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The 6 Best Luggage Locks That Keep Thieves Away

By Ryan | Gear & Stuff

Apr 01
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When you are traveling the world with your belongings on your back, you want to make sure your valuables are safe. While there are many steps you can take to prevent theft. One important step is to use a luggage lock. The question is how do you choose the best luggage locks when there are so many to choose from?

Well, keep reading because I have done all the boring research for you and selected 6 of the best luggage locks for you to choose from.

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.


Frequently Asked Questions about Luggage Locks

Why do I even Need Luggage Locks?

best luggage locks 1

From Amazon

When you are traveling the world you do need to have a luggage lock. A length of chain can be helpful to have as well.

When you are in many developing countries your bag may go up on the roof, or you may be on a long train journey when at some point you will sleep. In these situations, and a multitude of other situations your luggage can be vulnerable. Thieves will often target travelers because they know by default you have to be carrying some cash, or bank cards (or both). These days' travelers will also have cameras, laptops, Smartphone's etc. You can make an easy target.

While the lock can't prevent your whole bag going walkabouts, the lock can prevent crimes of opportunity. You might not be planning to leave your bag unattended when traveling. Yet, you are not going to manage to have your main luggage with you for every minute of every day. This is where a luggage lock comes into its own.

What is TSA Approved Locks?

best luggage lock 2

From Amazon

An important feature to choose is a Transport Security Administration (TSA) approved lock. This means when you are traveling through the USA if the TSA need to open your bag to check the contents they don't need to break your lock.

TSA search agents have a master key to open the approved locks without it breaking.

Must you use a TSA Approved Lock for Air Travel?

You don't have to, but if you lock your luggage and security need to open it, they will simply cut any other kind of lock off. If you are keen to lock check-in luggage you must use a TSA or face finding a cut lock on arrival.

How do you know your Lock is TSA approved?

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There is a TSA symbol which looks like a 3d diamond shape, look for this on your lock.

You will also see a place for the master key to be fitted, even if you have a combination lock. When purchasing, you can also check if the lock states it is TSA approved or not.

What Countries Allow a TSA Lock?

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best luggage locks tsa countries


They can be used in the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China, South Korea, Turkey, Israel, U.A.E, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Demark, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Austria and a few other European countries.

You can see the full list here.

Even if you are traveling to a country that doesn't use them you can still use them when you are traveling overland, and just leave the bag unlocked for the flight.

Choose Key locks or Combination Locks?

best luggage locks info

From Amazon

This really comes down to personal choice. If you use a combination lock, chances are you might forget the code. If you use a key lock, chances are you will lose the key, or someone else could get hold of the key.

I always choose combination locks since, a dramatic experience I had in India.

When I dropped my lock key down the toilet (it was tied around my wrist on a string).

Don't even think you're going to attempt to retrieve it from there. 😀

I also have terrible short-term memory so I keep a coded reminder in my shoulder bag which I permanently wear under my clothes. I also keep my passport and some of my cash in my underclothes shoulder bag.

In the end, you have to choose which option will be the best for your budget and personality.

How large are the Eyeholes of your Luggage Zippers?

best luggage locks  info 2

From Amazon

Before you rush in and buy your lock take a minute to look at your bag and see how large the eyeholes are in the zippers. The holes need to match with the lock you choose! Don't go and buy one which doesn't fit.

Price

Everyone needs to bear in mind their budget when purchasing any product.

With luggage locks, there are not massive differences in price. You can go for the rock-bottom rates if you want but I personally think in this case you will find it worthwhile spending a little bit more to get a quality lock.

A few dollars could be the difference between one year of use, and ten years of use…

One more thing

When you traveling it can be handy to have a length of chain to use with your lock or choose one which already comes with a cable.

For example, on the trains in India, you can fix your bag to special railings they have for this purpose. This can prevent the theft of your bag if you fall asleep.


The Top 6 Luggage Lock Nominees

I present a selection of 6 excellent luggage locks for you to choose from. These locks will prevent opportunistic crime, but if anyone very determined gets a hold of your bags they will have to cut them off.

Best tsa luggage locks 1

From Amazon

This pack of two TSA locks the hoop of the lock is not too big and could be used for and fit a wide range of bags. The price for two locks is very reasonable.

The combination lock has four digits, this means a possible 10,000 combinations. While not a 100% unbreakable lock the zinc alloy hoop and the combination will be more than sufficient to prevent opportunistic crime.

I tried this lock and I found the combination really easy to set. I have had problems doing this in the past, so it was nice to see clear instructions and an easy to use method on this lock. This will be a good choice for people who want the extra reassurance of the 4 digit combination.

Pros

  • Four-digit combination superior to three-digit
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    Will fit a wide range of luggage, lockers etc
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    Easy to Use
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    Low price
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    3-year warranty
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    60-day money back guarantee

Cons

  • These are not the supermen of the lock world
  • The digits may not be the easiest to read

#2: Tariss TSA Lock with SearchAlert (2 Pack)

Best tsa luggage locks 2

From Amazon

A TSA lock from the reliable lock makers Tariss with a 3 combination code.

This lock comes in a pack of two and has some nifty design features. The lock hoop is made with a short flexible cable rather than a solid metal hoop. This makes it very adaptable and can be fitted with a huge range of bags and other situations where the fixed hoops don't fit.

There is a search alert indicator so if the TSA does open the lock you will know. The indicator changes to red when they have opened the bag. This is a good option for people who would like the assurance of purchasing a product with a lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • Search alert so you know if the lock has been opened by the TSA
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    White writing on black makes digits easy to read
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    Has an indented indicator to help to line up the digits
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    A flexible cable hoop
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    Will fit a wide range of luggage, lockers etc
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    Easy to Use
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    Lifetime warranty
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    Comes with a free download: "Insider's guide to traveling through airports"

Cons

  • The three combination can be easier to crack than four or more digits
Best tsa luggage locks 3

From Amazon

This is a very cool and well thought through lock design.

The lock hoop is not straight like the traditional design. Rather, a straight line of zinc alloy cable which you release from the lock with the key. The lock is lightweight, strong and very good value.

You can choose from black or orange – depends if you like to blend in or stand out! I think this one might be my favorite (even though it has a key) because the design is different and very effective. Scatterbrains like me will be happy to know two keys are provided with each lock.

The product comes with a lifetime warranty. This lock will make a good choice for long-term travelers or people who don't like to use a combination lock.

Pros

  • Unique design
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    Will fit a wide range of luggage, lockers etc.
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    Comes with two keys
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    Easy to use
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    Lifetime warranty
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    Very good value
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    Made of strong zinc alloy
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    All locks were hand tested before they leave the factory

Cons

  • The lock is a key lock, so not suitable if you prefer a combination lock
Best tsa luggage locks 4

From Amazon

This is another TSA approved combination lock (This is an important feature to have so don't worry I won't choose one without it!)

The cable locks seem to be all the rage these days, so again this one has a zinc alloy cable which means you can fit the lock to lots of different bags. This loop is a little longer than the Tariss lock I chose (#2). The combination has 3 digits, so bear that in mind when you purchase.

These locks can be purchased in 1, 2, 4 and 6 packs so this is a great way to get good value if you are a large family all in need of luggage locks.

Pros

  • A flexible cable hoop
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    Will fit a wide range of luggage, lockers etc
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    Easy to Use
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    Useful indicator to line up digits
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    Good value
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    Comes in various multipack sizes
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    Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • The three combination can be easier to crack than four or more digits
  • The digits may not be the easiest to read
Best tsa luggage locks 5

From Amazon

A sturdy TSA approved lock from reliable brand Forge.

If you are not keen on new-fangled ideas then you will like this lock. The strong steel alloy hoop is fixed as per traditional locks. There is an alert indicator so you will know if the TSA did open your bag. There is a button which simply pops up when they open the lock. The digits have a good design with white writing on the black matt background of the lock. This makes the digits very easy to read. Will be a great option if you don't have perfect eyesight, or you find the traditional combinations (white on silver) difficult to read.

Strength and reliability are the biggest benefits of this lock.

Pros

  • Search alert so you know if the lock has been opened by the TSA
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    Reliable brand
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    Well-made and strong
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    White writing on black makes digits easy to read
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    Easy to use
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    High quality
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    Compact
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    Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • The hoop is fixed and will not fit every case, or possible use
  • The three combination can be easier to crack than four or more digits
Best tsa luggage locks 6

From Amazon

The Kolumbo TSA approved lock is a compact lock. Again, if you don't like the cable locks or the clever design of #3 you will like this option. However, be careful because the hoop is not that large so you will need to make sure you don't have the need for a larger hoop on your bag. If you are looking for a compact tidy and strong lock, then this could well be the best choice for you. There is a nice feature included, which means once the TSA open the lock they cannot remove the key until they replace it. This means if your bag gets opened, it gets closed too.

Pros

  • TSA approved
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    Reliable brand
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    Well-made and strong
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    Easy to use
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    High quality
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    Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • The hoop is fixed and will not fit every case, or possible use
  • The three combination can be easier to crack than four or more digits

The Winner is....?

You know, I do love the #3 - Luggage Locks with Key for Travel due to its unique design and colorful look. Will definitely my pick of the 6.

Now, you have chosen your luggage lock all you need to do is pack and enjoy your trip.

Let's hope you don't do what I did and drop your key down the loo, or you forget the combination you set. Remember my tip to keep the combination to hand but coded in a way no-one else can understand.

When you travel having a luggage lock makes your bag difficult to get open, and will be a good preventative measure to take. Whether you are simply traveling across country, or across the world!

Keep your belongings safe and avoid drama's and insurance claims when you should be out

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Ryan Smith, a solo traveler, and founder of MrAbroad.com with a bunch of friends. I love going outside, reading books and talking to people.