How To Open a Padlock Without a Key in 4 Easy Step

Losing the key to your padlock is definitely a nightmare that feels super frustrating. Sometimes this happens exactly when you are on edge of an emergency. For example, when you need to find a current file for a minute away meeting. And at that moment, discovering the key of your file cabinet padlock is missing will feel terribly disappointing.

On the positive side even without a key, there are some items or methods you can use and get the padlock unlocked. Today we’ll talk about those good methods on how to open a padlock without a key? Keep on Reading…

How To Open a Padlock Without a Key

The Ultimate Guide How To Open a Padlock Without a Key Using Some Simple Tactics

Sometimes when you look for how to unlock a padlock without a key, there’s a good chance that this will consequence in smashing the lock. And in some cases, that’s the only left option to get access to your important stuff locked up.

So, bear that in mind that depending on what method you’ll be using, the chance of smashing is still there. But if the right tools and some know-how is there with you, then probably you’ll be able to bypass such a situation.

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The Hammer Technique

The Hammer Technique for open a padlock

Let’s go with the simplest method first. You need to put your two fingers inside the shackle loop. And then use the fingers to force the shackle away. It should go against the top of the lock. Eventually, it will help to get those locking pins into the right position. And this will make it easier for you to crack the job.

Ensure there’s no excess slack going on from shackle. Or else there will be difficulty in knocking the lock loose. Also, you want to avoid gripping the lock body itself. Since that’s where you need to hammer.

Now use the hammer to tap the lock’s side again and again. The side that has a shackle’s fixed end, target that specifically. Because this is where the pin is supposed to be underneath. Use fast and short strikes for pounding the lock. At one point the pins will disengage and you’ll be able to bump open the lock. If you don’t have a hammer, use the handle of a screwdriver or any similar hard blunt tool.

The hammer method should be able to do no harm to your lock. And so, you should be able to reuse it. Just make sure you don’t hammer too hard that can cause damaging any of the pins. It’s a great method to try if you don’t want to destroy the padlock but simply open it without keys.

The Wrench Method

The Wrench Method for open padlock

For this method, you need two wrenches with open ends with a bigger head. The bigger the better to get a good result. Also, make sure both wrenches are similar in terms of size to work with an even force.

Over each side of the shackles, you want to carefully hook wrenches ends. After positioning, try to bring both handles close to each other. This will create a situation where both wrench heads’ internal arms will be butting up against each other.

Now you want to position the wrench on the shackle’s vertical shaft center area. Don’t let them be too low or high, or else there can be a slip due to applying pressure. Give the handles a squeeze to ensure there’s no shifting, sliding, or grip losing.

Then you can apply force on the handles. Keep on doing so until the shackles break in two. You want to focus on pushing the handles toward the midline. It will need a good amount of strength, so keep patience and don’t give up midway. Use your palm’s flat part for choking up the handles with grip to push. It works better than using the edge of your fingers.

In the case of a huge lock and a small wrench, here’s a trick to use. Use a folded piece of paper or anything similar to make a makeshift shim. You can easily slide it within the arms and this will help to produce the required traction.

Once you are done snapping the shackle off, simply pull out broken pieces. Jiggle or twist a few times in case they don’t come out. Since sometimes the end stays still attached to the locking mechanism.

The Bolt Cutter Method

Bolt Cutter Method

Now let’s talk about the most probably quickest way to get through a locked padlock without a key. And this needs a bolt cutter to position right on shears on any one side of the shackle. Then you want to give both handles of the bolt cutter a good squeeze. Do so until the shackle is broken and then you can remove the lock. You can also use a wheel grinder for cutting through a lock made of steel. Just keep in mind it will be quite noisy while doing the process.

Cracking with Compressed Air

open a padlock with compressed air

This works best for storage unit padlock. You can get compressed air in any local home improvement store, drugstores, or even pharmacies. Also, there’s a good chance you already have an ax and toolbox at your workshop. That’s all you are going to need.

Now compressed air does not mean it’s a certain type of air. It’s actually difluoroethane, also known as cooling gas. You need to spray it on one side of the lock for at least 25 to max 40 seconds. You should concentrate the spraying stream mainly on locking the neck’s shaking part.

Once you are done, the metal should look brighter or become noticeably frosty. You want to bash on a hammer combination to the point that it breaks. With a few good hits, the metal near the locking mechanism will get cut. This process is also one of those that needs you to say goodbye to the lock. Since it will be broken into bits and no longer can be used.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

Few Things to Keep in Mind About Padlock Picking, padlock mechanism

The locks that are made of cheap material such as plastic are way easier to break with any of these methods. So, the chances of losing the lock entirely with all these processes are pretty high.

Be familiar with the basic design and mechanism of padlock before you try these methods. That way you’ll know what to do exactly in case a problem arises in between.

Being forceful with any of these methods that include bashing, hammering and beating will eventually lead to damaging the lock completely. In case you don’t want that to happen, be conscious of your applied pressure.


And that was all about how to open a padlock without a key. There are more than just these few methods. But in most cases, one of these of course should work. However, in a few matters, the problem is so severe that you are ought to call a locksmith. So, if that’s the condition with you, it’s better to let a professional handle it. Best of Luck Getting the Locked Padlock Missing Key Situation Sorted!

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About Vincent

Greetings, This is Tom Vincent. I’m a home Security Expert and Web developer. I am a fan of technology, home security, entrepreneurship, and DIY. I’m also interested in web development and gardening. I always try to share my experience with my reader. Stay Connected and Keep Reading My Blog.
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