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Sillcock Key 

 November 12, 2021

By  Mike Millerson

Skills are everything for survival. Not to mention properly-packed survival gear and little helpful things that can increase your survival chances.

When living in an urban environment, we take most things for granted, and water access is one of them. But, of course, you can always get some water in your home, but what about an emergency situation or a time when the water supply would dry out?

The answer is a sillcock key! It has lightweight that is easy to carry in your backpack, an average five inches’ length, and a price of fewer than ten dollars, which is great for your budget.

What can a sillcock key give to you?

You would not think that a sillcock key could be used in a survival environment, but it actually can be! A sillcock key is widely exploited by plumbers and engineers that are constantly accessing resistant sillcocks and hose bibs with restricted water access.

Why? Because these cranes are widespread in very different conditions: from private to commercial and industrial buildings.

Sillcocks are exterior sources of water that can be used by attaching a hose to them. Even when there is no power, they can be of use as the water is still present in the tubes. And the sillcock key is a great tool for such a job of creating additional water access for you!

The difference of the tool, compared to the home used sillcock valve, is that domestic ones have a handle that lets you control the water pressure and decide when to turn it on or off. In commercial buildings, there is no such thing: this is especially done for escaping theft situations.

silcock-key-building-min

In these off-grid scenarios, a sillcock key from your bugout bag comes in handy, as it becomes your “handle” that helps you to operate the water. Almost any cross key will also have four shapes and sizes in the package so that you will not have to worry about your tools not fitting the tube.

Multi-tool versus sillcock key: what is the benefit of the last one?

The first reason is that sillcocks can have different shapes: not only square but triangular also.

The second reason is that not all the sillcock valves are that loose: you might get lucky and even open some with your fingers, or open a more difficult valve with multi-tool or pliers, but what will you do when simple water pipes, rest stops, or any other locking mechanisms have tamper-resistant hose bibs? In this case, a sillcock key is needed.

And finally, some of the sillcock pipes may have never been used before, and even the right tool’s power will be of little use for you for such a job.

How can you implement your sillcock keys going off-grid?

The process of using a sillcock tool is straightforward. All you need to do is:

  • Embed it around the sillcock pipe,
  • Push it in an anti-clockwise movement,
  • Pour the water into your bottle or canteen.

Need to see the action by yourself? Then watch this video on how to access water through a sillcock key.

Additional functions of a sillcock key

Some fancy sillcock keys can open more than just a sillcock valve. They can also be used for:

  • Electrical control cabinets,
  • Gas pipes,
  • Refilling vehicle’s radiator.

If your sillcock keys have a triangular wrench or different square sizes, you can also open train doors and windows with them. We did not tell you that, but hotels and museums’ windows are also on this list.

Now you see that this simple tool can actually be used in many off-grid scenarios. In some cases, it might even save your life!

How to choose the best sillcock keys

Danco 80132 5/16 In. In general, it is always best to choose those sillcock keys that have a variety of sizes and shapes. However, when having a restricted budget and picking a single key, such as, for example, a Danco sillcock key, you might get yourself in trouble when going off-grid.

This device only has one type of form that works with one sillcock pipe. In an emergency situation, this will not be enough.

It is only logical that the more shapes and sizes your sillcock keys have, the bigger are your chances of finding water access. Of course, this choice will be a bit more expensive and heavier, but its worth is much bigger when thirst has taken you over. Also, 6.1 oz will not be as heavy as you might have imagined.

Some tools for your consideration

1. Cobra 4-way Sillcock key

Cobra Products PST154

Cobra’s cross key is the most budget device in our review. It is a durable 4-way sillcock key with standard sillcock valves’ sizes:

  • 1/4″
  • 9/32″
  • 11/32″

Not being in the list of the most lightweight sillcocks keys, it is still a satisfying cross key: a 6 oz weight and 5-inch height.

Moreover, it has a lifelong warranty and a cost which is less than ten dollars!

2. CAIDU Cross Key

Update CAIDU Version

CAIDU Multifunctional Marine Tools key is our most universal key that has five shapes, including both usual sillcock keys’ forms and half-moon and prongs valves.

CAIDU ensures us that their durable product can open:

  • Train doors
  • Windows
  • Elevators
  • Subway control boxes

The price is a few dollars more than that of the Cobra keys, and it is also a slightly heavier product.

3. Knipex Twin Key

Knipex Tools LP - 1101

Knipex Universal Control Cabinet Key is the best device in our review. With the price of approximately 40 dollars, it gives you:

  • reversible bit joint
  • 4-way wheel wrenches
  • 8-arm zinc die-cast tool

This combination allows you to access not only water but also gas and electricity. Moreover, this durable handy item is a bit smaller and lighter than our budget Cobra device: that means you can store and carry it inside your emergency kit.

All-in-all advice

A decent sillcock key can get you not only a water supply but important materials (such as a wire) or access to unknown earlier roads and ways of escaping horrible situations, such as natural disasters or a terrorist attack.

When deciding to buy a sillcock key for your bug-out bag, do not be afraid of spending some additional money. As we understood above, this might actually save your life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a Sillcock key used for?

As sillcock pipes are present both inside the houses and commercial and industrial large buildings, keys can be used for a great variety of purposes, depending on your sillcock key.

A usual one key can only open one type of sillcock valve of places with restricted water faucets, while those with four keys with different shapes and sizes are able to access:

  • a train door,
  • a window,
  • a gas or electricity valve,
  • subway control boxes and etc.

Decent engineers always have a multifunctional key tool, and for an off-grid emergency, you should too!

What size of a Sillcock key do I need?

It depends on the variety of functions you would want to use your keys and the size of your bug-out bag:

  • For home use, a simple one key is enough, and its weight would be very little.
  • A more functional key is needed for outside emergency use in an industrial building or anywhere else, like those with 4 and more sizes and shapes. The weight would be approximately 5-6 oz.

What is a spigot key?

It is a simple sillcock key that is capable of opening your outdoor spigot or any other type of pipe, be it a hose bibb, faucet, or valve.

To be able to use it, make the following motions:

  • First, try to put the most common keys around the water spigot, then other sizes if needed
  • Second, turn it in an anti-clockwise motion
  • Third, collect the water to your reservoir
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A former USA Army sergeant and a highly educated survivalist and prepper with a degree and interest in Engineering and Electronics, Mike Millerson applies his extensive expertise in survivalism, homesteading, backpacking, hiking and hunting, spreading his deep knowledge about handling emergencies and prepping for them reasonably and effectively.

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