What lock-picking tools do you need to pick a lock?

The tools you will need to pick a lock depend on the type of lock you're picking. Generally, all you'll need to pick a lock are some picks (long, thin metal pieces with curved ends of different shapes for different types of locks) and a tension wrench. You can use paperclips as picks in a pinch, and a tension wrench can be any tool used to create tension, including a flathead screwdriver.

One of the most common (and easiest to pick) locks is the pin-and-tumbler, which is a type of cylinder lock. Cylinder locks are used in most deadbolts. When picking a pin-and-tumbler lock, put the tension wrench in the keyhole and turn it as if it was a key. While you're applying pressure, lift the pins one at a time using a pick. You should hear or feel a click each time a pin falls into position.


A wafer-tumbler lock is even easier to pick. It works just like a pin-and-tumbler but its tumblers are wafer-shaped rather than pin-shaped. A wafer-tumbler lock has a wider keyhole, which means it’s easier to fit a tension wrench into it. Tubular locks are much harder to pick because they have pins all around the inside of the lock.

Raking is a less precise lock-picking method in which you insert a wider-tipped pick all the way to the back of the lock and then pull it out quickly while simultaneously turning the tension wrench. Some of the pins will fall into place; then you can pick the remaining pins individually. When using an electric pick gun, the picks vibrate as you turn the gun. It's kind of like raking a lock. The concept of lock-picking is simple, but it takes some practice to get good at it.