How to Break a Small Padlock

Padlocks date back to ancient Greece and Rome. Padlocks are used to protect suitcases and other objects from being opened by unauthorised persons. If you lose the key or forget the combination to a padlock you will need to break the lock to open it. Most methods of opening the lock by force are simple as long as you have the right tools.

Place the chisel on the top part of the body of the lock. Hit the chisel with the hammer until the body breaks, releasing the shackle. The shackle is the u-shaped piece that keeps the lock closed. Use a chisel with a hand guard to protect your hand while you are hammering. This method will not break high-quality locks.

Open the bolt cutter and place the jaws of the bolt cutter on the shackle of the lock. With a hand on each of its handles, close the bolt cutter until it cuts through the shackle. The bolt cutter might not be able to cut through a high-quality shackle.

Read the manual for the angle grinder. Place the metal cut-off wheel on the angle grinder. Put on safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying metal debris and sparks. Turn on the angle grinder and cut off the shackle of the lock. The metal cut-off wheel will become worn from cutting the padlock. If you plan on cutting more padlocks you might need to change the metal cut-off wheel.


If you are trying to save the lock, ask a locksmith to open the lock for you without destroying it. A locksmith can also make a new key for your padlock.

Things You'll Need

  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Bolt cutter
  • Angle grinder and operator's manual
  • Angle grinder metal cut-off wheel
  • Safety glasses
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About the Author

Louis Gutierrez began writing in 2010 for various websites, specializing in real estate, construction and electronics. He has over 10 years experience running and operating various successful businesses in these fields and holds a Bachelor of Arts in business administration, graduating magna cum laude from Florida International University.