The Best Bike Locks of 2022

Security is a key part of bike ownership. Keep your bike safe and sound with a good-quality lock.

By Tiffany Means | Updated Jun 20, 2022 5:59 PM

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The Best Bike Lock Options

Photo: amazon.com

Bike theft is, unfortunately, very common without a bike lock. Thankfully, you can guard against theft and protect your property with a secure bike lock. These anti-theft devices range from lightweight cable locks to heavy-duty U-locks, suitable for securing your bike in different situations. Risk level is a key factor in choosing a suitable bike lock.

This guide outlines essential guidance about bike security, the basic types of bike locks, and how to select the most appropriate kind. Read on for recommendations that reflect some of the top bike locks available on the market today.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Via Velo Heavy Duty Bike U-Lock with Cable
  2. RUNNER-UP: Hiplok DX Bicycle U-Lock
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Kryptonite Keeper 785 Integrated Bicycle Lock Chain
  4. BEST CHAIN LOCK: Hiplok Gold Wearable Chain Lock
  5. BEST U-LOCK: Abus Granit XPlus 540/160 HB Bike Lock
  6. BEST CABLE LOCK: NDakter 5 Digit Resettable Combination Coiling Lock
  7. BEST COMPACT: Foldylock Compact Bike Lock
  8. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit 1415 Chain & Lock
  9. BEST FOR E-BIKES: Kryptonite Evolution Mini
  10. BEST COMBINATION: Master Lock 8114D Combination Bike Lock
The Best Bike Lock Options

Photo: depositphotos.com

Types of Bike Locks

There are four basic types of bike locks, each of which offers a different level of security. From least to most secure, they are: cable locks, chain locks, folding locks, and U-locks.

Cable Locks

Cable locks, also called “lightweight locks,” offer the lightest amount of security. They’re typically secured using a cord and either a lock and key or a combination tumbler, which unlocks the cable with a three- or four-digit code. This low-tech protection means that cable locks are easier marks for bike thieves—some can be picked open with a ballpoint pin or cut through with common household cutters and shears. For this reason, cable locks are best used in low-risk areas and for quick lockups, such as a short trip into the corner coffee shop.

Chain Locks

Chain locks offer a higher level of security, consisting of a durable hardened steel chain link and shackle. They’re long enough to wrap around the frame and wheels of the bike and the structure to which you secure it. One disadvantage is that these locks can be a bit bulky to tote around, though many brands are increasing their portability by designing chains to fit around the biker’s waist during cycling. The best commuter bike lock is often a chain lock because they offer high levels of security with a relatively lightweight design.

Folding Locks

Folding locks are similar to chain locks in that they allow cyclists to lock bikes to bigger objects, like trees, with the benefit of being more compact. Consider, however, that the connecting joints where these portable bike locks fold are seen as weak points that bike thieves can dismantle fairly quickly with power drills.

U-Locks

Named for their horseshoe shape, U-locks (also called “D-locks” internationally) are the most theft-resistant type of lock. Not only are they heavier than other locks, but their unique shape leaves little room for thieves to insert their tools and get the leverage needed to use them.

U-locks come in a range of sizes. You should use the smallest size needed to fit around your bike frame, a single wheel, and the bike rack (or around whatever object you’ll use to mount your bike). Since U-locks are the most durable type, they’re typically the most expensive as well.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Bike Lock

Now that you’re up to speed on the types of bike locks available and the pros and cons of each, here are some considerations to help you narrow down which type might be best for your cycling scenarios.

Risk Level

The most important thing to consider when choosing the best bike lock is the risk level. Three criteria determine whether your bike is at a high or low risk for theft: lockup location, lockup duration, and the model and monetary value of your bike. The best bike lock for city use won’t necessarily be the same as the best road bike lock.

If you have a modest bike, which you plan to lock up at a familiar place where it remains within eyesight, or when you will only be away for mere minutes, the risk for theft is generally low. If the intent is to lock up your bike all day or overnight in an area where thefts are common, such as a college campus or major metro area, expect an increased risk for theft and prepare for it with the highest level of security possible.

Strength of Lock

All bike locks are susceptible to “picking” or cutting; some are just more resistant to it than others. A lock’s strength is determined by its lock mechanism. Typically, the more technology a locking mechanism uses to operate, the stronger and more secure it will be. For example, disc tumblers feature some of the most robust locking mechanisms, whereas wafer and pin-tumbler mechanisms can be considered relatively weak.

The weight of a lock also affects how secure it is. The best bike locks to prevent theft tend to be heavier, making them harder to cut, but heavier locks are more cumbersome for bikers to transport.

Price

Bike locks range in price from tens to hundreds of dollars. And as is to be expected, the more heavy-duty the lock type, the more expensive its price. Good bike locks are worth the investment when searching for the safest bike lock option. Figure out how much you’d like to spend on a bike lock and then choose the most secure lock option your budget will buy.

Our Top Picks

Based on the above features and considerations, these are some of the top-rated bike locks on the market.

Best Overall

Photo: amazon.com

This 3.2-pound key-operated lock from Via Velo provides the security benefits of a U-lock plus a cable lock. Its 14-millimeter hardened-steel shackle protects against cutting and leveraging, while a double bolt crossbar locking mechanism offers double the security against prying and jacking.

The Heavy Duty Bike U Lock with Cable features a flexible and nearly 6-foot-long woven steel cable that can secure both wheels and any accessories, such as a helmet. A PVC coating protects both locks from the elements, while a lock-debris cover keeps the keyway free of dirt and grime. This Via Velo bike lock also includes a mounting bracket for compact storage of both locks.

Product Specs 

  • Style: U-lock/cable lock
  • Lock type: Keyed
  • Weight: 3.2 pounds

Pros

  • Capable of securing additional accessories
  • High security against theft
  • Weatherproof design
  • Includes mounting bracket

Cons

  • Bulky design

Get the Via Velo bike lock on Amazon.

Runner-Up

The Best Bike Lock Option: Hiplok DX Bicycle U-Lock
Photo: target.com

A well-made, anti-theft bike lock is often heavy and bulky, but there are also plenty of options for those looking for a lightweight option. With the Hiplok DX U-Lock, there’s no worry of lugging a cumbersome lock around. Designed with an integrated clip and weighing in at less than 3 pounds, this lock easily slips onto backpacks, pockets, or pants waistbands. Its 14-millimeter hardened-steel shackle with dual-locking, anti-twist shackle tabs can withstand attacks; it requires two cuts to destroy.

If you plan to lock anything more than just the bike frame, note that this lock has a relatively small shackle diameter, so it may be best to pair it with a lightweight cable lock.

Product Specs 

  • Style: U-lock
  • Lock type: Keyed
  • Weight: 2.65 pounds

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Includes integrated clip
  • Made with 14 millimeter steel

Cons

  • High price

Get the Hiplok DX bike lock at Target.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Bike Lock Option: Kryptonite Keeper 785 Integrated Bicycle Lock Chain
Photo: amazon.com

The Kryptonite Keeper 785 is equipped with some very secure features, including a 3.5-pound 3T manganese steel chain, a hardened deadbolt, and an end-link design that secures the chain to the deadbolt without the vulnerability of a “weak” link. Its weather-resistant nylon sleeve is designed to keep the chain from rusting and your bike from being scratched. Its keyed lock uses a disc-tumbler mechanism, which makes both picking and drilling it out more difficult.

Product Specs 

  • Style: Chain lock
  • Lock type: Keyed
  • Weight: 3.5 pounds

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Nylon sleeve protects bike from scratches
  • Measures 33.5 inches

Cons

  • Bulky design

Get the Kryptonite Keeper bike lock on Amazon.

Best Chain Lock

The Best Bike Lock Option: Hiplok Gold Wearable Chain Lock
Photo: amazon.com

The Hiplok Gold is a lock designed for riding and built for security featuring a 10-millimeter hardened steel chain with a 12-millimeter hardened steel shackle. At 5.3 pounds, the lock is easily wearable and can accommodate waist sizes from 24 to 44 inches.

Hiplok’s patented speed buckle fastening mechanism means the fit can be easily adjusted without the chain being locked to the body. Another feature that adds to this lock’s versatility is its removable and washable cover.

Product Specs 

  • Style: Chain lock
  • Lock type: Keyed
  • Weight: 5.3 pounds

Pros

  • Made with a hardened steel shackle
  • Accommodates a wide range of waist sizes
  • Cover is removable and washable

Cons

  • Heavy weight
  • High price

Get the Hiplok Gold bike lock on Amazon.

Best U-Lock

The Best Bike Lock Option: ABUS Granit XPlus 540 160 HB 230mm Shackle
Photo: amazon.com

The Granit XPlus 540 U-lock boasts the highest security level by the Abus brand. Its 13-millimeter shackle is composed of hardened steel and a double-bolting lock body that offers the highest protection against hitting, pulling, and picking attacks. One of the two keys provided with the lock includes an LED light as an added safety measure.

While the Granit XPlus lock model is available in multiple sizes, many cyclists opt for the 230-millimeter (9-inch) option for its just-right size and 3-pound weight.

Product Specs 

  • Style: U-lock
  • Lock type: Keyed
  • Weight: 3 pounds

Pros

  • Ultrahigh security level
  • Key includes LED light
  • Multiple sizes available

Cons

  • High price

Get the Abus bike lock on Amazon.

Best Cable Lock

The Best Bike Lock Option: NDakter 5 Digit Resettable Combination Coiling Lock
Photo: amazon.com

Made of a 0.5-inch-thick, 4-foot-long braided steel cable, this NDakter cable lock is lengthy enough to lock up a bike’s frame and wheels—or even multiple bikes—in low-risk settings. Its vinyl PVC coating helps the cable resist rain and also keeps bikes safe from scratches. The self-coiling design and lightweight mounting bracket make the lock easy to carry while in transit.

Perhaps best of all, the lock is secured by a five-digit resettable combination lock, which gives riders the ability to set up to 100,000 unique codes and the convenience of going keyless. It’s also available in a variety of colors to complement many bike frames.

Product Specs 

  • Style: Cable lock
  • Lock type: Combination
  • Weight: 0.95 pounds

Pros

  • Keyless design
  • 4-foot length
  • Resettable combination lock
  • Comes in a variety of colors

Cons

  • Lower security

Get the NDakter bike lock on Amazon.

Best Compact

The Best Bike Lock Option: Foldylock Compact Bike Lock
Photo: amazon.com

The Foldylock Compact Bike Lock by Seatylock is a compact yet strong lock that is designed with high security in mind. Its hardened steel links and drill-resistant cylinder provide increased security at vulnerable spots found on folding type locks. This lock’s connecting rivets are designed with VSR technology to withstand sawing and cutting.

The Foldylock Compact Bike Lock is designed to resist not only bike theft but also the elements: Its metal components are rust-resistant and its plastic coating is UV protected. When not in use, the 2.2-pound lock easily slides into a case that mounts inconspicuously to a bike frame.

Product Specs 

  • Style: Folding
  • Lock type: Keyed
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Made with rust-resistant components
  • Constructed with hardened steel
  • Features reinforced connecting rivets

Cons

  • Can potentially be dismantled with power tools

Get the Foldylock bike lock on Amazon.

Best Heavy-Duty

The Best Bike Lock Option: Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit 1415 Chain & Lock
Photo: amazon.com

Weighing over 10 pounds, this lock ranks as one of Kryptonite’s most secure, allowing for greater peace of mind during longer periods away from the bike. The 5-foot-long chain uses 14-millimeter thick, 3T hardened manganese steel links that are reinforced with anti-drill, anti-pull protection. A 15-millimeter steel U-lock shackle with a hardened double-deadbolt design secures the chain at each end. While this lock is effective against theft, it’s not very portable, especially for use on a daily basis.

Product Specs 

  • Style: Chain lock
  • Lock type: Keyed
  • Weight: 10.8 pounds

Pros

  • Ultrahigh security level
  • 5-foot-long chain
  • Features reinforced steel links

Cons

  • Very heavy design

Get the Kryptonite New York bike lock on Amazon.

Best For E-Bikes

The Best Bike Lock Option: Kryptonite Evolution Mini
Photo: amazon.com

A high-quality lock is essential for securing an e-bike, and the popular U-shaped lock design won’t necessarily fit an e-bike’s larger size. A chain lock like this one from Kryptonite provides plenty of peace of mind due to its thoughtful design. The chain is made from 10-millimeter thick, 6-sided manganese steel that’s extremely sturdy but quite heavy at 4.4 pounds, making this lock somewhat less portable than others on our list.

The chain is secured directly to a hardened deadbolt, leaving no weak link between the two components and making the lock harder to break. Each chain comes with three stainless steel keys, one of which features an LED fob design.

Product Specs 

  • Style: Chain lock
  • Lock type: Keyed
  • Weight: 4.4 pounds

Pros

  • High level of security
  • Comes with 3 keys
  • Unique design eliminates vulnerable junctures

Cons

  • Heavy design

Get the Kryptonite Evolution bike lock on Amazon.

Best Combination

The Best Bike Lock Option: Master Lock 8114D Combination Bike Lock
Photo: amazon.com

Some cyclists prefer combination locks since they don’t require users to carry around a key, which can easily be lost. This cable lock from Master Lock features a keyless design, instead using a combination that users can change and customize. The lock has a 6-foot length, making it long enough to wrap around trees or other objects if there isn’t a bike rack nearby.

The chain is made from 8-millimeter braided steel, which features a vinyl coating that protects against scratches. At under 1 pound, this lock is ultralightweight and easy to transport but doesn’t offer the highest level of security. Those with higher security needs would be better off with a chain-style or U-shaped lock instead.

Product Specs 

  • Style: Cable lock
  • Lock type: Combination
  • Weight: 0.7 pounds

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • 6 feet long
  • Keyless design
  • Ultralightweight

Cons

  • Low security

Get the Master Lock bike lock on Amazon.

Our Verdict

After reviewing this guide, you now know more about shopping for a bike lock. We recommend the Via Velo bike lock for its unique features and ultrasecure design. Those on a budget may appreciate the Hiplok DX bike lock, which offers great performance at a lower price point.

How We Chose the Best Bike Locks

Years of experience covering home goods and safety devices as well as extensive product research went into creating this guide. We explored more than 30 bike-lock options and weighed a number of practical considerations before choosing our recommended bike locks.

Bike locks come in several different formats, and we included examples of each type in order to ensure that there was an option for every type of rider. Bike lock reviews and bike locks ratings are great indicators of a product’s quality since users can speak to their real-world experience with the lock. We therefore only included well-reviewed models with plenty of ratings.

Additionally, bike locks are available at a wide range of price points. We aimed to recommend bike locks at a wide variety of prices to best suit the greatest number of shoppers.

FAQs

Below are fundamental questions and answers about bike locks to help you make an informed purchase decision.

Q: Is there a type of bike lock that cannot be cut?

All bike locks are susceptible to being cut, either with hand or power tools such as bolt cutters and angle grinders. However, the sturdier the lock you use, the less likely your bike will be targeted by thieves.

Q: Are U-locks better than cable locks?

Yes, U-locks are considered to be a more secure type of bike lock than lightweight cable locks. In fact, out of the four lock types (cable, chain, folding, and U-lock), U-locks are recognized as the most secure.

Q: How do I know which strength of lock I need? 

To determine the level of strength you’ll need in a lock, consider the location and duration of lockup. The higher-risk the area and the longer the bike will be unattended, the more secure the lock should be.

Q: Do I need more than one lock?

Using multiple locks that can’t be destroyed by the same bolt cutter is an effective way to deter bike thieves. Even if a thief is equipped with the various tools needed to break each lock, having multiple locks prolongs the time it will take to steal your bike, which means there’s more time for someone to notice the criminal act and to seek help, report, or stop the crime altogether.

Q: Can my bike lock be picked?

All bike locks are susceptible to being “picked.” However, the more advanced the locking mechanism, the more difficult it is to pick. Some of the most secure mechanisms include disc tumblers, while wafer and pin-tumbler mechanisms are considered to be the least secure.