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7 Different Types of Luggage Locks

A woman putting a lock on a luggage back.

When you are getting ready to get on a plane, there are a lot of things you are already worried about. Luggage locks is one of them. It is amazing how a seemingly small piece of metal can cause a lot of havoc for you when you are about to start traveling, but it can. Fret no more. You can travel safely and securely and be ready to go without having to worry about that one little thing.

Before you go, though, you will find that there are a wide range of choices when it comes to types of luggage locks. You don’t necessarily have to get some that are TSA-approved, but it can help.

And, you may have special concerns with your luggage where you’ll feel better with a kind of lock that is easiest for you and your family. Learn more about the different kinds of luggage locks right here.

1. Not all luggage locks are created equal

Samsonite Travel Sentry 2-Pack Key Locks, Brass

There are many different kinds of luggage locks. If you have an idea what kind of luggage lock you already want, you won’t be short of choices. Combination locks, key locks, cable locks, and keyless and combination free locks are among the most popular kinds of locks to get for luggage.

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Each of them will have its own pros and cons, and largely the pros and cons will be what is best for you.

2. Lock and key locks that will be easier to open than anything else

A lock of a luggage bag on its zipper.

The gold standard that is the easiest lock to use and open on any given day is the keylock. You can get a small luggage lock that is lock and key from almost anywhere. You can typically get as many or as few as you want in a package. These are your standard run-of-the-mill padlocks that open with a key.

These padlocks can fit on a bag or a suitcase, and even backpacks, so that you feel more comfortable and secure when you are traveling. There are a number of different ways that you can get these locks, as there are many types of lock and key luggage locks with their own features on where the lock is located. You might find them on the side, top, bottom, or even front of the luggage lock.

One drawback to this kind of lock is that some people feel it may not be as secure as a combination lock. At the same time, these locks are more secure than people think them to be. You can use these locks safely without worrying about your luggage getting messed with.

3. Combination locks that are easier to work with than your AppleID

GIVERARE 8 Pack Combination Lock, 3-Digit Padlock Keyless, Resettable Luggage Locks for Backpack, Gym & School & Employee Locker, Weatherproof Travel Lock for Fence, Backyard Gate, Hasp, Case-Black

The AppleID is supposed to secure all of your data assets, right? But it can be a real pain to work with sometimes. The greatest benefit to the combination luggage lock is that it is one of the most secure physical locks you can use with your luggage. In this lock, you use a three or four-digit combination to lock up your suitcase and belongings from anybody that may want to look through your things.

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Set the combination and then put the combination in a secure place. Don’t change it unless you absolutely have to. One combination lock trick that some people use is to enter combinations onto the contact lists of their phones and name the contact as something easy to remember that will connect it to your luggage.

Connect it in a way that only you will know about.  These are heavy-duty locks that can be purchased in large quantities. They are excellent locks to have, but if you are a password-forgetful type of person, this is not the lock to get.

TSA-Accepted Luggage Locks with TravelSentry: 3-Dial Combination Lock + 48" Coated Steel Cable, the Smartest Safety Lock on the Market - Grey

Key features of many combination locks today are in their alloy construction and steel locks so that your luggage can handle any kind of movement and shuffling around. They also make it much easier for agents of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to look at your luggage easily without damaging it.

A TSA-approved lock is one that TSA agents can unlock for you to scan or search your baggage, a protocol followed regularly for all air travelers today.

4. Cable locks bring it home for everybody with advanced features that are really going to surprise you

A cable lock with a key on a wooden background.

In a day and age where everybody is thinking of security matters, the cable lock is a lock that is going take your luggage security up a notch. This is a lock with a heavy cable that wraps around the entire lock and your luggage, and also has a combination to it. Some brands of this luggage lock can also come with a myriad of advanced features, and this will help you in your travels.

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Combination locks with cables are typically larger than the average luggage lock as they offer more security. The double layer of security comes with a coated steel cable that is usually several inches long, and in some cases can be up to four feet long.

These cables will secure multiple pieces of luggage together. You can use them when traveling or in a hotel room to attach to furniture when you don’t want nosy fingers in your belongings.

Many of these are also TSA-approved, and if using air travel, this is the recommended means of using luggage locks. But the biggest benefit here is security. If you are not using air travel and traveling alone, you can connect your luggage to your seat or a fixed object should you need to walk away for a moment.

This can be cumbersome to travel with, but these locks are also very useful when they are being used in hotel rooms or during your vacation.

5. Keyless luggage locks that make remembering keys and combination a thing of yesterday

Keyless TSA Approved Luggage Locks with Lifetime Card Keys & No Combo to Forget (2 Pack)

If you don’t want to go old school with your luggage locks, today’s technology has advanced luggage locks so that you can enjoy secure luggage without having to carry a single key or remember a combination.

There are a wide range of keyless and combination-free locks that you can use when traveling. Some luggage locks will require a fingerprint to unlock the lock, while others use a wireless card to unlock the luggage lock.

These luggage locks are safe and easy for you to ensure your luggage is locked and secure. For keyless entry luggage locks where entry is obtained by using a digital card, you simply have to slide a card that looks like a credit card into a lock to click it open.

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The card is the key, and it can be kept in your carry-on luggage, handbag, or even in your pocket to be used quickly and easily. The pros to a lock such as this are ease of use. There aren’t too many drawbacks here, other than paying a little more for a luggage lock.

Pothunder Fingerprint Padlock, Smart Padlock, Locker Lock, Biometric Metal Keyless Thumbprint Lock, Waterproof, USB Rechargeable, for Gym Locker, School Locker, Luggage, Backpack, Suitcase(Gray)

Another kind of luggage lock that you may be interested in using is the keyless fingerprint padlock. This kind of luggage lock is much like the wireless entry lock with a credit card but even more personalized with a fingerprint entry mechanism much like Touch ID on many smart devices today.

This luggage lock comes with sensor technology that allows an automatic recognition of your fingerprint so that you aren’t shuffling and struggling to find keys or remember combination locks.

You’ll find many of these constructed with stainless steel or alloy and a lock beam construction that is just as sturdy. These also feature weatherproof protection for light waterproofing resistance, but you don’t want to leave them out in inclement weather for too long. These locks are typically rechargeable with a lithium battery that can last for extended travels.

A drawback to this kind of luggage lock would be that it is battery dependent, and if the battery died during travels, you are stuck with your luggage and will have to break it open. Still, it is a safe and secure way to travel.

6. Strapped luggage locks that keep your luggage secure, and help you to secure loose items

SANTREST Travel Luggage Strap Adjustable Suitcase Packing Belt with TSA Combination Lock(Red+Black 2 Pack)

So we’ve all been there where packing for traveling got too heavy, and our luggage looked like it was bursting at the seams. For this kind of traveler, the strapped luggage lock offers a very easy way of making sure nothing bad ever happens to your luggage. These are TSA approved and can significantly help you keep your luggage closed and secure.

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Strap up your entire suitcase or luggage set and then lock it. Anyone that wants to get into it that doesn’t know how to use this lock, is going to need some time.

Most of the straps on these kinds of luggage lock sets are long enough to wrap around your entire baggage and can be as long as six feet. They are a very durable polyester strap with plastic buckles that fasten and secure the luggage. These adjustable straps can help you to strap up your luggage in the way that feels most comfortable for you.

Many of them will have a passcode, so you will need to find a safe place to store that code after you have set it.

This luggage may set you apart from others in line with you at the airport or train station, but you are going to keep your belongings safe here. Other than standing out a little bit when you are traveling, there aren’t many drawbacks here. These are great for road trips as well, and make it easier to stack luggage on top of each other.

7. The mesh bag that looks weird but gives you peace of mind when traveling

Pacsafe 55L Backpack and Bag Protector, Silver, One Size

Some people consider this to be the best baggage protection solution. This solution takes the strapped luggage lock to the next level by wrapping your entire luggage set so that nobody can get in but those who need to. This is some pretty cool tech that wraps your bag in stainless steel to keep the luggage secure. Pacsafe makes a pretty good one where it has a capacity of up to 55 liters and it can provide a 360-degree lock.

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These mesh bags luggage locks are constructed with silver stainless steel and are a very lightweight system to use with your luggage locks. The key here is not just keeping your bag safe from unwanted intruders, but also that they are easy to use.  You can attach your belongings to anything stationary while you are traveling on any kind of transportation. An added feature here is that they can not be cut and are very resilient. The padlock is key operated so you will need to have a secure location to store the keys.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Luggage Locks

A person opening a bag with combination locks.

Q: What is a TSA approved lock, I see it everywhere when I am shopping?

A: A TSA-approved lock is a lock that can be opened by TSA agents at airports and by border agents when crossing the border. If it has Travel Sentry logo on it, the lock can be opened. This makes it easier when you are traveling because if you don’t have one, agents performing screening will cut your lock open, and you won’t have a luggage lock anymore.

TSA has the tools to unlock suitcase locks when necessary, and TSA-approved locks help to avoid lock loss when traveling.

Q: Are TSA approved locks mandatory?

A: No, TSA-approved locks are not mandatory when traveling, but they do help. The benefit to them is that you will not lose your luggage lock if your luggage is searched by TSA. If the lock is not TSA-approved then it will be cut off when traveling.