The 5 Best TSA Approved Luggage Locks in 2019

If you want to protect your luggage, get one of the best luggage locks.

Everyone will have their luggage searched by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) when they fly. The difference is that some frequently flyers 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. 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. If the TSA agents aren’t able to open the luggage locks, the agents may have to break the locks to look inside your bags.

If you want to lock your luggage, protect your belongings and make going through security simple with a TSA-approved lock.

Here are the top 5 best luggage locks and how they can make travel better.

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#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 three-digit combination code, the lock is made of alloy and has patented internal mechanisms. Features include:

  • Alloy lock body with braided and sheathed steel cables
  • Steel shackle
  • Three-digit combination lock
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#2 Forge Dimple Key TSA-Approved Luggage Lock

The Forge dimple key locks have a padlock design, and its locks use an advanced dimple key system that makes them more reliable. Every lock in the package can be opened by every key included. Features include:

  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Multi-key opening feature within the set
  • Zinc alloy shackles
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Our Rating4.5/5 Rating

#3 Tarriss TSA Lock With SearchAlert

The Tarris TSA SearchAlert is a combination lock with a special Search Alert feature. An indicator switches from green to red if the lock has been opened by an agent so you’ll know that someone has been in your bag. Features include:

  • Easy-to-read three-dial combination
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • SearchAlert feature
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Editors' Choice
Our Rating4.5/5 Rating

#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. Features include:

  • Easy-to-read four-dial combination
  • Four-foot steel cable for luggage
  • Steel shackle
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#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. Features include:

  • Key card locks
  • Steel shackle
  • Two cards in one set
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Forge Dimple Key TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

forge key travel lock

Amazon

If you want a traditional TSA-approved lock with a key, check out this option from Forge.

These locks a padlock design and are zinc alloy, and the shackles are hardened steel. The steel tumbler system also adds to the practicality.

These locks use an advanced dimple key system. This system is more secure than a single-bitted system that someone can pick easily.

This lock comes with multiple keys to open the lock. That takes out the worry of matching up the different keys and locks. You also don’t have to worry about losing one of the keys. You can carry one key with you for the whole set and leave the others in a secure place.

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.

This lock also has a relocking feature. The key has to be out of the lock before it locks. An agent will have to secure your bag before they get their key back. This feature gives you peace of mind that your bags will have protection.

Forge Dimple Key Pros

  • Affordable price: You won’t have to spend a lot of money to protect your belongings.
  • Convenient size: Conveyor belts are less likely to destroy small, lightweight locks. Forge’s small lock is small enough to stay out of the way. You can also use it for suitcase zippers, backpack zippers, briefcases, gym lockers, laptop bags, or purses.
  • Lifetime guarantee: Forge offers an unconditional lifetime guarantee on their locks. They say, “If you can find a way to break these locks, we’ll gladly refund or replace them.” We like their confident tone!
  • Relocking feature: The Forge TSA-approved locks have to be relocked to remove the key that opened them. That ensures that the TSA agents will relock your baggage after the inspection.

Forge Dimple Key Cons

  • Metal closure: This rigid design can be challenging to open and close.
  • Small keys: Unfortunately, small keys are easy to lose.
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Tarriss TSA Lock Search Alert

tarriss lock with digital combination

Amazon

Sometimes, knowing if TSA agents opened your suitcases can make a big difference.

From 2010 to 2014, the TSA had 30,621 claims of missing valuables. If your belongings go missing, you’ll know where to look for your items because you’ll know that the bag opened.

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

If you like the security of multiple-digit locks, you’re in luck! This lock has a three-digit lock combination with easy-read dials. You can see the numbers easily without squinting.

The locks are sturdy zinc alloy that comes in more than one color.

Tarriss TSA Pros

  • Cable closure: Instead of a hard and rigid shackle, this brilliant lock has a flexible cable cord design that is easier to handle through zipper tab holes.
  • Color options: Choose from black, blue, midnight black, and red.
  • Easy-to-read numbers: The numbers are big and easy to see. This feature makes this lock ideal for people with eyesight problems.
  • Lifetime guarantee: The company guarantees that they will replace or refund your purchase if it doesn’t work correctly.
  • Search-alert feature: Your lock has an indicator to let you know if a TSA agent opens your bag.

Tarriss TSA Cons

  • Wide lock body: This larger design can get caught on the airport conveyor belt, which can damage or destroy the lock.
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Lumintrail Luggage Locks

lumintrail digit combination lock steel cable

Amazon

This lock offers a genius solution for an all-too-common issue. Remember when you checked two suitcases and were waiting for each one of them to land on the baggage carousel? That won’t happen with this lock.

The Lumintrail lock comes with a four-foot coated steel cable that connects your suitcases and backpacks.

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

If you hate bringing keys, this lock is for you. Set a four-digit combination for extra security.

Each set comes with two security travel locks and two flexible steel cables.

Lumintrail Luggage Locks Pros:

  • Color options: You can choose your color options. Possibilities include two white, two red, two black, one red and one black, one red and one white, one white and one red, and black and red.
  • Steel cable: The cable lets you attach your bags to each other or a stationary object for security.

Lumintrail Luggage Locks Cons

  • Two locks: All packages come with two locks. If you only need one, why buy two?
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Pacsafe Prosafe 750 Key Card Lock

pacsafe keycard lock

Amazon

Maybe you tried the key locks but lost the keys, and you tried the multiple-digit combination luggage locks but forgot the code. What if we told you that there is another alternative?

Say hello to the Pacsafe Prosafe 750, a beautiful key-card accessed lock.

You may think that if you can lose a key, you might lose a card. However, 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 documents. The thin and lightweight design makes keeping track of it simple.

Unlocking the lock is a breeze. Insert any punched card corner into the slot and press firmly until you hear the snap of the lock opening.

Closing it works the same as with any other lock: press the shackle down until it is in place.

Pacsafe Prosafe 750 Key Card Luggage Locks Pros:

  • Card replacement: If you look closely at the key card, you will find a code stamped underneath. Copy it in a secure place. If you lose your card, contact customer service. They can replace the card after you give them the code.
  • Thin cards: You can keep the card in a convenient place like your wallet so that you can always open your bag.
  • TSA-approved lock: TSA agents will be able to open and close this zinc alloy lock without a card. It’s 100% TSA accepted.

Pacsafe Prosafe 750 Key Card Luggage Locks Cons

  • 5-year warranty: While a warranty is a helpful feature, many luggage locks have lifetime guarantees.
  • Key card: The key card can occasionally get stuck in the lock.
  • Metal closures: The rigid metal makes opening and closing the lock a pain.
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Forge TSA-Approved Cable Luggage Lock

forge lock

Amazon

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

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.

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.

The lock is made of alloy and has patented internal mechanisms in addition to a three-digit combination code.

Once they open, they trap any master key that opens them and can only release it if they’re locked again.

Forge TSA-Approved Cable Locks Pros

  • Lifetime guarantee: The company will replace your lock if anything happens to it.
  • Relock guarantee: The key can’t come out until it’s locked. That makes it so that the TSA agent will have to secure your bag after you use it.
  • Thin design: The lock is compact so that it won’t get stuck in the conveyor belt.

Forge TSA-Approved Cable Locks Cons

  • Breaking locks: Some customers report locks broke after a few uses. You can use the lifetime guarantee, but it may not be as convenient.
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What Is a TSA-Approved Lock?

Airport Security-TSA

Carolina K. Smith MD / Shutterstock

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

These little jewels of security tech open with a TSA master key that is available to TSA agents. These keys 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?

man walking with hardsided vs softsided luggage

LightField Studios / Shutterstock

If you want to lock your suitcase, you can use any lock you want in the zipper pull of your bag.

However, if it’s not a TSA-approved lock, the TSA is legally allowed to do whatever it takes to remove the lock. If it’s cut, the lock will be useless for future trips. Your bag also might get damage, and the TSA won’t replace your lock or reimburse you for it.

You should use a TSA-approved lock for the following reasons:

  • You can protect your items from non-TSA people who may come in contact with it.
  • You won’t risk losing the lock if an agent needs to remove your lock.
  • You protect your bag from damage because the TSA won’t need to use potentially damaging tools to remove the lock.
  • You can pick locks with alert systems to let you know if the TSA opened your bag.

While travel insurance can protect you if anything happens to your belongings, a lock can prevent anything from happening in the first place.

Types of Luggage Locks

You now know why you should invest in TSA-approved luggage locks for your travel suitcase rather than a regular luggage lock.

See the different types of luggage locks to help you decide what kind you want.

Combination

Combination luggage lock on suitcase

ULU_BIRD / Shutterstock

Combination locks (also known as dial locks) are locks that open 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 that you don’t forget it.

Pros

  • You don’t need to keep track of a key or key card.
  • You can use the same code on all your locks.
  • A TSA master key can open your lock because of a keyhole in the bottom.

Cons

  • You will take more time to unlock it than you would with a key lock.

Key

Forge luggage lock

Amazon

Key locks are typically the most affordable type of luggage lock.

Luggage locks with keys are easy to use and quick to open.

Pros

  • These locks don’t cost a lot of money.
  • TSA agents have a master key and can easily unlock it without damaging the lock or your suitcase.

Cons

  • 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

key card lock

Amazon

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 because 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.

Pros

  • These locks are easy to use.
  • A card key is easier to keep track of than a small key, and it fits easily inside your wallet
  • One card can be used to open multiple locks.

Cons

  • If you lose the key card, you will not be able to open the lock.

Cable

cable luggage locks for suitcases

Amazon

Have you ever paid attention to the closure material of a lock?

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. Make sure to get a TSA-approved travel combination cable.

Pros

  • The cables are easy to weave through multiple locks.
  • The flexible cable closure makes attaching to zipper easier than a metal closure.

Cons

  • Cables can catch on conveyor belt more easily than metal closure.

Retractable Cable

cable lock

Amazon

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 luggage to stationary objects.

Pros

  • Cables can lock multiple bags or items together.

Cons

  • This type of lock isn’t as ideal if you only have one bag.

Luggage Locks vs. Luggage Straps

luggage straps

Amazon

Luggage locks are to protect and secure the inner content of your luggage.

Luggage straps (like the Darller luggage strap in the photo above) are to secure your luggage if your zipper breaks or your suitcase is damaged. They’re also great at helping people identify their bags at the baggage claim.

Note that a luggage strap is not a lock and will not secure your belongings. Anyone can remove a luggage strap.

If you wear a money belt or invest in slash-proof travel purses, don’t skip the step of getting a luggage lock. If you need to protect the contents of your bag, invest in a TSA-approved luggage lock as part of your trip planning.

lock on a gray and brown suitcase

Anna Klepatckaya / Shutterstock

One of the best luggage locks can protect your belongings and give you peace of mind while you travel. This travel gear is essential for frequent flyers and people who want to protect their belongings.

Use this guide to help you pick out a lock for your next trip.

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