Have you booked your trip away for 2021 yet? You may have everything in order but have you remembered to think about the security of your luggage whilst it is in the hands of the airport or when it is sitting in your hotel room when you’re out for the day? Whilst you may have thought to remember to ensure you and your belongings are insured, there is no harm in taking a few extra security measures so you’re not left stressing about your lost things when you’re enjoying your well earned break!
Types of Luggage Locks
There are a variety of luggage locks on the market but which is the best to keep your luggage secure to prevent theft? And what is the difference between a combination lock and key lock? Have a look below!
Luggage Key Lock Padlock
Luggage padlocks that operate with a key are one of the most popular padlocks on the market as they can be used for a variety of uses from securing your luggage to securing your garden shed.
The benefits of using a simple luggage key lock are that they are cheap and easily found in any local hardware store. On the other hand, these types of locks are easily broken as the keyhole can be subject to interference and keys can be easily lost, rendering the lock useless.
Combination Luggage Lock
Combination luggage locks are keyless forms of locking your luggage together, instead of using a key to secure the lock they use a combination of 3+ dials of which the user sets a pin code to gain access once locked.
Combination luggage locks are much more convenient than key operated locks as there are no other compartments to carry around and potentially lose. They are stronger than their counterpart as there is no weak point, as there is no keyhole but again the lock is rendered useless if you forget the code.
Cable Luggage Lock
These security luggage locks are similar to combination luggage locks but instead of a stiff shackle it has a flexible, extendable cable so that it can easily pass through multiple zipper points on luggage.
Cable combination locks are perfect if there are multiple compartments on your suitcase or backpack, there is no need to fiddle around with multiple locks as a suitcase cable lock is able to do the job of multiple locks. Additionally, if you wish to secure your luggage to solid objects there are extenders available to buy to be able to do so. The disadvantages of a combination cable lock are the same as a regular combination luggage lock.
Key Card Luggage Lock
These locks do not require a key or a combination code to gain access; rather they use a key card to unlock the padlocks.
Key card locks are a great alternative for those who may lose a small padlock key or forget the pin to their combination lock. Most key card locks come equipped with 3 cards, x2 credit card sized so they fit nicely inside a purse or wallet and one smaller to fit onto a key chain, making them harder to lose than standard padlock keys. There is still a disadvantage to these locks as no lock is 100% secure and it is possible to lose all three key cards.
Why You Should Use a Luggage Lock
Using a luggage lock can help to deter opportunistic baggage handlers or security officers to rummage through your suitcase or bag at the airport once it’s checked in, furthermore it ensures that your bag stays closed through transit so that your underwear doesn’t become sprawled on the tarmac.
Using a luggage lock just gives that extra layer of security and peace of mind that when you aren’t with your hold luggage that your stuff is secure. We would however always recommend that anything of significant should be carried with you in your hand luggage.
TSA Approved Luggage Locks
TSA approved luggage locks are great for those travelling to the US. This is because the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) agents are required to spot check through the luggage that comes through US airports. TSA approved luggage locks are all accessible through a universal master key, meaning if your luggage is checked in airport security the TSA can open the lock with the universal key without causing damage to your TSA approved lock or to your suitcase.
If you are travelling to the US and lock your case with a non TSA lock the agents are within their rights to do whatever they have to do in order to gain access, including damaging the lock rendering it useless. These rules are in place to ensure the safety of yourselves and other travellers.
Luggage Lock Alternatives
A great alternative to using a luggage lock to keep your zip closed and secure from chance burglars is to use a cable tie. These can be picked up very cheaply in any local hardware store, these will work just as well as a lock to prevent your luggage from spilling open and are much cheaper to replace than a lock should your luggage be checked and prised open by airport security.
Security luggage straps are a great way to keep your belongings secure against the rough and tumble your luggage goes through at the airport. Luggage straps work by wrapping tightly around a suitcase and clipping shut with a clasp. They are adjustable in length to ensure a snug fit and are available in different colours or with a personalisation option so your luggage is clear to spot amongst the rest.
Additionally, there are security luggage straps on the market which include a combination lock on the clasp which will keep chance burglars at bay as well as some including a name tag so that it is easily identifiable to airport security should you and your luggage arrive at different destinations.
Another way to help keep your belongings safe is to buy a GPS luggage tracker. These are usually small, lightweight bits of technology that fit inside your case and most claim that they are traceable from anywhere in the world. The majority of GPS luggage trackers include an app that works with your smartphone so if your luggage was to disappear whilst travelling, you can easily track it down with a click of a button!
Using cling film to wrap around your luggage has been a method used by many for years. Cling film is a one-use plastic and is extremely bad for the environment, so in this case we recommend that you avoid using it for your luggage.
The Top 5 Luggage Locks
Diyife TSA Luggage Locks
This suitcase lock is our top pick for the best luggage lock to secure your suitcase. A standard 3 dial combination lock with a cut resistant steel cable that will fit through most zipper holes ensures that not only can this lock be used on pretty much any luggage but your stuff inside is secured as it travels. If you travel to the USA frequently, this lock is even TSA approved and should for any reason they need to open your case, to get their key out they must re-lock this luggage lock.
eGeeTouch Smart TSA Travel Lock
For those who are tech savy, the eGeeTouch Smart TSA Travel Lock may be for you. The most expensive lock out of our top picks but it takes away the need to remember a combination code or a key and simply opens with the use of a smart phone, smart watch, or the accompanying NFC Fob. Compatible with both IOS and Android, not only does this lock secure your bag but you can use it to track where your luggage is, ensuring that it is always safe. Unfortunately, the battery of this lock isn’t rechargeable, which isn’t the most environmentally friendly as you will have to buy a new lock once it runs out, however the battery life supposedly lasts approximately 3 years! (or 4000 lock/unlock cycles).
Master Lock 4688D Combination Lock
One of the most popular locks on the market, the Master lock is a favourite because of its versatility and resistant features. The flexible cable makes it easier to secure zipper holes together. Another 3-number combination lock, this one is TSA approved. Compact, lightweight, and secure this lock is a good choice for all.
Tarriss TSA Lock Search Alert
TSA approved but with a built-in search alert, so should you be a frequent flyer to the USA this lock will tell you if your bag has been opened and inspected. The indicator changes from green to red if the lock has been opened by an agent, but otherwise the lock is just a standard 3 number combination lock.
Forge TSA Approved Ultra-Secure Dimple Key Travel Lock
Known for its durability and versatility, the Forge Lock is a simple key lock, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting or fumbling with a combination lock. Little known fact is that if your luggage is opened by the TSA they are under no obligation to resecure the lock, however with the dimple key they must lock the luggage before they can remove their key.
What Are Built-in Suitcase Locks?
Built in suitcase are luggage locks that are built into luggage and usually restrict the zips from moving around the suitcase, similar to external luggage locks like padlocks, lockable straps or suitcase cable locks.
The question is it more secure than external added luggage locks? It doesn’t generally make any difference in terms of security as you often get the same amount of security that external luggage locks provide, but we would always recommend paring built in suitcase locks with external ones for extra security!. So, if you like a particular bag, don’t be dissuaded from buying it if it doesn’t have built in suitcase locks as you can always buy external luggage locks.
For more security tips and information check out the Keytek® Locksmiths blogs on our website! We are the largest Locksmith community providing emergency Locksmith services across the UK!