How To Get A Snapped Key Out Of A lock - Top 6 Ways

Broken key in the lock
Publish at Jul 04, 2022 By: Isaac Bell
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If you're in a hurry and find that your key won't turn in the lock, don't panic. Likely, the key has become worn out over time, causing the metal to break. While it can be alarming to have a snapped key on your door, there are quite a few easy ways to get rid of it.

This guide will cover a few accurate methods using various objects, many of which you're probably already familiar with.

Remember to take your time under these circumstances, as any mistake can cause further damage.

Quick Preparation To Remove Broken Keys

Before beginning any project, gathering all the necessary materials is important. Having the right tools at your disposal will make the process more efficient and streamlined. Make sure you have the following items on hand before starting work:

  • Paper clip
  • Swiss army knife
  • Eyebrow scissors
  • A Button pins
  • First aid kit
  • A Pocket knifes
  • Playing cards
  • One Emergency kit
  • A Bobby pins
  • 2/3 Safety pin
  • Rolling Pin
  • Metal hair clip

You might not require all of the tools mentioned above. However, you can use alternative items on the list if you don't have any of the tools mentioned at home.

Top 6 Ways Of Removing Broken keys

You may feel fear and helplessness if the key snaps in your lock. However, it is important to remain calm and follow this guideline before taking further action. There are several ways to remove a broken key; the most appropriate method will depend on the specific situation. 

Ask yourself a few questions to determine which solution will work best. Where are you standing? What tools do you have at your disposal? And how deep has the key been inserted? The answers to these questions will help you choose the most effective solution. However, it is important to remember that removing a broken key takes time and effort, so do not be discouraged if it does not happen immediately.

Needle Nose Pliers Tool

Most people recommend using needle-nose pliers if your key is broken and the edge is inside a door lock. However, these needle-nosed pliers are not suitable for this job most of the time. The front of the needle-nose pliers is thick and cannot fit into the keyhole, so the tool will not be needed if your key goes deeper. On the other hand, if the key is only slightly out of the lock, you can use the needle-nose to pull it out.

Quick Tips: The pliers should be held under moderate pressure. If the pliers slip and hit the key, it will drive the key further into the lock. Each failed attempt to grab the key will make it harder to remove.

Super Glue

If you have a broken key stuck in a padlock, you can try to use glue to pull out the key. However, this method is often unsuccessful as people fail to follow the steps correctly. 

First, you need to apply a small amount of super glue to the end of a wire or match stick. 

Next, insert the wire or match stick into the lock to loosen the key and make removal possible. However, remember to remove any excess glue before inserting it into the keyway, as this could damage the lock. You must also wait for the proposed time needed for the glue to dry so that the small wire or match stick is bonded with the broken key. 

After the specified time has passed, pull out the wire or match stick. Surprisingly, the broken key piece should come out with it. This is a straightforward process.

Quick Tips: If you're attempting to open a door with a tiny wire or matchstick, don't try to rotate the key. Doing so is unlikely to be effective and may cause further damage if the stick snaps inside the lock.

Tap On The Cylinder

To successfully execute this method, you must hold the keyway pointing downwards, as the pins can no longer move upwards to allow the key to slide out. This will work for a padlock or a removed cylinder lock. 

Keeping the lock positioned and the keyhole facing the ground, you need to strike the lock with a hard hammer blow. However, it would be ideal for striking a hard surface by hitting the back of the lock to hit the key lock cylinder. 

But it is suggested to hit the back of a lock to avoid damaging its core, which could cause further trouble. Excessive force when striking the lock should also be avoided. If done so, it will be difficult to remove a snapped key out. 

Pull And Probe

You will need to use two thin metal parts to retrieve the key from the lock.

  1. First, examine the keyway with a delicate metal part.
  2. Next, align the metal pieces on either side.
  3. Finally, insert two thin metal tools firmly into the lock on the side with rough engravings, making sure to apply enough pressure to remove the key easily.

Attempt this process a few times if necessary. If done correctly, the broken pieces should come out easily.

Broken Key Extractor

If you need to remove a broken or working key from a lock, the best tool to use is a key extractor. An experienced locksmith can use these tools to quickly and easily remove the snapped key from the lock. 

To use a key extractor, first, attach the teeth of the extractor to the key. Once it is in place, use the extractor hooks to turn the key counterclockwise and gently pull it out. If the key does not come out on the first try, don't worry - try a few more times, and you will eventually succeed.

Hacksaw Blade Tool

If you don't have a key extractor tool, you can finish the job by breaking the saw blade and inserting the granular side onto the door lock with a few nose pliers. You can find this in the hardware store. 

All you have to do is fit it into the keyhole. In this case, you may need to break the saw blade and a few nose pliers to insert the granular side onto the door lock. 

When the saw blade or jigsaw blade serrations are at an angle, try to keep the blade on the keyway then the serrations return to you. It can help insert the blade and easily clip the key blade quickly. 

Now use it as a snapped key extractor if the serrations in the blade are lined up with the key bite. It should be turned slightly and pulled as soon as the broken key comes out. If you can't get the key out on the first try, try the same procedure several times.


We hope you never have to deal with a broken key, but if you do, these methods should help you get the key out of the lock. Suppose you're having trouble or don't feel confident in your ability to remove the key. In that case, it's always best to call a professional locksmith. Armor Locks Co. is Houston's leading locksmith company, and we're always happy to help. Give us a call today!


How Do You Remove Snapped Key From the Lock with a Paperclip?

If you want to remove a key broken inside a door lock with a paperclip, you will need to insert the paperclip into the lock and turn it clockwise. If the paperclip does not fit into the lock, you may need to use a pair of pliers to twist it. Once the paperclip is inserted, you must turn the lock counterclockwise. It will release the broken part from the lock.

Can You Cut a Key From a Snapped Key?

If unfortunately, your key broke in broken in half, it is possible to cut a new key from the broken key. First, the broken key must be inserted into the keyhole. Next, a key blank must be inserted alongside the broken keyhole. Finally, the additional blank keys must be cut to match the profile of the broken key. Thus you can cut a key from a snapped key.

Article written by: Isaac Bell
I'm Isaac Bell, founder of Armor Locks Co. I founded the company in 2014, and we've been growing. We're a Houston-based locksmith and security services provider, and we're dedicated to providing quality service and helping people in emergencies. We still uphold our founding ethos of putting customers first, which is why we're one of the most trusted names in security. Thank you for considering me for your next project!