Best TSA-Approved Locks to Buy in 2019

By Youmn December 23, 2018 View all posts (106)

Everyone will have their luggage searched by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at some point in their life, whether they’ve been flying three times a week or once every two years.

The difference is that some people know how to make this a smoother operation.

Most travelers use locks to secure their suitcases, backpacks and purses to make sure all their belongings remain safe. Smart. But after you drop off your luggage, it doesn’t board on the plane directly.  First, it goes through the TSA, and sometimes, that inspection can be intense. The TSA is supposed to inspect the baggage and often does so by opening it. If the TSA agents aren’t able to open the luggage locks, the agents may have to break the locks. To some, this is an underwhelming experience. To others, it could be a full-on travel nightmare.

However, you don’t have to go through this nightmare scenario because now we have TSA-approved locks.

What Are TSA-Approved Locks?

The TSA has teamed up with lock manufacturers to create a solution that makes everyone happy: TSA-approved locks.

These little jewels of security tech can be opened by TSA master key locks that are available to TSA agents. They’re basically keys that can open almost any lock that falls under the TSA-approved lock label.

There are numerous TSA-approved locks to choose from to make your flight a smoother experience. From traditional padlock designs to 3-digit combination locks, you will be delighted at all the functionalities and technologies used to ensure your baggage is safe and easily checked.

Read along to discover our all-time favorite selection of TSA-approved locks for 2019.

5.) Forge Dimple Key TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

tsa approved locks luggage locks forge key travel lock


Main Selling Point: Dimple Key System

Let’s start with the most classic design, the no-brainer everyone can use regardless of their age and familiarity with luggage locks. The Forge locks have a padlock design and are made of zinc alloy with the shackles made of hardened steel. The hardened steel tumbler system also adds to their practicality.

These locks use an advanced dimple key system, making the locks much reliable than the single bitted key system that can be easily picked. In addition to that, every lock in the package can be opened by every key included, so that takes out the worry of matching up the different keys and locks or the trouble of losing one of them. This means you can carry only one key with you for the whole set and leave the others in a secure place. In case you’re wondering, this only works with keys and locks of the same set, which means no one can use a key from another package to open your locks.

Second Selling Point: Mandatory Relocking Feature

This one is a huge advantage. The Forge TSA-approved locks have to be relocked in order to remove the key that opened them. That ensures that your baggage will be ultimately protected after the TSA agents finish their inspection instead of being left open.

TSA agents are humans, just like you and me, so the mistake of leaving your luggage open could happen. It’s better to have peace of mind and know that your belongings are safe.

Other Features

If you have had your lock destroyed by a conveyor belt in the past, you know that small and lightweight locks have much fewer chances of getting caught, which is the case for the Forge locks.

This also makes the locks versatile and accommodating: they can fit onto suitcase zippers, backpack zippers, briefcases, gym lockers, laptop bags or purses.

With all these functionalities, Forge has decided to offer an unconditional lifetime guarantee on their locks, stating: “If you can find a way to break these locks, we’ll gladly refund or replace them.” We like their confident tone!

Summary of Characteristics of the Forge Dimple Key Locks:

  • TSA-approved locks
  • Tamper-proof
  • Hardened steel shackles
  • Multi-key opening feature within the set
  • Relock protection
  • Small dimensions
  • Affordable price
  • Thin, sleek and discreet design
  • Multifunctional
  • Lifetime guarantee
$19.95 at Amazon

4.) Tarriss TSA Lock Search Alert

tsa approved locks luggage locks tarriss lock digit combination search alert


Main Selling Point: SearchAlert Feature

Sometimes, knowing whether your suitcases had been opened by the TSA agents or not can make a big difference. From 2010 to 2014, the TSA had 30,621 claims of missing valuables. In case this unfortunate event happens to you, knowing if your luggage was searched can help you narrow down the places where your items could have gone missing.

The Tarris TSA Lock with its Search Alert feature is all about that. It has an indicator that switches from green to red if the lock had been opened by an agent. Even though TSA agents are supposed to leave a note if they open baggage, this feature adds more security and peace of mind to the traveler.

Second Selling Point: Flexible but Robust Shackle

This top-notch lock has another brilliant option that sets it apart. Instead of a hard and rigid shackle, it has a flexible cable cord design that is easier to handle through zipper tab holes.

Other Features

If you like the security of multiple-digit locks, then you’re in luck! The Tarriss TSA Lock Search has a three-digit lock combination functionality with big white numbers located on large black dials. This makes it easy to read and line up the numbers correctly without you having to squint your eyes at every number. This feature is particularly useful for people with sight issues.

The locks are made of sturdy zinc alloy that comes in more than one color. Every pack has two locks that have a lifetime guarantee — and peace of mind.

Summary of Characteristics of the Tarris TSA Lock With Search Alert:

  • TSA-approved locks
  • SearchAlert feature
  • Easy-to-read three-dial combination
  • Flexible steel cable closure
  • Four colors available: black, blue, midnight black and red.
  • Multifunctional
  • Lifetime guarantee
$15.97 at Amazon

3.) Lumintrail Luggage Locks

tsa approved locks luggage locks lumintrail digit combination lock steel cable


Main Selling Point: Four Foot Steel Cable

A genius solution for an all-too-common issue. That’s the innovation of the Lumintrail TSA lock. Remember when you checked two suitcases and were waiting for an agonizing amount of time for each one of them to land on the baggage carousel? Yeah, well, that won’t happen anymore.

The Lumintrail lock comes with a four-foot coated steel cable that attaches your suitcases and backpacks together for a safe and efficient trip.

Bonus tip: the cable is perfect for securing your bag, backpack, briefcase or suitcase to a fixed object. Use it to attach your luggage to your bed if you’re staying at a hotel or a hostel’s shared room.

Second Selling Point: 4-Digit Combination System

Set your own 4-digit combination for extra security, and don’t worry about using keys. The shackle is made of steel as well and can resist cuts and breaks. Each set comes with two security travel locks and two flexible steel cables.

Summary of Characteristics of the Lumintrail Luggage Locks:

  • TSA-approved locks
  • Comes with a four-foot steel cable for luggage
  • Easy-to-read four-dial combination
  • Steel shackle
  • Many assorted colors available in each set: two white, two red, two black, one red and one black, one red and one white, one white and one red, black and red
  • Multifunctional
$15.99 at Amazon

2.) Pacsafe Prosafe 750 Key Card Lock

tsa approved locks luggage locks pacsafe keycard lock


Main Selling Point: Key-Card Access Lock

You tried the key locks but lost the keys, and you tried the multiple-digit combination locks but forgot the code. And you know very well that it will ultimately happen again. What if we told you that there is another alternative? We found an alternative that’s easier, faster and that provides just as much security.

Say hello to the Pacsafe Prosafe 750, a beautiful key-card accessed lock. We can hear some of the protests: if I can lose a key, how can I be sure that I won’t lose a card? It’s a matter of logistics. You can conveniently slip your key-card in your wallet, inside a notebook or a passport or in any other place where you keep your bank cards and important documents. The thin and lightweight design makes keeping track of it a simpler affair.

How Does It Work?

Unlocking the lock is easy. Insert any punched card corner into the slot designated to this effect and press firmly until you hear the snap of the lock being opened. Closing it works the same as with any other lock: press the shackle down and you’re done.

A general rule to keep in mind: If you look closely at the key-card, you will find a code stamped underneath. Copy it in a secure place (write it as a note on your phone or on a piece of paper and leave it at home, or email it to yourself so you can find it easily). If you lose your card, contact their customer service and provide them with that code so that they can replace the card.

TSA agents will be able to open and close this zinc alloy lock without a card, so it’s 100% TSA approved.

Summary of Characteristics of the Pacsafe Prosafe 750 Key Card Luggage Locks:

  • TSA-approved locks
  • Can be opened with a key-card instead of a key or a combination
  • Two key-cards available in one set
  • All cards in a pack keyed alike
  • Steel shackle
  • Very small and thin which means it won’t be stuck in the conveyor belt
  • Multifunctional
$13.95 at Amazon

1.)Forge TSA-Approved Cable Luggage Lock

tsa approved locks luggage locks forge


Main Selling Point: Sturdy and Durable Lock

Forge confidently says that this lock is the “most durable TSA recognized and accepted lock.” According to the company, many people consider these locks to be the toughest luggage locks around.

Truth to be told, we were a bit skeptical at first. We’re not used to such bold claims. But it seems like Forge puts their money where their mouth is because they backed their product with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. If you, or any other person, could tamper with the lock or break it, Forge will either refund you or replace the lock with another one. Not bad, huh?

But we will not only take their word for it. We will also take the word of the hundreds of satisfied customers who tried it. Forge has proven its worth here.

The highly trusted material combinations are what drew us to this lock first. We love that a lock can be both practical — easy insertion in zipper thanks to the flexible shackle — and secure with tightly braided and sheathed steel cables.

Second Selling Point: Mandatory Relocking Feature

The lock is made of alloy and has patented internal mechanisms, in addition to a 3-digit combination code. If you like picturing yourself as a highly-skilled spy every time you open your luggage, then this is for you.

These are not just TSA-approved locks. Once they are opened, they trap any master key that opens them and can only release it if they’re locked again. Smart.

Summary of Characteristics of the Forge TSA-Approved Cable Locks:

  • TSA-approved locks
  • Three-digit combination lock
  • Alloy lock bodies, braided and sheathed steel cables, hardened steel cable lock ends
  • Steel shackle
  • Very small and thin, which means it won’t be stuck in the conveyor belt
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Multifunctional
$6.95 at Amazon

Which one of these TSA-approved locks do you think is the best in your case? Do you have a TSA story you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re wondering what to secure your belongings in a trip, you might want to opt for an insurance that will cover your expenses in case of an unfortunate event. Follow the guide in our next article to know more about travel insurance options.

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