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How many times can you try to unlock a safe?

by:Proway     2023-06-29

Locking things away has become a more common practice these days, and people do it for several reasons. It could be to keep something valuable or sensitive hidden, for security purposes, or merely for a controlled space for access purposes. Regardless of the reason, locking things away in a safe has become an everyday norm, and if you own one, you might have wondered how many times you can try to unlock a safe.

Locks come in different types, sizes, and designs, and each has a different mechanism for unlocking and locking. A safe that requires a combination, for example, would be different from a safe that requires a key. The number of trials allowed or the limit for incorrect trials would vary depending on the type of safe. In this article, we explore how many times you can try to unlock a safe.

Types of safes and their unlocking mechanisms

Safes come in three main types: mechanical, electronic, and biometric safes. Let's discuss these types and their unlocking mechanisms in more detail.

1. Mechanical safes

The lock mechanism of a mechanical safe is usually a combination of a lock-and-key and a dial system. These safes commonly use the rotary-dial combination lock. To open a mechanical safe, you must rotate the dial to the right (clockwise) until it reaches the first number of the combination, then rotate it to the left (anticlockwise) until the dial reaches the second number. Finally, rotate the dial back to the right (clockwise) to the third number to align the internal locking mechanism to unlock the door.

2. Digital (Electronic) safes

Digital or electronic safes utilize an electronic lock that works in response to a code configured by the owner. A battery usually powers the locking mechanism, which is essential to remember, or the safe will remain locked. Digital safes are known to be more secure, less noisy, and more comfortable to use than mechanical ones. You need to input a specific sequence of numbers to open the door.

3. Biometric safes

Biometric safes, also called fingerprint safes, come with a biometric scanner that recognizes the owner's fingerprints, which gives it a high-security rating. Upon scanning and matching the owner's fingerprints, the door unlocks and opens, making it one of the best types for home safes and gun safes.

How Many Times Can You Try To Unlock A Safe?

1. Mechanical safes

Mechanical safes usually come with a limit to the number of incorrect code combinations that you can enter before the safe locks itself down. This feature is known as a re-locking system. Most re-locking systems allow three to five incorrect attempts before the locking mechanism triggers. This process usually involves tripping a relocking pin that falls into place, locking the safe's access completely. The only way to reset a mechanical safe after the locking mechanism triggers is to contact the manufacturer or a locksmith, which can be quite costly.

2. Digital (Electronic) safes

Digital or electronic safes usually come with an inbuilt warning system that triggers if you enter the wrong code more than three to five times. Unlike mechanical safes, electronic safes usually provide access to additional key combinations that can help you gain access to your safe if you forget your set combination code. You will need to contact the manufacturer or a licensed locksmith to reset a digital (electronic) safe after the maximum number of incorrect attempts the safe allows.

3. Biometric safes

Biometric safes are arguably the best types of safes when it comes to ease of use and security features. Because they rely on biometric scanning technology to recognize the owner's fingerprints, they do not come with limits to the number of attempts that one can make. In the event that one's fingerprint does not register on the scanner correctly, the biometric safe simply denies access.

Reasons for the limits and restrictions on trials and attempts for different safes.

The limits and restrictions on the number of trials and attempts that you can make when unlocking a safe are crucial towards ensuring the safety of the contents you have locked away. A safe's design should make it very difficult for anyone to gain unauthorized access to its contents, so these limits and restrictions serve as a mechanism to deter unauthorized access attempts.

One of the reasons for setting limits and restrictions on the number of incorrect attempts that one can make when unlocking a safe is to prevent thieves from breaking into the safe using the brute force method. The brute force method involves trying all possible combinations of the numerical or alphabetical code until it opens. This method can take time, and limits and restrictions on trial attempts can help slow down a burglar's attempts to guess the correct combination, making it less likely for the safe to be breached.


In conclusion, the number of times you can try to unlock a safe depends on the type of lock mechanism it comes with. Manufacturers design limits and restrictions on the number of trials and attempts that one can make when unlocking a safe to ensure that the safe's contents remain secure and accessible only to the owner. If you forget the code or become locked out for any reason, it's essential to follow the manufacturer's instructions for re-setting or unlocking the safe, as attempting to breach the safe by other means can cause damage, permanently harm the safe, and compromise the contents inside.

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