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Manual vs. Electric Lock Picking

 Manual vs. Electric Lock Picking 

As a locksmith, you might have a hard time deciding between keeping things traditional with manual lock picks and upgrading to electric picks. CLK Supplies understands your conundrum, and we want to share more information about both types of lock picks in order to help you make a better decision for your needs and customers. 

Manual Mode

Only your hands and common lock picking tools are used during manual picking. Examples of such common tools include:


  • Rakes, which mimic the bitting on a real key
  • Hooks, which are often using for single pin picking
  • Tension wrenches, to keep the pin in place while you’re picking the lock
  • Bump keys, if you need a way to open a lock without a tension wrench
  • Diamonds, which are versatile tools known for their wide range of use
  • Manual pick guns, a tool that utilizes a strip of metal

One of the reasons to resort to the manual technique is to take advantage of the options it presents, such as single pin picking and raking. Each option is suited for a specific situation, such as for when you need to know how a lock is structured, or for locks that have little in the way of security. If you need to work on learning the finer points of tension, using a manual pick gun is a great way to brush up your skills.

For all of the above-mentioned advantages, there are some downsides of manual lock picking. For instance, to make the most of the choices open to you with this technique, you’ll first need an abundance of tools. There’s also the fact that the lock and method of picking have a large impact on how effective your efforts are. Finally, there can be quite a steep learning curve when it comes to perfecting manual lock picking techniques.

Going Electric    

The main difference between manual lock picks and electric picks is the electric variety utilizes electricity instead of a physical trigger to activate the vibration of the pick. Both types of picks use tension wrenches, but an electric pick requires battery power to remain fully operational. It’s not unusual for common household items to be used for the tension wrench, items such as electric toothbrushes and razors.

While electric picks were conceived to be easier to utilize than their manual counterparts, they still require a degree of know-how to properly utilize them. For instance, you need to know how to properly set the pick according to the type of lock you’re working with. Locksmiths who are used to manual lock picks and pick up an electric pick may need a little time getting used to the design. Just as you weren’t a pro the first time you started picking locks, you’ll need to spend some time experimenting and playing around with an electric pick before you get the hang of its shape and the tension wrench.

Specific advantages of using an electric pick over a manual include:

  • General level of effectiveness
  • They can be built with items found around your house, or easily bought at the store
  • A minimum of movement

As for disadvantages, you have to consider:

  • You may not have a dependable source of power for an electric pick when you need it most
  • The noise level of these picks can be quite disruptive

Rather than making the decision an either/or one, you’ll likely benefit the most from using both types of picks. Mastering electric and manual picks, as well as various types of locks, is sure to help bring in more business and enhance your professional reputation. Unlock the full range of possibilities by using both types of lock picks.  

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