Skip to Content

What Can You Use To Cut A Lock? (How to)

Tools to cut lock

There may be many reasons why you need to cut a lock. Perhaps you forgot the combination or lost the key. You may also have purchased something that was padlocked and you need to get inside. What can be used to cut a lock?

The best tool for cutting a lock is a pair of bolt cutters. They will cut through most types of locks quickly and easily. As long as you choose the right size bolt cutter, the lock will not stand up to the pressure.

Of course, bolt cutters are only one of the many different ways that you can cut a lock. We will discuss many of the different options that range from angle grinders all the way to a pair of wrenches.

In many cases, it isn’t all about the tool that is used for cutting the lock, it is the method that is used. That is why we will discuss some of the best ways to cut a lock, step-by-step and provide some safety advice as well.

What Can You Use To Cut A Lock?

One important thing to consider is the fact that you are typically going to be cutting a standard lock that contains a locking shackle. When that is the case, you will cut the shackle on the side of the lock where it pops out of the lock body.

The reason why you do this is that one side of the lock is typically stationary when it is locked. The other side of the lock is what turns inside of the body of the lock.

When you cut the lock on the side of the shackle where it inserts into the body, then you can simply spin the lock open. Of course, if you do cut the wrong side of the lock, you can typically wiggle the lock enough that it will come free.

In addition, there are certain types of locks that were designed for the specific purpose of not being cut. These include everything from specialty bike locks to certain types of locks that don’t display much of the shackle.

It doesn’t mean that those locks are impossible to cut, it just means that you need to use the proper methods. Honestly, you can cut through almost any type of lock body using a grinder or an oscillating tool, and then you can just remove it from the area.

One other factor that we will discuss throughout this article is safety. You really can’t underestimate the need to be safe when you are cutting a lock or doing any other type of project. Here are a few things to consider:

Gloves – A good pair of all-purpose gloves or leather gloves are always a good idea when you are doing any type of DIY work. Unless you are doing something that would make wearing gloves dangerous, such as working with a turning shaft, you should wear them to protect your hands and your fingers.

Eye Protection – At a bare minimum, you should be wearing safety glasses when cutting a lock. Even if you are using bolt cutters, there is a possibility for pieces of metal to fly when the cut takes place.

In some cases, you may need to protect more than your eyes and you should protect your entire face. A face shield should be used when you are cutting the lock with anything that would cause sparks to fly. This could include an angle grinder or a reciprocating saw.

Hearing Protection – Since you will likely be using some type of power tool for the project, you should opt for wearing hearing protection. This can be earplugs or earmuffs. In either case, you protect your hearing because it doesn’t take long before your hearing gets damaged when you use power tools. You won’t need hearing protection if you use bolt cutters.

Fire Prevention – Since some methods of cutting locks involve using a grinder or another tool that causes sparks, there is always a possibility of fire. Never cut a lock using a tool that generates sparks if you are cutting near flammable liquid. You should also be cautious and have a fire extinguisher with you in the event that something catches on fire.

Now that we have discussed the basics, it’s time to look into some of the specific tools that may or may not be used for cutting locks.

Can You Use Saw To Cut A Lock?

Tools to cut lock

If you have a saw available, is it possible to use it for cutting the lock? It depends on a number of factors.

You can use a saw equipped with the proper type of metal cutting blade to cut through a lock shackle. This would include hacksaws, reciprocating saws, or perhaps even a jigsaw. The real key is to use the proper blade and method for cutting the lock.

A factor that is very important to consider for cutting a lock with a saw is the possible need to heat the lock. This is a step that many people overlook, but it can make it easier for the lock to be cut.

When you heat the lock with a propane torch, you are essentially weakening the metal. Put the propane torch directly on the shackle for a few minutes until it is red-hot. You should then let it cool down for a few minutes before cutting it with a saw.

Can You Use Grinder To Cut A Lock?

Tools to cut lock

A grinder is a very convenient tool that we often use around the home. Is it also something that can be used for cutting a lock?

If you equip your grinder with a metal cutting blade, you can quickly cut through the shackle of a lock or even the body of the lock. Using the proper technique and keeping safety in mind is important when using a grinder for this purpose.

First of all, if you are cutting through the shackle of the lock, you will want to hold the lock steady while doing so. This can put your hands dangerously close to the grinding wheel.

A better option is to use a pair of vise grips to hold the lock and keep it steady. It will allow you to cut the lock without having the body of the lock moving while the grinder is doing its work.

Vise grips will also provide you with some leverage and an easier way to grip than holding the lock with your hands.

Keep in mind that using a grinder on a lock or shackle is going to generate a lot of sparks. This can be dangerous, as it is a fire hazard.

Never use a grinder to cut metal near flammable material or if you aren’t aware of what is on the other side of the wall where the lock is being cut. Have a fire extinguisher ready in the event that something catches on fire.

Can You Use Hacksaw To Cut A Lock?

Tools to cut lock

We often use hacksaws for cutting metal. Can they also be used for cutting a lock?

Hacksaws are a great tool to use for cutting the shackle of a lock. When equipped with a carbide-tipped blade, they can cut through the shackle relatively easily. You can also make it easier to cut the lock with a hacksaw by heating the shackle in advance.

Steel is extremely strong, although it is possible to cut with a wide variety of tools. Heating the steel in advance of cutting it makes it weaker and more brittle.

Essentially, when you heat steel, carbon leaks from the structure of the metal. This is what makes it more brittle because the temper of the steel is no longer effective.

The best way to heat steel for this purpose is to grip the body of the lock with a pair of vise grips and hold the vise grips with heavy-duty leather gloves on. You can then heat up the shackle by putting a propane torch on it for a few minutes.

It isn’t only about heating, you also need to cool the steel slowly so the temper is ruined. After a few minutes of air cooling, you can cut the steel with a hacksaw much easier than cutting hardened steel.

Can You Use Dremel To Cut A Lock?

Tools to cut lock

A Dremel tool is a very convenient item to have around the home. We use them for crafts as well as for some DIY projects. Will they do a good job of cutting a lock?

A Dremel tool will easily cut through the shackle of even the best locks. If you equip the Dremel with a metal cutting wheel, you can cut through the lock easily. The key to success is to hold the lock steady so you can get the Dremel tool started but once the cut is started, it will finish quickly.

Like using a grinder, you will generate a lot of sparks when you cut a steel lock with a Dremel tool. Check the area thoroughly in advance to make sure there are no flammable items nearby. Keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Although you can use a craft Dremel tool for this purpose, you will find that it is much easier to use a heavy-duty Dremel tool that was made for this type of work.

Can You Use Sawzall To Cut A Lock?

Tools to cut lock

A Sawzall is a very handy tool to have. If you have a lock that needs to be cut, will this tool handle the job?

You can use a Sawzall equipped with a carbide-tipped blade to cut through the shackle of the lock. It will do so quickly, but you have to stabilize the body of the lock. Otherwise, you can use a grinder or bolt cutters to do the job.

The biggest problem with using a Sawzall or any other type of reciprocating saw is getting the job started. Because of the motion of the blade when using a reciprocating saw, it tends to bounce around more than cutting directly at first.

Generally speaking, you will damage the shackle considerably before you get in a groove and can actually cut through the shackle. Make sure that you have a firm grip on the reciprocating saw and hold it as steady as possible as you get started.

Can You Use Wrenches To Cut A Lock?

Tools to cut lock

You may have heard that it is possible to use wrenches to cut a lock. The problem is, most people do it all wrong.

You can use two wrenches to cut a lock if you put pressure on the shackle at a 90° angle. Most people tend to use the wrenches side-by-side but you are working against the strongest part of the lock when doing so. Put pressure on the top of the shackle and it will break the shackle at the weakest point.

A tremendous amount of pressure can be leveraged on the shackle of a lock when you use wrenches properly. The first wrench is put on the top of the body with the wrench opening surrounding the shackle on the opening side.

The second wrench is put in so that it is at 90° to the first wrench. You would then put the pressure on the top of the shackle by lifting the top wrench. Most locks will break easily when put under this type of pressure.

Can You Use Oscillating Tool To Cut A Lock?

Tools to cut lock

Oscillating tools are an excellent tool to have around the home. Can you use them for cutting locks?

If you equip an oscillating tool with a metal cutting blade, you can easily cut through the shackle of the lock and you can even cut through the body of the lock if necessary. As long as you stabilize the lock while you are cutting, it will make short order of the work.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on 2022-08-10.

Oscillating tools are used for a wide variety of purposes around the home. They are typically used for destructive jobs, and that includes when they are used for cutting locks.

The key to success is ensuring that the body of the lock is not bouncing around while you are trying to cut it. This may mean holding it steady with a pair of vise grips if the lock is already installed.

If you don’t have easy access to the shackle, you can use the blade on the oscillating tool to cut completely through the body of the lock. It will take a few minutes to do it, but it will effectively open the lock for you.

How To Cut A Lock Correctly And Safely

confused man standing

Now that we know there are multiple ways to cut a lock, let’s consider the best option and how to do it safely.

The best and easiest way to cut a lock is with a pair of bolt cutters. The cutters produce a tremendous amount of force on the shackle of the lock and will break it easily. When you use the right size bolt cutters, no lock will be able to withstand them.

Consider the following steps for using bolt cutters to cut a lock properly:

1. Size Choice – There are a number of different sizes of bolt cutters. Generally speaking, the larger the cutter, the easier it will cut. You also need to consider the size if you are cutting in an area with limited space.

2. Angle – Although you can cut straight through the shackle, it will cut easier if you angle the bolt cutter slightly. It is best if you cut the shackle on the side that goes in and out of the lock body.

3. Compress – At this point, you will compress the bolt cutters by squeezing the handle together. Holding the bolt cutter as far out on the handle as possible will allow you to have more leverage. If you are unable to cut it on your own, enlist the help of someone else to hold one side of the bolt cutter handle while you push the other side toward them.

Another option for cutting a lock is to use an angle grinder. This will also work very quickly but safety is a concern when using this tool.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on 2022-08-10.

1. Blade Choice – When using a grinder to cut a lock, make sure that you are using the right blade. A metal grinding wheel is probably the best choice, although there are other options that would also work well.

2. Stabilize – The body of the lock needs to be stabilized so it is not bouncing around as you try to grind the shackle. Don’t try to hold the body of the lock in your hand while using the grinder. That puts your hand in close proximity to the tool.

One way to stabilize the body of the lock is to grab it with a pair of vise grips. You can hold the vise grips at a safe distance from the lock body and it will even provide some leverage to make it easier to hold.

3. Cut – Turn the grinder on and then lower the blade to the side of the shackle that pops out of the lock body. Hold it steady so it doesn’t jump around on the shackle. It should cut through it in a matter of minutes.

4. Safety – Since you will be creating a lot of flying sparks and possible pieces of metal, you should wear a face shield with safety glasses underneath. Don’t cut near any flammable items and keep a fire extinguisher in the area.

If you need to cut a lock, the best choice is to use a bolt cutter. Choose a bolt cutter that is large enough for the lock and then cut the shackle on the side that pops out of the lock body. Otherwise, you can use a grinder to cut the shackle.

Related Articles

What Can You Use To Cut Rebar? (How To)

What Can You Use To Cut Window Glass? (How-To)

What Can You Use To Cut Particle Board? (How-to)

What Can You Use To Cut Mosaic Tile? (How-to)

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on 2022-08-10.

What Can You Use To Cut Formica?