The 5 Best TSA Approved Luggage Locks in 2019
#1 Forge TSA-Approved Cable Luggage Lock
According to Forge, this lock is the “most durable TSA recognized and accepted lock.” In addition to a 3-digit combination code, the lock is made of alloy and has patented internal mechanisms.
- Three-digit combination lock
- Alloy lock bodies, braided and sheathed steel cables, hardened steel cable lock ends
- Steel shackle
#2 Forge Dimple Key TSA-Approved Luggage Lock
The Forge dimple key locks have a padlock design, are made of zinc alloy with the shackles made of hardened steel, and its locks use an advanced dimple key system which makes them much reliable than the single bitted key system that can be easily picked. Plus, 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.
- Multi-key opening feature within the set
- Lifetime guarantee
#3 Tarriss TSA Lock Search Alert
The Tarris TSA Lock is a combination lock with a special Search Alert feature: it has an indicator that switches from green to red if the lock had been opened by an agent so you’ll know that someone has been in your bag.
- SearchAlert feature
- Easy-to-read three-dial combination
- Lifetime guarantee
#4 Lumintrail Luggage Lock
The Lumintrail lock is a combination lock and is perfect for people who check multiple bags. It comes with a four-foot coated steel cable that attaches your suitcases and backpacks together for a safe and efficient trip.
- Comes with a four-foot steel cable for luggage
- Easy-to-read four-dial combination
- Steel shackle
#5 Pacsafe Prosafe 750 Key Card Lock
The Pacsafe Prosafe 750 is a TSA-approved key-card accessed lock. Rather than have to worry about losing a key, you can simply put this hotel room-like key in your wallet.
- Can be opened with a key-card instead of a key or a combination
- Two key-cards available in one set
- Steel shackle
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.
Read along to discover our all-time favorite selection of TSA-approved locks for 2019.
Forge Dimple Key TSA-Approved Luggage Locks
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.
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!
Forge Dimple Key Pros
Hardened steel shackles
Multi-key opening feature within the set
Thin, sleek and discreet design
Forge Dimple Key Cons
Rigid metal closure that can be hard to open and close
Small keys can be easily lost
Tarriss TSA Lock 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.
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.
Tarriss TSA Pros
Easy-to-read three-dial combination
Flexible steel cable closure
Four colors available: black, blue, midnight black and red.
Tarriss TSA Cons
Wide lock body that can easily catch on airport conveyor belt
Lumintrail Luggage Locks
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.
Lumintrail Luggage Locks Pros:
Comes with a four-foot steel cable for luggage
Easy-to-read four-dial combination
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
Lumintrail Luggage Locks Cons
All packages come with two locks. If you only need one, why buy two?
Pacsafe Prosafe 750 Key Card 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.
Pacsafe Prosafe 750 Key Card Luggage Locks Pros:
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
Very small and thin which means it won’t be stuck in the conveyor belt
Pacsafe Prosafe 750 Key Card Luggage Locks Cons
5-year warranty is less than competitors
Key card can become stuck
Rigid metal closures make opening and closing the lock a pain
Forge TSA-Approved Cable Luggage Lock
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.
Forge TSA-Approved Cable Locks Pros
Three-digit combination lock
Alloy lock bodies, braided and sheathed steel cables, hardened steel cable lock ends
Very small and thin, which means it won’t be stuck in the conveyor belt
Forge TSA-Approved Cable Locks Cons
Customers report locks broke after just a few uses (however, lifetime guarantee can easily rectify that)
What Is A TSA-Approved Lock?
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.
Why Should You use A TSA Lock?
If you want to lock your suitcase you can use any lock you want; however, you should know that if it’s not a TSA-approved lock, the TSA is legally allowed to do whatever it takes to remove the lock (which usually means cutting it off). If it’s cut, the lock will obviously be rendered useless for future trips, but there’s also the risk of damage to your bag. You should use a TSA-approved lock for the following reasons:
Protect your personal items from non-TSA people who may come in contact with it
If you use a TSA lock as opposed to a non-TSA lock, you won’t risk losing the lock (ie, it won’t need to be cut off)
If TSA has to cut your lock, it will not reimburse you for the cost of the damaged lock
If you’re using a non-TSA lock and TSA needs to look through your bag, they will likely cut the lock, which could damage your luggage (this is particularly true with hard side luggage)
Types of Luggage Locks
So now that you know why you should invest in a TSA-approved luggage lock rather than a regular luggage lock, let’s take a look at the different types of luggage locks.
Combination locks (also known as dial locks) are locks that can be opened with a series of numbers (typically three or four). They are easy to use as you don’t have to worry about losing a key! Just make sure to use an easy-to-remember number so you don’t forget it.
No having to keep track of a key or key card
Code can be used across multiple locks
Can be opened by the TSA master key thanks to a keyhole at the bottom
Take longer to open than key locks
Key locks are typically the most affordable type of luggage lock. As the name implies, you simply use a key to open it. The TSA has a master key to all TSA-approved luggage locks, so this type of lock is easily opened if need be.
TSA agents have a master key and can easily unlock it without damaging the lock or your suitcase
If you lose the key you won’t have an alternate way of opening your lock
If you have more than one piece of luggage, you’ll need to carry multiple keys
Card locks (also known as key card locks) use a plastic card that looks like a credit card or hotel room key to open the lock. They are easy to use as you don’t need to remember the combination or keep track of small keys. Some manufacturers even sell multiple locks that can be opened with the same keycard.
Easy to use
Card key is easier to keep track of than a small key and fits easily inside your wallet
One card can be used to open multiple locks
If you lose the keycard you will not be able to open the lock
Have you ever paid attention to the closure material of a lock? To be honest we hadn’t either until we began researching the best luggage locks. Some locks have a metal closure material and others have a cable closure. Some of these cables are retractable, while others are a set length. Let’s look at the pros and cons of set length cable closures:
Flexible cable closure makes attaching to zipper easier than a metal closure
Cables are easy to weave through multiple locks
Can catch on conveyor belt more easily than metal closure
Retractable cable locks are similar to cable locks but feature long, retractable cables rather than one that is a set size. The main benefit is the ability to secure multiple items together. They are great for groups of people traveling who may want to lock their bags together or people who stay in hostels and want to secure their bags together.
Can lock multiple bags or items together
Ideal for multiple items rather than just one
Luggage Locks vs Luggage Strap
Luggage locks are meant to protect and secure the inner content of your luggage, while luggage straps (like the above Darller luggage strap) are meant to simply secure your luggage as best they can should your zipper break or your suitcase become damaged. They’re also great at helping people identify their bags at the baggage claim.
It’s important to note that a luggage strap is not a lock and will not secure your belongings: it can easily be removed by anyone. If you need to protect the contents of your bag, make sure you invest in a good TSA-approved luggage lock.Read More