How can I open a door without a key?

Losing your keys can be a stressful situation, especially if you’re stuck outside your home, standing in front of a locked door! Fortunately, there's no need to worry as there are ways to open a locked door without a key. Left your keys inside your home and now the door has slammed shut behind you? Never fear, Netatmo can suggest a few clever methods to help you get back inside quickly without using a key.

You can often open a door using everyday objects such as a bobby pin or wire hanger, as well as common tools such as a screwdriver or hammer. Of course, the safest option is always to call a locksmith, who will have all the tools and knowledge they need to unlock a door and let you into your house or car without causing any damage to the lock. But if you get locked out of your home and would rather get inside without paying a locksmith, you might like to try one of the methods below before you make that call!

What's the best way to open a door without a key?

The lock picking method

We often hear about lock picking in connection with burglaries, and it is indeed a very popular technique for thieves trying to break into a car or house. However, you can also pick your own lock if your door has slammed shut behind you. You can buy lock picking kits which include several tools, such as tension wrenches, picks and rakes, to fit various types of locks. If you don’t have a kit and can’t buy one on the spot, you can use a paper clip, wire clothes hanger or pin (bobby pins can work well to unlock a door). But bear in mind that if you have a newer door with a more complex lock, you won't be able to pick it so you'll need to try one of the other methods described here.

The X-ray paper method

This is a very commonly used and effective technique for opening a door without a key. A piece of flexible yet rigid paper, such as X-ray paper, can be used to exert pressure on the latch of a locked door. You’ll need to insert it between the frame and the door, slide it up to the latch and then give it a few sharp taps to retract it and open the door. This is actually a safer and more effective way to unlock a door than the well-known credit card method.

The hex key or Allen key method

Used for both furniture assembly and mechanical work, a hex key, also known as a hex wrench or Allen key, can also help you unlock doors without a key. However, because of its shape and round tip, this type of tool can only be used to open doors where the lock has a circular hole.

The screwdriver method

A screwdriver is another tool that can work well with some types of lock. For instance, you can try it if you have a door that unlocks with a button in the middle of the doorknob. Insert the screwdriver and turn it to try and unlock the door.

Alternatively, you can use a hammer and screwdriver to remove the door from its hinges. This solution requires some basic DIY skills as it can be quite hard on the door. And you’ll need to put the door back on its hinges after you’ve managed to open it, so make sure you’re feeling confident before you try this method!

Calling a professional locksmith

If you have any doubts about the above methods and don’t want to risk damaging your door or lock, or if you don't have an X-ray, wrench, screwdriver or bobby pins to help you open your door, the best solution is to call a professional locksmith. After all, if you’re locked out of your house, you likely won’t have access to any of these tools! Calling a locksmith is usually a good decision because:

  • They’ll be an expert in defeating locks to open house and car doors. So they’ll know how to use the tools of their trade to get you inside in next to no time.
  • They’ll be able to unlock the door without damaging it, so there’s no need to worry about having to repair your lock or door after you get inside.
  • 24-hour availability: many professional locksmiths offer 24-hour emergency services. They can respond quickly to help you get back into your home, even outside normal working hours. There are even auto locksmiths who specialise in car door locks.
  • Safe and legal: using a professional locksmith ensures that the door is opened safely and legally, with no damage to the lock.

When choosing a professional locksmith, make sure you use a reputable, licensed company. Ask about prices and response times, and get recommendations if possible.

What techniques should be avoided when trying to open a door without a key?

The credit card method

Although it’s a well-known technique, we don’t recommend using a credit card to open a door as it’s not a very effective way to do it. It’s considered an unconventional and potentially destructive method, and it can damage both the credit card and the door.

Open your door without a key: the smart lock solution

A connected lock system incorporates wireless connectivity features, usually via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or other communication protocols. Unlike a traditional lock, a smart lock can be controlled remotely using a smartphone, tablet or computer. This means that even if you’ve forgotten or lost your keys, you won’t be locked out because you can use your phone to unlock the door remotely.

With the Netatmo Smart Door Lock you can unlock your door from your mobile phone wherever you are... and in the event of theft you can deactivate your Smart Keys directly in the Home + Security app. This means you can access your home whenever you like, with total peace of mind.