After popping into a cafe for a quick cup of coffee, the last thing you want to find outside is your bike missing.
Everyone wants to protect their bike from theft. But the $10 lock you bought decades ago probably isn't the best choice now. Upgrade your bike's security with one of these five top-tier products and learn how to find the best bike lock for you.
1. Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7
- 13-millimeter steel U-lock
- 4-foot cable attachment
- Bolt cutter-resistant
- $2,500 anti-theft guarantee
For anyone who prioritizes bike security above all else, this Kryptonite lock is worth the investment, according to cycling coach Garret Seacat, CSCS.
One of the best U bike locks, this one has a 13-millimeter steel shackle that holds up against bolt cutters and added leverage, like a crowbar. It even comes with a 4-foot cable, so y0u can lock your bike around a larger structure.
And as an added bonus, Kryptonite's anti-theft guarantee offers up to $2,500 in reimbursement if the lock doesn't do its job.
Buy it: Walmart.com; Price: $77.97
2. OTTOLOCK Cinch Combo Lock
- 30-inch band lock
- Cut-resistant steel band
"Tiny but mighty" is the perfect way to describe this lightweight, wearable lock. Ideal for a quick stop, the Cinch Combo Lock is perfect when you don't want to carry around a heavy-duty U bike lock.
With 30-inches of band, this one uses a combination, not a key, making it especially convenient when you're riding without a backpack or zipper pockets.
Although it's not quite as sturdy as some U-locks, it has multiple layers of cut-resistant steel. Use this one for speedy stops only.
Buy it: CompetitiveCyclist.com; Price: $49
3. Kryptonite New York Lock
- 18-millimeter steel U-lock
- Sliding keyhole cover for dust protection
- $5,000 anti-theft reimbursement
- Two free extra keys
When you leave your bicycle in public for long periods of time, heavy-duty is the way to go, Seacat says. And the New York Lock is Kryptonite's best bike U-lock for maximum security.
This lock's 18-millimeter steel shackle resists bolt cutters and hand tools, meaning your bike stays exactly where you left it.
The brand also offers up to $5,000 in reimbursement if your bike gets stolen. Plus, you can also request up to two extra keys free with Kryptonite's Key Safe Program.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $129.95
4. Titanker Bike Chain Lock
- 6-millimeter chain lock
- Dust and rust protecting cloth
- Easy to carry around
- Affordable price
Although a high-end lock usually costs around $100, you don't have to break the bank if you just want a reliable, protective option. With nearly 2,000 five-star Amazon reviews, the Titanker chain lock is the best bike lock if you want a simple, price-friendly option.
This chain lock has 6-millimeter heavy-duty links (with a cloth cover) to help prevent damage and rust. This chain wraps smoothly around your bike for ultimate convenience.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $14.99
5. OTTOLOCK SIDEKICK Compact U-Lock
- Steel U-lock
- Compact and lightweight
- 2.75" by 5.75" dimensions may not fit every bike
Perfect for commuting, OTTO's SIDEKICK is a sleek, compact option that provides safety without the added size or weight.
However, considering its small size (about 2.75 inches x 5.75 inches), you should measure the middle portion of your bike to make sure it can fit around it (and whatever lock point you choose).
Buy it: BackCountry.com; Price: $39
4 Tips to Finding Your Best Bike Lock
1. Understand Pricing
When it comes to your bike's safety, a good bike lock is worth the investment. Generally, you can expect to spend around $100, according to Seacat.
"More often than not, the more you spend, the better protection you will get," says Seacat. "The sweet spot for truly protecting your bike seems to be around the $100 mark."
Although that isn't exactly cheap, usually these more expensive locks come with an anti-theft guarantee or insurance plan, he says. Brands like Kryptonite often offer a several-thousand-dollar reimbursement if your bike gets stolen while using its lock. They also often supply you with several keys or, if you lose yours, replacements.
2. Think About Your Security Needs
How often are you going to be using your bike lock? How common is bicycle theft in your area? How long do you usually leave your bike alone? Consider these questions before you buy.
If you're going to be commuting into a high-population area and leaving your bicycle alone throughout the day, investing in a stainless steel, heavy-duty U bike lock is the safest option.
Band locks are best-reserved for short and quick stops on your ride, according to Seacat. Despite being made with strong materials, they sometimes don't hold up again high-level scissors or cutters. (Zip-tie bike locks are even less secure, which is why we haven't listed them here.)
3. Consider Convenience
Although U-locks are some of the best bike locks for security, according to Seacat, they can be a little heavy and clunky to carry with you on your rides. If you prefer a low-key cruise to a local cafe or don't need a ton of safety features, a chain or band lock may be a better match for you.
4. Ask Questions
When in doubt, ask an expert, Seacat says. Find a local bike shop and ask an employee what kind of lock they recommend for your needs. You can also click through the products above to read more about each brand and the options they offer.