How to Break a Storage Cylinder Lock

Have you ever been locked out of your storage unit? Or maybe you need to break into a cylinder lock that isn’t yours? Whatever the reason may be, it can be frustrating and time-consuming to figure out how to break a storage cylinder lock. But don’t worry; we have all the steps you need to get the job done in no time. 

How to Break a Storage Cylinder Lock

Can You Break a Storage Cylinder Lock?

While having a secure storage cylinder is an awesome way to ensure the safety of your valuable items, it can be a real hassle if you misplace the key. But don’t fret! It is possible to break a storage cylinder lock with a few simple tools.

The most cost-effective and minimal-risk way to break the lock is by using a tension wrench and pick set. This may sound complicated, but once you have the tools, breaking open, the lock is actually quite simple and straightforward. With patience, skill, and these basic tools, you can open any locked storage cylinder without damaging its integrity.

Why You Need to Break a Storage Cylinder Lock?

It is always important to properly secure your belongings, and storage cylinders can provide excellent security, given their resistance to tampering. However, there are cases where it may be necessary or beneficial to break the lock on a storage cylinder, such as in the case of lockout situations.

Breaking the lock will give you access to valuable items that have been secured inside, and it could also be vital for providing critical aid in an emergency situation.

Breaking a storage cylinder lock should not be done unless absolutely necessary, yet having the capability to do so allows you peace of mind knowing that you can access valuable materials quickly and securely when needed.

Necessary tools for Breaking Cylinder Lock

Things you will need:

1. Bump Key

2. Paperclips

3. Drill & Hammer

4. Bolt Cutters

5. Chisel & Hammer

6. Locksmith’s help (optional)

6 Steps to Follow on How to Break a Storage Cylinder Lock

Step 1: Use a Bump Key 

A bump key is an effective way to open a cylinder lock without damaging it. This method works regardless of the type of cylinder lock as long as it’s not an advanced model with additional security features.

All you need is a blank key that matches your particular lock and some lubricant like WD-40 or graphite powder. Start by inserting the blank key into the lock and then tap it lightly with a hammer several times until you hear a “click” sound. This indicates that the pins inside the lock have been pushed back, and the door should now open easily. 

Step 2: Pick The Lock With A Paperclip 

If you don’t have access to bump keys, this method may work for you if your cylinder lock is old enough or has no advanced security features.

You will need two paper clips and some patience; start by straightening out both paper clips and then use one of them to push down on each pin inside the cylinder while moving them around gently until they reach their correct position. Once the pins are in place, your door should easily open. 

Step 3: Use A Drill To Break The Lock 

This method should only be used as a last resort because it will completely damage or destroy your locking mechanism, rendering your storage unit vulnerable until you replace it with a new one.

You will need two drills for this—one for drilling holes into each side of the cylinder at an angle and another for putting pressure on these holes until they break off completely, allowing you to easily remove the entire mechanism from its housing.

You Will Need Two Drills

Be aware that this method can be quite dangerous since there is potential for sparks when drilling metal objects, so ensure that proper safety precautions are taken before attempting this technique!  

Step 4: Use A Bolt Cutter 

Bolt cutters are another common tool used to break cylinder locks. This method is also destructive and will damage the locking mechanism beyond repair, but it is much faster than drilling out the lock.

Start by placing the bolt cutter jaw on either side of the locking mechanism and use pressure to cut off the cylinder where it connects to its housing. This should break off the entire locking mechanism and allow you to easily remove it from the door. 

Step 5: Use A Hammer And Chisel 

This method is similar to using a bolt cutter but more precise, as it allows you to target specific pins inside the lock without damaging any other parts of the mechanism.

Start by placing a chisel at an angle to the cylinder and then use a hammer to loosen each pin until it becomes loose enough for you to remove from its housing.

Step 6: Call A Professional Locksmith 

If all else fails, your best option may be to call in a professional locksmith who can open your lock without damaging it. They will have the tools and expertise needed to safely open any type of cylinder lock quickly and easily, so you can rest assured that your storage unit is safe from harm once they are done. 

That’s it! You’ve now learned how to break a storage cylinder lock. Remember, the best way to prevent theft from your storage unit is by taking the proper security measures, such as investing in quality locks and regularly checking your items.

Things You Need to Know Before Breaking a Storage Cylinder Lock

If you need to get into a storage cylinder and find that it is locked, there are some important things to consider before attempting to break the lock. First, it is essential that you have the proper tools for getting into the cylinder safely.

Need to Get Into a Storage Cylinder

If you do not have experience with such tasks, be sure to seek professional help so that the process can be done correctly with minimal risk of damaging any of your possessions within. Additionally, consider any potential legal ramifications, as many jurisdictions consider breaking criminal lock damage.

Finally, ensure that whatever method you use does not cause damage to whatever it is you are trying to access so that its contents remain secure and safe when opened properly with a new lock or key.

Benefits of Breaking a Storage Cylinder Lock

Breaking a storage cylinder lock can offer security and peace of mind regarding important documents and possessions that you need to keep safe. This can allow you to ensure that your items are secured with a key code or with a number or combination that only you know, rather than relying on an easily copied key.

It also provides physical protection of the items as a deterrent for someone looking to enter the storage space without authorization. Another advantage is that you can use different types of cylinders, such as pin tumblers, mini disc cylinders, rim cylinders, and more, to increase the level of security.

Breaking cylinder locks offer many other benefits like convenience, safety, and easy access control in various locations like cabinets, toolboxes, and sheds.

6 Common Mistakes People Make When Trying to Break a Storage Cylinder Lock

1. Not Using the Correct Key

One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to break a storage cylinder lock is not using the correct key. Storage cylinder locks are designed to be opened with a specific type of key, and using the wrong key can damage the lock or make it more difficult to open. If you’re unsure which key to use, consult the manufacturer’s instructions or a locksmith.

2. Not Inserting the Key Fully

Another common mistake people make is not inserting the key fully into the lock. Storage cylinder locks require the key to be inserted all the way for it to work properly. If the key is not inserted fully, it may not engage all of the pins in the lock, making it more difficult to open.

Inserting the Key Fully Into the Lock

3. Inserting the Key Upside Down

Another mistake people make is inserting the key upside down. This can happen if you’re not paying attention or if you’re trying to insert the key into the lock without looking at it. Storage cylinder locks are designed so that the key can only be inserted one way, so inserting it upside down will not work.

4. Not Turning the Key Far Enough

Storage cylinder locks require you to turn the key several times for them to open. If you don’t turn the key far enough, it won’t engage all of the pins in the lock, and you won’t be able to open it.

5. Turning the Key Too Far

Conversely, another mistake people make is turning the key too far. If you turn the key too far, you may damage the lock or cause it to become stuck in the locked position. Only turn the key as far as it needs to go to open the lock.

6. Applying Too Much Force

Finally, another mistake people make is applying too much force when breaking a storage cylinder lock. While it may seem like using more force will help, this can actually damage the lock or make it more difficult to open. Only use as much force as necessary when breaking a storage cylinder lock.

Breaking a Storage Cylinder Lock

How Much it may cost to break a Storage Cylinder Lock?

The cost to break a storage cylinder lock can vary significantly depending on the type of lock, the level of difficulty to bypass it, and other factors. Generally, it is not recommended as a do-it-yourself project due to potential damage or injury that could be caused.

Professional locksmiths typically charge an hourly fee plus any additional parts, tools, or materials required to safely and effectively bypass the lock. Depending on the level of difficulty, this could range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

Therefore, it is important to consider all costs associated with breaking a storage cylinder lock before attempting it. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to simply replace the lock altogether.

Can a Professional Locksmith Open a Cylinder Lock Door without Breaking the Lock?

Yes, in many cases a professional locksmith is able to open a cylinder lock without breaking the mechanism. This typically requires specialized tools, so it’s important to find an experienced and reputable locksmith who can gain access without damaging the lock.

If the lock has been damaged or worn out, however, it may be necessary to replace it completely to ensure the security of your belongings. It is also important to note that in some cases, it may be more cost-effective to simply replace the lock rather than attempt to open it without breaking it.

If you are interested in installing a new storage cylinder lock, make sure you discuss all available options with your locksmith so you can make an informed decision. No matter the situation, it is important to consider all available options before attempting to break a storage cylinder lock.

It may be best to consult with a professional locksmith who can evaluate the situation and find the best option for you. Even if that means replacing the lock completely, in some cases this may be your only option. And, in the end, it’s important to remember that your safety and security are paramount.


Breaking into a storage cylinder lock can be tricky, but thankfully, there are ways to do so without resorting to drastic measures like drilling through it entirely.

If you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation, then remember – try using bump keys first as they won’t damage your property if done correctly; pick locks with paperclips if necessary; and drill into locks only when absolutely necessary due to danger posed by sparks flying from metal objects being drilled at high speed!

With these steps in mind, anyone can safely break open their own storage unit quickly and effectively in no time at all! Thanks for reading our post about how to break a storage cylinder lock.

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