Last updated: 16/10/2022

Welcome to our big TSA lock test 2022. Here we present all the TSA locks we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best TSA lock for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of when buying a TSA lock.




Summary

  • A TSA lock is a special combination lock that can be helpful when travelling to the USA, as it can be opened with a master key from the US Transportation Security Administration.
  • Some travel suitcases are already equipped with TSA locks. Only if your suitcase does not have such a lock integrated does buying a TSA lock make sense.
  • You can choose between a lock with a key or a lock with a numerical code. TSA locks cost between five and ten euros, depending on the design and type.

The Best TSA Lock: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a TSA lock

You want to protect your suitcase with an additional lock and have come across TSA locks in your search? In this guide, we tell you all the important information you should consider before buying a TSA lock.

When is a TSA lock the right choice for you?

If you are travelling to the USA and want to protect your luggage, you should buy a TSA lock. A TSA lock is a combination lock that can be opened by the American Transportation Security Administration with a master key.

A TSA lock is therefore ideal for travelling to the USA. This means that neither the lock nor the suitcase has to be forced open during a suitcase search.

Many hard suitcases already have an integrated TSA combination lock. However, if this is not the case with your suitcase, you can attach a TSA lock as a padlock to the zip.

For travel to countries other than the USA, a TSA lock offers no greater benefit than a regular combination lock. Nevertheless, it can of course be used on any trip.

When travelling to the USA, make sure you only lock your luggage with a TSA lock.

How much does a TSA lock cost?

A TSA lock costs 5 – 10 GBP. Often the locks are available in double or multiple packs, which brings the single price down to 5 GBP. If you buy a single TSA lock, it costs around 8 GBP.

Decision: What types of TSA locks are there and which one is right for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between two different types of TSA locks:

  • TSA lock with numeric code
  • TSA lock with key

The different types of TSA locks differ in the way they are secured and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Depending on what you value most, a different type of TSA lock is best for you.

In the following section, we would like to help you find out which TSA lock is best for you. For this purpose, we will introduce you to the two types of luggage tags mentioned above and clearly outline what their advantages and disadvantages are in each case.

What distinguishes a TSA lock with a numerical code and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The TSA lock with combination code is locked with a combination of three or more numbers. The combination lock is available in different colours and with a metal shackle or steel cable. A TSA lock with a combination of numbers can be purchased individually or in sets and is available for as little as seven euros.

The TSA combination lock is delivered with the number combination 0-0-0 in the basic setting and can then be changed individually. To do this, first open the lock and pull the shackle. By turning the shackle 90 degrees counterclockwise and pushing it down, you can set your own combination.

To do this, the shackle is pressed down and the desired combination of numbers can be set with the number wheels. Finally, the shackle is turned back again and the case lock is closed. This process can be repeated as often as you like to change the number combination again and again. There is no key for the TSA combination lock, as this is only used as a master key by the security authorities at the airport.

Advantages
  • Can be individually set as often as desired
  • Several people can have access at the same time
Disadvantages
  • Number combination must be memorised

You should remember your combination of numbers or write it down, as it is usually easy to forget. If you forget the combination of your suitcase lock, you can either hire a locksmith to pick it for you or try it yourself.

The only thing that helps is to try all the combinations. For a three-digit combination lock, this should take about 20 minutes. If you are lucky, the combination will be there sooner.

A combination lock generally offers the advantage of not using a physical key that can be misplaced. In addition, a combination lock allows not only the owner but also other people to have access to the luggage.

In a large family, for example, this means that everyone can remember the combination of numbers and does not have to rely on individual persons, as the other variant only comes with two keys each.

What are the features of a TSA lock with key and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A TSA lock with key is usually a padlock that has to be locked with an additional key. There are also variants with steel cables that are pulled through the zipper. These are smaller and lighter.

TSA padlocks come in numerous colours and are also available individually and in sets. They come standard with two keys each.

Advantages
  • Smaller
  • Lighter
Disadvantages
  • Key can be easily misplaced

In general, TSA locks with keys are a little smaller and lighter and are in the same price range as TSA combination locks.

If you choose a TSA lock with key, make sure you keep the two keys separate and do not misplace them or accidentally include them in your luggage.

Did you know that TSA locks are actually only used in the USA?

The TSA, Transportation Security Administration, is allowed to open luggage and check it for dangerous items without first asking. In many cases, locks have to be broken, which can cause damage to the luggage. Therefore, it is advisable to buy a TSA lock to protect yourself from possible damage to your suitcase.

Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate TSA locks based on these factors

Locking method and design

The biggest difference between different TSA locks is the design and built-in locking technology. Some locks offer 3-digit, other models offer 4-digit numerical codes that can be freely selected.

You can’t go far wrong when buying a padlock. Choose a lock that suits your personal preferences.

The number of numerical codes may vary. Otherwise, you can choose the colour according to your taste.

Photo credits: Giuliano Cesare Del Moretto / 123rf.com

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