Best bike locks for 2022
A bike lock only has one job to do – stop your bike being stolen – and it has to do it well. We’ve thrown all the lock-breaking tools at our disposal at a selection of leading bike locks to help you choose the best bike lock.
A strong bike lock makes the difference between your ride home being secured, and that sinking feeling when your bike isn’t where you left it. Securing your bike with a great bike lock will not only thwart thieves’ attempts to steal your bike, it could even put them off trying in the first place.
But when many bike locks look pretty similar, it can be tricky to know which ones are up to the job and which will let you down. So our lab experts have posed as wannabe thieves, using bolt cutters, angle grinders and other lock-breaking tools to identify the locks that will keep your bike safe. We’ve also checked how easy they are to transport and use.
Nobody wants to be wrestling with an unwieldy bike lock in a torrential downpour. A Best Buy bike lock will be easy to use and offer good security against even the most powerful tools – meaning a thief is likely to be spotted and interrupted when trying to steal your bike, or just give up.
Read on to discover the pros and cons of different types of bike lock, which bike locks made the grade in our tests, plus our top tips on how to buy the best bike lock. How to buy the best bike – if you’re in the market for a new bike, check our expert guide to getting the bike to suit you.
What’s the best type of bike lock?
Security experts recommend using two different types of lock to secure your bike, one of which should be a U-lock, according to the Met Police. Different lock types need different tools to break, so using more than one lock type is likely to slow a thief down. If you’re buying a bike lock for the first time, you may be baffled by what type to go for.
Read the key things you need know about the main types below, or go straight to our bike lock reviews if you know what you’re after.
U-locks (or D-locks)
This lock gets its name from its rigid, ‘U-shaped’ body. U-locks vary in size, strength and weight, but are generally regarded as the most secure type of lock.
For this security there is sacrifice in flexibility. You need to be able to fit the rigid lock around your bike’s frame and wheel plus the object you’re securing your bike to, so check before you buy that it’s the right size for your bike.
Chain locks are made up of a series of hardened steel links, usually inside a protective sleeve. They can offer similar levels of security as U-locks, but they have pros and cons by comparison. They’re more flexible than U-locks so are easier to wrap around tight areas of a bike and secure it to a wider range of objects. But they tend to be heavier than similarly secure U-locks and are more likely to rattle if attached to your bike frame while cycling.
Folding locks consist of several solid steel arms, joined together by steel rivets. They fold up into a compact size, making them easy to transport in a bag or on the bike frame, but open up to a larger area than many other locks. This can make them a good choice if you have a large bike or need to secure it to a thick object.
However, the multiple hinge points on a folding lock are potential weak spots that can be easier for a thief to break. Our tests aggressively attack the hinge points, though, so you can be sure a high-scoring folding lock still offers great security.
Textile locks are made up of tough composite textiles, usually around a metal core. They offer security along with flexibility at a lower weight. Some are designed to be worn around the waist like a belt when not in use, making them easy to transport while cycling.
This security and flexibility come at a cost – other types of lock will give a similar level of security for less.
Bike lock reviews
We’ve grouped our reviews by lock type to help you easily select the best for your needs, but all of the scores are comparable across tables (so a chain lock that scored 70% would be equally secure as a U-lock with the same score.