I think the best way to handle this subject is simply to show a picture of the pick, give a brief description of what it can be used for, and tell you what my experiences with its usefulness or gimmick factor. From there, you can make your own decision. I’ll try to use the most common name first, followed by any trade or manufacturer’s names. In some ways, this can be like cryptography because some of the names are used on more than one tool…
Name: DeForest Diamond, Offset Diamond
For: Single Pin Picking
My opinion: VERY Useful, a must have item.
Name: Bogota, Triple-Peak, Double-peak, Worm
For: Raking pin tumblers open or obtaining a false set.
My opinion: The Triple peak and Worm are SUPER Useful. Must-have items.
Name: Small Half Diamond
Category: Rake, Improvised Hook, and Kinetic Attack tool
For: The diamond can rake pins, replace a short hook, or be used as a zipping tool. You can also use it to pick simple dimple locks.
My opinion: An old school tool created when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, but still a good general purpose pick.
Name: S-Rake, Snake Rake
For: A great tool for raking either pin tumblers or wafer locks. Very effective on locks containing standard pins. When used on spools, it’ll often give you a very fast false set, allowing you to continue SPPing with your hook.
My opinion: Very useful.
Name: Deep Hook and Postal Hook
For: Single Pin Picking postal boxes.
My opinion: The profile is too tall to fit into most keyways. I’m told it’s a necessary tool to pick postal boxes, but have never done it and probably never will, so don’t bother carrying one.
Name: Lifter Pick
For: Precise positioning of pick on the key pin. I am told that this is a useful pick for picking Medeco pins. I have picked on a lot of Medecos and tried this pick several times and see nothing advantageous to it.
My opinion: Gimmick. Doesn’t do anything that your hook can’t do better.
Name: Offset Hybrid (Unique pick to Sparrows)
For: Single Pin Picking (SPP)
My opinion: Useful. Slightly different feel than short hook and with the diamond shaped tip is easier to position on the key pin, so it is very popular with speed pickers.
Name: Offset Ball, Offset Half Ball, DeForest ball
For: Same as DeForest Diamond, for high lift of pins in the back of the lock.
My opinion: Useful, but most people choose only the diamond or ball tips, rarely both.
For: Bypassing unshielded locks. The narrow blade is usually 3” and made from 0.030” material.
My opinion: Useful. Use this tool first when facing older padlocks that might not be shielded. It might save you a LOT of work AND amaze onlookers wen you pop the lock open in about 3 seconds.
For: Shimming or decoding combination locks. Blade is 2” and made from 0.012” material.
My opinion: Useful. I carry one in my EDC and often use it on combination locks.
Name: Slim Jim, Full size and mini
Category: Bypass tool
For: Quickly opening spring loaded doors, gates and latches.
My opinion: Useful, especially on “high security” doors with shielding blocking the locking bolt.