Have you ever locked your room only to realize you left your keys inside?

Or worse still, accidentally locking yourself out of your house because you lost your keys or left them at the office?

We all have those occasional mishaps. That’s why one helpful skill of unlocking a door lock without a key is so useful. Given that you’ll only use it for your own home, that is.

Of course, if there is a spare key with a friend, housemate, or in a hidden location, then using a key will always be easier. But sometimes there is no key to use.

So how do you get in? In this article, we’ll talk about three ways to open a locked door without a key.

An expert locksmith working on fixing a door lock.

Learn Lock Picking

If you’re a fan of spy movies, you’ve probably seen this a couple of times. It is also the most common method used by locksmiths in opening doors without a key.

Lock picking for internal door locks is much easier than external door locks. For internal locks, you may be able to use paper clips or bobby pins. But for external locks, you will need professional tools.

Disclaimer: Lock picking using makeshift or even proper tools can easily damage your lock. So please use this method with caution and do so at your own risk.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Create a rake and a tensioner using the pins.
  • Insert the tensioner at the bottom hole apply a slight rotational pressure (as if opening the door with a key) and maintain tension.
  • Using the rake (straightened pin with a slight angle on the other end), push the driver pins up until you hear a clicking sound.
  • Repeat this for the other pins (there are usually 5 driver pins per lock) without letting go of the tension.
  • Once all driver pins are pushed upwards, you should be able to rotate to unlock the door.

Keep in mind that this skill takes practice and may not be a smart option if you have never done it before.

Professional locksmiths practice lock picking countless times on dummy locks and can even damage locks while learning.

Small tools and instruments used for lock picking.

Use the Card Trick

The most common technique used by amateurs is the card trick.

This works quite effectively in rooms with misaligned door locks and large frame-to-door gaps.

This technique, however, rarely works in high-quality locks, properly installed doors and front door locks. Also, it will never work with deadbolts.

Essentially, what you’re attempting to do is push the latch back in, mimicking the action of turning the handle.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Look for any gaps between the door and the frame. If you see any, insert a thin but rigid card in the gap.
  • Then try to push or slide the card until you feel the latch.
  • Once you feel the latch, apply pressure to the door to push it open.
  • You may need to wiggle the card a bit to make sure that it’s properly wedged between the door and the frame.

Break a Glass Panel and Reach For The Door Lock

Obviously, this method should only be used as a last resort as it will result in broken glass.

But if your door has a glass panel or is near a window, you can break the glass by any means and reach the handle on the other side of the lock.

One thing to note is this will not work if the lock is a deadlock. Also, this is a costly solution as the glass panel will need to be replaced. Plus, broken glass could lead to an injury for you or someone else.

Hence this option should only be used in emergency situations, like when someone inside a locked house is having a heart attack or the house is on fire and a baby is inside.

Smashed glass pane on door that will provide access to other side of door knob

A Better Option

As they say, prevention is better than cure. So, for this reason, you should try to avoid ever getting into a situation of being locked out without a key.

Some options include:

  • Stashing a spare key in a fake rock or another hiding spot
  • Leaving a spare key with a neighbour or friend who lives nearby
  • Installing a keyless entry lock or smart lock that uses a keypad or fingerprint reader.

But alas if you have not done this and you are currently locked out without a key, the next best option is to call a professional locksmith.

Even if you’ve failed to pick-lock your own door, don’t think that locksmiths can’t do it. Locksmiths are equipped with specialized skills and knowledge to open almost any type of door lock.

Plus a local mobile locksmith will usually arrive quickly even at the most inconvenient times.

Final Thoughts

We hope you never have to use these techniques in opening a door without a key. But it’s always good to know what to do in case you get locked out or lose your keys.

Just remember that the best way to avoid this situation is to be more careful with your keys and not lose them.

You can also try to make extra copies and give them to family members or close friends just in case you do get locked out with your keys.

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