Hacked: Escape Room Locks

 In Atlanta

An Escape Room is an immersive, interactive scenario in which you ultimately try to escape from the room you are in. The reason you want to escape varies depending on the theme of the room you are in. Your ultimate goal could be escaping a secret CDC lab before it self destructs, or escaping an evil mummy before they raise from the dead. Whichever scenario you find yourself in, one thing is certain- it will be very exciting and you won’t want to spend any time figuring out how to work the locks!

Locks are in pretty much every escape room because as part of the game you will need to look around at various items and clues around the room, looking for possible combinations.  To be prepared as possible, read the list of 10 common escape room locks below. Your teammates will be in awe when you know how to work just about any type of lock in the room!

Locks are in pretty much every escape room because as part of the game you will need to look around at various items and clues around the room, looking for possible combinations.

Check out how to work these common escape room locks. You are sure to see these At Big Escape Rooms.


How to use a padlock

Padlocks are the most common locks you can find. They are a popular go-to for escape room designers because they are sturdy, easy to use, and can last an entire lifetime. If you come across this lock and cannot get it open, don’t panic! Once you put in your code you can pull and tug all day and nothing will happen. The solution is quite easy – instead of pulling out, simply push down on the silver arch or top of the lock. Presto!

This lock pops right open in two easy steps.

Step 1:

Rotate the number dials on the bottom of your lock to the correct code.

Step 2:

Press Inward on the silver arc of the lock towards the dials, then pull outwards.

Number Pad

How to use a keypad RFID Reader

This one is a very popular lock as the last lock to open to escape whatever room you are trapped in. Generally, these will be placed directly next to doors and either needs a sensor or a code to unlock them.

There are two possible ways of solving for this lock:

  • Number Code

In the event that you want to input a number code into this lock, simply press the corresponding key. Not every time, but often it is necessary to press the pound symbol after you enter your code. An example of this is 1234#. Ask your game guide to be sure!

  • RFID Tag Sensor

These locks can also be opened by touching a blue sensor tag to the front of the number pad. In escape rooms, they will often attach these blue RFID chips to various items and you will use those items to trigger this lock. Don’t forget! Escape Rooms will often time disguise these items so they fit the theme of your room. This results in a more immersive experience.

For example, in an escape room they may conceal one of these keypads (or RFID readers) into a pedestal, and the RFID chip onto the bottom of a Trophy. Place the corresponding items together to progress in your game! The clues in the room will guide you to trigger this lock!

Directional Lock

common escape room locks blog tutorial

This is an excellent lock to be included in this list because there is a trick to these bad boys.

In your escape Room scenario, you will be tasked with finding various directions hidden within the clues for the answer. Once you have your code (there is no limit to how many directions can be in your answer), simply slide the disk in the center of the lock in the direction of your choosing. Your clue for this one can be Up-Down-Left-Right or North-South-East-West.

But be careful! If you do not properly reset or clear the lock, you will be putting in a continuous stream of directions and will never open this lock! So, what is the trick? All you have to do is press in on the silver arch at the top of the lock TWICE! Voila! Now you can enter your code. Once you finish inputting your code you need to give the lock a tug outwards to get it open.

Step 1:

Press inwards twice (or more) on the silver arc of the lock towards the body of the lock to clear it out. Do not skip this step or you will be imputing a continuous series of directions and will never get it open!

Step 2:

Push the button on the lock in the direction of your code. The Button will slide back to the center on it’s on and you can continue to input your code.

Step 3:

Pull outwards on the silver arc of the lock. With the correct code, the lock will open!

Lock Box

how to use a lock box

These escape room locks are a strong sort that lasts forever. They are difficult to reset, so escape room designers love that they almost never need to be replaced! They are also fairly simple to open.

Rotate the four number sections to whatever code you find. Now, all you need to do it is pull that handy black lever (just to the left of the number slots) all the way down AT THE SAME TIME you pull the door open. It takes both hands to open this lock. The grey door to the lock connects on the bottom and opens similar to a draw bridge.


how to solve a cryptex

These locks are one of my favorite locks. They have an old, Victorian feel to them and they look like they belong in an escape room!

All you need to do for this lock is carefully line up the correct letter with the arrows on both ends of the lock. DO NOT twist this lock or you may break it! Once you have input your code correctly, gently slide the right side of the cryptex out. There will be something hidden inside the slot that will help you in escaping the game you are in!

Digital Lock

common escape room locks

Digital, alphanumerical- yes, this lock goes by many different names at Big escape Rooms. One thing is certain, this is one of the most complex looking escape room locks out there. But fear not! It is quite easy to understand and use if you follow these guidelines.

Some important things to know about this lock:
  • The blue arrows are the important buttons on this lock.
  • Never press the green center button. There is never a reason to push the center button unless you need to reset the lock – which in an escape room experience I assure you YOU DO NOT ever need to do. 
  • To input your code, simply push the arrow in the direction of your desired character ONLY ONCE. For example, if your code is BAND you are going to push a direction four times total. You would enter BAND by entering: Up, Up, Down, Up.
  • After you put in your code, the lock will flash green and you can proceed to gently pull it open. It does not take a lot of force, however, if you do not pull, it will not open.
  • As another example, if you want to put in a “C” character, all you have to do is push the up arrow once.
  • If you input your code and it doesn’t work, take your time! You need to wait for the lights on this lock to turn completely off before entering a new code. This will happen automatically.
  • Try the wrong one too many times and now your lock is flashing red? Don’t worry, you’re not locked out forever. All you need to do is give the lock about 30 seconds to shut off its lights and then you can try again.

Cable Lock

how to unlock a cable/wire lock

People participating in an escape room often have trouble figuring out how to work this one, although the instructions are depicted on the top of the lock! This lock is small, so it is often used in places where traditional padlocks will not fit. The chain or arch on the top of the lock is made of steel. It is pliable and can turn around and bend in all different direction without breaking.  It moves around to make it easier for you to see what you are doing.

You will want to line up your 3 digit code from top to bottom on the front of the lock. You will see small dots indicating exactly where to do this.

Once you have input your code comes the tricky part. The arch meets the base of the lock on two sides. Take the left side of the arch and slide it inwards toward the stationary right side of the arch. Sometimes you have to wiggle and twist it slightly to get it to do the trick.

Number Padlock

how to unlock a number pad lock

This is an easy lock to operate, but I include it in this list for a good reason. Generally, people assume to put the code on the front or back of the lock and never seem to get the right code.

What you really need to do here is line up your number from top to bottom on the side of the lock. You can see where to do this in the picture above. On the far right of the picture where the zeros are lined up is the correct spot to input your code. Once you input your code, all you have to do is gently pull it open.

Word Lock

how to open a word lock

Ah, one of the simplest and most beautiful escape room locks- word locks.

Once you find your answer, all you have to do is rotate the slots to match your answer front and center on this lock. Once you have input the correct code, give the lock a gentle, downward tug and it will pop right open! Easy as pie.

Combination Briefcase

Oddly, this is one of the most satisfying locks to open. You slide the lever and hear a loud click that never gets old!

There are two sides to input an answer on this lock. You will either need two 3 digit codes, or one 6 digit code. When attempting to open this lock,


  • Carefully line up the number slots with the corresponding answer
  • Slide the square-shaped lever OUTWARDS to open the latch (indicated with the green arrow above)


  • Slide the square-shaped lever inwards (indicated by the red arrow above). This could reset the lock and cost your team a great deal of time.
  • Try and force the briefcase to open- you paid good money to properly solve the puzzles in the room! We all want to win, but there is no use in breaking anything.

After reading this list, you are more prepared than ever to zoom through any escape game with zero hiccups.


Learn a thing or two about locks? Tell us about it in the comments!

We would love to hear from you.

Need an excuse to do something fun? Check out these 12 reasons why escape rooms benefit your health.

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