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How to Break a Padlock? – The Most Effective Methods Ever

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to break a padlock

Do you want to know how to break a padlock? Before you resort to spending your money on a professional locksmith, you can learn the different ways of geting into your house by breaking the padlock. You can shim, break lock with hammer, or freeze it with a canister.

The methods are basic and straightforward. All you need to do is choose the most convenient way for you. At the same time, prepare the necessary items before you start with the tutorial. Following the steps carefully is also essential.

What You Need


The items you need will depend on the method you prefer. Fortunately, the things are easy to find. You can borrow from your neighbor, or you can purchase at the nearest hardware store. There are also alternatives available in case you don’t have the required items.

Two U-shaped clasps/ Sharp scissors

If you want to shim the padlock, prepare two U-shaped clasps made of metal. They may be small enough to fit in the space between the padlock.

If you don’t have any U-shaped clasps, you can make your shims using an aluminum can of soda. Also, prepare a pair of sharp scissors to make your shim. One can of soda can produce six shims.


The best kind of hammer to use is a small sledgehammer. You can use an 8 pounds sledgehammer with a fiberglass handle. If you don’t have a sledgehammer, other options are a bump hammer, mallet, or ball-pein hammer.

Aside from a hammer, you can also use a screwdriver. However, you will need a lot of force to bump the lock. The larger the screwdriver you use, the stronger force it can apply to the padlock.

2 Cans of Compressed air and Safety Gloves

If you want to break the padlock by freezing it, you will need two cans of compressed air. This chemical is typically used in cleaning computers. It is 1,1,1 trifluoroethane that can cool a metal up to 67-degree Fahrenheit.

Since you will be dealing with a dangerous chemical, you should wear a pair of safety gloves. Any gloves will do as long as you are comfortable wearing them. Also, they must be thick enough to protect your hands while spraying the padlock with compressed air.

Method 1: Shimming

Open the lock with a padlock shim

Step 1: Determine what kind of padlock you have

The kind of padlock you have will determine how many shims you need.

  • Most numerical padlocks have a single-lock shackle. If you use this kind, you only have to engage one shackle.
  • However, if you have a double-lock padlock, you must use two shims to release the locking mechanism.

Step 2: Create shims

If you don’t have a U-shaped clasp, you can create shims using a can of soda. Make a long piece of aluminum out of the can by trimming off its top and bottom part. You can create six shims.

The approximate width of each shim is 2.5 inches, while the height is 1.5 inches to 1.75 inches. Make an “M” shape on each piece. Cut the shape, then fold its top quarter in half and fold its legs up and around.

Step 3: Shim the padlock

If you are using two U-shaped clasps, you only have to put the tools between the shackles of the padlock.

Once done, detach the locking mechanism from the shackle and the padlock by pulling the wenches closer until their handles meet.

Place it in the space between the padlock and the shim for the homemade shim. Make sure that it is on the opposite side of the locking grove of the shackle. Move the shackle up and down while turning the shim.

Method 2: Hammering the Padlock:


Step 1: Create tension between the shackle and the padlock

Without tension, you cannot open a padlock with a hammer no matter how many times you pound.

To create tension, simply pull the shackle from the padlock’s body. You can use a clamp or any tool that can help you pull the shackle.

Don’t hold the lock’s body as much as possible since this is where you will pound the hammer.

Step 2: Hammer down the padlock

To loosen the pins of the padlock, you need to pound on the area where the shackle is fixed. Instead of giving a heavy blow, make quick and short strides.

Do this repeatedly until you feel that the shackles are getting loose. Avoid applying brutal force since it may cause you an injury, or you can damage the lock permanently.

If you don’t have a hammer, you can use a screwdriver as an alternative. If you want to see the most effective way to break a padlock with a hammer, you can watch this video:

Method 3: Freezing the Padlock:


Step 1: Spray the padlock with compressed air

Before starting this method, it is advisable to wear a pair of gloves for your safety. Freezing the padlock will make it easier to break a lock with a hammer and screwdriver.

First, put the air canister in an upside-down position. After that, spray it on one end of the padlock. Do this procedure for 20 to 30 seconds.

Step 2: Strike the padlock with a hammer

Carefully yet forcefully hit the padlock with a hammer on the spot where you have sprayed the compressed air. A few hits will successfully break the metal around the locking mechanism of the padlock.

Take note that your padlock cannot be functional with this method anymore. Buy a new one to keep your house secured.



Can I still use my padlock after breaking it with a hammer?

If you have done the tutorial right, your padlock may still even after hammering it. Although the force could make its locking mechanism weak, you can still use it. To ensure the safety of your belongings, it is better to buy a new lock.

How much temperature is needed before the metal becomes brittle?

It would depend on what kind of metal your padlock is constructed with. Cheap steel could be brittle with -30 Celsius. In contrast, strong metal like boron would take -173 Celsius before being easily broken by a hammer.

What are the other methods to open a padlock?

Aside from the methods above, you can break a padlock through the following:


Have you picked a method on how to break a padlock? With the help of this tutorial, you can get inside your house without spending a dollar. The steps are easy to follow. You won’t also need complicated tools.

If you have friends who need to learn this life hack, you can share this post with them. Also, we want to know what method you prefer to apply. Just leave your comment below.

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