Bike locks come in a dizzying variety of styles, sizes and weights. There are key locks and combo locks, of course, as well as lightweight 1.5 pound mini u-locks and big, bulky 14 pound chain locks. No single model is the best bike lock for every situation—the best bike lock for you depends on your riding style and how much security you need for any given ride. If you typically lock up in high-theft areas, invest in a heavier lock or chain. And the longer you leave a bike unattended, the more you should lean into a heavier lock. Why is that? Simply put, it’s easier to slice through a lighter chain with a pair of bolt cutters or to smash a lightweight lock with a hammer.
That means you generally need to choose between weight and security. Mini u-locks are easier to store—some can even fit in your back pocket. But these locks are so small you can generally only secure the frame, leaving your wheels at risk. Quick-release wheels are especially vulnerable unless you invest in a folding lock, larger u-lock or a chain that can accommodate both frame and wheel. For these reasons, many people own more than one lock—one for short trips to the corner store, and another for occasions when you need to leave your bike unattended for hours at a time.
Regardless of which bike lock you choose, keep in mind that it serves no purpose if not used properly. Make sure you always lock the frame—not just the wheels—to a pole, post or bike stand. And your bike isn’t the only thing that needs to be kept safe. Check out our roundup of the best bike helmets to keep your noggin safe and sound out on the road.
Best Lightweight Lock
A Lock That Balances Security And Convenience