How to Break a Padlock – Quick and Easy Tips

Padlocks are a great way to protect things, including your luggage, your bike, storage unit, or lockers. But sometimes, you may forget your keys somewhere or misplace them, and now you are stuck and unable to find a way to open it up. 

The first thought that will come to your mind is breaking the lock, but that may cause some damage to your belongings as well. Or you may even think of calling a locksmith, but it may take time. 

If you are in a hurry and want to open the lock yourself, you are on the right page. In this article, let us look at the various types of padlocks and ways to break them.

Different Types of Padlocks

When you need to secure your belongings, the first thing you look for is padlocks. Nowadays, there are different types of padlocks available in the market. To protect and safeguard your belongings, you should choose a padlock that suits your needs.

Smart Padlocks

As technology is getting smarter, so are padlocks. Smart padlocks are electronic devices and are Bluetooth-activated. To open a smart lock, you will need to install an app on your smartphone. 

One benefit of smart locks is you can open the lock using a code. Here the code serves as the key to open the lock.

You don’t require any physical key to open a smart lock, so there is no chance of losing the keys. You can use this lock in your office, home, or indoors. 

In some cases, you are even allowed to add a few family members and tell them the code to unlock the lock. You can also open some padlocks using your fingerprints.

Closed Shackle Padlock

Closed shackles are the most common type of padlock people use. These are safe and easy to use. You cannot break these locks using bolt cutters or saws, and their rounded shackle makes it difficult for thieves to break them. So if you lose your keys, you too will have a hard time finding a way to open them. 

Combination Padlock

These padlocks are best for lockers and luggage. You don’t require a key to use these padlocks. Instead, they come with a combination to open the lock. 

These padlocks are relatively inexpensive and suitable for smaller items like luggage and lockers. You can change the code as many times you want to and don’t need to remember where you have kept the keys.

combination lock

Long Shackle Padlocks

These padlocks have extended shackles and have a U-shaped bar that people usually use at home. These locks are comfortable to use in places where there is a smaller bolt, or there is less space to put in a lock, such as a bike or a smaller bag.

Method 1: Using a Hammer

One way to open a padlock without having to break it is by using a hammer. Let us look at the steps to do it.

Try Pulling Up the Shackle and Create Tension

One of the easy ways to open a padlock is by inserting two fingers in the loop, applying some force on the shackle, and pulling it away from the lock. By doing this, the locking pins inside the lock get into the right place and make it easy for the lock to open. Just make sure there is no excess slack from the shackle.

Using the hammer, tap on the side of the lock

Try targeting the side where the shackle is fixed as the pins are placed under it. Keep tapping it again and again. After some time, the pins will detach, and the lock will open up.

Reuse your padlock

One good thing about breaking the padlock using a hammer is that it still works and is not damaged. You can try locking it and giving it a test run. If it locks properly, you can use it or throw it in the trash. 

Method 2: Using Compressed Air

For this, you need compressed air and a hammer

You can buy compressed air from a drugstore, pharmacy, or any home improvement shop. A hammer is relatively easy to find, and you may have a hammer in your garage or toolbox already. The difluoromethane in compressed air will freeze the lock, making it brittle and easy to break using a hammer.

Spray compressed air on the side of the lock

You need to spray for 20 to 30 seconds at the end of the lock. When you do this, you will see the metal will become lighter in color. The gas present in compressed air is known as difluoromethane. It may cause frostbite if your skin gets exposed to it. So make sure to always wear gloves when using them.

Hit the lock using a hammer

Hit the side of the lock a few times. Due to the frost on the metal, the lock will break quickly. You need to remove the broken pieces. Using this method, you will break the lock but may not reuse the lock again, as the metal breaks the parts into pieces.

Method 3: Using a Wrench

Another way to break a padlock is using two wrenches. 

For this, you need two wrenches

You can use two open-ended wrenches of any size. However, the bigger the wrench head, the better this will work. Make sure both the wrenches are similar, so the force is evenly distributed on both sides.

two wrenches

Tie the ends of the wrenches on each side

Hold the handles close once you set the wrenches in the correct position. Try placing the wrench in the center of the shackle shaft. Placing it too high or too low may slip when you apply pressure.

Apply force on the handle until the lock breaks

Try pushing the handle towards the center of the shaft. It requires some strength, don’t give up if it doesn’t break easily. Try as hard as you can. The shackle may break into two pieces. Just remove the broken piece, and your valuables are free.

Method 4: Using a Screwdriver

Use a screwdriver with a small tie

When breaking a lock with a screwdriver, make sure the tip can get inside the lock with ease. If the tip is too broad, it won’t get inside the hole, and therefore it won’t work.

Insert the screwdriver end inside the keyhole

Try putting the tip inside until it reaches the end. If it does not get inside deep into the barrel lock, it means it is too big. Try again with a smaller screwdriver.

Slide it back and forth slowly

Usually, in standard padlocks, the pins move up and down freely. When the pins are shifted correctly, it opens up automatically. Just try working on the handle at different angles, so more pins are engaged.

Continue bumping the lock until it opens

If you manage to hit the pins correctly, it will open up easily. It may take some time to do it. Just keep wiggling and sliding it back and forth. 

Method 5: Call a Locksmith

People who lose their keys usually call a locksmith to open the lock. A locksmith has various tools to open the lock quickly. Many people don’t know ways to open the lock and find it easy to call a locksmith and get the job done. 

Also, locksmiths have the knowledge and skills to open any lock in the easiest way possible. They use wrenches, hammers, screwdrivers, and even drills to fix the lock efficiently.

Method 6: Try Picking the Lock

One way of breaking the padlock is using the lock pick method. However, not everyone is an expert in doing this. It would help if you had lock picking tools or paper and hair clips to break the lock. 

picking set

You can use a lockpick or a thin screwdriver

Move it inside towards the right at least three times. 

Try pushing it forward and turning it counterclockwise

Try getting the combination right and rotate the dial until you find the last combination. When you are done, try pushing the padlock away from its shackle. You may then be able to open the lock.

What Kind of Padlock is Suitable for Which Purpose?

If you need to store any of your expensive belongings or for security purposes, use a metal padlock. Make sure the padlock you use in the front door of your house is hard to break. You need to keep it safe and prevent the lock from being breakable using a hammer or wrench. 

If you need to store something of less importance, you can use a plastic padlock instead. These are inexpensive but much more easy to break.

Final Thoughts

Using a padlock to keep our belongings safe and secure is essential. But sometimes, you may forget the code or keys somewhere. In this article, we have listed different ways to break the padlock if you need to. However, it is good to not get in the habit of doing so. Also, make sure not to hurt yourself while breaking the lock.

We hope the methods listed above will help you open your lock without keys if required. Try some of these methods the next time you get locked, and let us know if they worked out for you.

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