How to Pick a Deadbolt: Top 4 Methods With Video Tutorials

Got locked out of your house or trying to help out a friend in a similar predicament? Hiring a locksmith will usually cost you around $85-$175. You can use the following tips to pick the deadbolt on your own.

A deadbolt lock is a popular lock that has two locking arms attached to the hasp where the door meets the frame. It prevents entry into your home, car, or office through a door. It provides security and peace of mind when fitted properly by deterring thieves from breaking in.

There are variations on rectangular locks with one or three locking arms as well, but they are not as common. There are also pin tumbler locks, which only use two locking arms.

Picking a deadbolt lock is fairly simple. You can use professional lockpicking tools or DIY tools with the same result, as you’ll soon discover.

Before picking a lock, you will need to understand the lock and its internal parts. Here are some tips:

  • Look at the knob and try turning it to see if it turns easily, easily stops, or becomes stuck. When turning it, there should be no resistance, and you want to hear a clicking sound. If you hear a lot of noise, then this is a sign that something is obstructing the movement of the lock itself.
  • If the lock has a lever or thumb turn, try turning it. It should hold its position until you let go, not spring back and reopen.

Useful tools for picking a deadbolt

You will need a pair of fine-pointed locking pliers. Better yet, a set of lock picking tools. You can choose one of these:

1. A puller that holds two or three locking arms in a “T” position

This tool will allow you to grab the opposite locking arm with your pliers, one at a time or all at once.

2. Lockpicking pliers

Look for a tool that has thin jaws and is made of hardened steel or alloy material. You want something that will apply some pressure to the locking pin but not damage it.

The jaws should be parallel to one another without any angle in the design so that they are rigid, ensuring they maintain their position while applying pressure to the pin.

3. A tension wrench

The tension wrench is used in combination with the lock picking pliers. It is a device that is inserted into the keyhole to gain a grasp on the pin tumblers while they are being lifted out of the locking hole.

This keeps them from dropping back down into their original positions, preventing the door from opening. A tension wrench can be made using an Allen Wrench or a screwdriver with sufficient length and width to fit into the keyhole.

How to pick a deadbolt lock?

Deadbolt locks have various levels of security depending on the type of door. The deadbolt lock has two locking arms called latch pins at either end of the hasp that is attached to the door frame. It is possible to open a lock by isolating the latch pins and lifting them out of the hasp slots. Below are several methods to pick a deadbolt lock.

1. Using a paperclip

If the pins and levers are fully engaged, it is almost impossible to pick a lock. The thin metal butt of the lever (known as the shank) must be inserted between the pins, and you must withdraw it to disengage them. A paper clip is one of the easiest tools to use for this purpose, although it is not very strong and may break if used too hard.


  • Insert the paper clip between the pins.
  • Insert the paper clip in between the latch pin bodies.
  • Push down on the outer end of the lock so that it pushes out of place, thus allowing you to disengage the pins.
  • Pull back on the other end of the lock and pry up with a flathead screwdriver or a knife blade and lift off loose latch pin from hasp slot to remove deadbolt lock from the door without having to cut through any parts or damage any doorknob hardware.

2. Using a credit card

A credit card can be used for picking interior door locks, but it may damage some parts of the door. First, you need to make sure that the lock will not cause damage to the lock body or doorknob hardware. With some types of deadbolts, you have to remove the doorknob first to gain access to its pins and levers.


  • Insert the credit card between the pins and levers on the lock so that it will not come in contact with any parts of the lock or doorknobs.
  • Gently turn the lock up until you hear a click or feel resistance.
  • Pull back on the latch to disengage and lift off the deadbolt from the door without damaging any door doorknob hardware or lock body parts.

3. Using a knife

A knife is another tool that you can use to pick a deadbolt lock. It is more useful than the credit card because it will not damage as easily, and it is stronger and thus able to withstand more pressure. Again, this will work best with interior door locks.


  • Insert the knife’s blade between the pins and levers of the lock so that it will not come in contact with any doorknob hardware or parts of the door lock.
  • Gently turn the knife up until you hear a click or feel resistance.
  • Pull back on the latch to disengage and lift off the deadbolt from the door without damaging any door doorknob hardware or lock body parts.

4. Using a screwdriver

Picking a deadbolt lock with a screwdriver is less complicated than using a knife but will also take more time. With this method, you want to make sure that the screwdriver tip is not too long or wide and will not damage the lock.


  • Insert the screwdriver under the latch pin and lever at the top of the deadbolt lock.
  • While holding the tip of the screwdriver in place, gently turn the lock up. The latch pin should pop out on its own.
  • Insert the screwdriver under the other latch pin and lever at the bottom of the lock and gently turn it up while prying to disengage until they are free from their housing slots.
  • Gently pull the pins or levers out of the door frame and lift off the deadbolt lock from the door without damaging any parts of the door doorknob hardware or lock body.

Here’s the video tutorial.

Final Word

These are some of the best methods to pick a deadbolt lock. They are effective, simple, and will not damage any parts of the door.

There are some other methods for picking locks, one of them is applying a different key that is similar to the original, maybe not exactly the same but close enough so as to give a false impression. It is also known as the bump key method. This trick can only open an older pin tumbler lock.

If you are going to use keys or other lock picking tools, it is good practice to test them beforehand. You will want to go by the feeling and not by looking at the lock directly from above. It takes some practice, but it will improve your speed and accuracy greatly.

Deadbolt locks are simple in design. You can differentiate them from other types of locks by knowing their location on the door and how to access the pins inside after lifting them out of their sockets.

Anyone can become a lock picking pro so long as they are willing to learn the trade and put forth the effort. Cautiously practice using your skills and add to them over time. The reward is a wealth of knowledge that can help you make money and open many doors.

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