Updated: Aug 9, 2022
We’ve created a round-up of some of the most likely (and a few unique) locks that you may encounter during your escape room adventures. Have you seen any of these escape room locks before?
Looking to brush up on your knowledge around escape rooms? We’d say one of the best “keys” in your studies would be to research locks and how to solve or open them. If you’re setting up an at-home escape room experience for kids or friends, this could also be a great place to start on your journey. Once you have the locks and puzzles decided - it gets a whole lot easier to plan the rest of your story and escape room experience.
As a player, understanding locks is a valuable way to save time and to win in an escape room. So let’s take a look at some of the most common (and a few uncommon) escape room locks that you may encounter in your adventure. Hopefully, this knowledge helps your team’s overall escape room strategy!
Most Common Escape Room Locks:
Standard Padlock: The standard padlock just requires a single key to open it. This is the most simple lock that you will run across and it’s the easiest to solve. The most complicated part will be finding the key (probably through a series of other clues and puzzles). To develop your escape room strategy, you can rest easy knowing that you will most likely encounter at least one of these standard padlocks every time!
Numerical Code Padlock: This lock usually has 4 turning number wheels on the left-hand side that will open when turned to the correct sequence and order. Often, the numbers for this lock must be found through some kind of puzzle or clues located in the room. When entering the numerical code, you must ensure that you enter the numbers in the correct order and that you are lining the numbers up to where you are supposed to on the lock.
Combination Padlock: This is the same kind of lock that many teenagers had on their locker in high school. To open this lock, you’ll need a three-number sequence ahead of solving it. You also will have to spin the lock correctly and for the correct amount of turns before stopping on the numerical code (clockwise versus counterclockwise). If your room has these locks, we will go over how the locks work with you, in advance.
Directional Locks: Directional locks are slightly more unique but look like a combination or a standard padlock. They can be opened through a series of left/right and up/down clicks. This lock is tricky because there is often no limit to the number of movements in a directional lock code. It can also be challenging to tell if you’ve inputted the wrong code that the lock has reset and is ready for a new combination try.
Word Locks: These locks are similar to the numerical code locks that we’ve talked about, but there are letters that you can play with. Again, a straightforward lock that may need to be unlocked using a series of letters or a short word that is found through clues and puzzles in the room.
Cryptex Locks: These locks look like something that you’ve seen in a fantasy, magic, or spy movie. The lock most often has 5-6 letter rings that have the full alphabet on each ring. This type of lock is opened by entering a series of letters or a word that will need to be discovered through room clues or another puzzle. Once the cryptex is solved, it will pop open and reveal a key or another clue that you can use to move forward and win at an escape room!
Less Common (and Trickier) Escape Room Locks:
Diversion Locks: These look like an element in the room, but are actually a disguised lockbox! A diversion lock could look like a rock, a lamp, a panel, a subfloor box, and the list goes on. Keys can be found through solving puzzles, clues, or riddles. If you find a diversion lock, be sure to include it in your escape room strategy communication with your team because it will almost always come into play later!
Covert Coin Locks: This lock looks like a coin…but slide it open and it can house a small chip or piece of paper (with a clue). If you find a random coin in your escape room, chances are that it could be one of these locks!
Touchpad Locks: These require a small fob to be waved in front of them to open (or a touchpad code). Touchpad locks can be disguised as a prop in the room - only to pop open once you wave the fob in front of it! This lock may often be the one that you find on the door as well - which will lead you to win at an escape room. We find these locks unreliable and will not use them in our escape rooms unless they are significantly improved.