Is there anything worse than discovering your valuable items have been stolen from your luggage during a journey? Misplacing your luggage to thieves can put a serious damper on your mood.
Unfortunately, this scenario is quite prevalent in airports across the world. However, even though we all hope not to experience this harrowing incident, it is surprising that most travellers are less serious about the safety of their luggage.
Once stolen, it is pretty difficult to identify the thief. But, you could deter these unscrupulous incidents to a great level by getting TSA locks for your luggage.
In this review, you will discover the best TSA locks that give access only to authorized personnel to unlock your luggage.
What Is A TSA Lock?
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of the United States came up with an idea to go through luggage at security checkpoints in the absence of the owners.
To make this process run without hitches, they partnered with lock manufacturers to create locks that only TSA agents can open with a master key. So, your TSA approved locks can be unlocked by employees of the TSA, during a screening at the airport.
Why You Need A TSA Approved Luggage Lock?
If you are still not sold on the idea of getting TSA approved luggage locks, then some of the reasons below should do the trick.
For Additional Security
There have been several reported cases of people having their luggage stolen during a flight. The amount of money you spend on a TSA approved lock is really less when compared to the panic and disorientation that comes after facing such a traumatic event. So, to forestall your valuables being stolen in mid-air, customs or baggage units, get a TSA lock and travel peacefully.
For Easy Accessibility
Remember, we said TSA agents have several master keys that can open all TSA approved locks. Now, when your luggage has a TSA lock, it makes it easier for these agents to check your luggage, without doing any damage. On the contrary, if your luggage has no TSA lock, your luggage would be forcefully opened and damaged.
Things To Consider Before Buying A TSA lock
We know, it’s horrifying to imagine a stranger going through your personal items in the name of national security. But, as long as you are travelling in North America, this scenario cannot be avoided. However, before you go shopping for a lock, there are things you need to consider such as:
The Type Of Lock
There are different types of TSA approved luggage locks available in the market. A simple online search will reveal that the most common types are card, combination, key, and word combination.
This type of lock is similar to those key cards used in hotels. So instead of a key, you will be using a card to open your luggage. It is easy to handle since it’s just about the size of a debit/ credit card. However, card locks tend to be identical and could pose a problem if you have more than one.
These are the most common type of locks in the market. They usually require numeric codes of either 3 or 4 digits to open.
These are the classic locks that are usually opened with a traditional key. It requires no passwords or codes. Just insert the key and unlock. But, if you lose the key, you will require highly specialized key cutters to open them.
Word Combination Locks
With this lock, you only need to open your luggage with a 4 letter code. If this sounds interesting, note that makers of this lock already have a list of passcodes you can use.
This means you cannot come up with your own unique password. In addition to it, not all the alphabets are available for you to set your password.
Will Your Luggage Be Fastened To A Fixed Or Immobile Object?
There are some locks that can be attached to cables. These long cables are good for locking the zippers on your luggage together and fastening them to a pillar, pole or table. You should consider this option if you plan on having a long wait in the airport lounge or storing your luggage in places like hostels.
The Top 5 TSA Locks For Your Luggage
Wordlock TSA Approved Combination Luggage Locks
If you easily misplace keys or don’t want any hassle associated with keys, then this luggage lock is your perfect choice. With a 4 letter combination, you can access your luggage and keep it secure from thieves. In addition to all these, it is made out of metal, so the durability is really high.
On the downside, the instruction manual of this lock has a list of all the potential combinations that can be made with the passcodes.
So, if a thief has managed to get his hands on the manual, your personal items could be at risk of being stolen. Besides, the lock doesn’t have all the letters of the alphabet, a situation that limits your passcode choice to just one.
Weight: 2.88 ounces
Dimensions: 5.9 x 3.8 x 1 inches
Overall score: 4.0/5
Acrodo TSA Lock – All Metal Combination Padlock
Made from solid steel, this lock from Acrodo is ideal for those who do not compromise on security. The front of this lock has a 3 dial combination that helps you set the passcode for your luggage.
It also comes with a pop-up indicator which tells you if airport security has rifled through your luggage. However, the bulkiness and weight of this lock can make anyone think twice before getting it. Besides, the pop-up indicator can be easily manipulated by pushing it in with a paper clip.
Weight: 2.4 ounces
Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 1 inches
Overall score: 4.2/5
Lewis N. Clark TSA Key Card Lock
You no longer have to remember your passcodes and passwords with this key card lock from Lewis N. Clark. The key to this lock, which looks similar to a credit card, can be easily stored in your purse or wallet.
To access your luggage, all you need to do is slide your card. However, note that if you are not used to this type of lock, it might be difficult to operate at first. Also, there are complaints from some users that the keycards break easily. To forestall this, handle your key card with great care.
Weight: 2.4 ounces
Dimensions: 13 x 9 x 4 inches
Overall score: 4.5/5
Master Lock 4689 TSA Approved Luggage Locks
This is just like any other luggage lock with keys but has some basic differences. Unlike other locks where the keyhole is located at the bottom, Master Lock has its keyhole in the front, making access more quick and easy.
Also, you can get it in beautiful colours which match the colour of your luggage. But, if you lose your key, you might find it difficult to open it with a cutter because the lock is really rigid. Also, the tiny space between the zipper and lock makes it almost impossible for you to use a cutter.
Weight: 1.92 ounces
Dimensions: 6.4 x 7.9 x 5.6 inches
Overall score: 4.5/5
Eagle Creek TSA 3 Dial Lock
Are you in the market for a TSA approved lock that comes with a lifetime warranty? Then you don’t have to search for more. The Eagle Creek TSA 3 dial lock is your saviour here. Apart from its die-cast zinc body, this lock comes with a steel shackle that is really useful in adding extra security to your luggage.
The steel cable which is coated in vinyl, helps you fix your luggage to a chair, rack or pole. The best thing about this lock is it can also be used while travelling in buses, taxis or trains. However, if you have difficulty seeing small characters, the numbers on the dial might pose a problem for you. Also, the cable is thin, therefore, it could easily break when pressure is applied.
Weight: 3.5 ounces
Dimensions: 2.5 x 1.2 x 50 inches
Overall score: 4.8/5
Locking it down
Even though these locks can provide high security, there are thieves who can master the art of unlocking any kind of lock! Therefore, you should also be vigilant in ensuring that your luggage is safe. Take care of your luggage and enjoy your trip!
If you’re travelling with a lot of bags, be sure to use some luggage tags to make it easier for you to recognize and retrieve your bag at the airport. Here’s our pick of the best luggage tags under $10.