When you get off the plane ready to explore a new city, the last thing you want to discover is that there are things missing from your luggage. The only people allowed to search your bag are TSA agents, but before and after your bag gets through TSA it can pass by countless baggage agents from a variety of airlines.
Unfortunately, many people have been victims of others going through their luggage and stealing things between the time they check their bags and the time they pick them up from the arrival carousel.
The answer to keeping your luggage as safe as possible is TSA approved locks. The best travel locks for luggage will remain securely on your bag and keep everyone out except for TSA agents. But like most pieces of travel gear, there are tons of options on the market.
In this guide we’ll not only talk about all the things you need to think about before purchasing your next luggage lock, but also list all of the best travel luggage locks currently available.
Our Top Choice: After hours of research we have concluded that the Sure Lock TSA Compatible Travel Luggage Lock is by far the best luggage lock currently on the market. If you are simply looking for a cheap, durable luggage lock that’s approved by the TSA, this is the one for you.
Comparison Table of the Best TSA-Approved Locks
Below is a list of the best travel locks for luggage. Click on the name to read reviews and check prices.
What to Look for in a Good Luggage Lock
Here are some things to consider when buying a new luggage lock:
1. Type of Lock
There are a variety of lock types on the market. Everyone has their preferences, but as long as it has a red triangle or a TSA-approved notation, you should be fine to travel with it on your bag.
- Combination Lock: For those who don’t like keeping track of keys, combination locks are a good option. If you can remember a three or four-digit combination, then this will be an easy and convenient lock for you.
- Key Lock: For those who can be more forgetful with codes, a traditional key opens this lock. The only concern is that if you lose the key you’ll have to cut the lock. Key locks can have bottom or front access options. Both work well, it’s just a matter of preference.
- Strap Lock: Instead of the traditional short cable, these locks wrap around your luggage and are opened using a combination. Some travelers prefer these type of locks because not only do they secure the bag with a lock but the strap hugs the bag tightly so if the zipper splits the strap will help the bag stay closed.
- Cable Lock: These locks have a key or combination lock as well as a longer cable. These are ideal if you have to leave your baggage somewhere like a hotel luggage storage area or on a train luggage area out of sight. Using the cable to secure your bag to a stationary object will help give you peace of mind when you have to leave it somewhere unsecured.
- Seal Lock: Some people believe even TSA-approved locks will still get damaged. Seals are a good alternative. They’re single-use and not very costly. They look like zip ties, but they have unique codes on them so you’re able to identify quickly whether or not someone has broken the seal and searched your bag. When you get your bag back you can disconnect the seal by hand and toss it. Travelers like these because no combination or key is required.
The lock’s not going to add a bunch of weight to your luggage, but be sure you’re comfortable with locking and unlocking it.
What’s more important is the size of your zipper holes compared to the size of the lock’s cable. Make sure the cord fits in the holes of your zippers. If your suitcase has smaller zipper holes consider a strap lock that doesn’t need to go through the zipper holes.
You’ll want to make sure the lock is durable as it will have to stand up to being tossed on luggage belts, going through security, and moving around or being smashed on the plane. Make sure that both the material of the lock and the material of the cable will hold up against baggage abuse.
Best TSA-Approved Luggage Lock Reviews
Now that you know what to look for, here are the best TSA travel locks currently on the market.
Sure Lock TSA Compatible Travel Luggage Lock
Because of its strength, durability, and convenient features, this is one of the best TSA travel locks available. The Sure Lock TSA Compatible Travel Luggage Lock has a tough alloy body and stainless steel internal lock mechanisms that won’t freeze or rust. You’ll create a three-digit combination on the easy-to-read dials before securing the four-inch cable. In the event your bag is inspected by a TSA agent, the lock requires them to relock it in order to remove their master key. Also, a red pop up indicator will be visible on the lock, this let’s you know your bag’s been inspected so you can check it before leaving the airport. No matter what type of luggage you have, the Sure Lock TSA Compatible Travel Luggage Lock will keep it secure.
Forge TSA Luggage Combination Lock
Said to be the toughest luggage lock around, the Forge TSA Luggage Combination Lock is an ideal lock for your precious baggage. It’s easy to set your three-digit combination before heading to the airport. This lock ensures that even if a TSA agent opens the lock to inspect your bag, they’ll have to relock it before being able to remove their master key. You’ll know immediately if your bag was inspected once you receive it because of the pop up indicator under the steel shackle. While it’s designed for luggage, it can also be used for things like your travel backpack. If you arrive into a city early and want to leave your backpack at a hostel while you explore, the Forge TSA Luggage Combination Lock can give you peace of mind that your things will be safe.
Anvil TSA Approved Luggage Lock
Anvil has successfully created one of the best travel luggage locks on the market. Unlike some of its competitors, the size of the Anvil TSA Approved Luggage Lock works for almost anything you want to secure, from a purse to a duffel bag. The four-digit combination lock makes it harder for thieves to crack the code compared to a three-digit combo. When TSA agents use their master key to open this lock and inspect your luggage, they’ll be required to lock it back before removing their key. If you’re looking to secure more than just checked luggage, consider the Anvil TSA Approved Luggage Lock.
Lumintrail TSA Approved Cable Luggage Lock
The Lumintrail TSA Approved Cable Luggage Lock gives you both security and flexibility. This is a three-digit combination lock that includes the feature of requiring a TSA agent to relock it in order to remove their master key. In addition to the lock, it comes with a four-foot steel cable for extra security. This enables you to secure your bag to a stationary object. It’s a great option if you’re traveling by train and your bag isn’t in sight because you’ll be able to lock it to a luggage rack. This lock is designed for indoor use only, but in addition to your luggage, it can be used for things like cabinets or computer bags.
Pick Proof Seals TSA Approved Locks
These seals are a great deterrent to keep people out of your stuff. Like a zip tie, these locks have unique IDs so you’ll always know if someone’s been in your bag and replaced the seal. There are no keys or combinations required. You just lock the seal on your zippers then tear off the verify tab with the matching code. Once you arrive at your destination you can take it off by hand. A pack includes 20 seals. Far too often locks are broken or damaged by TSA or baggage agents, which makes the Pick Proof Seals TSA Approved Locks an ideal alternative.
Forge TSA Approved Dimple Key Travel Lock
If combination locks or seals aren’t your thing, the Forge TSA Approved Dimple Key Travel Lock might be the best TSA lock for luggage for you. This lock uses an advanced dimple key and hardened steel tumbler system. Each lock that comes in your package will work with all the keys that are included. With this lock you won’t have to worry about your luggage being left open and spilling because the TSA agent must relock the lock in order to remove their key. While they’re designed for checked luggage, these locks also work well for keeping people out of your belongings in crowded public spaces. If you frequently take trains or buses while traveling, or for work, consider adding the Forge TSA Approved Dimple Key Travel Lock to your backpack or travel briefcase.
Elastraap Luggage Strap with TSA Lock
Keep your luggage secure and easily identifiable with the Elastraap Luggage Strap with TSA Lock. The strap is two inches wide and stretches between 45” – 80”. It firmly grips your suitcase thanks to the non-slip silicone pad and tough, triple layered elastic. You’ll unlock it with a three-digit combination lock buckle. The strap also helps keep the bag closed in case it bursts open during travel. The Elastraap Luggage Strap with TSA Lock is also super useful for things like securing your children’s travel strollers and car seats when you check them at the gate.
Master Lock TSA Accepted Luggage Lock
The best TSA-approved luggage locks are high quality, but won’t break your budget. The Master Lock TSA Accepted Luggage Lock is a three-digit combination lock that allows TSA agents to inspect your luggage without damaging your lock. The lock has a metal body and a cable covered with vinyl to resist damage from baggage handlers. The flexible cable easily fits between zipper pulls and also works well on hostel lockers. The Master Lock TSA Accepted Luggage Lock is a simple yet effective lock.
TravelMore TSA Approved Travel Combination Cable Luggage Lock
The TravelMore TSA Approved Travel Combination Cable Luggage Locks is one of the best luggage locks not only because it secures your baggage, but because it’s bright and helps you recognize your bag. The orange lock has a three-digit combination made from a strong zinc alloy. The cable is reinforced so you won’t have to worry about it snapping. This lock was not only designed for checked luggage, but for everything from your carry-on bag to your golf bag. Traveling with the TravelMore TSA Approved Travel Combination Cable Luggage Locks will definitely help lower your stress levels.
Master Lock Keyed TSA Accepted Luggage Lock
What makes the Master Lock Keyed TSA Accepted Luggage Lock stand out is that it’s a front access lock instead of a more common bottom access lock. This is a convenient feature that many people don’t know they love until they try it. These locks come in packs of between two and five, and every key in the pack works for every lock. The locks are colorful, but the colors will be randomly selected by Master Lock at the time of shipping. Whether you’re heading on a cruise or to explore Europe, the Master Lock Keyed TSA Accepted Luggage Lock will be a great addition to your luggage.
Purchasing a great TSA-approved lock will help you breathe easier when traveling. Even if your luggage is inspected by a TSA agent, they should secure your lock again before sending your bag on its way so you can arrive at your destination with everything you departed with.