How to Break into a Home Safe in 5 Seconds (or less)

For years, I thought about getting home safe. We don't have much in the way of valuables in our house, our most valuable items are electronics and those don't serve a purpose locked inside a metal box.

I did like the idea of putting our important documents in a safe place but with everything stored digitally, there are very few truly hard-to-replace important documents.

So eventually I abandoned the idea. We don't have a safe in our house.

That said, if we did, it would've surprised us to learn that those store-bought safes, the ones from office supply stores, are pretty much worthless.

Check this out:

If you can't watch the video, Mr. Locksmith opens a SafeSentry safe in two seconds with no signs of entry.

The basic gist is that there's a nickel solenoid that prevents the handle from turning and pulling back the bolts on the door. I'm not a safe expert so my explanation is my interpretation of what he's explaining in the video… but I do know how solenoids work. Solenoids create a magnetic field when you apply a current and with the rare earth magnet, we're applying a magnetic field directly and disengaging the lock.

Want one of the magnets? You can buy them anywhere online. They're Neodymium Rare Earth Magnets (though not actually “rare,” they're as common as nickel, the ferromagnetic metal being taken advantage of in the safe itself). They're also cheap, just Google it. πŸ™‚

As they say, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

In this case, that link is beatable in 2 seconds with a magnet and a sock.

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  1. Shelly says

    Yes, we were told to just leave the safe unlocked since they are so easy to get into, but they are very good in case of fire.

  2. Abigail @ipickuppennies says

    I’m with Paul. The only reason I’ve ever considered a safe is simply to protect important documents in case of fire. I definitely didn’t realize how easy they are to break into, but luckily that wouldn’t be the main purpose for me.

  3. Mel @ brokeGIRLrich says

    My parents have always kept all the important documents in a small lock box in my dad’s home office. I always thought that was a little odd since a thief could just grab the whole box and then take their time figuring out how to open it once they were away from the house.

    • Jim says

      Yes… that’s another risk with safes that aren’t a bazillion pounds and aren’t bolted to something solid. You can just take it with you and defeat it in five seconds at home. πŸ™‚

  4. Fred says

    Great video. Like the other commenters, I am interested in the fireproof aspect. It would be interesting to see a video on whether they really are fireproof.

    • Jim says

      If they are UL certified then I would believe their fireproof capabilities. If they aren’t, I wouldn’t trust it because otherwise they’d be certified. πŸ™‚

  5. Shaun says

    Lots of comments about fire proof safes.. If you are getting one to store paper documents, make sure any safe you get is also water proof, or at the very least, water resistant. If your house catches on fire, what’s going to happen? The fire department is going to pump a whole bunch of water on it. If that water gets into your safe, your paper documents may have survived the fire, only to be destroyed by water.

    • Jim says

      Excellent point – I think most of the ones that are fireproof are also waterproof. Check the UL rating!

  6. George @ Properly says

    Now I’m thinking perhaps the purpose of having a safe is for it to be a distraction. Keep lesser valuables inside the safe and hope thieves don’t look under the mattress πŸ™‚

  7. Diane @ Smart Money, Simple Life says

    I wonder if safe deposit box sales went up after this clip hit the internet? They are still your best bet if you’ve got something *very* valuable you need to keep safe.

    The best option for your home safe is to have it located somewhere a thief would never look. They can’t break into it if they can’t find it! πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing this info, Jim.

    • Jim says

      Ha, probably! πŸ™‚

      And yes, hiding is better than locking it… though it might be better to keep the breakable safe filled with less valuable stuff so a thief thinks he/she got the “good stuff.” But the good stuff is stuffed somewhere in the walls. πŸ™‚

  8. Kurt says

    With negative interest rates seemingly the Fed’s next magical trick that doesn’t work, I’ve been thinking of a safe as a place to keep currency rather than paying the bank a fee to hold it for me. I guess that’s not such a good idea. Back to the drawing board.

  9. Holly Johnson says

    Maybe I am in the minority, but I don’t really have anything nice enough to lock up. Aside from the stuff in my purse, there is nothing of real value in my home. My wedding ring is my only “expensive” piece of jewelry and it was less than $500. Everything else is from Kohl’s. Ha!

  10. fehmeen says

    We don’t have a safe in our current house but did have one built into a cupboard at one of our previous rented houses. We never used that though – it was left in there by the owners, who had unfortunately been robbed once. But yeah, I agree with your point about safes being useless.

    The same goes for padlocks. There’s a video on Youtube that shows how to snap open a padlock with two spanners. It’s ridiculously easy.

    • Jim says

      I learned the padlock lesson in high school, someone would forget their combination in the gym and the janitor would just come by with bolt cutters. πŸ™‚

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