With so many luggage locks available out there, it can be hard to decide which one to choose. We want to help you narrow down your options by highlighting our top choices of locks that are TSA compliant.
What is a TSA Approved Luggage Lock?
A TSA approved Luggage lock is a type of luggage lock that the TSA is able to unlock without the owner being present. The Transportation Security Administration has a universal key that allows them to unlock the device if necessary for security purposes. TSA luggage locks typically will lock two different zippers together so they cannot be opened. Luggage locks provide low, but important security that can deter theft of the bag contents.
Many current suitcases like Tumi come equipped with built-in TSA luggage locks. If your bag does not have a built-in lock, you should strongly consider the below selections which we consider to be the best luggage locks.
The Top 5 Best Luggage Locks for 2016
1. Acrodo TSA Approved All Metal International Travel Luggage Lock
Description: This lock features steel construction that resists breaking or cutting. It is a three-digit combination lock that can be set and reset with your chosen combination. It features a pop-up indicator to alert you when your luggage has been searched and “Lock Safe” technology that ensures the TSA re-locks your bag after inspection. Acrodo backs the lock with a satisfaction guarantee and a lifetime warranty.
The Good: With over 800 Amazon reviews, this lock maintains a 4.8 star rating. Most reviewers praised the ease of setting the combination, noting the numbers are large and clear and the instructions included are very easy to follow. There was also plenty of praise for the durable, solid body of the lock. Some noted that the loop is slender enough to fit through small zipper holes. Nearly every review indicated that the pop-up search alert does work, though it is easily reset, so TSA could reset it if they wanted.
The Bad: There were a few negative reviews scattered among the satisfied customers. Most negative reviews said that the lock bent the first time it was used. While an overwhelming majority of reviewers are happy with this lock, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the warranty in case you experience any bending in the lock. Many reviewers also noted that they received the product at a reduced cost in exchange for their honest feedback, so this may account for the high number of reviews.
2. Tariss TSA Lock
Description: This lock body is made from a durable zinc alloy with a high-strength cable loop that can easily thread through zippers. It is a three-digit combination lock that you can set to your desired combination and reset if needed. Tariss features a lifetime warranty and 100% satisfaction guarantee on their product. They also note that all components are safe and environmentally friendly if you choose to dispose of the lock in a landfill. As an added bonus, with your purchase you will receive a free travel guide, “Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Traveling Through Airports.”
The Good: There are nearly 1,000 Amazon reviews for this lock, with a 4.6 star average. Reviewers love the flexible cable loop which makes threading through zippers easy. They also enjoy the push button opening mechanism – you must set the right combination and push a button for the lock to disengage. There were also rave reviews for Tariss customer service – helpful, friendly, and efficient.
The Bad: The detractors from the product were few, but highlighted valid concerns. Some note that it is difficult to read the combination numbers, especially in low light situations. A couple reviews also noted the locks broke after just one trip, so it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the warranty information to ensure your product can be replaced if it fails.
3. Tariss TSA Lock with SearchAlert
Description: This lock is the updated version of our #2 pick, so there are just a few updates. The biggest difference is that this lock features SearchAlert, an indicator on the body of the lock that changes from green to red when TSA has opened the lock. This lock also comes with a lifetime warranty, satisfaction guarantee, and the free travel guide. It is likely this lock will overtake its previous version, there are just not quite enough reviews yet.
The Good: With just over 500 Amazon reviews, this lock averages 4.7 stars. Experienced reviews praise valuable updates from the previous lock including larger, clearer numbers and the SearchAlert indicator. Another common positive theme was the ability to lock the lock when the combination is not set to your personal code. This lock also features the push button release that was so well-liked on the previous model. Few reviews mention the SearchAlert feature, other than to say it worked. Tariss customer service received high marks with this luggage lock as well.
The Bad: A number of negative reviews stated the lock was very easy to force open just by inserting something into the TSA keyhole or wiggling the cable loop. It is not clear if these users received a defective product or if there is a design flaw in this version. Again, read the warranty carefully.
4. Landing Gear TSA Heavy Duty Combination Lock
Description: This three-digit combination lock is made with a tough zinc-steel alloy that resists breaking. The combination can easily be reset quickly. In addition to the lifetime warranty, this lock also features a 12-month, money back guarantee to ensure you are completely satisfied with your purchase.
The Good: Falling right at 400 reviews, this lock has a high 4.7 star average rating on Amazon. Reviewers are happy with the ease of setting and re-setting a personal combination. Most also note the sturdy, heavy feel of the lock contributes to their trust in its quality. Some reviews also mention how “cute” this luggage lock looks.
The Bad: A high number of reviewers noted that they received their lock at a discount in exchange for an unbiased review, which may somewhat skew the average. The only common negative remark was the lack of a TSA search indicator, though some reviewers struggled to set a personal combination.
5. Smart Travel TSA Accepted Combination Lock
Description: This luggage lock is the only in our comparison to offer three color choices – black, green or silver. This is another three-digit combination lock that can be reset quickly and easily. It has a red pop-up pole that indicates the lock has been opened by TSA. It also offers re-locking protection. TSA agents must completely re-lock the lock to remove their key. It is also crafted of durable zinc alloy and offers a lifetime warranty and money back guarantee.
The Good: With the lowest average in our round up, this lock still comes in at a good 4.5 star average with almost 500 reviews on Amazon. Positive reviewers highlight the ease of setting the combination as well as the sturdy, heavy feel of the lock itself. Many also enjoy the pop-up indicator that alerts the owner when their luggage has been searched by TSA.
The Bad: This is another lock with many reviews stating the product was received at a discount for an unbiased review. Negative reviews mention difficulty in setting the combination, noting that they could not open the lock with the default code or the combination they had attempted to set. Some reviewers also found that the lock stopped working after a few uses.
Of course anyone with a hacksaw, or a basic lock-picking kit should be able to pick or cut off most luggage locks, however it will deter the vast majority of theft scenarios from happening – especially in an airports. Sometimes at airports zippers can get caught and open, having a locking system will never let that happen. The reasons to own one of the best luggage locks far outweigh the reasons not to, which really can only be price. Since most locks only cost between $10-$20, buying a luggage lock is really a no-brainer.