How to Cut Off a Lock

How to Cut Off a Lock with Different Tools

Even the best of us occasionally experience lockouts. You might have lost your keys or your lock has rusted shut. Perhaps you just paid auction for a storage locker, and you need to remove the old lock right away. In any event, the question of how to cut off a lock is fairly easy to answer, and today we’ll cover a bunch of different ways you can get the job done, quickly and easily.

What Do You Need

To complete the task, you can use a variety of tools. Most likely, you already possess at least one of these resources. Stick with what you have if that is the case. You can learn how to cut off a lock using any of the tools below:

  • Bolt cutters
  • Angle Grinder w/ cutoff wheel
  • Dremel w/ cutoff wheel
  • Cutting torch or plasma cutter
  • Hacksaw & propane torch

Beyond one of the tools above, all you’ll need is some safety equipment to protect yourself from sparks and metal shavings:

  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves

How to Cut Off a Lock With Different Tools

Using Bolt Cutters

One of the most popular and efficient ways to get past a lock is with a bolt cutter. Bolt cutters are essentially just a small pair of scissors with a fulcrum joint that allows them to transfer much more power to the blades, enabling you to cut through thick metals.

Long-handled bolt cutters offer the greatest leverage and make it simple to cut through thicker, harder metals. However, a heavy-duty lock might be too tough for bolt cutters with shorter handles to open. Proceed to one of our other techniques if you don’t have a sturdy pair.

Using An Angle Grinder

Cutting through a lock can be accomplished quickly using an angle grinder with a metal cutoff wheel.

You should put on your safety goggles and work gloves first because you’ll be working with sparks and metal shavings. You may also want to consider wearing earplugs as well.

The angle grinder should be held so that the blade is parallel to the lock. Next, start cutting slowly and purposefully. Don’t exert too much pressure; the tool will complete the task on its own.

Cut through that side of the lock, and you should be able to pry it open. Cut the lock’s other side if doing so isn’t an option.

How to Cut Off a Lock

Using a Dremel

The same idea underlies an angle grinder and a Dremel with a cutoff wheel. A Dremel is smaller and easier to maneuver, making it useful for use in confined spaces.

Use reinforced cutoff wheels whenever you can when cutting with a Dremel to reduce the likelihood of the wheel breaking during the cutting process.

Using a Cutting Torch

Since a torch’s power can easily overcome a lock, using one is probably the fastest way to open a lock. This approach might be excessive, but if you have a torch on hand, it’s a great way to put it to use!

First, turn your acetylene tank about a quarter turn and your oxygen tank all the way. Set the oxygen tank’s PSI to around 45–50 PSI and the acetylene tank’s PSI to around 5–6 PSI. Next, fully extend the oxygen valve on your torch and slightly extend the acetylene valve.

The torch can now be ignited. Once the torch is no longer emitting thick, black smoke, adjust the acetylene valve. The oxygen valve should now be adjusted so that the flame becomes a narrow, white cone of heat. The lock will soon be cut by you.

Preheating the lock can be useful prior to starting your actual cutting motion. When you’re ready to start cutting, slowly and deliberately move the flame across the lock’s shackle until you’ve made a complete cut.

How to Cut Off a Lock

Using a Hacksaw & Propane Torch

This approach takes a little longer and is not very useful. However, if you don’t have any cutting equipment, such as bolt cutters, this approach might be your best option.

The majority of locks have hardened steel shackles, making hacksaw blades ineffective against them. However, you can make the steel of the shackle more easily cutable by heating it up before using the hacksaw.

Then, start heating the area of the shackle where you intend to make the cut by lighting your propane torch. Heat that area further until it starts to glow from the heat. When the lock starts to glow, extinguish your torch and let it cool.

Once it has cooled, you can quickly and easily cut through the shackle with a standard hacksaw.

Safety Tips

  • Put safety first at all times. If you’re using a Dremel or an angle grinder, put on safety gloves and a face shield or goggles.
  • Before turning to riskier tools like an angle grinder or cutting torch, consider all other possibilities first. It’s possible that a less effective and safer approach would work just as well.
  • Examine your cutting abilities. If you’ve never used sophisticated tools, such as a cutting torch or a propane torch, it’s best to stick to things you’re accustomed to using.
  • Keep your body away from any blades or moving parts. Turn off your machine right away and make any necessary adjustments if something feels off.


You now realize that using a straightforward padlock to lock items is less secure than you initially believed. Many homeowners use these locks to secure their garages and storage sheds. They can apparently be cut with a variety of tools. There are several paths we can take when learning how to cut off a lock, all of which will take us in the same general direction. Work slowly, cautiously, and safely whether you’re using bolt cutters, an angle grinder or Dremel, a cutting torch, or even a hacksaw. You’ll quickly have your lock cut off if you follow these suggestions.


What is the Best Tool to Cut a Lock Off?

The most popular tool used to cut padlocks during forced entry is a bolt cutter.

Can You Open a Lock Without a Key?

Without a key, there are a number of ways to open a door. Lock picks, bobby pins, and paperclips can all be used to unlock the door. The lock can be pushed or shifted. And for those who lack inspiration, you can even use force to kick in the door or drill the lock.

What Kind of Lock Cannot Be Cut Off?

Contrary to their name, shackles are still present in shackleless padlocks, but the shackle is completely enclosed in the steel body. It is completely concealed, rendering it impossible to tamper with or cut the shackle.

How Do You Punch a Lock Out?

How to drill out a lock: To create a guide point, make an indentation on the lock by striking the punch with a hammer twice or three times. Start drilling by drilling a hole through the lock cylinder on the guidance point using the 3mm drill bit. To open the lock, your goal is to remove the pins from the mechanism.

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