Chain lock vs U lock – Which is the best option for keeping your bike safe?

If you’ve been doing your research on locks you are probably wondering what is the better choice between chain locks and U locks. It’s an obvious question but it’s not a simple binary yes or no. There are reasons you might choose one over the other. 

There are several lenses through which you might look at locks to decide which is best for you, with the most obvious one being security. Given that thieves stealing bikes takes a lot of forms, it can be easy to fall into a rabbit hole of never-ending research looking for the absolute most secure lock on the market. That’s exactly what we did as we prepared to bring you our lists of the best bike locks and the best e-bike locks available. During that time, we leveraged every resource we had to bring you the best options available. Part of that was understanding what the most secure lock actually looked like. 

Our research covered discussions with law enforcement as well as lock users and lock manufacturers. Each group had insights into how locks were being defeated, but it was the lock manufacturers who clued us in on the chain vs U lock debate. Kryptonite and Hiplok both sell chain locks and U locks, and they both said something very similar about their security. They point to a very concise way of thinking about lock security and what they told us is that it all comes to how much steel a lock has. 

New York Fahgettaboudit Chain 1415

More steel means more security. The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain 1415 uses 14mm links and it’s seriously secure, but it’s also 6.92 kgs / 15.25 lbs (Image credit: Josh Ross)

Chain lock vs U lock: Pros and cons

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