TSA Locks: Luggage Lock Reviews

I believe that the vast majority of people in my neighborhood are good people, but I still lock my doors. I also believe that the great majority of people working at the airlines, TSA, in hotels, or staying in my room at a hostel are all good people, but I still use a luggage lock.  Travel locks are relatively cheap, easy to use, and can save a huge amount of hassle.

Here are different types of luggage locks with a list of those that get the best reviews.

TSA Locks: Approved TSA Luggage Locks

These TSA Locks are approved for travel by the TSA. Don’t use an approved lock and your lock will be cut by TSA agents. Here are some of the best TSA approved luggage locks:

TSA Approved Numerical Combination Locks

The Smartraveler Combination Lock uses three numbers and has a unique feature of a red tab popping up to show if your luggage was opened by TSA. It’s $9 on Amazon.

The Master Lock Luggage lock also has a red indicator to show if TSA opened your luggage. It uses three numbers, allows you to set your own combination and costs $7 on Amazon.

 

TSA Approved Word Locks

Word lock sent us one of their TSA approved luggage locks for review. I  found it easy to set up a word – the packaging even comes with a list of 100 words you can make with it – though there are over 10,000 different combinations. Is it easier to remember a words than a series of numbers? I think so. If you’re a word person (or looking for a fun travel gift) the Word Lock is a good bet. The Word Lock is weatherproof and costs around $9 on Amazon.

tsaapprovedwordlock

TSA Approved Key Locks

If you’d prefer a lock with key instead of a combination lock, check out Master Lock’s set of 4 TSA Approved Luggage Locks.  They are nickel and solid brass and all four locks require the same key. This is perfect for when you have multiple bags or are traveling with your family. You can buy the set of 4 for $12 on Amazon.

keyed luggage lock tsa approved

Non TSA Approved Locks

If you’re going to bother buying a new lock for your travels, you should just buy a TSA approved lock. There is no good reason to buy a luggage lock that is not TSA approved. In fact, you’ll likely lock your luggage by accident only to find that TSA cut your lock because it wasn’t TSA approved. However, if you already have a lock sitting around your home, you can pack it in your bag and use it when you’re at a hotel or hostel.  You may also be able to use a luggage lock for international travel that’s not TSA approved, once you are out of the US, and depending on the country you are traveling in.

Pacsafe Review (Good for Backpackers)

A final type of backpackers travel lock that’s available is the Pacsafe. We purchased a Pacsafe before our 4 month trip in Argentina and Central America. (It was one of the few things that made it onto our Ultimate Packing List for a Round the World Trip.) Essentially, the Pacsafe is a metal net that fits over your backpack and allows you to attach it to any sort of pole. This prevents the backpack from being both opened and stolen. My overall review of a Pacsafe is that it’s really handy for hostels and hotels that either don’t have lockers or the lockers are too small for your backpack. It’s a little difficult to figure out how to put on the backpack at first (the diagrams help), but after a few times I learned how to put it on quickly and without any trouble.  I would buy one if you are going on an extended trip, but if it’s just a short vacation it’s probably better to make use of the lockers in the rooms and just purchase a travel lock for those. The Packsafe costs about $60 and you buy one to match the size of your backpack (e.g, 55L, 75L etc).

Pacsafe now also has a line of secure purses, backpacks, briefcases, and more at their Amazon store.

pacsafe luggage lock

There you have it – a list of the best TSA approved luggage locks on the market today.

Comments

  1. By Gatica on

    I had a TSA approved lock on my brand new luggage and it didn’t matter to the TSA. Not only did they cut the lock, they cut right through the metal zipper tag that held the lock, ruining my brand new luggage. The lesson I learned? Don’t bother locking your suitcase with any lock. BTW, I had absolutely no recourse of action for the ruined suitcase. The airline claimed they were not responsible for TSA’s actions, and there was no one at TSA to complain to.

  2. By on

    @Gatica – I’ve heard of this happening every once in a while. You can probably get a new zipper tag at a hardware or luggage store which will hopefully be an easy fix. Or perhaps the luggage manufacturer can send one.

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