TSA-approved luggage locks are the global industry standard for travellers who take their security seriously. Having a TSA-approved lock means that approved agents worldwide can access and check your bags using a speciality key without having to destroy your lock in the process. It's a secure system that ensures your cases will remain locked and safe until you reach your destination.
There are many TSA locks to choose from, and while it's great to have plenty of options, making a decision can be difficult. That's why we've gathered this list of the best locks from top brands such as Master Lock, Anvil and Sure Lock. Whether you're looking for a suitcase lock, a combination lock, or an indiscreet small lock, you're sure to find something here. Best of all, they're all available to order online from stores such as Amazon, Argos and John Lewis.
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Just like standard locks, TSA-approved luggage locks can, for the most part, be divided into two categories. The most traditional style is the padlock. With a key, you eliminate the risk of forgetting a lock's combination as well as the chance of anyone cracking the code without your permission.
Even though there is this risk involved, combination locks are still the most popular style for travellers the world over. This is because they do away with a key and the possibility of losing it, which for most people, outweighs the advantages that a traditional padlock offers.
It is, of course, entirely up to you and what you'd prefer based on your travel style. However, even if you go for a combi, it will still have a keyhole for TSA agents to open with their universal key, so if you do forget the code, they could help you get back in.
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Now that you've thought about whether you would prefer a combination or key lock, it's time to delve into the different ways in which it locks itself and, in turn, attaches to your luggage.
Featuring a solid steel shackle, padlocks are easily slipped into zippers and locked shut. However, while they're consistently regarded as being the strongest of all locks, they inherently lose out on versatility when compared to cable types.
Cable locks are popular for their manoeuvrability and will give you more choice in how you lock their luggage. Through their flexible steel cables, they can be bent and shaped in order to slip into zippers where the more rigid shackles simply cannot.
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If you've already decided on a combination lock, then the choice between three or four digits is a big one. Most of the TSA-approved combi locks come with three digits as standard, but looking out for one with that extra fourth digit may well be worth it, especially if you travel with valuable or expensive items.
Four-digit locks are more secure because they make it harder for potential thieves to crack the digit case. By implementing just one more digit into a lock, the possible combinations go from 999 to 10,000. This staggering advancement makes the chance of a thief getting your code right slim to none.
Another factor specific to combi locks is how easily read the numbers are. It used to be that pretty much all combination locks featured the same steel dial with black numbers, resulting in a grey wash of colours that were often hard to decipher.
Although plenty of locks still use this same style, some of the more premium locks come with a higher-contrast design that'll be much easier to work with. With a black painted dial and white painted numbers, these are ideal for anyone who wants their lock to be as easily and clearly read as possible.
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Referring to the height of the closed shackle or cable of a lock, the vertical clearance can be considered a very important measurement. Without factoring in the vertical clearance, you could end up buying a lock that, no matter how much you push and squeeze, is inadequately sized to fit your zip.
On the other hand, if you're travelling light, the clearance could also be so oversized that it swamps the zip and half of your bag. Plus, a bigger gap could make the lock easier to cut. If you'd prefer to swerve these possibilities, look out for compact locks with vertical clearances no more than 2 cm.
That being said, a benefit of a larger vertical clearance in the 3-4 cm range is that they have the potential to lock multiple zips shut at once. These kinds of vertical clearances are synonymous with cable locks, so be on the lookout for them if your cases have lots of zips.
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4-Digit Combination Padlocks
A Four-Digit Lock Made From Durable Zinc and Steel for Unrivalled Security
TSA-Approved Padlocks With Keys
The Best Traditional Padlock With the Highest Security With a Miniature Clearance of 1.3 cm
Cable Luggage Lock
The Versatile, Premium Cable Lock With a 4.4 cm Clearance to Put Your Mind at Ease
TSA-Compatible Luggage Locks
A 6-Pack Of Heavy-Duty Bright Orange Locks to Help Spot Your Bags
3-Digit Combi Locks
Colourful Combi Locks Featuring a Three-Digit Dial From a Dependable Brand
Two Cable Luggage Locks
Two Mini Key Locks With Extended Cables Perfect for Multi-Zip Cases
Luggage Cable Lock
Compact and Lightweight Key Lock With a Straight Cable and a Plastic End
A Strong, Single Shackle Padlock With a Three-Digit Dial in a Assortment of Colours
3-Dial Double Cable Lock
Double Cable Combination for Clever Locking, Perfect for Solo Travellers
TSA Luggage Locks
A Simple Pair of Inexpensive Cable Locks With a High Vertical Clearance of 5.2 cm
With a name like 'Anvil', you just know your luggage is in strong and capable hands. The only locks on the list with four-digit dials, Anvil have ensured good odds on your luggage arriving as it should with no chance of tampering.
Featuring a hardened and durable zinc alloy body as well as a thickened steel shackle, you can travel easy knowing your cases are locked with the best. We believe that this handy pair is worth every penny and absolutely the smartest TSA-approved option while in transit.
If you're after a traditional padlock design with very good security, we recommend this pair from the affirmable Master Lock. This reassurance is achieved through a miniature clearance of 1.3 cm for the shackle, making it absurdly hard to cut through.
Being locked by keys instead of a combination also gets shot of any would-be thieves who fancy their combination-code-breaking skills. Small in size but big in design, with this particular pair, Master Lock have stopped at nothing to protect your luggage.
Hitting every mark in terms of design and construction, Sure Lock's Travel Sentry lock could well be the answer to your luggage locking woes. Using a cable design means that the lock is ready to fix itself to even the more obscure pieces of luggage out there.
The larger-than-average vertical clearance of 4.4 cm makes it incredibly versatile and also guarantees that this lock will fit no matter where you place it. Another nod to the premium aspect of the lock is the black and white dial, which utilises maximum contrast for minimum confusion.
Possibly the brightest pack of locks there is, Travoce's six-pack guarantees that your luggage will be visible on the carousel – even if you have the simplest-looking black case. Having white numbers set to a black dial is another clever feature that will help you make no mistake when cracking your code.
Better yet, the reinforced locking mechanism can handle over 70 kg of weight while the heavy-duty steel shackle is extremely cut-resistant. This multipack is an excellent choice for families who take their security breaches seriously, although if you're going solo or as a pair you can grab a smaller quantity if you prefer.
Entering the more premium side of security, this option comes from Master Lock, a brand with an excellent reputation. Throughout their wide-reaching range of locks, there's a convincing level of quality that sees them with a loyal customer base of happy travellers.
This is their three-digit dial that comes in a lucky dip of colours including black, orange, blue and purple, so you'd have to be happy with one of those! Colours aside, this is a dependable, well-made TSA-approved lock that's ready to serve your luggage for a good few years of use.
Another offering from the acclaimed mid-range brand OW-Travel, the body of these locks is again desirably small in size. Using the traditional key locking system, each lock has a set of two keys on its own individual ring for security.
The biggest talking point of the locks is their oversized cables. With a vertical clearance of 4.3 cm when secured, these locks may be small in stature but they will be excellent for multi-zip cases. Bear the disadvantages of this in mind too though, as they may actually be a burden otherwise.
OW-Travel are big players in the flight accessories market, producing an endless array of products that include luggage locks, straps and packing cubes to name but a few. This is their TSA-approved lock which is so miniature in stature that you'll barely notice it.
OW-Travel have done away with the looping aspect of standard locks, including a straight cable with a plastic end instead. This makes it much more compact than most, but also makes it less about security and more about being as light and slim as possible.
Here's another combination lock from a trusted brand with a three-digit dial, except this one benefits from a steel shackle padlock. This stronghold makes it much harder for thieves to cut their way into your valuables.
Although the vertical clearance has not been stated, it's clearly a compact lock with a low clearance, which is another valuable asset for deterring thieves. The only slight hindrance is that the dial features a more budget styling of steel with black numbers, which may be tricky to make out for some people.
The people behind the travel security brand Pacsafe have clearly done a fair share of exploring in their time. With this double cable design, you'll be able to not only lock your case but also lock it to a fixed object like a chair or table.
Great for solo travellers, this means you'll be able to get some shut-eye or nip to the toilet in a cafe without the fear of your suitcase being stolen. Two cables also give you more flexibility in how your luggage can be locked. This dual design won't be for everyone, especially if travelling light, but it will be a must-have for some.
First up is this popular pair of combination locks that come with a three-digit dial for security. Each lock features a steel cable that has been wrapped in vinyl for cut-resistance, which is a good thing because the vertical clearance is pretty high at 5.2 cm.
While this is handy for fitting purposes, it does, unfortunately, give rise to people being able to cut the cable easier than a lock with a smaller one. However, at such a good price for the pair and with plenty of happy reviewers, you could certainly do a lot worse than this duo.
TSA-approved locks meet the requirements of the Transportation Safety Administration. Not only are TSA locks super secure, they're also accessible to authorised agents via a universal key, should they need to check your case. If you're looking for a TSA lock, check the product description and look out for the red diamond-shaped Travel Sentry logo.
Many TSA locks come with their own keys, which you can use to lock and unlock them. However, it is illegal to purchase a 'master key' that will allow you to open all TSA padlocks. These keys are accessible only to authorised agents.
Although they shouldn't be able to open a TSA lock, some skilled locksmiths may be able to, given some time. We don't recommend that you bank on this, though!
No. Like an ordinary padlock, every TSA lock has an individual key that you alone possess. However, an authorised agent can open any TSA lock using one of seven master keys.
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