The 8 Best TSA Approved Locks to Buy in 2018

Keep your belongings secure at all times when traveling

For added security when traveling, a small luggage lock is a useful travel accessory for checked bags, on the train or bus, as well as in lodging. The problem is, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents need to have access to luggage during the airport screening process, so locking your suitcase can result in having them cut the lock. Buying a TSA-approved lock can solve this problem because agents can unlock these specially-approved locks using a “master key lock.” There are many varieties of TSA-approved locks, but here are the best options.

  • 01 of 08

    The Alpine Rivers company has designed an affordable, durable and functional lock that is a great overall choice. The UltraTuff locks come in red or black and can be set to any three-digit combination of your choosing. The lock is easy to set and requires a small paperclip or pen, but once it is set, opening and locking it goes smoothly. The UltraTuff includes an open-luggage indicator with a light that turns red if TSA inspected your bags (and the agent has to re-lock the lock before they can remove their key). Each set comes with two locks. Amazon buyers noted that the company’s customer service was outstanding (the locks come with a one-year warranty).

  • 02 of 08

    The Tarriss company improved on its original design and introduced the Tarriss TSA Lock Alert, a fantastic option that is slightly different than most padlocks. The shackle on this lock is a flexible – but sturdy – cable cord design that easily bends to slip through zippers. The three-digit lock combinations are located on large dials that are clearly labeled in bright white and stand out against the black lock. Another handy feature is the search indicator light to alert you if the TSA has opened your lock to check your bag. The set comes with two locks made of sturdy zinc alloy (it's available in blue or red).

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    If your suitcase doesn’t come with a built-in lock, you can create one with the Blue Beach Suitcase Security Lock. These rectangular locks can be attached to your favorite suitcase, but they do require a small amount of assembly. One benefit is that you won’t have to worry about misplacing a lock (or having TSA agents cut one off), since it will be built in to your luggage. The padlock works with a three-digit combination (that you set) and can be used on a number of items ranging from luggage and backpacks to gym bags and golf bags, as long as whatever you are attaching it to has zippers with openings.

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    The Smooth Trip ClikCard modernizes the method of unlocking a lock and makes it simple and fast to access luggage. Instead of traditional keys or combination locks, the Smooth Trip uses key cards to open. The cards slip into your wallet (or a smaller one is available on a key ring as a backup) and are then inserted into the slots on the lock. Amazon buyers loved how easy to use the cards were and that they didn’t have to remember lock combinations (particularly if they weren’t traveling that frequently). The downside to these innovative locks is that you can’t make extra copies easily.

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  • 05 of 08

    Luggage straps are an added layer of security for your baggage to prevent it from accidently opening, but they can also help you combine several pieces of luggage together. The TSA Travel Luggage Strap by LC-dolida comes with the added advantage of an approved three-digit combination lock built right into the strap that is easy to set and to open. The luggage straps fit best on 18 to 32-inch bags and are made of durable nylon webbing. The product come in a variety of colors, thus making it easy to spot luggage on a conveyor belt. Amazon buyers liked the dual two-in-one purpose of the lockable luggage strap and felt it was a good quality product.

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    For a classic key lock, the TSA Approved Luggage locks by Forge are an easy choice. The locks are constructed from zinc alloy, with shackles made of strong, hardened steel. Keys have a dimple design that prevent people from picking the lock and each key in your set of four can unlock the others – so you don’t have to worry if you lose one. These small locks can fit onto luggage or backpack zippers, gym lockers, purses and laptop bags. They also come with a lifetime warranty. In the event that the locks are opened by TSA, the agent will have to re-lock it in order to remove the key.

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    For a spin on the traditional lock design, the TravelMore TSA-approved locks feature a unique barrel shape, making them less obvious than the typical locks. The locks are made of zinc alloy and come in one, two, four, or eight-packs with two keys per lock and interchangeable keys per pack. At the end of each barrel is a flexible locking “stem” that can bend and slide through zipper pull holes to easily secure it. The locks come in different colors, but many Amazon buyers appreciated the bright orange so they could easily spot their luggage. A lifetime warranty is included. Note that the cable is 1/8-inch in diameter, so zipper pulls must be wider than that for this lock to work.

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    Locking for a bag is useful so thieves don’t go through your luggage, but locking a bag to something is even better. The Lumintrail Approved International Combination lock comes with an extremely useful feature: a four-foot steel cable to attach your luggage to a fixed object so that it cannot be removed. Or, use the cable to connect bags together for easier traveling. The locks come in packs of two in red, black or silver and have a four-digit combination lock. The locks are made of coated steel for increased durability and feature the signature TSA mark (so agents know they don’t have to break the lock to open it).  

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