Last Updated on February 17, 2023
Cost to Open a Safe
Opening a locked safe is not as cut and dry as people think it is. We are often asked how much it will cost, but the charges are all over the place because it depends on what type of safe it is and the technique used to open it.
The average cost to open a safe is $320 nationally, but can be as little as $35. It can also be as much as several hundred. The cost to drill a safe is the most expensive. Cost varies depending on the type of lock, safe brand, method of entry used and anti-theft measures.
This chart, from Locksmith Ledger, is the result of a 2022 national locksmith survey. It represents the reported cost average to unlock a safe using manipulation and drilling (two popular safe cracking technics). But the cost can be much less, or much more.
Cost to Open Safes Without a Key
Safes that have key overrides, like Sentry safes, Honeywell, and other big box store safes or Amazon Safes are the least expensive safes and thus, the least expensive to get into.
It doesn’t matter if there is also an electronic or dial lock on the safe, if there is a key override that will open the safe on it’s own (not requiring that the combination be set first), then the safe can be easily gotten into.
The key cylinders of these safes can typically be picked open. This is true for both standard keyways and tubular keyways.
Often, there’s a code on the safe that can be used by a locksmith to originate the key using that code without the need for picking.
If it cannot be picked and no code is available, the locksmith may also impression the lock to make a key.
When all of the above are not possible (in some cases manufacturers use high-security, restricted, or non-common keyways) a locksmith may be able to verify ownership and then have a key sent to you from the manufacturer. A locksmith is used by the safe manufacturer to verify that you 1) have possession of the safe 2) are who you say you are and 3) own/rent the property the safe is in.
If you still have your proof of purchase or you registered the safe when you bought it, the manufacturer may send the safe key directly to you without the need of a locksmith.
If all the above do not work or aren’t available options, the lock can be drilled out and replaced by a locksmith.
In the most rare cases, the lock can be drilled out and replaced by a locksmith.
The table below illustrates the cost of these techniques to open a safe. This is just the cost of the opening and not the cost of getting a locksmith onsite (the service call) which is additional when you cannot bring the safe to a locksmith shop.
If these prices seem too high, you can try to open safes without an override key on your own.
|Technique Used to Make Safe Key||Approximate Cost in 2022|
|Picking the Safe Lock||$30-50|
|Making a key by code||$30-50 plus keys|
|Impressioning the lock to make a key||$30-50 plus keys|
|Drilling and Replacing a Safe Lock||$50-100 depending on lock type|
|Having a Key Sent from the Manufacture||$50-100 depending on manufacture|
Safes That Don’t Have Key Overrides
The cost to open safes without key overrides can be broken down into two categories.
Cost to Open Home Safes
Here we are talking about safes that weren’t designed to protect their content from an attack. They were designed to basically keep temptation away from normally honest people, safety of weapons (small hand gun safes), or fire protection. Such as these value home safes on our website or these on Amazon.
These are safes that were bought online usually for less than $500.
In these cases, to professionally open the safe and repair it will often cost more than what the owner paid for the safe. Our recommendation to open inexpensive home safes is to break into the safe using whatever means you have available. And thus the cost to get into an inexpensive home safe is the cost of the replacement home safe once you have destroyed the locked safe.
If this is more than you are up to, many locksmith shops near you will open a safe brought into them for just the time it takes to get into the safe.
So if it takes them 15 minutes, they will bill for 15 minutes of labor. It’s still very affordable since these safes are quickly broken into, but remember, you will need to replace the safe after it is open.
A locksmith can usually get into home safe pretty quickly so the cost to have a locksmith open a home safe will be under $100 when you can bring the safe to their shop. If they need to come out onsite,a service call charge is added.
Cost to Open Burglary / High Security Safes
Here is were things get interesting and very expensive.
Burglary safes and high security safes are designed to protect their content. They are expensive, they are fortresses, and getting into them is also expensive.
On the plus side, once professionally opened, the safes can be repaired and returned to use without issue.
|Cost Components of Safe Drilling||Cost|
|Coming on Location & First Hour of Labor||$250-350|
|Additional Cost / Hour Over 1 Hour||$150-250|
|Cost of New Lock||$175-350|
Companies that open safes with either bill a flat rate or by the hour. ACME Locksmith bills by the hour. We feel by the hour is better pricing for the customer, whereas by the job pricing for safe opening normally assumes the worst case scenario.
I’ve seen flat-rate pricing to drill open high end TL15 & TL30 safes as high as $1500, and for good reason. These are the hardest safes to get into, but when billed based on the time to get in, it usually costs less than that.
Most quality burglary safes (RSC, TL15, TL3) can be drilled open and repaired in 1-2 hours. The cost to open a quality, burglary safe and repair it, will be in the range of $425 – 950.
Why do Safe Companies Have a 1-Hour Minimum Charge to Open Safes?
When preparing to drill a safe, there is a lot of time spent in getting ready for the job that the customer is unaware of. The one-hour minimum charge, regardless of how long it actually takes to open the safe, is there to account for the time required to prepare for the job.
The equipment needs to be picked up, and checked, a lock replacement for the safe found, and everything loaded into the van and then taken to the customer.
Robert has been the Owner of ACME Locksmith, Arizona’s #1 Rated Locksmith, since 2007. Robert’s company has provided locksmith service to over 160,000 Phoenix houses and businesses.