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 Reviewed in 2018
- Top 10 Luggage Locks Reviewed in 2018
- 1. Tarriss TSA Lock with SearchAlert
- 2. Lewis N. Clark TSA-Approved Triple Security Lockdown Lock
- 3. TSA Approved Travel Combination Cable Luggage Locks
- 4. Lewis N. Clark Tsa Key Card Lock
- 5. Wordlock TSA Approved Combination Luggage Lock
- 6. Master Lock 4689 Luggage Locks with Keys
- 7. Forge TSA Lock – Open Alert Indicator
- 8. Acrodo TSA Lock – All Metal Combination Padlock
- 9. Eagle Creek TSA 3-Dial Lock and Cable
- 10. The Master Lock 4688D TSA-approved Lock
- How to Choose the Best Luggage Lock
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. Lewis N. Clark TSA-Approved Triple Security Lockdown LockCable Lock For Luggage
This is our number two pick for the best luggage lock available today because easy to use, has a solid construction, and the cables allow you to attach the luggage handle and the zipper pulls to the lock simultaneously. It can also lock your bags to fixed objects like the chair you’re sitting on in the airport while you wait for your flight to be called.
What makes this lock even better is how easy it is to reset the lock using the red resetting key. This means that you can change your 3-dial combination anytime you want, particularly when you’ve forgotten the code you used.
- durable lock
- flexible cables allow you to secure your lock and luggage in three ways
- easy combination reset
- each cable has a specific part of the lock where it is inserted; inserting the wrong ends will secure your luggage, even from you
- the only cable that is TSA-approved is the short one, where they have a master key; using the long cable on the zippers will mean that they will get clipped
- it’s very easy to reset the lock accidentally
3. 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
4. Lewis N. Clark Tsa Key Card Lock
Unlike all the other locks on our list, this TSA-approved lock uses a key card instead of an actual key or a combination to open and close. This is an excellent choice for those who have trouble keeping track of keys or keeping track of combination codes. Instead, you can store the two key cards in your wallet. Or, you can opt to store the credit-card sized key in your wallet and the keychain-sized key on your keychain.
- Easy to use; just slide it in
- Can store the key card in your wallet
- Some users have complained that the cards were easily broken
- No reset option
- Some users have found the lock hard to use
5. 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
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. Acrodo TSA Lock – All Metal Combination Padlock
Yes, this TSA-approved lock from Acrodo is also very similar to the Tarriss and Forge locks. It has a 3-dial combination located on the front of the lock and a pop-up indicator to let you know if a TSA agent became too interested in the contents of your luggage. But that is where the similarities end. Because this Acrodo lock is constructed purely of solid steel, specifically designed not to break or to be cut that easily.
Aside from being resistant to brute force, this lock is magnetic. This means that you won’t really hear a click to let you know that the lock has been set. You just need to move the dials to something other than your code to close the lock. The only thing we really don’t like about the lock is that it’s pretty bulky and heavy… then again, it’ll make thieves think twice, right?
- lifetime guarantee and warranty
- solid steel construction
- pop-up indicator
- heavier and bulkier than most other luggage locks
- the red pop-up indicator can be pushed back in with a paper clip
- some users have reported that the shackle gets bent when the lock and luggage are in transit
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
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.
Do you want to know if your lock has been opened by the TSA?
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.
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 th 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 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 thi 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.
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 such as the TSA Approved Travel Combination Cable Luggage Locks.
Do you want to secure your luggage to a fixed object?
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 or the Lewis N. Clark TSA-Approved Triple Security Lockdown Lock.
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!