How To Drill Out A Lock On A Safe? (Do It Like A Pro)

A safe is usually kept in the house or in your office to keep important documents, valuables, such as jewelry, money, etc for security purposes. In order to unlock the safe, you have to provide a combination of numbers…

Sometimes, you may find yourself in a situation when you can’t unlock the safe due to some malfunction in the lock or you have forgotten the combination. In this article, I will guide you to unlock your safe with simple drilling steps. However, you need some necessary equipment for the drill which will be given as well.

Your job will get easier if you manage a few key tools and kits. But you have to keep in mind that drilling out your lock is the only option and way out for you. You have to set up a new lock afterward as the current lock of your safe will be somewhat destroyed. Let’s get started.

4 Easy Steps To Drill Out A Lock On A Safe:

If you are a beginner and have no previous experience in drilling, do not be afraid as this is not something that you can’t do on your own. Just follow the steps and you are good to go. Here are 4 easy steps to drill out a lock on a safe.

Step 1- Choose The Right Drill Bits:

It is very important to choose the right drill bits before you start drilling. Usually, you can use a ¼ inch drill bit for drilling out a lock system. Like I have already discussed, it is highly recommended to keep different sizes of drill bits. The mechanisms are different for every lock and vary from safe to safe.

Some safe has a deep lock system for which you need bigger drill bits like ¼ inch for a successful drill. If you are well equipped, it will be easier for you. And you can change the drill bits for a smoother drill. Another way to figure out which drill bits are needed is to closely study the lock cylinder and you can get an idea.

Although it is better if you start with ⅛ inch drill bits and gradually change the bits. Make sure to clean the drill bits once in a while during the drilling to work more efficiently.

Keep a dry cloth and use screwdrivers to remove the wastes from your drill bits. Steel Drill bits can easily slit and cut metals, use the high-speed bits for better performance.

Step 2- Get Your Drill Machine And Start Drilling:

This is the most crucial part and you need to be really careful before you start. The entire process is very loud and requires a lot of technical tools. Make sure to keep your children and pets away. Secure the room and protect yourself by wearing all the safety measures.

Use ⅛ inch drill bits and start drilling the lock. Most traditional locks have screws or pins inside the system. It is important to find the screws or pins to successfully remove and damage them. Start drilling holes around the lock, drill a few holes and you will eventually see the screws. 

Spin the combination and you will see the screws inside the lock. You can unscrew them with your tool to make them weaker. You can also drill straight through the cylinder of the lock and penetrate the drill bits to make it weaker. Most of the traditional locks have more than 5 to 6 security pins.

Drilling the cylinder hole will eventually damage all the pins and you will notice the lock is getting more fragile. The entire process will not take place in 2 minutes.  You need patience as drilling requires a lot of commitment. Stay focused and always check if the drill bits are getting hot.

Give some time to cool off the machine and put some lubricants into the hole to start drilling again. Always clean the tip of the drill while you work for more efficiency and productivity.

Remember, you only want to destroy the lock, not the entire safe. Therefore, keep your machine at a steady height and keep it straight to not damage any other part of the safe.

Step 3- Keep The Pressure Steady And Change Your Drill Bits:

Once you start drilling the lock cylinder, apply a steady pressure to slowly drill the safe lock. A very common mistake people do is they apply high pressure to finish the work quickly. Applying high pressure will generate more heat and the drill bits will not penetrate the lock cylinder smoothly.

If you face any difficulty while drilling the hole, use a little water drop, lubricants, or oil. The lock may get jammed due to the wastes from the drilling. The liquid will help get through it easily. I have suggested starting your drill by using ⅛ inch bits. Change the drill bits to ⅙ or ⅛ inch which will help you to drill the cylinder of the lock.

The locks usually have multiple pins and destroying them one by one using different sized bits will take you one step further. Most people face difficulty and easily get frustrated by using only one type of bit. 

At one point the drill bits do not go further to drill the hole of the lock cylinder. Multiple drill bits are very essential when it comes to drilling a safe lock.

Step 4- Use ScrewDrivers To Turn The Lock Open:

If you follow the right steps and procedures accordingly, you will notice the lock is already vulnerable and ready to open. Now it is time for you to open the lock by putting a screwdriver in place of the key. The screwdriver may not fit into the lock, adjust left and right to make it work.

If you still can’t open the lock system, use a hammer and tap it onto the screwdriver. If needed, use the machine again and alter the drill bits to further penetrate and try to destroy the entire mechanism. Once the structure of the lock is destroyed, you can easily turn the lock open and recover your valuables.

Metals and other wastes such as debris might pile up inside to create a jam. Clean the drill bits while working and use liquids from time to time to avoid such complications. 

Your safe is open again with few simple steps and with the help of some really important tools and kits.

5 Things To Check Before You Decide To Drill Out A Lock On A Safe:

There are times when your safe lock may not open due to a few possible reasons. So, before you decide to start drilling the lock of your safe, make sure to check and verify a few things.

Here, are the 5 important things to check before you decide to drill out a lock on a safe:

  1. The bolt of your safe lock may be jammed and it is required for you to lubricate the hole of your safe lock and wait for a few minutes to open the lock.
  2. The battery of your safe lock is dead and is the main reason for not opening the lock. The battery usually lasts up to 1.5 years or more. Change the battery and try again to unlock your safe.
  3. Sometimes the activation code can get deactivated due to few possible reasons. Contact the seller and talk to a representative to solve the issue.
  4. The wires can get disconnected at times and it is better to remove the batteries and unplug the safe lock and check all the wires if they are connected properly.
  5. Some of the safe locks have a timeout delay which may be the reason for the locks not open. Try again after 15 to 25 minutes later if you can’t unlock the safe with your combination number.

Some Commonly Asked Questions:

Things You Need To Drill Out A Lock On A Safe:

Preparation is one of the most important attributes to easily get through a difficult situation. Always remember the more equipped and composed you are, it will be more convenient for you to solve the matter. 

Here are the things you need to drill out your lock:

  • Electric Drill,
  • Drill Bits,
  • Hammers,
  • Screw Driver,
  • Synthetic Oil
  • Lubricants,
  • Googles,
  • Hand Gloves,
  • New Safety Lock.

What Is The Estimated Cost To Drill Out A Lock On A Safe?

In order to unlock the safe all by yourself, you need to allocate some budget for these materials. Remember, you may need these tools and materials in the long run too. Keeping these necessary materials in your house is always a good option.

Here is a table provided with the estimated cost of the materials.

Materials Price (For Home Use)Price (For Professional Use)
Drill Machine$40$85
Drill Bits$10-$30$20-$100
New Lock$65$120-$300
Estimated Total Price $80 Dollars At Max.$270-$400 Dollars 

However, If you don’t want to drill out a lock on a safe by yourself, you can hire a professional locksmith. It will cost you around $200-$500.

What Is The Cost Of A New Safe Lock?

The cost of a new safe lock may range from $65 dollars to up to $300 dollars. If you are looking for a replacement for your traditional lock, it is safe to have a budget of around $100. For an electronic or smart lock, you need a minimum of $200.

How Much Time Is Needed To Drill Out A Safe Lock?

It will take around 10 to 30 minutes to successfully drill out a safe in a lock if you wish to do it on your own. An expert or a professional can do the job in less than 10 minutes or so as they have all the right equipment and know all the techniques.

What Type Of Drill Bits Do You Need To Drill Out A Safe Lock?

You need ¼ “ drill bits to drill out a safe in a lock. The depth of the safe lock holes varies, so it is recommended to keep a few sizes of drill bits. Use 19(mm) bits or 10” bits to drill the lock holes to damage the pins of your safe successfully.

Are Smart Locks More Secure Than Traditional Locks?

Well, both the locks are useful and can keep your valuables secured. Smart locks are very much used these days and can be operated from anywhere in the house or office.

Electronic locks are also used indoors and can be operated from a remote distance. If you are technologically advanced, you can go for this. However, the downside of smart locks, they can easily be accessed or hacked. 

Traditional locks are designed in such a way that it requires a lot of effort to unlock it. Anyone with a bad intention cannot easily unlock a traditional lock, while hackers can easily get access to your smart locks. 

However, with the right security and passwords, you can definitely protect your house or valuables from theft. Therefore, it depends on you which type of lock you should replace after drilling out the lock from your safe. 

For advanced security, it is better to replace it with a traditional lock that requires a combination of numbers to unlock the safe.

How Long Does A Safe Battery Last?

A digital safe lock’s battery usually lasts from 12 to 18 months depending on the frequency of use. Sometimes a fused battery is a reason for the safe lock to not open properly. Make sure to check the battery before you decide to drill out the lock of your safe.

Does Drilling A Hole Ruin The Safe?

Not necessarily if the person drilling the hole knows exactly the point where it is required to drill. If the right techniques and methods are used to drill out the safe lock, it will not ruin it. Safe Locks can be easily replaced again to keep your valuables safe.


It is always a good feeling to learn new techniques and apply them successfully. You benefit from being a creative person and also it saves you quite a lot of money. This technique can also be used to unlock other locks as well.

I hope this article will help you drill out your lock system on your own. For any other queries or questions related to unlocking and drilling methods, feel free to write to me.

Masud Rana

This is Masud Rana. I run this blog. My Tools Guide is a blog where I share product reviews of different tools. Stay tuned to get more helpful articles!

Recent Posts