Here’s everything you need to know about the different types of escape room locks and puzzles.

Escape rooms are packed with several types of locks and puzzles. Players must solve each of them to find their way out of the maze. Different people excel at solving various puzzles, and that’s the USP of an escape room evening. In this article, we’ll look at the most common escape room locks and puzzles and how to unlock them.

Types of Locks and Puzzles in an Escape Room

You’ll find at least one traditional lock in every escape room. The four most commonly used props are padlocks, word locks, numerical locks, and directional locks. While this doesn’t conclude the list, familiarizing yourself with the classic puzzles can save valuable time as you try to escape the room.


A padlock is one of the most common type lock in escape room. They’re designed to withstand the test of time, making them an essential part of an escape room kit. Padlocks are readily available and affordable, which is crucial for their widespread use.

One of the most significant aspects of an escape room padlock is the two-fold puzzle. This means players must find both the lock and the key to solve the mystery. Certain puzzles can be three-fold if multiple padlocks are involved.

A key typically opens a single padlock and is used once in a room. After a key is used, it’s wise to keep it aside to avoid getting the props mixed up. These small precautions save a considerable amount of time at the end of the day.


Numerical Locks

Numerical locks are the next most common puzzle found in an escape room. Much like traditional padlocks, numerical locks are readily available, durable, and cheap, making them the ideal prop.

Escape rooms can have players find the code in several fascinating ways. For instance, they might have you crack a puzzle for the code, or players might have to solve different puzzles to land the code.

Players need to demonstrate teamwork to pull off such tasks successfully. Features like these make the escape room experience worthwhile.

Word Locks

Like numerical locks, players must solve puzzles to uncover the code for unlocking word locks. Traditional word locks use a 4-6 letter word, and there are several ways in which escape rooms can hide the code.

For example, players might have to find a specific word inside the room, discover missing alphabets in a puzzle, solve a riddle, or unscramble a word for the solution. Puzzles like these are best solved with a cool head. So, gather your wits and crack the code with the team.

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Directional Locks

Directional locks aren’t as frequently used as the other three locks mentioned above. These are tricky to operate, expensive, and not as readily available as traditional locks. Directional locks are unlocked using a series of up, down, and side movements, and the number of inputs is unlimited.

If you lose your pace with a long code, you can end up wasting a lot of time trying to unlock directional locks. Traditionally, the solutions are given as up/down/left/right or north/south/east/west.

Another major inconvenience is resetting the padlock. It’s impossible to determine whether the lock has been reset just by looking at it. If you assume the lock has been reset and try to enter the code when in reality, the lock hasn’t been reset, you’re just wasting time. Players must keep these scenarios in mind when dealing with directional locks.

directional lock

Combination Locks

Combinational locks are padlocks usually seen on high school lockers. These use a three-number code to unlock. Players must spin the numbers in the correct direction in the proper sequence to unlock the padlock.

Other crucial factors while dealing with combination locks include ensuring that the arrow is pointing in the correct direction, is lined up with the dash, and the right dash corresponds to the correct number.

If you get the combination wrong the first time, don’t forget to reset the lock by twirling the combination wheel towards the right, completing three rotations. You’ll end up wasting time if the lock isn’t reset correctly.

Diversion Locks

Diversion locks don’t resemble traditional padlocks and can be extremely difficult to spot on the first try. These locks are generally hidden in plain sight as a lockbox, which could resemble a lamp, a rock, a book, or any other prop.

Escape rooms can get creative with these, and you must keep an eye out from the beginning. The keys to diversion locks are traditionally found through solving riddles and cracking codes. Hidden inside the box are props that can get you a step ahead to solving the escape room.

safe book with divertion lock

Cryptex Locks

Cryptex locks look right out of a spy or fantasy movie. These locks are ideal for escape rooms sporting an old-fashioned look as they fit the aesthetic. Cryptex locks have five to six rings, each with 26 letters. Players must solve separate puzzles to identify the correct combination to unlock the Cryptex.

black cryptic lock

Magnetic Cabinet Locks

These are interesting since they differ from traditional padlocks. Magnetic cabinet locks can be easily disguised, and they can hold a door or a cover against a frame. These are opened easily by pressing the lock once. The pressure releases the magnet, allowing the door to swing open.

Magnetic cabinet locks are excellent escape room props since they’re difficult to trace, easy to open, and are readily available. Locating these locks is the tricky part. Players must listen to the instructions carefully to identify magnetic cabinet locks and apply pressure on the right area.

Are You Ready for Success?

Understanding the different locks used in escape rooms and identifying them can be the critical difference between winning and losing. If you think you got what it takes to beat the room, visit Escape2Win to test your skills.

If you’re in the Virginia Beach area looking for “escape rooms near me,” drop by Virginia’s #1 escape room. Browse our excellent game selection, pick your team, and drop by for 60-minutes of pure adrenaline rush.

What are you waiting for? Book your slots now!

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