Ever had your luggage stolen? Whether or not this unfortunate experience has happened to you, you’ll agree that losing your luggage to a thief is just plain irritating. It certainly casts a pall over your trip, especially if it hasn’t even started.
To help deter thieves from eyeing your luggage as easy pickings, you should consider a luggage lock. And not just any lock would do. Your lock should not only be easy to use (for you, anyway) but also TSA-approved. This means that if ever you are traveling in North America and your luggage will need to be inspected by a TSA agent, then he doesn’t need to break your lock because they have a master key. Some TSA-approved locks will even let you know if it has been opened.
If you’re looking to secure your luggage for your next trip, we’ve picked out the 10 best luggage locks in the market today.
Top 10 Luggage Locks Of 2020 Reviewed
1. Tarriss TSA Lock with SearchAlertLuggage Locks For International Travel
There’s a lot of features on this TSA-approved lock that made us choose this as the best of the best. This lock has a 3-dial combination located on the front of the lock, not on the side which is where most have it. The dials are large and easily visible. The casing is zinc alloy and the flexible cable is made of ultra-strong steel.
The lock comes with a lifetime warranty and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. It has a LED indicator that turns from green to red which lets you know if a TSA agent has opened your lock. And you don’t even have to put in your combination code to lock the cable; just push it in and it will!
- SearchAlert Indicator
- Large dials on the front of the lock for visibility and easy access
- Can be locked without setting your code
- Some users have reported that the lock is easy to break into
- The cable is a bit large that it might have a problem fitting through some zipper holes
- Some users have reported losing the locks while in transit
2. Wordlock TSA Approved Combination Luggage Lock
This is another unique option for travelers tired of using keys or number codes to lock their luggage. Instead, you can use a word, something much easier to remember, to secure the lock. And, unlike the other locks we’ve featured, this one requires a four-letter combination which makes guessing the code even harder for thieves. Plus, the lock is metal which makes it very durable, especially at this price.
- Uses 4-letter combination
- Easy to use
- Passcode choices are limited; the dials do not contain all the letters
- Paint on the letters can get scraped off
- Vulnerable passcodes; instruction manual lists possible combinations
3. Lewis N. Clark TSA-Approved Combination Luggage Lock with Steel CableLuggage Lock With Steel Cable
The Lewis N. Clark is a TSA-approved combination luggage lock that makes it easy when it comes to setting the 3-digit combination code. In fact, the entire process takes only 30 seconds to complete and can be repeated numerous times for as long as you want to change the combination. It comes with detailed instructions on the process of setting the combination to ensure all guesswork is eliminated.
Hailed as the toughest TSA travel lock owing to the fact that it is one of the few luggage locks with a steel cable. Talking about the steel cable, it is a 70mm cable that resists breakage when loading/ offloading luggage or while moving on the conveyor belt. At the airport, it is easier for TSA staff to carry out their inspections. Unlocking and relocking is easier and doesn’t require you to be present or to avail your combination. This is the perfect lock for use on backpacks, purses, laptop bags, briefcases, and so on.
- Changing the combination is simple and easy
- Made of thermoplastic material for easy grip
- A TSA friendly luggage lock
- Doesn’t work well with some zippers
- Feels a little on the rough side
- Fails when the wrong cable end is inserted
4. TSA Approved Travel Combination Cable Luggage Locks
This TSA-Approved lock from TravelMore caught our attention because of three things: the flexible steel cable, the lifetime warranty, and the price (less than $10!). The cable is flexible enough that you can thread it through any type of luggage zipper. The lifetime warranty means that you can get the lock replaced if you have issues with it.
TravelMore adds an even better guarantee to this product – the money back kind. In case you are not satisfied with how the lock has performed, then you can return it and get 100% of your money back, no questions asked.
- Lifetime warranty
- 100% money back guarantee
- Easy to use
- Numbers are small and difficult to read
- Heavy (not ideal for carry-on luggage)
- Hard to set up
5. Lewis N. Clark TSA-Approved Combination Luggage Lock with Steel Cable
Here is another great luggage lock from Lewis N. Clark. It is made from a non-slip thermoplastic material for an easy, comfortable grip while traveling through the airport. Like the other locks from this company, setting and resetting the lock can be done in a breeze. For those who have never done it before, the lock comes with clear instructions on what you should do to reset the luggage lock.
Whether you have a backpack, laptop bag, briefcase or purse, this luggage lock works with all types of zippers. It helps keep your luggage safe as you transit through the airport. This TSA friendly luggage lock allows screeners to inspect whatever you are carrying with you and to lock it when the process is over. It has a 70mm steel cable, which is flexible and durable enough to prevent breakage into your luggage. The cable holds great during the loading/offloading process and while the luggage is on a conveyer belt.
- Comes with a tough 70mm steel cable
- Easy to set the combination
- Can be used with a large variety of bags
- Reports of the lock being hard to use
- Doesn’t provide a reset option
- Complaints about the cards breaking easily
6. Master Lock 4689 Luggage Locks with Keys
If setting combinations aren’t really your thing, then you might want to check out this lock from Master Lock that uses keys. This is quite similar to your basic locks that come with keys. The locking piece is rigid, not flexible, making it harder to cut with just any sharp tool. Plus, the space between the lock and the zipper is too small to insert a tool in for cutting the lock.
What we love best about this lock is that the keyhole is in the front of the lock, not the bottom. It’s so much easier to unlock, no fumbling around to reach the bottom of the lock. And it comes in really cool colors such as purple, pink, blue, and silver.
- Works as it should
- Pretty colors
- Requires key to lock, not just unlock
- Small lock
7. Forge TSA Lock – Open Alert Indicator
Forge’s TSA Locks are similar to the Tarriss lock which is currently our number one. It has a 3-dial combination lock housed in a zinc alloy casing with an alert indicator, letting you know if a TSA agent has opened your lock. But that’s where the similarities end. With this Forge lock, the shackles are hardened steel, not a flexible cable. The indicator is not LED, just a small red button that pops up if it’s been opened.
Now, what makes this baby really stand out is this – TSA agents will need to re-lock your luggage if they want to be able to remove their key after inspection. This way, you never have to worry about getting an unusable lock just because the TSA agent was too lazy to lock it back up.
- Search indicator
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Requires TSA agent to re-lock
- Some users found it hard to reset the combination
- Instructions for using the lock are a bit confusing
- Durability issues
8. SURE LOCK TSA Approved 3-Digit Luggage Locks with Zinc Alloy BodyBest 3 Digit Luggage Lock
Everyone likes to know that his or her luggage will be secure as it moves through the airport. That’s exactly what you get with the SURE LOCK TSA Approved 3-Digit Luggage lock. It is basically a cable lock that fits most if not all zipper holes as well as other types of locking mechanisms without trying too much. The cables are 4 inches in length, providing a lot of room for you to thread through zipper holes.
It is extremely easy to input your combination. Start by setting all dials to zero, followed by moving the lever to the right, and dialing the new combination. You can do that as many times as possible without worrying about anything. Since the locks are TSA approved, they allow for easy and convenient inspection. When the inspection is over, the lock will display an inspection indicator. That way, you can tell that the TSA inspection team entered your bag.
- The numbers are displayed in a clear way
- The metallic body is tough
- An inspection pop up warms you of intrusion into the bag
- Can be difficult to close
- May require extra force to work
- A 3-digit combination is easy to guess
9. Eagle Creek TSA 3-Dial Lock and CableLuggage Locks For Hostels
Eagle Creek offers the perfect solution to backpackers who utilize various types of transportation – trains, buses, etc. The lock, which features a die cast zinc body and a steel shackle, can be used on its own to secure your luggage. But the addition of the vinyl coated steel cable ups the versatility of the lock.
Not only will you be able to lock your luggage to your chair or table as you wait in the airport lounge, you can also choose to secure your backpack/luggage to the luggage rack on a train or bus. You can also use the cable to secure your luggage inside the hostel while you explore a new place.
- Easy to use
- Lifetime warranty
- Numbers are too small to see for some users
- Durability issues
- The cable is very thin
10. The Master Lock 4688D TSA-approved LockSmall Luggage Lock
This lock features a flexible cable, a resettable combination, and red-and-white Travel Sentry™ logo. It’s a pretty basic lock that will allow you to attach it to most, if not all, types of zippers. The combination is easy to set up. And the logo informs TSA agents right away that they can use their master key to unlock it. If you’re traveling light, the Master Lock is pretty small that it can also be used to secure your backpack or purse.
- Easy to use
- Flexible cable
- Some users complained about TSA agents still cutting the cable instead of unlocking it
- Can’t choose color (randomly chosen by seller)
- Seems flimsy
How To Choose The Best Luggage Lock: the Ultimate Buying Guide
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, it pays to ensure that your luggage stays where you put it. Having your belongings stolen while on a trip is a frustrating experience that can be prevented. The first step is to buy great luggage. The second one is to lock your luggage using a, er, lock.
Now, not just any lock would do. Because if your luggage ever gets picked for a much closer inspection, you can say goodbye to your lock if the TSA agent doesn’t have a master key. That’s why you should get a really good luggage lock that also happens to be TSA-approved. So, how do you know if a TSA-approved lock is any good? We’ve got just the guide to help you.
Which do you Prefer – Key, Combination, or Card?
There are a lot of different TSA-approved locks in the market. The most common one in the market is the combination lock. These use 3 or 4-digit codes to open the lock. Most are small and made of zinc alloy. Some come with a steel shackle (like a regular lock) such as the Forge TSA Lock – Open Alert Indicator (2 Pack) while others have a flexible cable like The Master Lock 4688D TSA-approved Lock.
A keyed lock is, obviously, a lock that requires a physical key. The best thing about this kind of lock is the fact that you don’t have to worry about forgetting your code. The disadvantage though is that you won’t be able to open the lock without the key unless you get some heavy duty cutters. If this is more your style, then we recommend the Master Lock 4689 Luggage Locks with Keys.
If keys and number codes aren’t your thing, there’s also the word combination lock such as the Wordlock TSA Approved Combination Luggage Lock. Some people find it much easier to remember a 4-letter word compared to a numerical code. However, the downside of this kind of lock is that you are limited to the words you can use as a passcode since not all the letters are available in the dials. Also, some manufacturers include a list of suggested passcodes for their locks which kinda defeats the purpose.
If you’re up for something totally different, you can opt for a key card lock. As the name implies, you’ll be using a key card to open your lock, just like a hotel room. Compared to keys or combinations, a key card definitely is much easier to keep track of. You can store the key card inside your wallet. Most locks in this category like the Lewis N. Clark Tsa Key Card Lock offer a key card that’s the size of a credit card. The only problem with this kind of lock is if you use more than one. It can be quite hard to remember which card opens which lock since the cards usually look identical.
Do you Want to Know if Your Lock has Been Opened by the TSA?
When at the airport or other border entries, officials might not just want to measure the weight of your luggage, but also open your bag and know what’s inside. While most TSA-locks do not alert you of this (hopefully) rare phenomenon, there are some such as the Tarriss TSA Lock with SearchAlert that will indicate whether or not the lock has been opened using a master key. Now, TSA agents are required to place a card inside your luggage informing you of the inspection. But in case they forget that step, this kind of lock ensures that you are always aware.
How Big is the Eye of Your Zippers?
When securing your luggage with a lock, you should make sure that the lock you chose will fit through the eye of the zippers of your luggage. Otherwise, you’ll end up stuck with some paperweights and unsecure luggage. Most locks with flexible cables fit in with most zippers.
Do you Want to Secure Your Luggage to a Fixed Object?
You need to always keep your luggage secure when traveling. Some luggage locks come with long cables that will allow you to lock your zippers together and secure the luggage to a fixed object like a chair, table, steel pole, etc. This feature is perfect for those who plan on leaving their luggage in hostels, are waiting around in the airport lounge, or falling asleep while on a plane, train, or bus. If this fits you to a T, then we recommend the Eagle Creek TSA 3-Dial Lock and Cable.
Keep in mind that luggage locks are merely a deterrent to thieves looking for a quick and easy score. Those who are determined and savvy can (and probably will) find a way to circumvent your safety measures. That’s why most travel experts will tell you to always leave your valuables in a safe place, more specifically at home. This way, you’re assured that you’ll never lose them while you’re traveling. Unless your home gets robbed that is. But that’s another discussion for a different day. Happy travels and stay safe!