3 Ways to Pick Locks on Doorknobs

1) Knob Locks

If you have ever locked a door that leads to the outside, then you have used a knob lock. This is the most common type of door lock and it is used by pretty much everyone to lock up their home or business on a daily basis. The main feature of knob locks is that the lock cylinder is inside the knob instead of the door.

Many people use them on exterior doors along with interior ones but they are best used inside as they do not offer as much security as other types of exterior locks. A knob lock on an entry door can be broken into easily which is the reason they are not the best choice. However, they work wonderfully to lock up an office door or the door to your bathroom. Here are four different kinds of knob locks that are used for interior and exterior doors and can provide enough security to be used on exterior doors.

Many door knob locks feature a keyed entry lock system that is made of stainless steel or other stronger materials that add more security. Most of these types of locks can be installed easily and quickly. Really the only equipment you need to be able to install a knob lock is a Phillips head screwdriver and many are touted as a great option for exterior doors where keyed entry is required to enter. This is a good option for your apartment, mobile home, house, garage, or business.

Knob locks have been around since the 1800s with the first patent being given to Osborn Dorsey in 1878. He was an African American inventor who came up with the creation of a doorknob with an internal door-latching mechanism. In 1818 in Britain, Jeremiah Chubb, Joseph Bramah, and Robert Barron worked as locksmiths and created the design for a tumbler lock that the modern knob locks of today are based on.

Some of the knob locks available today offer Smartkey security that you can re-program if needed. They also offer Microban protection which keeps the doorknob area up to about 99 percent cleaner than unprotected knobs. Knob locks are also available in a package with a deadbolt lock for added protection for your exterior door.

Recommended Knob Lock

Sale Schlage Georgian Knob Lock IDEAL USE: Keyed entry function is perfect for use on entry doors where keyed security is needed; unlocks from the inside when the door handle is rotated, allowing you to leave quickly and re-enter easily from the outside; includes lockset and 2 keysEASY INSTALLATION: Self-aligning screw holes make installation hassle-free; everything included to upgrade existing single bore hole doors yourself with only a screwdriver; fits both right and left handed doorsCERTIFIED HIGHEST SECURITY: Premium metal construction and quality craftsmanship for everyday strength and peace of mind; Grade 2/AAA certified BHMA rating for Security, Durability and FinishHASSLE-FREE FIT: Universal latch slides easily into place without tools to fit standard doors with 2-3/8″ or 2-3/4″ backset; fits door thickness 1-3/8″ to 1-3/4″; includes both radius and drive-in faceplate for flexibilityTRUSTED WARRANTY: Schlage locks are backed by a limited lifetime mechanical and finish warranty, and a 3-year electronics warranty; see Schlage warranty for full details Check Price on Amazon


11) Fail-Safe Electric Strike Locks

While fail-secure electric strike locks remain locked during power outages, fail-safe electric strike locks can be unlocked during power disruptions. When integrating this kind of lock in a security system, make sure you have some type of back-up power to avoid compromising the security of a home or business.

How a Key Works In a Lock

All of the components of a lock work together so that they only open with the right key. The idea is that one key opens one lock, but not another. Even if you and your neighbor have the average Kwikset deadbolt or Master Lock #3, you will not have keys that open each other’s locks (or that is the hope anyway).

This is because of how the key works. You insert the proper key for a lock into the keyhole. The key pins (which are different sizes) are raised by the grooves on the key. Both the key grooves and the key pins correspond so that even with the pin stacks having different sizes, they are all elevated to the shear line.

When the wrong key is inserted, a low cut on a key might not elevate the pin stack high enough for the driver pin to clear the shear line. A key groove that is too high, might elevate the pin stack so that the key pin is moved to block the shear line.

Once the pins are on their respective sides of the shear line, there is a gap that allows the plug to turn. You can then turn the key, and the plug will rotate. The rotation of the plug moves a cam or tail piece that retracts a bolt or locking pawl. The lock is then open.

Factors To Consider When Buying A Door Knob Lock

Here’s where you narrow your choices by the available features.


We’ve reviewed mostly keyless locks here because they are so versatile and easy to use. You’ll like them if you frequently have guests or own a rental.

You can program a passcode for your guest or renters, then delete that code when they no longer need it. In the meantime, you can use your own code or the bypass key.

Interior doors can benefit from a keyless lock if you want several people to have access to the room.

Knobs with privacy locks are good for bedrooms and bathrooms. They don’t offer much security because they can be unlocked with any thin household object, but they can prevent embarrassing mishaps.

Interior Vs Exterior Knob Locks

Exterior locks go on the main entrance of your home. They’re usually tougher than interior locks. Make sure you get a weatherproof model.

Interior locking knobs are often cheaper, but less durable. They don’t have to be weatherproof. Decide whether you need a cheap privacy lock or a more secure keyed or digital lock for better security.

Digital Vs Mechanical Keypads

Digital keypads have several advantages over mechanical ones. They can be programmed with multiple passcodes, which are relatively easy to change. Most of them also have backlit keypads. But they also need batteries.

Locks with mechanical keypads don’t need batteries, but they don’t have backlit keypads.

And you can only set one code. You have to decide between convenience and simplicity.

Also if you are looking for a lock that you can lock or unlock remotely check out those smart door locks for airbnb and protect your front doors.

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Other Ways To Pick Locks

I just want to briefly discuss some different methods of opening locks. It is up for debate as to whether or not some of these methods are technically lock picking. But I would say they are.

Lock picking is most simply defined as the manipulation of the components of a lock without the use of the working key.

However, these methods below are not as straightforward as the simple way or even the hard way and require more understanding and tools for effective use. Though I will not go into too much depth, I think it is important to know about the other lock picking options.

How to pick locks is not something that can simply be reduced to a few methods, each with a couple of steps. And for that reason, these additional lock picking methods serve to illustrate the complexity of lock picking.

Pick Guns

Now that you are familiar with raking, as described in the How To Pick Locks: The Simple Way section, you can better understand how pick guns work. Whether the picks guns are manual or electric, they still need a tension wrench, because they are working like a rake.

The pick gun knocks the pins upwards (similar to a bump key) as you move the pick in and out of the keyway (similar to a rake). The idea being that this will semi-automation will make picking faster.

You will need to set the device for how much you want them to move up and down. If the gun does not pop the pins high enough, they cannot set, and it will over-set pins if the setting is too high.

Because this method does not give the different pin stacks individual attention, it is unlikely to be effective when the lock has security pins.

Bump Keys

A bump key works a bit like a pick gun, but with no need for tension. As you are trying to turn the key, you strike it with a hammer.

The hope is that the driver pins will jump up into the bible as the key is hit with the hammer. In that instant, the shear line will be clear, and the key can momentarily turn the plug.

A bump key is a key that fits inside the keyway and has every groove cut to the lowest possible depth for that make and model of lock. You will need a specific bump key depending on the lock you are trying to open.

There are locks that are un-bumpable based on how they are constructed (anything that doesn’t use a pin tumbler system). For more insight into bump keys, you can pick up additional information in articles we have about how to prevent lock bumping and how bump keys work on cars.

Much like raking and pick guns, the attempt to move multiple pins at once makes this method less likely to work on locks with security pins.


When lock pickers talk about bypassing, they differentiate it from lock picking because you are often not manipulating the lock components that interact with the key.

What you are doing is bypassing the standard operation of the lock with a direct manipulation of the unlocking mechanism. These methods vary, but you can see a few examples in the list of locks that only offer the appearance of security.

In order to find bypasses, you can research existing bypasses that others have discovered, or research how the lock works on a mechanical level. But these methods take specific research.

It does not matter how complicated a lock is if it can be bypassed. Security pins do not make a lock secure if they can be avoided. To protect against bypasses, a lock needs to know about the specific bypass technique, then take measures to defend against it.

Apply These Lockpicking Tips Today

To get started, you have everything you need to know to master these lockpicking tips and learning how to pick for many different types of locks, by being a lock pick buyer of the cheapest locks then practice your skill everyday. It’s basic lock picking.

One at a time, your required fields are marked, regardless of the type of lock. Don’t get discouraged by your first lock! Grab your torque wrench and find pin tumbler locks as a practice lock & pick locks… and continue to pick locks some more.

More helpful reading:

To Close

There are not that many smart lock and pick proof door locks on the market. Again, pick proof only applies to locks without keyways. If your lock has a keyway it can be picked.

But the truth is, picking a lock to gain entrance is something that is mostly seen in movies. Have you seen some of the Ring doorbell camera videos police have released? Intruders don’t pick locks. If a burglar really wants to get in, it’s usually by brute force.

That is why you should get a more secure door and employ ways to reinforce them.

How do you unlock a combination lock when you forgot the combination?

You can crack the combination code of your lock. Grasp the lock with the dial towards you with its latch facing upward. The locking system will lie on the left-hand side. Apply much pressure on the latch of your lock to turn the dial.

Exercise caution, you don’t want the dial to spin freely. The tension is necessary for you to determine when you strike the right combination number, and the system engages.

Turn the Dial

To turn the locks, begin clockwise before shifting to anti-clockwise. Remember the direction you started with. If the system still doesn’t engage, you haven’t applied enough pressure on your latch. If it clicks at each number, you’ve applied a lot of pressure.

To get pressure right, the dial should only click once. Once you establish the single click, add on five to the number to form the first number in your combination. After finding the first number, change the dial rotation direction to counterclockwise.

After one complete rotation, the dial will experience resistance at a specific number. That’ll make the second number in your combination. Once you’ve figured the first two numbers, you can find your third number by testing each option. Set your first two numbers and follow a sequence to establish the third one.

Padlock Shims

Assuming your combination lock is old, drive it open with a shim. Padlock shims are available from online retailers with special instructions. Often, you can access them from the left-hand part of your latch and dupe it into opening. Shims don’t work on newer locks, and instead can destroy the system.

Master Lock Reset

If your combination lock is from Master Lock, then you’ll first want to have its serial number. The manufacturer should be able to share this information with you. However, you’ll also need to provide proof of purchase and your ID, especially, if the lock is fixed to a safe. The manufacturer can easily reset your lock’s combination.

How do you pick a combination lock with a paperclip?

Uncoil your paper clip on one side, while the other side remains bent. Plug your paperclip in the hole up, just near the shackle, where the locking system is located. Press your paper clip down and push it against in the hole as far as it can go.

Tap your paper clip against the wheels as you turn them one number after the other. Keep tapping and moving the wheels until its shackles open, and the pin drops down.

Repeat this process until the pin drops at the final level. Once this process is over, you’ll reveal a combination both at the front and backside of your lock. It’s the latter’s combination that you should look out for as it indicates the current code on the lock.

Now, move the wheels over to get that code at the shackle side. Here, count the numbers from your current gateway code up to the side. Move the wheels on each row one click at a time and lift the lock. If it doesn’t open, keep moving the wheels until it finally opens.

How to Better Your Security

A doorknob lock is a good first step, but it won't do much to protect you, your family, or your property. The great thing is, you can upgrade your security in other ways. Let's cover five easy ways to beef up the security of your door.

1. Upgrade Your Lock

The first obvious thing you can do to better the s

The first obvious thing you can do to better the security of your door is to get a better primary lock.

While most criminals do not actually pick locks, it can still happen.

Burglars don't like to spend a lot of time at the scene of the crime. If your lock can thwart them long enough they will leave in search of an easier target.

Even if your doorknob lock is not your only means of securing your door, you shouldn't skimp out on it.

2. Upgrade Your Door

A weak point that many don't consider is the door itself.

It doesn't matter how good your locks are or how many you have.

If you have a lightweight or hollow door that can easily be broken with force, no other preventative security measure matters.

Consider upgrading your door to solid wood or steel.

3. Add a Deadbolt

If your door doesn't have a deadbolt, this sho

If your door doesn't have a deadbolt, this should be one of the first things you add. Deadbolts extend a manual bolt into the doorframe. However, unlock doorknob locks, they are not spring-loaded and can not be shimmed or slipped.

When installed correctly, they can help your door withstand brute force attacks, however are only as tough as your door and doorframe.

They are also just as vulnerable to bypassing methods such as lock picking and lock bumping. That being said, they also add a secondary lock that must be bypassed before entry.

Deadbolts are an important layer of security that no one should ignore.

4. Use Longer Screws in the Strike Plate

One of the benefits of the strike plate is that it helps absorb physical force on the door, such as a kick-in attempt.

However, these benefits can be wasted if the strike plate is installed using short screws that can easily be ripped out.

Always use screws that are at least 3 inches long. Additionally, strike plates with 4 screws holes are better than those with only 2 holes.

5. Door Reinforcement

Another layer of security that you can add to your exterior door are removable door reinforcements.

There are a lot of options on the market today and many that you should be wary of.

However, my recommendation and something that I use every night is the Buddy Bar. This thing is tough as hell and tested to withstand up to 2,560 pounds of force.

Its adjustable and wedges nicely underneath your doorknob so that any force on the door gets directed right into the ground.

I sleep like a baby knowing these things are securing my doors, and if anyone did manage to slip one out of place, it's made of steel and heavy enough that it will wake the whole house if it falls to the ground.

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