How to open a combination safe without the combination – 3 Top Methods

When you’re missing your combination there are several ways to gain access to that safe, including the following options.

  • Reset the code and set up a new combination number. Call for a safe technician expert to override the digital pad. Or provide an emergency key.
  • A locksmith can retrieve the original code from the manufacturer.
  • Extreme Option – have a locksmith drill the safe.

Before you get started looking at some drastic options keep in mind. 1. Safe boxes always come with an emergency keyhole. Locating them is tricky as they should not be visible to intruders and thieves. 2. Also they should come with an emergency key.

break combination lock

Safes of different types basically come in two categories; dial safes and digital safes. They may differ in some features, but they both serve the same purpose: safeguarding your most valuable items.

A dial combination safe is a mechanical safe that locks and unlocks with a dial. It has been around for a hundred years and is manufactured by well-known safe makers in the business. I believe that dial safes are better than digital safes, well, for me, they are definitely superior in the long run, but both are good keepers.

A dial safe is a locking device with an external dial that unlocks the door when a sequence of symbols, typically numerals, is turned. It gained popularity among the general public since it is reliable and allows simple access to your safe without worrying about the battery life or power supply. A dial mechanical safe can still function in the case of a power loss. With that said,  A dial safe lasts far longer, and a high-quality dial safe is becoming more relevant with today’s technologies proving to not be as reliable when electronics fail. (1)

In comparison, a digital safe is an electronic safe. Business sectors typically favor a digital safe because it includes a programmable electronic keypad that assures secure, convenient, and quick operation. Some have a sophisticated light indication that flashes multiple colors to indicate different statuses. A battery warning gauge and control operation signals will notify the user whether the safe is operating correctly and has ample battery life.

How do you open a combination safe without the combination?

This is a question that may arise if you have unexpectedly forgotten or misplaced your combination somewhere and are unsure what to do.

If you don’t know what you are doing, you might find yourself stuck in this situation.  

Opening a dial safe


opening dial safe

  1. The first step is to get the override key or emergency key, overriding the safe’s combination. When you buy a safe, it comes with an override key as another method to open the vault. It would help if you kept the emergency key secure.
  2. Now, look for the little round notch. It is usually located just beneath the safe’s dial. Or perhaps a brand concealed the small aperture on the panel that covers the safe’s dial. So, by removing the board, you may access the notch. Side note: The notch is known as the emergency keyhole. It often blends in with the safe so that no one notices it.
  3. After locating the notch, remove the cover to reveal the tiny keyhole. Some emergency keyholes are on the side of the dial.
  4. Finally, insert the key into the small keyhole and turn it until the safe is open. Be careful to restore the key to its original place before removing it; otherwise, the safe will fail the next time you use it.
  5. If you happen to misplace the emergency key and your safe door is locked, and there is no way to access it, you must contact the safe’s manufacturer.

Opening a digital safe

Note this method is going to work for many safes in general but you will probably want to find some documentation for your specific model. Most safes will follow the below formula.

  1. Locate the bolt’s opening at the rear of the safe with a flashlight. Smaller electronic safes, on the other hand, have a hole at the back or bottom.
  2. Once you’ve found the bolt opening, shine your flashlight through it.
  3. Look for the back panel, which houses the safe’s electronic components. It has an internal keypad as well as a few additional control buttons.
  4. Use a long, slim stick or anything thin, straight, and rigid enough to fit through the bolt opening.
  5. To reset the code on your safe, use the stick and hit the red button. Hold it for around 10 seconds.
  6. Enter the new combination code on the inside keypad after resetting the code. Remember or write down the new code.
  7. After that, use the stick to press the set button located next to the reset button.
  8. Then you’ll hear a beep, indicating that the attempt to replace the safe combination was successful.

Drill open the bolt

drill open the bolt


Using brute force is a traditional method for unlocking a safe with an unknown combination. Drilling is the most common approach. It entails drilling a tiny hole and breaking the lock from the inside. However, most advanced safes can resist such a procedure, implying that drilling is mainly helpful for older safes. Then you’ll need a locksmith to get the job done correctly.

Calling in a Locksmith

Locksmiths nowadays are engaged in the installation of first-rate locksets as well as the treatment of keying systems. And one of their specialties is accessing a safe without a combination.

To get into your safe, you can use a locksmith to:

  • Get an override key: The locksmith can get a copy of it or make one from scratch.
  • Retrieve the combination: The locksmith may retrieve the original code combination or reset the password for you.
  • Break into the safe quickly, especially if you owned an expensive model.
  • Drill and repair the safe safely: The locksmith is well-versed in drilling techniques. The locksmith can locate the drill points from the safe and know just where to drill so that none of the safe’s security features are triggered. With that, you can spend an extra amount on repairing the safe to its original working condition.

Opening a safe without the combination is tricky, but it doesn’t mean you can’t. With tips and tricks like using the emergency keyhole,  you can simply open a combination safe without a combination. After all, getting a locksmith is still the best last option.

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John Fox

John Fox

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is John Fox and I’ve been working as a security consultant for over 20 years now. During my time in the industry, I’ve learned about what it takes to ensure your home and family are always safe. With Safe Now, I’ve tried to take those two decades of experience and share it with others. My goal now is to help others figure out how to make the right choices for their businesses and families. On my website, you’ll find tips and guides on how to prevent crimes, as well as product recommendations. What’s more, my readers can learn more about what to do in case of an emergency and how to protect themselves at all times. So, if you want to know everything there is about security systems and home safety, I invite you to join me and my team and help us build a community together. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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