A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.
Posted On by Ralph Goodman
There are a lot of things to consider when you are buying lock picks or a lock pick set, regardless of if it is your first lock pick set or an upgrade:
Simply put, there are many variables when deciding on the best brands to purchase, and this rings true for door lock brands just as much as it does for lock pick tools. This list will lay out the pros and cons of the best brands in the business. There are also some key terms (no pun intended) that will be helpful in understanding the qualities of the products.
SouthOrd makes the most universally appealing picks. They are one of the more affordable brands on the market, and they make quality picks. The quality is going to vary slightly depending on the type of set you purchase, but the picks will always perform. Perfect for a beginner to intermediate level, and once you have grown accustomed to the feel of these tools you may find yourself using them in a professional capacity. The largest flaw is with the cases that the picks come in. The stitching is not done very well, and you may find yourself needing to buy a new case after a short period of time.
Secure Pro makes some of the cheapest picks in the business. The affordability makes them perfect for a beginner or just a hobbyist. Their Credit Card Lock Pick set works, and although it may not stand the test of time, it is perfect for emergencies. Their standard sets come with hard plastic handles that are rather comfortable and allow you to feel the feedback. The wave shape of the handle is ergonomic and fits well in the hand, but the handle does not extend to cover the hilt of the tool. The picks that come in the pick set are actually quite strong for the price, and even the tension wrench in the Credit Card set is pretty sturdy. You can’t beat the price, and it does give you functionality but not longevity.
GOSO has a wide range of single pin picks that give a variety of lock accessibility. They also have specialized car entry tools that come in certain pick sets, or can be purchased individually. The tension wrenches come in all shapes and sizes and are all very high quality. The importance of a tension wrench cannot be stressed enough, and the span of widths will allow you to access a greater variety of locks. The company also makes very sleek and secure cases that accompany their sets. A very versatile set that gives you range for a fair price.
Most Hudson Lock pick sets will come with duplicates of the same pick types. It is always better to have more picks than to have less, and this allows you to replace broken or damaged tools with ones that have the same specs as the tool you have practiced with. Quality will vary depending on what type of picks you buy. The Tools are available in both spring steel and stainless steel. Spring steel is less durable and will corrode, but is not drastically inferior compared to the stainless steel tools as long as they are looked after well. Hudson Lock also uses thinner pieces of metal which may be less sturdy but do allow for better access into European locks. The picks are also less narrow than your standard Peterson and SouthOrd, which gives you a little less space in the lock, but not significantly. The hooks that are on some of the single pin picks tend to be a little long and may need to be filed down depending on your preference. The metal is usually a little rough, more so than other sets and may need more attention than just a wet sand. The company’s cases are well constructed with tight stitching and sturdy fabric, and if you find yourself moving on from this brand, you may want to continue using the case. All in all, it is a very standard set of tools that lends itself more toward European locks.
When it comes to Peterson you know you are getting quality. You are going to pay a little more than you would for most brands, but with that higher cost, you are getting a product that will last. The metal is extremely strong, which makes them stand up to extended and rougher usage. The tools are well finished and require much less sanding than the average pick. The company has also begun to use electroless nickel metal which gives the pick a slicker feel. With the newer metal, sliding the pick around in the lock is noticeably easier. When it comes to their cases, they are the first choice of most locksmiths. Solid stitching and a well-designed pocket system allow you to store many tools inside and not have to fuss with getting them loose or unstuck. The product is high quality in every way, but the prices make it a rather exclusive brand. This is more of a professional investment than it is a starting or hobby kit.
Sparrows is all about adaptability and quality. They are a great company that is also very transparent. They allow one of their engineers to explain his thoughts behind the design of the products, and it really helps you grasp the full range of what the company is giving you. They have a range of affordable and straightforward pick sets for beginners and more advanced sets with customizability. They have a tremendous selection of tension tools which is invaluable. In the more advanced sets, these tension wrenches have extended L’s and handles so that they can be trimmed to fit the user’s need. The metal used is extremely strong and gives great feedback from the tool. The rakes are also designed with practicality in mind. Made thicker than other standard rakes, this helps the rake last, as the tool’s usage demands a certain amount of roughness. Like all of Sparrows tools, this too is made with customizability in mind and can be sanded down to be thinner. There is also a range of cases available that cater to both tactical and professional usage. At the end of the day, if you want to start in the business or are looking to upgrade your tools, Sparrows is a solid brand to invest in.
Falle-Safe is a security professional exclusive brand that pairs its high prices with unique and powerful tools. They produce fixed tension tools that do not fill the hole or limit space for picks. This tool is really only useful on flat bottom locks. What that means is that any lock with a recessed keyway will not work with this tension tool. But this tool does work extremely well in its area. There’s even an adjustable fixed tension wrench that allows the user to fit the custom length of the keyhole. Falle-Safe is known for its effective rakes and makes some of the best designs for these type of tools. As far as the cases go, the binding around the edges of the material may fray and fall apart, but you can salvage this by taking a lighter to all the edges (including those on the interior pockets). The tools will also need some sanding, despite the implication of the price point. Again this company sells exclusively to security professionals, so without a locksmith license, you cannot purchase anything from the brand. That being said, if you are a professional, these tools are definitely something to aspire to own.
Another locksmith exclusive brand, Rytan also makes tools that are hard to rival. Their mini line of picks is one of the best choices for European locks. They make one of the narrowest designs and it does not compromise the strength of the metal. The picks do not bend very easily on any model, and the strength is reinforced by taking the metal of the tool deeper into the hard plastic handle. Rytan picks are great to round out your professional set and perfect for locksmiths that work in the UK.
Whether you are a beginner, a hobbyist, or a working professional there is a lock pick set for you. Some lock pick sets are going to serve one group better than another, so be sure to check out what tools you are getting and what they can be used for. Make sure you are in compliance with the law whenever you decide to invest in a lock pick set, and always be careful when you are refining any of your tools. Take care when you work with the tools so that you don’t harm the lock or the picks. It is important to realize that personal preference will always shape outlook and you may feel that I missed something, so leave a comment below and share your insight. Always work within the laws, and remember to enjoy the art.