Spiral key extractors should be in every locksmiths tool kit. They cost a few pound and can make you a lot of money in a short space of time.
On test is a set of three extractors from Peterson USA. A name renowned for quality locksmith tools, is this set up to the standard we expect? Let’s see.
Our test locks are (left to right) Union, CES, Carl F, Yale X5.
First job, snap some keys in the locks. Before the test I inserted the rest of the keys and pushed the snapped bits further into the lock. Which is exactly what a customer would do before giving up and calling a professional…….or me if he wasn’t available.
The Union was up first, this took around two minutes and once the extractor twisted its way under the pin and grabbed hold of the key it took quite a lot of pulling to get the key to budge. Upon removal this could be explained by the snapped edge being slightly twisted and therefore jamming a little in the keyway.
Next up was the CES. This proved more awkward than expected due to the tight profile of the bottom of the keyway. But still proved successful in around 60 seconds.
The Carl F was next and while this proved very quick (about 10 seconds) the smaller spiral extractor bent very easily while applying downward pressure when under the key to grab hold of it. The extractor was easily bent back into shape and I repeated the test with the longer extractor which on closer inspection looks to have thicker fluting and this one kept its shape, but took a few seconds longer.
Last up was the Yale X5. There wasn’t a great deal for the extractor to grab hold of as the cuts on the key were quite shallow. But this has the added benefit that there isn’t much spring and pin resistance pushing into the cuts of the key. All three extractors grabbed hold and extracted the key in around 30 seconds, but again the two thinner tools bent whilst the longer slightly thicker tool kept its shape and allowed more downward force to be applied resulting in a more positive removal.
So in conclusion this set more than lives up to the quality we have come to expect from Peterson’s locksmith tools. Even though the smaller tools were easily bent when trying to pull on the keys once removed they were quickly bent back into shape with minimal fuss.
One thing I found was the tools are much longer than they really needed to be. If you think about it all they need to be is a few mm longer than the blade of a 6 pin key as this is all you are ever going to be using them on. The longest had a tip over twice as long as a full key. And the handle was almost as long again which means it will stick out a lot of a standard pick case. They can easily be trimmed to suit personal preference so not really a negative just an observation.
If you bought them and used them once you will have made your money back. So if you are looking for something to add to an order to tip it over the point of FREE DELIVERY then it's defiantly worth considering these.
Review by Geraint Jones, GJ Locks