No matter where you're headed, the best luggage locks can keep your belongings safe and secure — even when you're nowhere near your suitcase. That being said, while it may seem like a relatively straightforward purchase, there are actually a surprising number of factors to consider before adding one to your cart. A little preliminary research can help you to avoid damaged luggage and headaches down the road.
First, when shopping for luggage locks, one of the biggest questions that arises is, "Does a lock have to be TSA-approved?" In short, it's definitely recommended if you'll be flying. In the event that airport security needs to search your bag while you're not present, the TSA has a master key that will work on all compliant locks — but if the lock isn't approved, they reserve the right to cut it off and go through your bag anyway. If that happens, TSA can't be held liable for the now-broken lock, or any damage to your suitcase that may have ensued in the process.
Next, consider which lock style is best for your needs. Most standard options use a combination lock, which won't require any secondary tools that you could potentially lose. Other models use keys or keycards, which are often better-suited for people who have trouble remembering their combinations. Finally, more technologically advanced options can be opened with a fingerprint or via an app on your phone — but definitely note that these ones are very rarely TSA-approved.
Whichever type you choose, be sure to check that it's suitable for luggage and not just lockers or doors; most suitcase-friendly locks work by securing the zippers together, so if the cord or the padlock is too thick, it won't be compatible. If you're looking to boost your safety and security while traveling, these highly rated luggage locks can help.
1. The overall best luggage lock
With nearly 900 reviews and a 4.6-star rating, the SureLock is the number-one best pick for several reasons. For one, it's TSA-approved, utilizes a convenient, foolproof combination mechanism, and even has an inspection indicator that lets you know if airport security has opened your luggage. For another, its 4-inch cable lock works with any type of suitcase, and the quality stainless steel parts can endure shock, weather, and time. Finally, it comes in various colors and pack options, from a single lock up to a set of eight.
2. The best value option
If you're looking to get the most bang for your buck, the Forge lock set offers loads of value for a reasonable price. With this pick, you get four color-coded combination locks that you can use to differentiate luggage between family members. (They use a TSA-compliant three-lock combination mechanism and they have a red indicator that lets you know if your bag has been inspected.) You also get two wrapped steel cables that are roughly 4 feet in length, so you can attach your bags to hotel furniture or airport seats. Buyers said they "worked flawlessly," are "easy to use," and are "easy to set up" — pretty impressive for just $25.
3. The best luggage locks with keys
For those who find combination locks too finicky or too difficult to remember, TravelMore luggage locks offer a straightforward solution with a simple design. This pick utilizes a small key that fits effortlessly in your pocket or on your key chain. It's also Travel Sentry compliant and has a straight-cord design that slips through various types of latches, but especially smaller zippers. Get it in orange or black in packs of one, two, or four.
4. The best keycard locks
Whereas traditional keys are easy to misplace and combinations are easy to forget, the Lifetime cards in this Talonport lock set fit in your wallet just like a credit card. Each one is unique, and the locks are guaranteed to last a lifetime — if you lose your cards or your locks are cut loose, the company will send you a free replacement. Despite the innovative design, they're TSA-approved. Reviewers say it "couldn't be easier [...] The lock is well-made and easy to operate."
5. The best luggage strap lock
The ELASTRAAP is one of the only options that doesn't lock your suitcase using the zippers. As a result, it keeps your luggage safe even if your zippers fail. Since the strap is made from tough elastic, it's not as foolproof as steel locks, but the three-dial combination and the secure hold will likely deter thieves — and it's TSA-compliant should security need to check your bag. This one comes in eight different colors to help you quickly locate your luggage, and it's also extremely convenient when it comes to attaching different pieces together.
6. The most technologically advanced lock
While it's not TSA-compliant, the HI TECHOUSE smart lock offers an advanced way to keep your belongings safe during road trips, train rides, or commutes. The brilliant scanning function allows you to open the lock using your unique fingerprint, and since it's compatible with Home Kit, you can also unlock it with your Apple devices. (Reviewers said this feature was a life-saver in "unexpected situations.") Finally, it's made from zinc alloy, which means it's durable and fire-resistant. Note that the band is thicker than most, so it'll only work with zippers that have larger loops.
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