what is a plug spinner

What Is A Plug Spinner?

You could be at your doorstep that is locked either yours or a customer’s place. You do not have the key and panic sets in. At this point, a plug spinner is very useful. A plug spinner refers to a device used by locksmiths which are used to manipulate pins inside a lock cylinder such that it can be opened without using its original key. It is small and multifunctional equipment that can prove helpful when all standard lock-picking techniques fail.

Mainly composed of the tiny handheld system it takes after the rotation of pins holding part of the lock called plug with advantage from inherent weak points connected with locks’ designs. By turning plugs in the right direction pin-tumblers can move out from gorges so that someone can open locked doors again before purchasing any other things.

In this article, you should expect the following;

  • How Does A Plug Spinner Work?
  • Types Of A Plug Spinners
  • Advantages Of Using Plug Spinner
  • Common Misconceptions
  • How To Use A Plug Spinner Effectively
  • Tips For Professional Locksmiths
  • Recommended Plug Spinners For Beginners
  • Safety Precautions

How Does a Plug Spinner Work?

A simple principle underlies the functioning mechanism:  When operating properly,  driver pins as well as key ones align along the shear line thus allowing for free rotation of the cylinder leading to opening up locks while in case they are locked (when rotational movement is impossible) this won’t occur since pins won’t let cylinder rotate.. Therefore what is missing here? Here comes now our savior who makes life easier than we have already been in trouble with; that’s why he rescues us at times when we can get rid of stuck moments.

Different Types of Plug Spinners

Different lock mechanisms and situations are catered for by various types of plug spinners. Such major types as:

Manual Plug Spinners

They are the simplest and least costly alternatives that require manual force to rotate the plug and are suitable for standard lock cylinders.

Electric Plug spinners

They rely on battery power which delivers a more consistent, controlled rotation.

Air Plug Spinners

Compressed air spins the plug making them a perfect match for secure locks.

Advantages of Using a Plug Spinner

Numerous benefits come with using a plug spinner especially when it comes to professional locksmiths. 

  • It Shortens the time taken or energy spent on traditional lock-picking techniques. Thus, one can open such a lock within seconds if they have enough knowledge about how to use this tool.
  • Locksmiths can unlock them without breaking them apart. This is important when encountering high-security locks or even old ones.
  • A means of entry in which no trace remains after entry has occurred exists.

Common Misconceptions About Plug Spinners

Like any tool, misconceptions surround plug spinners. One of these is that plug spinners can unlock every lock available without fail. Even though they do work on many kinds of locks; they will not function on certain advanced security systems or locks with additional anti-picking mechanisms. Hence, it is important to have a good understanding of the lock you are working for and know what your plug spinner cannot do beyond its limitations. Additionally, some people think that plug spinners are only used by professional locksmiths. Nonetheless, anyone can learn how to use a lock-pick gun effectively through proper training and practice.

How to Use a Plug Spinner Effectively

This calls for a combination of expertise, methodology, and habit to use a plug spinner effectively. Here’s what you should do:

  • Introduce the plug into the keyway of the padlock.
  • Gently apply rotational force in the right direction which may be informed by either the design of the lock or the experience of a locksmith.
  • While applying rotational force, observe feedback from the lock.
  • When this occurs it means that all pins have reached the shear line so one should release rotational force allowing the plug to rotate freely.
  • By rotating the plug your lock is now open such that you can continue with whatever task lies ahead.

Tips for Professional Locksmiths Using Plug Spinners

For professional locksmiths, mastering the use of a plug spinner is crucial. Here are some tips to help you become more proficient with this tool:

  • Practice regularly: Like any skill, using a plug spinner requires practice. Set aside time to familiarize yourself with different types of locks and hone your technique.
  • Stay up-to-date: Lock technology is constantly evolving. Stay informed about the latest lock designs and security features to ensure you can effectively use a plug spinner on a wide range of locks.
  • Invest in quality tools: Quality plug spinners can make a significant difference in your ability to manipulate locks. Invest in tools that are durable, reliable, and suited to your specific needs.

Recommended Plug Spinners for Beginners

If you’re a beginning locksmith and would like to get into the world of plug spinners, here are some recommendations for starters:

  • SouthOrd PXS-14: This manual plug spinner is a popular choice for beginners due to its affordability and ease of use.
  • Peterson GSP: The Peterson GSP line offers a range of manual plug spinners that are known for their quality and versatility.
  • HPC Electric Pick Gun: For those who prefer an electric option, the HPC Electric Pick Gun provides consistent rotational force and is suitable for beginners.

Plug Spinner Safety Precautions

Even though they are generally safe when being used, certain safety measures must be observed when using them to avoid accidents or lock damage. Here’s what you should have in mind:

  • Always wear protective gloves and goggles when working with plug spinners.
  • Ensure you have proper authorization and legal rights to use plug spinners on locks.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and ensure you’re in a safe and secure location while using a plug spinner.
  • Avoid using excessive rotational force, which can damage the lock or the plug spinner.
  • Regularly inspect your plug spinner for any wear or damage, and replace it if necessary.


Mastering the technique of a plug spinner is an invaluable skill for professional locksmiths and useful knowledge for those who want to be prepared for lockout situations. Understanding what a plug spinner is, its working mechanism and different types will make it easier for you to deal with any lock. Always remember safety measures, frequently practice, and keep informed on industry developments. By mastering the right technique with the appropriate plug spinner, unlocking locks will become as easy as ABC.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do plug spinners damage a lock? 

When correctly using plug spinners they should not damage locks. However excessive rotational force or bad technique can damage locks therefore one must be cautious enough and use it properly.

2. Are plug spinners legal?

Mostly, plug spinners are not illegal because their usage depends on having permission or ownership rights over a given lock.

3. Can plug spinners work on all types of locks? 

Although these gadgets can work on many locks, systems that provide advanced security or devices equipped with additional anti-picking features may require other approaches.

4. Is it difficult to learn how to use plug spinners? 

Anyone can learn how to efficiently apply a plug spinner provided they have been trained accordingly, practiced well, and comprehended how the particular locking system operates.

5. Can I still use a Plug Spinner even if I am not a professional locksmith?

Yes; individuals who purchase such things usually intend to create an alternative plan in case of emergency when he or she get locked out accidentally; however, before using it on your lock make sure you understand its structure very well and get necessary training where possible.

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