The best suitcase locks 2018: stop any unwanted snoopers with these TSA-approved luggage locks

Keep your valuables on lockdown no matter where you are with our pick of the best TSA-approved locks

TODO alt text

The best way to stop thieves in their tracks is to buy a suitcase lock, and we’ve rounded up the best of the bunch according to happy campers and travellers of all kinds.

Undoubtedly the best suitcase locks to go for are those that are TSA-approved. These are typically combination locks that come with the added bonus of a keyhole, only unlockable by TSA agent keys, meaning that if your bag is pulled aside for examination, they don’t have to bash it open, breaking the lock and exposing your intimates to the world. 

As such, all of our picks are TSA-approved, so after that, you only have to worry about the finer details – that is to say, what kind of lock you should go for.

If you’re one of those people who uses the same password for everything and you’re not sure you can be trusted to remember a combination, you can go for a good old fashioned lock and key and still have the added peace of mind of TSA compliance. 

These feature a keyhole that can only be unlocked by your key and that of the agent. But, if you fancy yourself a bit of a spy type, you can go one step further with a keycard lock, an unassuming padlock opened by an equally unassuming card you can stow in your wallet.

Finally, there are cable locks, and we don’t want to be dramatic, but if you’re travelling with just a backpack, or your backpack and that of your favourite travelling companion, you won’t want to be without one. 

Using a one- or two-way cable lock, you can lash bags to a static object and together at the same time.

The 7 best suitcase locks

1. TravelMore Luggage Padlock

Know when someone’s been in your bag with this simple but clever lock

Specifications
Best for: Search alerts
Type: Combination
TSA approved?: Yes
Weight: 68g
Reasons to buy
+Pop-up search indicator+100% lifetime guarantee
Reasons to avoid
-Only available as an add-on item 

This TSA padlock has a simple but quite useful little function included in it that sets it apart from the competition: a pop-up indicator that lets you know when your bag has been opened by an agent. 

Other than that, the functionality is pretty standard, but it’s the peace of mind that you can’t really put a price on. It might be small, but its construction is tough zinc alloy for extra security, and along with that comes an impressive lifetime guarantee.
 

2. Eagle Creek Lock & Cable

Our best lock for backpacks is long and flexible but still pocketable

Specifications
Best for: Backpackers
Type: Combination
TSA approved?: Yes
Weight: 213g
Reasons to buy
+Long cable for flexibility+Compact design
Reasons to avoid
-Not two-way 

This lock and cable set goes above and beyond on flexibility, making it a good bet for backpacks and other types of luggage as well as suitcases. If you’re going travelling and carrying your whole world on your back, even if you’re frequenting some of the more esteemed hostels, a long cable lock is a good way of keeping your things secure and yourself sane. 

Users also found it helpful for lashing awkwardly shaped items together, and compact enough to pop in a pocket when not in use, as well as the given virtues of the TSA-approved padlock.
 

3. Master Lock 4689Q Padlock

A pack of four padlocks to cover every case

Specifications
Best for: Compact
Type: Key
TSA approved?: Yes
Weight: 181g
Reasons to buy
+Single front-facing keyhole+Pack of four
Reasons to avoid
-A bit small and fiddly 

It’s not just combination locks that are TSA approved, ya know. These teeny mini padlocks stay streamlined with a single keyhole that fits two keys, yours and the agent’s, eliminating confusion and making for a compact package.

Also a small thing, but an important one when you’re jet-lagged and about ready to hulk out and rip off the whole handle in a blind rage: the keyhole is at the front for easy access, not on the bottom. Why doesn’t everyone do that? Simple but inspired, and the usefulness of having a pack of four isn’t to be sniffed at either.
 

4. Master Lock Cable Luggage Lock

A little lock made of surprisingly tough stuff

Specifications
Best for: Durability
Type: Combination
TSA approved?: Yes
Weight: 136g
Reasons to buy
+Compact flexible cable lock+Completely unbreakable
Reasons to avoid
-Not as long as the Eagle Creek cable 

Not quite as flexible as the Eagle Creek lock and cable set, but not as restrictive as a regular metal padlock, this cable lock is a nice middle ground. The vinyl-covered steel cable is designed to be flexible but durable, meaning easy packing for you and an unexpectedly hard time for thieves – honestly, one reviewer even went so far as to buy a spare lock to test their wire-cutters and sledgehammer on and found that it refused to give, so if you’re particularly nervy about someone getting into your luggage, you know you’re in safe hands with this beast.
 

5. Lewis N. Clark Travelsentry Combo Lock

A flexible cable with extensive uses

Specifications
Best for: Connecting bags together
Type: Combination
TSA approved?: Yes
Weight: 45.4g
Reasons to buy
+Extension for two pieces of luggage+Lock together and to another object
Reasons to avoid
-Actual lock not the best 

This masterful padlock and cable combo is one for the travelling twosome. On first glance there’s not much to differentiate it from the Eagle and Creek Lock and Cable, but the deciding factor between the two falls to your needs. 

Some reviewers found the construction of this cable a little weak, so if you’re extra paranoid we might be inclined to recommend going for our sturdier earlier pick, but they also loved the fact that this Lewis N. Clark version comes with an extension, allowing you to lash two pieces of luggage together and secure the whole thing to a static object, all the while keeping the package on lockdown. While more of a hurdle than a heavy-duty lock, it should fare perfectly well to deter opportunistic thieves. 

6. Sea To Summit Cardkey Lock

A low-key key if we ever saw one

Specifications
Best for: Keycard lock
Type: Card
TSA approved?: Yes
Weight: 36g
Reasons to buy
+Easy to find+Looks more inconspicuous than a key
Reasons to avoid
-Reviewers say it takes a knack

Likely to lose a tiny key for an equally tiny padlock or forget the password for a combination lock? It’s easily done, and Sea to Summit obviously know that, because they’ve come up with the quite ingenious Cardkey TSA Lock to tackle the problem. The set comprises a small, lightweight cable padlock with a TSA-compliant keyhole for easy security access, as well as a credit card-sized key card and a smaller key fob. 

Not only do they look far more inconspicuous to pickpockets than the expected key, you’ll also always have a backup so long as you have your wallet and keys on you. Although if you’ve lost those too, we’re sorry to say you might be beyond help...

7. Lewis N. Clark Triple Security Lockdown Lock

The bags that lock together, stay together – obviously

Specifications
Best for: Extra security
Type: Combination
TSA approved?: Yes
Weight: 113g
Reasons to buy
+Two-way cables+Unrepairable zippers
Reasons to avoid
-Confusingly, dials show on both sides 

This Lewis N. Clark suitcase lock brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “triple threat” with its vast improvement on the traditional one-way padlock, which essentially forces you to choose between your bag being opened but not stolen altogether, or stolen but unopenable. 

This is thanks to its two-way cables, which allow you to secure your bag to a static object and hold the zips closed at the same time. And if some particularly persistent ne’er-do-well does somehow get in, you’ll know for sure your luggage has been tampered with thanks to those unrepairable zippers, which is something of a comfort, we suppose...