lock pick set

19 Best Lock Pick Sets: From Beginner to Pro

Ok, you want to give lock picking a go, now you need some lockpicks to get started. But what lockpick set should you buy?

There are many options out there and most beginners get a set that isn’t the best use of their money. So should you buy the biggest set you can find or the cheapest?

The truth is there are great lock pick sets out there for beginners but they are not the cheapest or the biggest kits.

In this article, we will talk about what you need, what you will use most, and what types, sizes, and how many picks you will need to get started.

Choosing Your First Lockpick Set

Choosing your first lock pick set can be a complicated thing to do. There are so many different types of picks… 

You should aim for a lockpick set with exactly the picks you need not a huge kit with every tool available.

Similarly cheap lockpick sets have their place but usually, you can get a much better set for only a little more money.

We will take you through all the information you need to know so that you know exactly what to look for so you can buy the best beginner lockpick set.

Do I need a lot of picks?

No, the simple truth of this is that there are a handful of tools that lock pickers use 90% of the time and the rest are tools that you may never end up using so a bigger lock pick set is not normally the best option for beginners.

There are so many options for lock pick sets out there that it can seem like a good idea to get a huge set that includes 40, 50, or even 100 different picks so that you have everything you will ever need. 

Note: Click here if you want to know if lock picks are legal where you live.

TLDR: Best Beginner Lock Pick Sets

Pick SetPicksTurning ToolsFeaturePrice
Southord Five Piece *Paid Link41Cheap ~$23
Southord PXS-14 *Paid Link104 Enthusiest~$35
Peterson Talon Set *Paid Link5 6 Long Lasting~$39
Southord PXS-17 *Paid Link 12 + handle 5Expanded~$49
Multipick – Elite 9 *Paid Link7 2Best Quality~$65
Multipick – Elite 13 *Paid Link103Pro~$129
history of locks

What Lockpicks Do I Need?

While there are hundreds of different types of lockpicks and tools out there you really only need a handful of them for picking most locks. Here we have ranked them from the most important at the top.

Standard Hook

standard hook lock picks

While this one may seem boring this is what makes it the most common lockpick used by all lockpickers. Like the hammer for a tradesman, it is a fundamental tool that is used for so many locks and will be the go-to 80% of the time.

As these are used so much we think that if you plan on really getting into picking getting a second hook is a good idea as they do tend to break over time and having a spare is a good idea so that you do not have to wait for a new one when it does break.

Medium hook

Much the same as the standard hook just with a higher tip for reaching up into the back of locks where a standard hook cant reach. Also used very regularly and for the same reasons as the standard hook above we recommend getting a spare if you plan on picking a lot.

history of locks

Tension Wrenches / Turning Tools

A much-overlooked tool is the humble tension wrench. You need a tension tool EVERY SINGLE TIME you go to pick a lock so they are arguably the most important tool in lockpicking.

While every lock pick set will include some tension wrenches we recommend a kit that has more tension wrenches in it. 

history of locks

This allows you to find a good wrench that will make it comfortable to pick and allow you to get in some good practice.

Most starter kits include a few bottom-of-keyway (BOK) tools, which are usually good enough to get started. But you may want to get some top-of-keyway (TOK) tension tools, as they are very useful for smaller keyways where you cant find a tension wrench in the bottom of the keyway and still get a pick in there.

Wave Rakes (Bogota)

For beginners, this is probably the first pick that you will use as they are great for getting some opens with little skill and really help with that early accomplishment when getting started lockpicking.

lock pick rakes

But they are also just as handy later on in your lockpicking career as you don’t always want to single-pin pick, sometimes you just want to get a quick open.

The Snake rake or S-rake goes along with the wave rakes here, it is just a smaller version of the wave rake that can work in locks with a shorter keyway.

City rakes

Again like wave rakes above city rakes are great for getting a quick open on some locks and can be used both statically but wobbling the pick in the keyway or dynamically running it in and out of the lock to get an open.

Half Diamond

The half diamond is a great multipurpose tool that can be used dynamically to zip a lock where you pull it out through the lock fast to try and rake an open. 

It can also be used to single-pin pick itself, or even as a makeshift dimple pick for dimple locks. For this reason, it’s a great tool to have on hand in any lock pick set.

Note: Picks do break, so if you are really interested in picking it can be worth doubling up on the most used picks like hooks.

Other Picks

There are many other picks other than the ones we have mentioned above and they all have special purposes. 

For beginners and even the most advanced lock pickers, you will use these tools very rarely so they are not really worth buying a lockpick set for.

The Specifics of Lockpicks

Lockpick Thicknesses Why is it Important and What do I Need?

The thickness of a lockpick describes how thick the sheet of metal was that the lockpick is made from.

Lockpick Thickness is important for 2 main reasons.

  1. Keyways that they will fit into US vs EU

The size of the keyways for locks in the US is generally larger so thicker lockpicks can be used in these keyways without any issues. 

Whereas European locks generally have thinner keyways requiring the use of thinner lockpicks as the larger ones used for US locks simply won’t fit or they will bind up and be awkward to use. 

  1. The durability of Lockpicks

Thicker lockpicks are stronger and for this simple fact, thicker lockpicks are generally better. They are stiffer giving more feedback and will last locker as they don’t get metal fatigue that occurs through the constant bending the picks experience while being used.

Lockpick Thicknesses Explained

Thickness (Inches)Thickness (mm)Type and Use
.00150.381Thin: Best for EU locks
.00200.508Medium: EU or US locks
.00300.762Thick: Best for Us locks

So when looking for a lockpick set you should see where you think you will get most of your locks from. If you live in the US then you will most likely get your locks from there and a lockpick kit with thicker picks will be fine. 

But if you are from somewhere in the EU or you plan to pick a lot of EU-style locks then you should look at getting a thinner pick set. 

The Material LockPicks are Made From

The material your lockpicks are made of is important but not something you should really go hunting for unless you really have a need for a specific one. 

Cheaper lockpick sets are usually made of hardened steel. This is perfectly fine for cheaper sets but it will rust and fatigue. The quality of the steel used also plays an important role here for durability.

More expensive sets use harder and more durable steel alloys or they are made from stainless steel that is very hard and corrosion-resistant.

The materials the picks are made of will depend on how much you are willing to spend on them, so the more you spend in general the better the material they will be made of so this is not something you actively need to look at.

How much should I spend?

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. This also goes for lockpicks.

If you are curious and just want to try out lockpicking and don’t mind buying a better lockpick set later then a cheap lockpick kit with some clear practice locks can be a great place to start. 

But if you think that this is something that you will enjoy and want to start out with some better quality picks that will help you advance your skills faster then we recommend investing a bit more in a higher quality set.

Why should you pay more for better-quality picks?

  • They will be more comfortable to use
    Cheap lockpicks come with very rudimentary handles and are not finished well while you can and should fix this a better quality set will be finished better out of the box.
  • Durability
    More money means better materials used to make them, this means they will last you longer.
  • Feeling and ease of use
    Usually, better quality picks have been designed with more care and thought put into them meaning that they will be easier to use. The shape of a lock pick is very important to its use and the shape of the shank and tip can mean whether a pick will fit into a lock or not. It can also mean finding the pin is easy or not.

Are Cheap Lockpicks Any Good?

Cheap lockpicks have their place, usually as a gift for someone to get started in lockpicking or just as something that a beginner buys as a very first set. For this purpose they are fine.

But the vast majority of lockpickers find they want to improve their tools sooner or later.

LockPick Sets by Brand


This is a well-known lock pick brand with good profiles and finishes. They also have their standard line and the “Southord Max” line which is made of higher-strength steel.

Having tried both types of picks, I recommend people stick with the more expensive Max picks, as I found the standard product line to be made of relatively weak steel. I thought it was a bit too easy to bend these picks and didn’t use them much because of this.

The Southord Max picks are much stronger but are correspondingly more expensive. Unfortunately, they don’t have a starter lock pick set in the max line. They do, however, have a nice simple set or their basic picks that come with a lock-picking guidebook at a very affordable price.

Sparrows Lock Picks

Many Sparrows lock pick sets are well known for being great beginner lock pick sets. You can get a minimalist set like the Kick Start, which is modestly priced, contains 2 hooks, 2 rakes, 6 tension wrenches, and comes with a small carrying case.

They have a variety of sets that are basically expanded versions of this, like the Tuxedo set, the Spirit set, or the Controller.

Sparrows also carry more advanced lock pick sets, a variety of cases, individual picks, various training locks, starter re-pinning kits, and all manner of tools to make your journey to lock-picking mastery fun. Their tools are reasonably high quality in fit and finish, the steel used is strong, and most of their products are very reasonably priced. The only criticism I might offer is that they may need a little bit of finishing work with fine sandpaper, and some of their products seem a little bit gimmicky and are more like toys than serious lock-picking tools. So just avoid these (unless, of course, you want them!) and it’s hard to go wrong with Sparrows lock picks.

Peterson Lock Picks

These lock picks are well known to be some of the most durable on the market. They make some of the most popular profiles and have comfortable plastic handles.

Many pickers, from beginners to the most advanced, will reach for a Peterson pick before even considering anything else. The as-received finish leaves a bit to be desired, however, and most pickers will touch these up with fine-grit sandpaper (600,1000, then 2000 or higher) before using them. They also often leave people who are new to the hobby with a bit of sticker shock.

In spite of these drawbacks, Peterson makes some of the strongest picks on the market and they have many excellent pick profiles to choose from. If you do choose one of their basic lock pick sets, plan to expand it with some more tension wrenches, as their more basic sets often come with only one turning tool.


If you want a set that can carry you from beginner to advanced picking without breaking the bank, it’s hard to beat the Dangerfield Praxis kit. Excellent strength and profiles, 21 total pieces including the 2 most common pick thicknesses, 3 BOK wrenches, 2 TOK wrenches, and a case that has plenty of room for expansion.

I’d start with expanding to more TOK wrenches, of which Dangerfield also makes a nice selection. The downsides of these tools are that they may require a bit of attention with some fine-grit sandpaper, and the thin handles are uncomfortable to some. That said, those are both easily remedied.

These are some of the first picks I ever bought, and I’m still using them to this day.


Multipick is exactly what you might expect as an example of German engineering and manufacturing. Each one of these beautifully finished and crafted picks has the pick type and serial number laser etched on the handle.

They have laminated steel handles, leather cases, an enormous variety of pick profiles, and a good selection of tension wrenches. They aren’t the cheapest picks on the market, but they are easily in the running for the best.

If you’re the kind of person who wants to have the best tools of the trade and you know that quality comes at a cost, then you will be satisfied with the Multipick ELITE lock pick sets that range from 7 to 40 pieces depending on your needs.

These aren’t lock picks just for hobbyists, these are marketed as professional lock pick sets for European locksmiths who find themselves confronted with some of the world’s highest security locks. You might find yourself getting your Multipicks out just to admire them from time to time.

LockPickingLawyer’s Covert Instruments / Southern Specialties

With the popularity of LockPickingLawyer it would be a disservice to the community not to mention the picks he sells at CoverInstruments.com. The Genesis set contains 2 hooks, 2 rakes, and tension wrenches.

The tools are of excellent quality, and I don’t believe a picker at any level would be displeased with the strength of steel, profile, or finish of these tools. The handles are spot-welded sandwiched steel and reasonably comfortable, and the Genesis set is about the best value you can find for a starter lock pick set.

Unfortunately, it does tend to sell out. But there’s some good news; you can buy the exact same picks from Southern Specialties at lockpicktools.com!

Law lock Tools

Based in the United Kingdom, these are a favorite for many Europeans and not just because of where they are from. Law lock tools are excellent in fit and finish, and are high quality in every way you want.

They have an excellent selection ranging from beginner to advanced, in addition to a great selection of tension wrenches. The Valyrian set is one of the most popular beginner sets, giving a superb selection of hooks, as many rakes as one might need, and 3 of each BOK and TOK tensioners. No matter where you’re from, Law Lock Tools picks are a great choice for beginners and advanced pickers alike.

Custom Lockpicks

premium lock picks

These are ART more than lock picks. Make no mistake, though, Ratyoke makes an excellent quality pick in terms of the quality of the pick itself. But where those picks really stand out is the handle.

They are comfortable, they are among the highest quality in terms of fit and finish, and they are beautiful! Also, they are expensive! You’ll pay more for a single pick than you will most starter sets. If you’re just starting, these are not a good value.

If you become more experienced and you’re somebody who enjoys the finer things, or you love objects that are both functional and beautiful, these may be for you.

You can find out more about custom lockpick makers and making your own here.

Dimple picks and Disc Detainer (DD) picks

As a quick note, there are some less common types of picks to match somewhat less common types of locks, which are also typically high security.

In particular, the common styles are dimple locks and disc detainer locks. These special locks will likely require special types of picks to open. These won’t be covered here for the sake of brevity.


The choices can seem overwhelming, especially if you don’t know to ignore the countless other cheap lock pick sets that are full of poor-quality tools and gimmicks. But if you choose something from the companies above, you’re sure to have a learning experience that isn’t hindered by poor quality lock picks.

Of course, you can always buy a more advanced kit with many more tools from these companies, but most folks hesitate to spend that kind of money when they’re just learning. And don’t forget to save some of that starter cash for the locks to pick!

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Too many options for a new lockpicker!
Just tell me which one to buy – I’m not any more clear now than when I started.

Can you maybe make a grid based on price?
If my budget is $60, what should I buy???



Which one did you end up buying?


you should buy the genesis set, and a rekeyable padlock. that is all you need