How to Pick a Vending Machine Lock?

If you’re looking for a fun and challenging weekend project, try picking a vending machine lock! It’s not as difficult as it may seem, and with a bit of practice, you can do it in no time.

In this article, we will walk you through the steps involved in picking a vending machine lock. We’ll also provide some tips to help you get the most out of your experience.

What is a Vending Machine Lock?

A vending machine lock is a type of padlock that is used to secure vending machines. They are often made of steel or brass and have a shackle that goes through the lock’s hasp. The purpose of the vending machine lock is to prevent unauthorized access to the machine’s contents, which may include money, snacks, or other items.

A vending machine lock is not a very complex device, but it can be not easy to pick if you do not have the proper tools. Coin-operated washing machines are an excellent example of where you might find a vending machine lock. Most vending machines take special keys, which can be purchased from the manufacturer. The key will have a series of notches that match up with the pins in the lock. Inserting the key and turning it will cause the pins to line up in the correct order and allow you to open the lock.

How Does a Vending Machine Lock Work?

Vending machines use a simple but effective locking mechanism to keep people from stealing items. The lock is a metal rod that goes through a hole in the door and is secured with a padlock.

The rod has a series of notches cut into it, and the padlock has a matching series of teeth. When the padlock is locked, the teeth fit into the notches and keep the rod from being pulled out. Vending machine locks are designed to be very strong so that they can’t be broken easily. It would take a lot of force to break one of these locks, so it’s not worth trying. While you might be able to break the lock, you would probably damage the vending machine in the process, and it would be obvious that someone had tried to break into it.

Step By Step On How To Pick a Vending Machine Lock

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of vending machine locks, let’s learn how to pick one. This process is not as complicated as it may seem but requires a few tools and patience.

What you need:

  • A few paperclips
  • A bobby pin
  • A small flathead screwdriver
  • Patience

If you have these materials, then you’re ready to get started.

Step #01 – Start by examining the lock on the vending machine

The first step is to look closely at the vending machine lock. You’re looking for a small hole on the side or back of the lock. This is where you will insert your paperclip. If you cannot find a hole, then the lock is most likely a keypad lock. In this case, these locks require a unique set of instructions that are a bit more complicated.

Step #02 – Straighten out one of the paperclips

Once you have found the hole, please take one of the paper clips and straighten it out. This will be your lock pick. The paperclip should be long enough to reach the bottom of the hole. To ensure that the paperclip is the right size, insert it into the hole and feel for the bottom of the lock.

Step #03 – Insert the paperclip into the hole

Now that you have a straightened-out paperclip, it’s time to insert it into the hole. Be careful not to bend the paperclip as you insert it. This will make it more challenging to pick the lock.

Step #04 – Feel for the pins inside the lock

Once the paperclip is inserted, you should feel for the pins inside the lock. There are usually two or three pins that you will need to manipulate in order to open the vending machine. Do not apply excessive force to the paperclip, as this may break it.

Step #05 – Use the bobby pin to apply pressure to the pins

To apply pressure to the pins, use a bobby pin. Insert the bobby pin into the hole next to the paperclip. You will need to apply enough pressure to hold up the pins but not so much that the bobby pin breaks.

Step #06 – Use the screwdriver to turn the lock

Once you have applied pressure to the pins, use a small flathead screwdriver to turn the lock. The vending machine should now be unlocked. If the vending machine does not open, then you may need to try again with a different paperclip or bobby pin.

There you have it! With a bit of patience, you can easily pick a vending machine lock. Just remember to be careful with the tools that you’re using so that you don’t damage the lock.

What Kind of Locks Are on Vending Machines?

Vending machines have been around for over a century, and in that time, their locks have evolved to deter would-be thieves. The tubular pin tumbler lock is the most common type of lock used on vending machines.

Tubular pin tumbler locks are cylindrical locks with a series of pins that must be aligned for the lock to open. These locks are complicated to pick because each pin must be lifted to the correct height in order for the lock to open.

Tubular locks are also known as barrel locks or radial locks. A tubular key has a series of notches cut into the circumference of the key that corresponds to the pins in the lock.

So, How Do you Pick a Tubular Pin Tumbler Lock?

A tubular lock pick is a particular type of lock pick that is designed to open tubular locks. There are a few different ways to pick a tubular lock, but the most common method is a Ballpoint pen and scissors. Here is how it works:

  • Take a ballpoint pen and remove the ink cartridge – This is the first step in picking a tubular lock. You’ll need to remove the ink cartridge from the pen so that you can use the empty tube to pick up the lock.
  • Insert the empty ballpoint pen into the keyway – Once the ink cartridge is removed, you can insert the empty ballpoint pen into the keyway of the lock. Be sure to insert it all the way into the keyway so that you can access the pins.
  • Use the scissors to push up the pins – Now that you have access to the pins, you can use the scissors to push up the pins. You’ll need to apply pressure to all the pins to push them up into the sheath.
  • Remove the ballpoint pen from the keyway – Once all of the pins are in the sheath, you can remove the ballpoint pen from the keyway, and the lock should be open. If it’s not, you may need to try again or use a different method.

You can also pick tubular locks with a tension wrench and a hook pick. This method is a little more complicated, but it can be done if you are patient and have steady hands.

FAQs about Picking Vending Machine Locks

Is lock picking legal?

Yes, lock picking is legal. It is not considered a form of burglary if you do not enter the vending machine with the intent to commit a crime. However, you could be charged with vandalism or burglary if you are caught vandalizing or breaking into a vending machine. This is why it is always best to pick the lock of a vending machine that you own or have permission to be on the premises.

What are vending machine keys called?

Vending machine keys are called “tubular keys.” They are thin, cylindrical keys that have a series of small pins sticking out of the end. In order to pick a vending machine lock, you will need to purchase a tubular key pick set. The set will come with a variety of different size picks that will fit into the keyhole of most tubular keys.

How many pins does a vending machine lock have?

Most vending machine locks have between five and seven pins. The number of pins in a lock will determine how difficult it is to pick the lock. If you are new to lock picking, starting with a vending machine with five pins is best. As you become more experienced, you can move on to machines with more pins.

What are tubular locks used for?

Tubular locks are used in various applications, including vending machines, Kensington computer locks, gaming machines, ATM locks, lockers, elevator locks, coin-operated washing machines, and bicycle locks.


Overall, picking a vending machine lock is not too difficult if you have the right tools and knowledge. With a little practice, you should be able to do it relatively quickly. There are a few different ways to go about it, so experiment and see what works best for you. Give Locksmith Poughkeepsie a call if you need help!