
  • Step 3: Pull the other end of the rubber band through the loop at the end of the first side. Make sure the rubber band is wide enough that the free end can reach the door handle.
  • Step 4: Stretch the free end of the rubber band to the door handle and then loop it around it.
  • Step 5: Close the door. This will cause the rubber band to pull the chain lock out of its housing, thus unlocking the lock.

You may also refer to the video to see how to unlock a chain lock from the outside.

If you don’t succeed in the first attempt, there are chances that a few more attempts will enable you to unlock the chain lock. Though this hack works for most chain locks, if your locking mechanism is complex, you may not be able to use this to unlock the lock and may have to cut the chain to gain entry to your home.

Cutting the Chain Lock

If you need to get into a chain-locked area but don’t have the key, cutting through a chain lock is a possible option if you are unable to open the lock using the method mentioned above.

Here’s how,

Step 1: Get the right tools.

Before you start, make sure you have the right tools. You will need a pair of bolt cutters. They should be large enough to fit around the diameter of the chain lock.

Step 2: Position the cutters

Position the bolt cutters around the chain lock so that they are centered over the metal. Make sure they are in the proper position before attempting to cut the lock.

Step 3: Cut through the chain lock

Once you have positioned the bolt cutters, it’s time to cut through the chain lock. Grip the handles tightly and squeeze them together until the metal of the chain lock is cut.

Step 4: Remove the chain lock

Once you have successfully cut through the chain lock, remove it from its mounting point. You can now access the area that was once locked.

Be aware that this method should only be used in emergency situations as it can cause damage to the property. It is also important to remember that cutting through a chain lock does not guarantee access to an area, as other security measures may be in place.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Are chain locks for doors effective?

Answer – Chain locks for doors are effective as an additional layer of security for a door. The locks are not the primary security system on your door, but they help in preventing an intruder from forcefully entering your home upon opening the door. Chain locks are installed along with regular padlocks/deadbolts to enhance the security of your home.

Q2. Where should a chain lock be installed?

Answer – A chain lock should be installed on the main entrance of your home, which you usually open for visitors and delivery persons. A chain lock is typically a few inches long and attaches to your door and the door frame around five feet in height. The lock limits the opening of the door to allow conversation before opening the door fully.


Chain locks are made to improve home security while also making life simpler and less stressful. However, if the chain lock malfunctions and you find yourself unable to enter your house, you can become frustrated. In an emergency, knowing how to unlock a chain lock from the outside could be crucial. Due to this, understanding how to do so is essential.

The article describes a step-by-step trick for using a rubber band to release your chain lock from the outside.  I hope the information was useful to you. Please leave me a comment if you have any other queries about home security.

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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.