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Can a Locksmith Open a Safe without Damaging It?

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

can a locksmith open a safe

Can a locksmith open a safe? It’s probably one of the first questions that pop into your mind when you lose your key or forgot the safe combination.

In general, locksmiths are trained to open almost all types of safes. Aside from key duplication or replacement and door lock repair, it is one of their services.

Continue reading to discover which types of safes they can help you with and how much they can cost you.

Examples of Safes That Can and Cannot Be Opened by Locksmiths


Locksmiths are trained to open traditional safes with:

  • Lock with a key
  • Lock with combination dials

The technique they’ll use to open these safes will depend on the type of lock issues at hand.

Professionals will try their best to open a safe that is locked without force or cutting it open. However, if there are no other options, they will try to drill it to better analyze the issue.

Safes with a key are basically the easiest to crack. With the right picking tools and skills, a locksmith can easily open it in minutes or even seconds.

However, their skills also have some limitations. Locksmiths are not trained to break into a safe with:

  • Electronic/Digital Locks
  • Biometrics (Facial Recognition/Fingerprint)
  • Rare Locks

While there is no such thing as an uncrackable safe, locksmiths would need an IT and programming background to unlock a digital safe or a biometric one.

The only way they will be able to open these locks would be to bypass them by force. If you don’t want to break or damage your safe, your local locksmith would not be the best option.

What you can do instead is either find someone with the right technical skills or contact your safe manufacturer.

Additionally, older designs with rare locks can also be challenging for a safecracker. Ancient locks are made differently using techniques that are no longer practiced today.

Most of the time, they will choose not to open it because they’re afraid that they might break it.

Overview About Safe


Safes can come in different sizes, styles, and locks. Some of the most common types are key and combination. A combination safe can either be digital/electronic or mechanical.

Most people prefer a combination lock, since it’s more accessible and they don’t have to worry about losing their keys. Also, it provides better security than a key mechanism.

For enhanced security, modern safes use biometrics such as fingerprint scanners and facial recognition. Safes with biometric locks will only open using the fingerprint or face that is saved or recognized by the system.

Types of Home Safes


Home safes are made differently based on their use or purpose. Here are some of the most common types available in the market.

  • Burglar Resistant Safe – Most burglar safes are made of thick metals to make it harder for thieves to get into, since they are heavier and stronger.

In addition to that, their locks are rated depending on which type of burglary

tools they can resist and how long it will take the thieves to open the safe.

For instance, a burglar-resistant safe with code TRTL-60 means that it is tool and torch resistant and can keep thieves from opening the safe for a minimum of 1 hour or 60 minutes.

  • Fire Resistant Safe – This is used for securing important documents, such as land titles, wills, digital media or any valuables you need to protect in case of fire.

However, fire ratings for paper and digital media are different. For instance, fire-resistant safes for paper should be rated at 175˚C. For digital media, it should be 120˚C, and for computer data, at least 52˚C.

  • Gun Safe – This is used to secure guns and other firearms to prevent other people, especially children, from gaining access to your weapons.

The interior of a gun safe differs from a regular safe, since most of the time, it

has several racks inside to organize your guns, ammunition, etc. 

  • Jewelry Safe – A jewelry safe includes a velvet interior to protect your jewelry from external elements such as dust and moisture. Similar to gun safes, jewelry safes also have racks, compartments or shelves to keep your jewelry organized.

How Locksmiths Open a Safe

Depending on the type of safe or lock issue you have, a locksmith would use different tools and techniques to resolve it.

Here are some of the common issues you may encounter with your safe and the methods that locksmiths will use to unlock a safe box.

1. Lost or broken key


For lost or broken keys, a locksmith will use the lock-picking technique. With the right tools, they’ll be able to open a safe. This method is commonly used on pin tumbler and wafer tumbler locks in addition to a technique called key impressioning.

2. Dial combination is not working


There could be many reasons why your dial combination safe suddenly fails. It could be due to dust and dirt or a lack of proper maintenance.

To open the safe, a locksmith will use the lock manipulation method. This technique usually doesn’t require a safe opener tool. Locksmiths would only need their eyes, ears, and fingers to bypass a dial combination, though autodialers may also be used. 

Another technique they can use is bouncing or striking the safe. This is commonly used for cheaper home units. A locksmith will pound or drop the safe so that the pin inside will move, causing the lock to open.

In case all else fails or the securing mechanism is electronic, the locksmith will resort to drilling.

3. Forgotten combination


It’s normal to forget the passcode on your safe, especially if you don’t regularly open it. When this happens, you or the locksmith may contact the safe manufacturer to request the override code.

If that method does not work, the locksmith will try the drilling and scoping technique.

They will drill a small hole into the safe and insert a borescope inside to inspect the safe and try to find a way to open it without a code.

Lock picking and manipulation are usually preferred by most customers and locksmiths, since they can safely open the safe without breaking it.

Choosing a Locksmith for Safe Opening Services


It can be challenging to choose the right locksmith to open your safe, especially when there are a lot of security companies in your area.

Here are some tips to help you choose the best person to open your safe.

  1. Always ask for credentials. A professional locksmith should be able to show you his certifications and licenses as proof of qualifications. 
  2. Check the company through the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if it’s legitimate. Some locksmiths may also be members of the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) or the Master Locksmiths Association and similar organizations.
  3. Ask your family, neighbor, or friends if they can recommend a reliable professional for you.
  4. Visit the company website and check reviews online. However, be cautious, since some reviews may be fake.
  5. Find out how long they’ve been in the industry. The more established the locksmiths are, the better.

A safe smith can basically open almost all safes with a key lock easily. They can also break into units with electronic and mechanical combination locks using the different methods mentioned above.

Cost of Safe Opening Services


The locksmith open safe cost depends on several factors. It can be as low as $35 to more than $300.

Some of the factors that affect the costs are the following:

  • Safe Work – This is the method used to open a safe. For example, opening a safe without the key usually costs around $30-$50. It will cost more if you ask them to make a key for you.

Opening a safe using the drilling method is more expensive. It can cost more or less $300.

  • Locksmith’s Location – If the locksmith is a bit far from your place or office, they might ask you for additional fees for their travel expenses. So it’s best to contact someone near you.
  • Time Spent – Some safes can be harder to crack, so the more time a professional spends opening your safe, the higher the cost.

Also, there are some companies that may apply the 1-hour minimum charge, regardless of whether they were able to open your lock in less than an hour.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should you call a locksmith to open a safe?

There are several reasons why you should call a locksmith that can open a safe rather than do it by yourself.

  • Lost keys or forgotten combination
  • Damaged internal wiring
  • Stuck safe bolts
  • Damaged locking mechanism
  • The safe is in lockout mode.

What to do if a locksmith can’t open your safe?

If your locksmith fails to open your safe, you can try asking your safe manufacturer for help.

How long does it take for a locksmith to open a safe?

It depends on the type of safe, lock, and the skill level of the locksmith. The typical timespan is thirty minutes, but tougher units will require fifteen hours or longer.

Is it legal to hire a locksmith to open a safe?

Yes, since they possess the formal training and education legally required to perform the job. However, make sure that you have proof to show ownership of the safe.

How to open a Brinks fire safe?

In case you lost your combination and key, write down the serial and model numbers of the safe plus the key number. Call Brinks’ customer support so that the company may help you unlock it.


Whether they are important documents, guns, or jewelry, it’s best to know which type of safe to use for your valuables.

Just be careful in choosing a locksmith to open your safe, as there are some who might take advantage of you.

We hope this article was able to answer your question – can a locksmith open a safe.

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