Bike thieves never tire of coming up with new and inventive ways to deprive us of our rides. Thankfully, however, bike lock manufacturers are doing their very best to keep up, rolling out increasingly crack-resistant, cut-resistant, and tougher locks that are capable of deterring and thwarting even the most determined would-be robbers of our rides.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to 25 of just those kinda locks, starting out with our top picks for 5 different categories of bike locks before moving onto 20 only slightly less awesome runners up.
We reviewed dozens of bike locks to identify the best of the best. We examined a range of factors, including convenience, type, materials, security rating, durability, cost, and average customer reviews.
Having considered a wide range of options, the Kryptonite Evolution 11-14mm U-Lock easily stood out as a runaway winner. This lock boasts a “Gold” Sold Secure security rating, a three-star ART Foundation security rating, and is ideal for everything except overnight use in high-risk urban areas. It’s also very easy to use, comes with a handy carry mount that lets you attach the lock to your bike while riding, and uses a unique crossbar and shackle design that requires not one, but two cuts to be breached.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Bike Locks
|Best Bike Lock Overall||Kryptonite Evolution 11-14mm U-Lock||4.6|
|Best Wearable Bike Lock||Hiplok Gold Wearable Chain Lock||4.6|
|Best Budget Bike Lock||Kryptonite Keeper 12mm U-Lock||4.6|
|Best Heavy-Duty Bike Lock||Kryptonite New York Lock Fahgettaboutit||4.6|
|Best Combination Bike Lock||Sportneer 3.2-Foot Bike Lock||4.6|
*Ratings are from the time of publication and can change
Best Bike Lock Overall: Kryptonite Evolution 11-14mm U-Lock
The Kryptonite Evolution 11-14mm U-Lock is our pick of the overall best bike lock out there in 2020. This lock does everything you could ask a lock to do. It’s robust, easy to carry, big enough to fit any bike rack, and is made with the kind of materials that will make even the most determined bike thieves take their thieving elsewhere.
But, given the wealth of worthy competitors out there, what made the Kryptonite Evolution such a standout?
Well, for starters, this U-lock uses a patented, “pass-thru” crossbar design that means anyone intent on depriving you of your ride will have to cut through not one, but two shackle bars. And those bars, moreover, aren’t the kind that make for easy cutting. Made with 13mm hardened steel, the shackle in this lock is one of the toughest on the market. Even equipped with a hacksaw or power drill, anyone intent on tearing through it would need a good 30-minute window without any passersby taking note and alerting the authorities.
But this lock is about much more than just the brawn. Despite weighing in at a fairly ponderous 2.65 lbs, the Evolution U-lock scores highly in portability thanks to the inclusion of an incredibly handy Flexframe-U bracket that allows you to store the lock on virtually any part of the frame instead of having to lug it around in a backpack or leave it rattling around your seat or frame while you ride. It also comes with 3 stainless steel keys, an LED key fob, and a highly reassuring, confidence-inspiring lifetime warranty. And if anyone does manage to make off with your ride, Kryptonite’s Anti-Theft Protection Offer means you’ll be able to claim back part of the product’s value.
Kryptonite Evolution 11-14mm U-Lock Key Features:
- 13mm hardened steel shackle
- Double deadbolts engage shackle for added holding power
- 7/10 security rating
- Pick- and drill-resistant disc-style cylinder
- Flexframe-u transportation bracket included
- 3 stainless steel keys and LED key fob included
Best Wearable Bike Lock: Hiplok Gold Wearable Chain Lock
The Hiplok Gold Wearable Chain Lock is a great choice of bike lock for buyers who like to keep frame clutter to a minimum and aren’t keen on carrying a backpack for the sole purpose of lugging around their lock while out on their rides.
This lock boasts a Sold Secure “Gold” security rating, which means it’s far better equipped to fend off the unwanted attentions of bike thieves and heavy-duty cutting tools than almost any other chain locks on the market. It uses 10mm, hardened-steel chain links in combination with a 12mm, hardened-steel shackle and a durable, weather- and impact-resistant nylon sleeve that protects the chain from weather damage and prevents scratches on your bike’s frame.
This lock’s most endearing attribute, however, is how convenient and easy it is to use. Its 85-centimeter circumference means there’s plenty of reach for those occasions when the bike rack’s full or you have to use a pole or bench, and the adjustable, 28 t0 44-inch speed-buckle fastening lets you find the perfect fit for your waist while riding. Also, Hiplok’s patented buckle fastening allows you to wear this lock without locking it to your body, meaning you won’t have to worry about doing any hacksawing or heavy-duty drilling to free yourself should you happen to lose your keys while our on your rides!
Hiplok Gold Wearable Chain Lock Key Features:
- Sold Secure Gold security rating
- 85-centimeter circumference
- Hardened steel chain links (10mm) and shackle (12mm)
- Adjustable buckle closure (28″-44″)
- Weather- and impact-resistant nylon sleeve
- 3 coded, replaceable keys included
Best Budget Bike Lock: Kryptonite Keeper 12mm U-Lock
For secure daytime parking in moderate-risk areas, they don’t come much better or more affordable than the Kryptonite Keeper 12mm U-Lock.
Kryptonite gives this lock a five-out-of-ten rating, meaning it’s not the ideal choice for overnight parking in high-risk areas but is perfect for everyday use in urban and suburban areas when commuting to work on your bike or heading to the gym, beach, or store.
The Keeper is a combo security kit, including both a 12mm, hardened-steel shackle for frame attachment and a 10mm steel cable that provides additional security for your bike’s wheels. Like the overall winner of our review, the Keeper comes with a lifetime warranty and is eligible for Kryptonite’s generous and highly reassuring Anti-Theft Protection Offer, which allows you to claim back part of the price of any product if the product is breached.
In terms of convenience, this lock-and-cable combo outperforms most of its peers, too. It weighs in at a reasonably lightweight 2.05 pounds and uses a reliable side mount snap-in bracket that allows you to attach both locks to any part of your frame for easy transportation.
Kryptonite Keeper 12mm U-Lock Key Features:
- U-lock measures 4″ x 8″
- Cable measures 4′
- Weighs 2.05 lbs.
- 5/10 security rating
- Side mount snap-in bracket for easy transportation
- 2 snap-resistant keys included
- Lifetime warranty
Best Heavy-Duty Bike Lock: Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboutit Lock
The aptly named Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboutit Lock is an outstanding choice of lock for buyers who want a security system that’s built to deal with just about anything would-be thieves might wield against it.
This lock may be pricey and a touch on the heavy side at 4.55 pounds, but it boasts a ten-out-of-ten Kryptonite security rating and Sold Secure Gold security rating, meaning it’s about as theft-resistant as they come and absolutely ideal for use in high-risk areas or overnight street parking.
The Fahgettaboutit is made with an 18mm hardened-steel shackle that’s capable of resisting theft attempts with hand tools and bolt cutters and uses a high-security, disc-style cylinder that’s pick- and drill-resistant. As with the overall winner of our review, it uses Kryptonite’s patented, “pass-thru” crossbar design, which means that even if a thief manages to hack or saw through one of the shackle’s bars, they’ll have to get through another before they can make off with your bike.
The bottom line? The best option out there for buyers especially concerned about the welfare of their bike and who don’t mind carrying around a few extra pounds in weight in order to have the utmost protection.
Kryptonite New York Lock Fahgettaboutit Key Features:
- Sold Secure Gold security rating
- 10/10 Kryptonite security rating
- Made with 18mm hardened steel
- Crossbar design prevents single-cut attacks
- Weighs 4.55 lbs.
- Lifetime warranty
Best Combination Bike Lock: Sportneer 3.2-Foot Bike Lock
The Sportneer 3.2-Foot Bike Lock is a great choice of lock for cyclists who need moderate security and are looking for a nice balance between portability, cost, and convenience.
This chain measures a very generous 3.2 feet, meaning it’s long enough to secure your bike to larger fixed objects like trees or poles, or can be stretched over or around other bikes on an already full bike rack. It uses tough, cut-resistant, 0.28-inch manganese steel chain links with a durable nylon cover that protects against scratches and weather damage, and a solid zinc alloy cylinder with a burly ABS lock plug shell for easy handling.
The five-digit code required to open this lock might test your memory a little, of course, but it will save you the hassle of carrying around keys, having to lubricate the lock to avoid stiffening (and broken keys!), and means there are 100,000 possible codes any thief would have to guess from to steal your bike without the aid of heavy-duty tools!
Sportneer 3.2-Foot Bike Lock Key Features:
- Made with 0.28-inch, manganese steel
- Waterproof and dustproof anti-scratch cover
- Flexible chain measures 3.2 feet
- Combination is easy to set and reset
- Weighs 1.48 lbs.
Who Should Buy a Bike Lock
If you plan on parking your bike outside your home for any length of time, the only way to ensure it will be there when you get back is to invest in a reliable, theft-resistant lock. While almost any lock can be breached with the right tools and enough time, a robust lock can both serve as a deterrent that with cause potential thieves to turn their attention elsewhere or thwart theft attempts should they set in about the lock with bolt cutters, a drill, or an angle grinder. Given that any lock can be breached, some buyers may be tempted to take an “any-lock-will-do” approach when considering the options. It’s worth remembering, however, that a lock’s efficacy is determined not by whether or not it can be breached, but how long it would take to breach it and how much effort would be required on the part of the would-be thief. In short: something’s better than nothing at all, but that “something” has to be just a little bit special if you plan on leaving your bike unattended for any length of time in high-risk areas.
If you’re looking for a bike lock for the sake of your children, then you may also want to check out The Best Kids Bike Helmets.
Important Features to Consider
Bike locks should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting a lock for your bike:
- Type. Generally speaking, there are four types of bike locks on the market. These include chain locks, cable locks, U-locks, and wearable locks. Each type had several drawbacks and advantages.
- Chain locks are usually reliable and are harder to cut than cable locks, but also weigh significantly more and are cumbersome to carry.
- Cable locks are lightweight and can easily be wrapped around your bike’s frame for easy storage when not in use. For the most part, however, they’re easy to cut and therefore not ideal for longer-term parking in locations that aren’t well-lit or busy enough to deter thieves.
- U-locks are generally deemed to be the most thief-proof option. On the downside, they are usually heavy, tricky to carry, and difficult to use with anything other than made-for-purpose bike racks.
- Wearable locks are a newcomer to the bike locks market. They come in a variety of formats and offer varying degrees of security and theft-resistance, but the jury is still out on whether or not the discomfort of donning your lock around your waist or over your shoulder is worth the convenience entailed in not having to lug it around in your backpack.
- Security. With the right tools and enough time, bike thieves can, sadly, breach almost any type of bike lock. However, this doesn’t mean to say that there aren’t locks that make your bike less likely to be stolen and others that make it more likely to be stolen. Security ratings on bike locks aren’t standardized, so different manufacturers might use different ratings to talk up the merits of their product, while others will have no rating or simply list in-house ratings that offer a value relative to other products in their range. So, what to do? When buying, we recommend looking for a rating supplied by independent security testing organizations, like ART Foundation, VdS, or Sold Secure, which uses ratings ranging from “Diamond” (highest) to “Bronze” (lowest) to rate how hard any lock was to breach in lock-cracking tests performed by independent locksmiths. Finally, as a general rule, locks that use a double-locking mechanism are typically the most secure—not because they’re necessarily harder to cut, but because releasing them requires two cuts instead of one.
- Size. Depending on where you plan on parking your bike, the length of your lock might be a crucial consideration. If you anticipate using a specialized bike rack, then almost any kind of lock should be large enough to reach around the attachment bars. If, however, the only available fixtures are poles, street lights, benches, or trees, then it’s a good idea to choose a longer chain or cable lock measuring at least three feet in circumference.
- Convenience. How convenient and easy to use any lock depends mainly on its locking method and type. With regard to the locking method, there are two options—combination locks and key locks. Key locks are great for those prone to memory lapses, but also require adding yet another key to your already bulging key chain and need regular maintenance to ensure the lock is well lubricated and free of rust and debris. Combi locks, of course, don’t require any maintenance or carrying a key but do require stowing yet another “password” in your brain alongside the dozens of others already in there. Other factors contributing to a bike lock’s convenience include its weight and shape. For the most part, cable locks are the easiest to carry around and also the most low-profile, meaning they take up less room in your backpack or saddlebag. Heavy-duty chain locks and U-locks, on the other hand, can weigh upwards of 5 pounds, meaning they’re not ideal if you plan on putting in serious mileage or are averse to carting heavy loads on your rides around town.
- Materials. Parking your bike outside means it needs protection from both potential thieves and the weather. For the latter, be sure whichever lock you buy is made with rust-resistant materials and doesn’t use any fabric that will soak up rainwater that will subsequently soak whatever’s in your backpack when it’s time to ride home. For the former, a little more diligence is required. The most theft-resistant locks out there are usually made with hardened steel that measures from 12 mm to 18 mm in diameter and has a cutting force strength in excess of 50 kilonewtons (kN). While these can still be cut with the right tools, getting through all that tough metal will take several minutes, not seconds (as is often the case with budget cable locks), and are far more likely to prove a successful deterrent to theft attempts.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best type of bike lock?
Chain, cable, and U-locks are the most popular types of bike lock. The best of these three options for your needs will depend on a few variables, most notably where you usually park your bike, how much weight or bulk you’re willing to carry, and how robust you need your lock to be. While cable locks offer a lightweight and easily portable option, they are far less secure than chains and U-locks and, as such, are not the best bet for anything other than shortstops in low-risk areas. Chains and U-locks are heavy and bulky but are also far more difficult to cut—in most cases, would-be thieves would need a hacksaw, hydraulic bottle jack, angle grinder, or oversize bolt cutters to break through either, meaning they’re far better options for longer stops or parking in moderate-risk or high-risk areas.
Which is the best way to lock your bike?
The safest way to lock your bike involves using two locks. Start by finding a bike rack that’s securely fixed into the ground, i.e. with cement or a buried frame. Ideally, this should be in a well-lit and busy location. Attach the first lock to the rack through the back wheel and the frame and lock the front wheel to your frame with the second lock. Because detachable seats are often targeted by thieves, it’s a good policy to remove your seat and carry it with you whenever possible.
Are U-locks better than cable locks?
Both types of locks have advantages and disadvantages. Cable locks are typically lighter, smaller, and easier to carry, but cheaper models are often very easy to cut, meaning they are only really suitable for daytime use in areas where there’s plenty of foot traffic to deter thieves. U-locks, on the other hand, are made with burlier materials that are difficult to cut, but are also much heavier and bulkier. If parking in high-risk areas, we recommend using both—securing your frame and rear wheel with a U-lock and securing your front wheel to the frame and U-lock with a cable.
Are combination or key bike locks better?
This is largely a matter of personal preference. Key locks are generally considered to be less convenient because they require carrying a key around that could be lost or broken. Key locks also require maintenance to keep the lock-free of debris and sufficiently lubricated. While combination locks have none of these drawbacks, they do require having a good memory (!) and taking care to ensure nobody is watching while locking or unlocking your bike.
Other Bike Locks We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other bike locks. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best bike locks list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
Budget Bike Locks
This cable and U-lock combo lets you double down on security and is also among the most convenient options out there, mounting to your frame via an easy-to-install bracket that keeps both locks firmly in place and rattle-free while you ride.
- 70″ cable
- 9.72″ x 6.62″ U-lock
- o.51″ shackle bar
- Easy-to-install mounting bracket
With a 0.63-inch, shear-resistant steel shackle and a 0.1-inch silicone coating, this heavy-duty U-lock is perfectly equipped to protect your bike from both opportunistic thieves and scratches to the frame.
- Heavy-duty U-lock and cable lock included
- 0.63-inch steel shackle
- Mounting bracket included
This lightweight combination lock cable might lack the level of security required for use as a stand-alone deterrent, but is ideal when combined with a robust chain or U-lock or in situations where you won’t be letting your ride out of your sight for more than a few minutes.
- 5-digit combination lock
- 4-foot cable
- 7-kilonewton (kN) shear force
- Available in 7 colors
This robust and easy-to-use combination lock permits key-free riding and also provides robust security thanks to its use of a 10-millimeter, hardened zinc alloy shackle and heavy-duty, one-piece cylinder
- Weighs 20.3 ounces
- 10mm, hardened zinc alloy shackle
- 5-digit combination lock
- 4mm PVC anti-scratch coating
This 3-foot combination chain lock is made with 0.24-inch, cut- and drill-resistant alloy steel uses an oversize lock cylinder for easy handling, and is sheathed in a hard-wearing nylon sleeve for added weather protection and to prevent scratches to your bike’s frame.
- Weighs 1.7 lbs.
- 3-foot circumference
- 5-digit, resettable combination lock
This two-part security system combines a 16mm shackle with an anti-pick locking mechanism and a 1.2-meter, PVC-coated steel chain to double up on security for your bike’s wheels and frame.
- 16mm, fortified steel shackle
- 1.2-meter cable lock
- Easy-to-install mount included
This 37-inch chain might lack the robustness required to leave your bike out overnight in high-risk areas but it offers adequate protection for shorter stops in metropolitan areas, is one of the lightest chains in our review, and uses a heavy-duty nylon sheath to ensure your frame stays scratch-free.
- 5-digit combination lock
- 37-inch circumference
- Weighs 1.6 lbs.
Heavy-Duty Bike Locks
This super-burly, 14mm U-lock boasts a “Gold” Sold Secure rating and can be carried without a bracket thanks to an integrated “clip and ride” system that lets you fasten it to belts, bags, and pockets.
- 14mm, hardened-steel shackle
- Clip-and-ride easy carry system
- “Gold” Sold Secure rating
- Weighs 2.64 lbs.
This chain lock version of the winner of our Heavy-Duty Bike Lock category boasts the same 10 out of 10 security rating and is ideal for overnight parking in even high-risk areas. Weighing in at a mighty 15.25 pounds and using 14mm hardened-steel links, this no-nonsense chain and U-lock combo lacks portability but excels in security.
- 15mm hardened steel shackle
- 14mm hardened steel chain
- Protective dust cover
- Weighs 15.25 lbs.
This combo security kit includes a burly U-lock with a combination lock cylinder and a 10mm diameter cable measuring 4 feet in length. While not quite as heavy duty as the more expensive items in this category, this one provides more than ample security for use in moderate-risk areas and is far easier to transport.
- Weighs 3.3 lbs.
- 4″ x 8″ shackle on U-lock
- 4-foot cable lock included
- 4-digit combination lock on u-lock cylinder
Like all things Kryptonite, this two-piece U-lock and cable lock combo oozes quality from the second you open the box. With a 6 out of 10 security rating, a 12.7mm shackle, and a “pass-thru” crossbar that must be cut twice to access your ride, this is one of the best heavy-duty deterrents out there for daytime use.
- 12.7mm hardened steel shackle
- 10mm steel cable (4′ long)
- 6/10 Kryptonite security rating
This compact and intelligently designed lock combines a standard heavy-duty, 11mm frame shackle with a second, extending shackle that lets your secure both the frame and your front wheel with a single piece of kit.
- 11mm hardened steel shackle
- Compact design (3.75″ x 6.5″)
- 7/20 security rating
- Weighs 2.6 lbs.
- Lifetime warranty
Combination Bike Locks
This 33.5-inch chain lock is a little on the heavy side (3.5 lbs), but is made with tough, cut-resistant 3T manganese steel, uses a pick- and drill-resistant cylinder, and features an innovative end-link design that secures the chain directly into the hardened deadbolt, thus eliminating what’s customarily considered the “weak link” in other models of chain.
- Made with 7mm, 4-sided manganese steel
- Weighs 3.5 lbs.
- Measures 33.5 inches
This wildcard entry on our list is a little on the expensive side, granted, but its streamlined, folding, and lightweight design means it’s one of the most portable, convenient, and easy-to-use bike locks out there.
- Measures 0.79″ x 0.79″ x 7.87″
- 0.22-inch hardened-steel bars
- Compact, folding design
- 35.40-inch circumference when open
This wearable combination chain lock weighs just 800 grams (28 oz.) and can be adjusted to fit 28 to 42-inch waists, making it one of the most comfortable and lightweight wearable chains on the market.
- Wearable design
- 4-digit combination lock
- Weighs 28 oz.
- Adjustable from 28 to 42 inches
This 4 by 8-inch combination u-lock boasts a six-out-of-ten Kryptonite security rating, meaning it’s ideally suited to shortstops in metropolitan areas and longer stops in the suburbs and rural areas.
- 12mm carbon alloy steel shackle
- 4-digit combination lock
- Weighs 2.3 lbs.
- Lifetime warranty
Wearable Bike Locks
This lightweight version of the winner of our Best Wearable Bike Lock award boasts a Sold Secure “Bronze” rating, fits 26 to 42-inch waists, weighs just 2.2 pounds, and extends to 75 centimeters (29.5 in.) in circumference when locking up your wheels.
- 75-centimeter circumference
- Weighs 2.2 lbs
- “Bronze” Sold Secure rating
- Adjustable when worn as a belt
In terms of portability, they don’t come much better than this sleek, 0.4-pound combination security strap. In addition to its lightweight, the Ottolock’s belt-like design makes it ideal for slinging over a shoulder or wrist, meaning you can do your riding without having to carry a backpack or put up with your lock rattling about on your frame.
- Weighs 0.4 lbs.
- Made with steel and kevlar bands
- 3-digit combination lock
This belt-style chain lock has a “Silver” Sold Secure security rating and uses a “Superbright”, weather-resistant reflective sleeve to increase your visibility to motorists while on the roads.
- 8mm hardened steel chain
- 12mm hardened steel shackle
- Reflective nylon sleeve increases visibility
- Sold Secure “Silver” rating
- 3 keys included
This superbly convenient, low-volume, lightweight lock folds down into a tiny, tidy bundle that can be easily clipped to your pants for easy storage while riding between locations. It also boasts a “Silver” Sold Secure rating, making it one of the most reliable wearable deterrents out there.
- Weighs 2.2 lbs.
- Clips onto belt or pants
- Ultra-compact design