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The 3 Most Popular Vises For Picking Locks

Reading Time: 7 minutes

It’s like a second pair of hands. Take a second to imagine how productive you can be with another set of arms. —Nothing weird please.

You could carry more groceries from your car, play the piano like Beethoven or even cut the time it takes you to write that essay of yours in half.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbow though, you now have extra work to do at the gym working out four arms instead of two.

What’s my point?

Well, a lock picking vice isn’t exactly like an extra pair of arms, but it does make you feel like you have one. It practically makes you ten times more effective.

In this article, we’re going to dive into the types of vises there are, the benefits of using such and at what point in your lock picking journey you should consider getting one.

I’ll then sprinkle some recommendations for you to consider, incase you are interested in getting a vise for yourself (or a friend).

After reading this article, you’ll officially become a lock picking vise expert and you’ll know everything you need to know to get the best vise for yourself. Let’s dive in.

6 Benefits of a Lock Picking Vise

The lock picking vise throws lots of benefits at us but here we would look at 6 benefits of a lock picking vise.

So, what are the benefits of a lock picking vise?

What can we possibly gain from clamping our locks down since we know that locks can’t sprout legs to run away and picking locks in our hands has always worked just fine!

Let’s get started!!!

1. Easier to Tension

Most likely, the favourite reason pickers use vises. It affords them the luxury to easily use top of the keyway turning tools- such as pry bars. It gives us more room to manoeuvre our picks in the keyway and is of utmost necessity for many locks.

It can however be demanding to hold a lock and reach a finger up to apply tension at the same time, worse still if you have small fingers.

By putting the lock in a vise, your tensioning finger is free to place wherever you need it

2. Angle to you desire:

The rare ability to rotate the clamp to whatever angle you want is what a good lock picking vise offers. This of course will make your picking experience much more comfortable and less frustrating.

This can be the best relief provider during those long picking sessions that would unarguably result in hand cramps or fatigue.

3. One less thing to focus on:

The lesser complicated a task is, the easier it is. We all know that when we face a task with very few things to do, we face it squarely and bring out more efficiency.

By simply removing the task of holding the lock, you can focus more on the process of lock picking and the feedback you are receiving**

4. More Feedback:

Well this one has been a real source of argument over the years. Some say they feel feedback from their vise whilst others say they don’t.  However, every lock picker is different- from the wat they use their tools to the things they focus on while picking. Not to mention people use different vises.

Each time I make a reasonable degree of feedback if my wrist is resting on the vise. Besides that, I typically don’t feel anything else from the vise.

5. Forces Good Technique:

One of the common mistakes made by beginners is that they frequently move the lock rather the pick. A vise will stop this bad habit and force you to make the most from your pick!

6. More Realistic:

We all know lock picking is a skill of utility which should never be used wrongly. Picking locks in a vise is more like picking locks out in the wild.

There is really a great difference between picking a lock in your hand and one sitting in a door. The feeling is never the same, and in some ways, it feels like you are completely relearning lock picking.

So, if you want to be a well-rounded picker, practicing in and out if a vise is an excellent FIRST step.

So When Should You Get a Vise?

If you’re still at the early stages of learning how to pick a lock, I would put that money into a few more practice locks.

However, if you’re in the category of those who suffocate their locks left and right, or you’ve gotten to the level where you play around with top of the keyway tension, then it is may be a good time to throw a vise into the mix.

Anyway, whether you fall into this category or not, the truth is that you can get hold of a lock picking vise whenever you want. It doesn’t hurt even as a beginner and of course is a welcome piece of equipment to any picker’s toolbox.

What Makes A Good Lock Picking Vise?

Hmm, this is a good point to note since there are thousands of different vises out there in the world. The question “so what kind of qualities should we prioritise when selection our first lock picking vise” is therefore important.

When it comes to lock picking, two very important factors have a lot to say as with regards to the usability of vises.

1. Sturdy Base:

An unstable or light base is not a great idea since you can run the risk of the lock being too heavy, and of course enhancing the vise to tip over- which completely negates the purpose of the vise in the first place.

2. Swivelling clamp

You’ll need a vise that allows you to adjust the angle of the clamp so that you can comfortably and of course willingly pick at any angle you want.

Finally, we have talked about everything you need to know to go out into the worlds and grab a good lock picking vise.

However, if you’re looking for a truly tested and trusted vise that will deliver what you need at your doorstep for years to come, kindly look at the three below.

[Top 3] Best Vises For Lock Picking

Here we would look at the some of the most popular vises that have been used and recommended by thousands of lock pickers around the world.

1. Pana Vise 350

Most likely the most popular vise in the world. The PanaVise is the same vise that Bosnian Bill uses and of course for a great reason.

Built very well, it is extremely stable due to it’s fat and heavy base, which includes six decent sized trays to hold all your crap.

Not only is it built very well, it autocentres the clamp to make sure that the weight is evenly distributed over the centre of the vise.

However, one of the most amazing things about this vise is that you can take it apart and swap out pieces with newer or different components.

You can also remove the base and bolt it to the table if you are not planning on moving it. Getting the Pana Vise 350 has always been of the best decisions to take when it comes lock picking. 

However, there’s a little downside to this vise. It is quite expensive compared to the other two on this list. Therefore, if you’re on a budget, I’d prefer you prioritise more locks over a nice look picking vise.

2. Yost V-275

On our precious list is the Yost V-275. An excellent little vise that has risen to the popularity and favourite ranks so fast over the years. This is due to its versatility and of course cheap price tag.

With a head that can rotate 360 degrees and tilt 90 degrees back, it gives you a jiggle room to manoeuvre it to a comfortable position. Its adjustments are very easy since it has a little lever that loosens the swivel.

Another awesome thing about the Yost V-275 vise is the fact that it has a vacuum base mount that works surprising well. This allows you to essentially suction cup the base to any flat and smooth surface. Such as a desk, countertop or even table.

However, one of its downsides is the fact that in order to fully tilt the vise head backwards, you must position it into a cut out on the back of the vise. This can make adjusting the angle a bit of a war if you have the base suctioned to the table.

The Yost V-275 vise is one that will deliver without breaking the bank.

3. Bessey BVVB

Last but not the least is the Bessey BVVB. It has a lot of similarity with the Yost V-275 in function and form.

Like the Yost V-275, it has a vacuum base that can be mounted on any flat and smooth surface, and the head can also pivot 360 degrees and tilt 90 degrees.

However, it has a slightly smaller base which will make it less stable if not mounted on a table. This of course differentiates it from the Yost V-275 vise.

It is also a little bit harder to adjust the picot and tilt as you have to unscrew plastic nut, which typically takes both hands.

It is slightly easier to tilt the vise head backward fully which happens to be a good advantage over the Yost V-275

From these you can see it’s quite a battle between the Bessey and the Yost V-275. But then if I were to make a choice if both are accessible to me, I’d go with the Yost V-275. I suggest you go for same too!


Despite giving ourselves in to a new challenge, there are lots of cool benefits that accrue to us from throwing our lock into a vise. Moreover, it is always nice to have that extra hand.

It’s also nice to remember that beginners don’t need a lock picking vise when starting out for the first time. It’s far better and wiser to spend that money on new and more challenging locks.

However, when you start to pick more difficult and know that you are in lock picking for the long haul, a vise is critical piece of equipment that will help you take your skills to a higher level.

I hope all your questions were answered as with regards to buying and using vises for lock picking in this guide.

As always, Happy picking