Last Updated on November 22, 2022
How to Open a Safe if You Forgot the Combination
At ACME Locksmith we sell, repair and work on all kinds of safes. One frequent question is, “I don’t have the safe combination, how do I open my safe?”
There are several reasons why you might need to find the combination to a safe: the safe combination may have been lost or forgotten over time, the combination may be locked inside the safe (it happens more often than you’d think), or you may have bought a property where the previous owner simply left a safe behind without giving you the combination.
We even get several calls a year where the new home or business owner has discovered that an in-floor safe is at the property they’ve just purchased, and they had no idea it was there.
To open a safe without the combination look for an override key. A locksmith can make you that key so you can open the safe. If there is no key, a locksmith can retrieve the safe’s original combination from the manufacture. Or, you can have the safe professionally drilled and repaired so the safe can continue to be used.
- I don’t have the combination but the safe is open. What can I do?
- There is an override key, but I don’t have it. How do I get a key to my safe?
- My safe is too cheap to hire a locksmith. How can I open a Sentry safe?
- There’s no override key and my safe is closed. How to Get a Safe’s Combination?
- Out of Options? How Locksmith’s Drill Safes.
- What information will be needed to save money?
- Quick Q&A
Customers calling have all sorts of images from the movies. Typically that a safe-cracker can use a stethoscope to get in, but that is largely the stuff of movies. A good safe is built with security features specifically aimed to keep people out and only the combination, or a few other things that your local locksmith is able to do, can get you in.
In this article, we discuss how safes work and what options you have available to get a key or combination so you can open the safe. If you have the combination but it’s not working, check out our post “How to Dial a Safe Combination.”
How I Forgot or Lost My Combination but the Safe is Open.
If the safe is open, this is the best case scenario. A local locksmith can get the combination of a dial safe by decoding the wheels. We can also simply set the combination to something you prefer. We can also, often, reset an electronic safe lock back to its factory defaults so a new combination can be set.
If you can bring the safe into a lock shop, you will save the most money. The final cost will be well under $100 to reset the combination for you. Our Phoenix lock shops can retrieve and set safe combinations.
If you cannot bring the safe into a lock shop, the same service can be done at your home, it’s just a little more expensive.
Pro Tip: The door of the safe will lift off it’s hinges. So even if the safe is heavy or bolted down, if the door is light enough it can be removed and brought into a locksmith shop to change the safe’s combination.
That’s all there is to it when the safe is open.
But if the safe is closed and locked, continue reading…
How to Open a Sentry Safe – Cheap Safes
With the brand and model number, or often from a photo of the safe, the locksmith can determine the value of the safe itself.
Safe crackers are expensive. To professional open a safe, and repair it, can easily exceed several hundred dollars.
There are several tricks you can try to open a sentry safe. Safes like Sentry safes are poorly made and can be bypassed.
Realistically, the best way to open a Sentry safe, or any safe that cost less than $400, when an override keys isn’t available, is to simply break into it, then buy a replacement. The cost to professionally open and repair it will exceed the value of the safe.
If you want to hire a locksmith to break in for you, they’ll come to your location to do it. Cheap home safes, like those sold by Sentry and Honeywell, should cost around $100 to break in. Those safes can easily be opened yourself with a bit of muscle.
Once in, the safe will no longer function and will need to be replaced. You can save even more money by bringing the safe into your local locksmith shop to avoid the service-call charge.
Once the value of your safe gets over $400, it will depend on your end goal as to which action is best to take. Is it a floor safe that you want to start to use? Then drill it and repair it. Is it a safe that you just want to know if anything is inside of it? Then we can scope it and leave it. Etc…
If you simply break in, replace the safe with a good safe sold by ACME Locksmith.
How to Get a Safe’s Combination – Retrieve Combination or Override Code
You most likely will need to hire a locksmith in order to get the existing combination to a safe. This process is called a combination retrieval. Most safe manufactures will not provide this data over the phone for security reasons. Try the manufacture first to see if you get lucky. If they can’t help you, your local locksmith can.
Safe Dial Combination Retrieval
If the safe is a dial, the locksmith will most likely will be able to retrieve the original combination to the safe. This is the combination that the safe shipped with from the manufacturer.
So long as the safe combination has never been changed, this will open the safe. The locksmith will then be able to set the safe combination to whatever numbers you desire. Or, if you’d like, the locksmith can replace the dial of the safe with an electronic safe lock.
Electronic Combination Override
If your safe has an electronic lock, the safe serial number or the serial number of the electronic safe lock itself, can be used to see if there is a master override code for the safe. Entering the override code will reset the electronic lock so that the locks default combination will work.
To perform a combination retrieval your local locksmith, we will need to go to your location verify you are the owner of the property the safe is in.
Drilling the Safe Open – Your Last Resort to Get Into an Expensive Safe
As a last resort, your safe can be opened by a professional when the combination has been lost.
With the model and serial number, the locksmith (aka safe cracker) should be able to get the drill points of the safe and this makes getting into the safe more affordable than if this information were not available. The locksmith will know exactly where to drill as not trigger any of the safe’s security measures.
Opening a safe via drilling requires we pull the existing lock off and drill in through the front of safe to take out the components keeping the door closed.
If you have not been able to determine the model and serial number, a locksmith can still drill the safe to get in, and repair it after it is drilled, so that it functions like new but it will be more costly. Typically it a pilot hole will be drilled and the safe scoped to determine where the drill point is. Without a drill point, sometimes a security feature will be triggered on the safe, such as a re-locker, and more drilling will be required.
When opening a safe by drilling, the safe’s lock body is destroyed and the safe lock will need to be replaced. Additionally, a hole will be in the door of the safe. This hole is plugged with a steal rod and ground off flush. Because this hole is under the old safe dial / safe electronic lock, the repair will not be visible and the safe will not show any damage or repair.
Having Your Safe’s Brand and Model Safes You Money
The first and most important thing is to determine the kind of safe you have. Why? It gives your local locksmith an idea of what they are looking at in terms of anti-theft measures.
People place all sorts of items into safes. It’s these items that originally determined what kind of safe they chose to purchase. Safes not intended for expensive content are usually cheaply made. Safes meant to hold tens of thousands of dollars are usually, if chosen wisely, well made.
You will need to find the brand, model and serial number of the safe so we can research it.
The brand is usually the easiest to find. Most of the time manufactures put this on the door of the safe. Many manufactures also put the serial number on the bottom corner of the door.
Finding the model for the safe can be a bit trickier. Most manufactures are placing model numbers on the back of the safe. So if your safe is bolted down or too heavy to move, you may not be able to find it.
If you cannot find the model number, but were lucky enough to find the serial number of the safe, your next step is to call the manufacture of the safe and give them the serial number, they will tell you what model it is from that number.
When you can find the brand, model, and serial number of the safe, a locksmith can determine the correct drill points of the safe and get into the safe without irreparable damage.
If you cannot find the serial number, you will need to send pictures of the safe to your local locksmith. From the images and brand name we can usually get pretty close to the correct model number.
Q & A
More of Our Favorite Security Products
See our Amazon Store for Videos and Links to All of Our Favorite Security Products.
Door Armor: Reinforce your doors. This video on YouTube shows the installation of Door Armor, and you can buy the product direct from Door Armor at a great price.
Video Doorbells: This video doorbell offers great images and video and has NO monthly video storage fees. Watch our SkyBell Video Doorbell Review on YouTube and buy it on Amazon.
Smart Locks: Access Your Locks via Smart Phone. You’ll find some of our favorite smart locks that allow you to control home access and monitor entry in our Amazon Smart Lock Shop. Watch our Smart Lock Comparison Video on YouTube fore reviews of the most popular Smart Locks.
High Security Safes: When you want a safe that is designed to protect the valuable you put inside, you want a high security safe found on ACME Locksmith’s Safes for Sale website.
Sliding Glass Door Lock: The best arcadia door lock that stops your sliding glass door from being lifted out of it’s tracks and to prevent little ones from opening the door and leaving the home. Check out the video on YouTube and Buy it on our website.
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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.