Combination Padlocks

How to Unlock a 4 Digit Combination Padlock

A 4 digit combination padlock, also sometimes called a combo lock, is a type of lock that uses a numerical combination to open. The lock has 4 wheels or dials that can be turned to set each digit of the combination. When the correct combination is entered and the shackle is pulled, the padlock will open. 

The benefits of a combination lock include not needing to carry around a separate key which could be lost. However, the downside is needing to remember the combination. Fortunately there are some tricks to opening them if you’ve forgotten your combination. Let’s dive in how to unlock a 4 digit combination padlock!

Trying Known Combinations

If you’ve owned your 4 digit padlock for a while, first go through any combinations that you commonly use or have used in the past for other locks and devices requiring a code. Birthdays, anniversaries, phone numbers, addresses or any other numerical passwords are good options to try first. Be sure to try combinations forwards and backwards too, just in case you stored it that way unintentionally. If none of your common combinations unlock it, don’t worry there are still other ways.

Using Known Digits in the Combination

If you can only remember one, two or three digits from your combination, you can still use this to help deduct the remaining numbers. For example, if your combination lock has the digits 03__ and you don’t remember the last two numbers, start by systematically trying combinations starting with 03. 

Some suggestions would be going sequentially (0300, 0301 etc), trying months and days (0312, 0315), years (0399, 0310), or any other 2 digit numbers that seem familiar. This significantly decreases the total combinations you need to try from 10,000 to just 100 by already knowing the first two digits. Apply this same logic if you know one or three digits from the combination instead.

Trying Numeric Patterns

If you can’t remember any part of your actual combination, looking for patterns can be helpful. Some common patterns people set or default combination locks include:

  • Repetitive numbers e.g. 1111, 2222
  • Ascending/Descending e.g. 1234, 4321
  • Birth years e.g. 1955, 1983
  • Paired digits e.g.1212, 2525

Go through all these type of numeric patterns first before resorting to guessing truly random combinations. People surprisingly tend to use well-known numerical patterns quite often unconsciously for their combinations.

Trying Known Factory Combinations

Most combination padlocks will come preset from the factory with a standard combination set between 0000 and 9999. Common defaults include:

  • 0000
  • 1234
  • 1111
  • 5555
  • 1313
  • 6666
  • 8888
  • 2525

Trying all these combinations doesn’t take long and can unlock your padlock quickly if the previous owner didn’t reset it. Brand new padlocks almost always still have the factory combination set. Go through this list first before trying fully random combinations.

Using a Padlock Combination Cracker

If all else fails, you can use a padlock combination cracker tool for 4 digit locks. This specialized tool is inserted into the dials and systematically tries every possible combination rapidly. An automatic padlock cracker can unlock a 4 number combination in an average of 20 minutes by brute forcing every combo. 

Manual combination crackers require turning the dials physically yourself but make the process easier than doing it freehand. While costing some money to purchase, a combo lock cracker tool guarantees being able to unlock your padlock without needing to remember or guess the correct combination.

Getting Assistance From a Locksmith

If you need to get your combination padlock unlocked immediately and don’t have success on your own, seeking professional assistance is an option. A skilled locksmith has specialized tools for quickly unlocking combination locks. They can also provide replacement padlocks keyed to a physical key if preferred for convenience. 

Hiring a locksmith costs more money compared to buying your own lock cracker tool but can save significant time if needing urgent access. They also have expertise unlocking all lock types if your padlock cracking attempts still leave it stuck shut. Your local locksmith can dispatch to your location for on-site service too.

Replacing the Combination Padlock

If none of the previous methods are successful in unlocking your combination padlock, purchasing a new one that you can confirm the combination for may be the best solution. Sturdy outdoors rated combination padlocks are fairly inexpensive starting at $5-10. Investing in a new lock you control the combination to eliminate ever needing to go through this problem again. 

You can find resettable combination locks that allow changing the combination yourself anytime as well. This allows keeping it set to an easy to remember number of your choice rather than factory preset combos. Getting a fresh start with a new combination padlock that you know the code for definitely has advantages.

Conclusion – How to Unlock a 4 Digit Combination Padlock

Forgetting the combination to your 4 digit padlock can be frustrating, but there are a variety of techniques you can try to get it open again. Start by racking your brain and going through any significant numbers that could be used as codes. If that fails, using partial known digits, patterns, factory combinations, tools and professional locksmiths provide alternative ways to unlock it. 

And finally, if all else fails, purchasing an affordable replacement combination padlock is a simple solution as well. With a variety of options, both DIY and professional methods, anyone can get access again to a combination lock without remembering the exact code. Don’t spend money on an expensive new lock or destroy the old one until trying these unlocking tips first. Spending just a bit of time attempting to crack the code on your own can save you significant hassle and money down the road.


How many potential combinations are there for a standard 4 digit padlock?

With 4 dials each with numbers 0-9, there are 10,000 potential combinations (10 x 10 x 10 x 10) for a standard 4 digit padlock.

What tools can be purchased to help crack a combination lock?

Combination lock cracking tools such as automatic robotic unlocking machines and manual aids customized for dialing combination padlocks are available online and in some specialty stores.

How long will a locksmith take to unlock my combination padlock?

An experienced locksmith has specialized equipment to open a standard 4 digit combination padlock in only a few minutes generally. More complex or heavy duty combination locks may take slightly longer.

What should I do if my combination padlock won’t open after trying all unlocking methods?

If none of the unlocking techniques are successful after extensive trying, purchasing an inexpensive replacement combination padlock that you can set your own known combination on is the best option.


Combining his passion for security and technology, Joseph is dedicated to providing reliable and affordable combination padlocks to help protect your valuables. With years of experience in the industry, Joseph brings his expertise to to ensure your peace of mind.

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