Top 10 Best Locks for a Pelican Case in 2024 | TSA & Non-TSA

Last updated Feb 15, 2024

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Choosing the best locks for a Pelican case can be a tricky task. Pelican doesn’t offer much outside of holes to fit a couple of small shackle locks through.

In this article, I provide you with the best options to keep your Pelican case secure while on the road, at home or traveling through the airport.

I’ve already thought outside the box to save you time. First, I’ll share the most secure options before jumping into the ideas I came up with. Then, it’ll be up to you to decide which lock is best for your case(s). Please excuse the pun overload.

Pelican Case Lock Hole Diameter

Before you buy a lock for your Pelican case, it’s important to know the lock hole diameter.

According to Pelican, the diameter is .370″ or 9.4mm, which is a tiny bit smaller than 3/8″

Keep this size in mind when choosing your lock. All the locks I provide here fit the standard hole size, although some of you may want to modify your case to fit a more heavy-duty lock.

#1) ABUS Plus 88 Series Brass Padlock 40mm

The ABUS 88/40 padlock is perfect for a Pelican case. The 5/16″ diameter shackle fits like a glove, and these locks are built to last. For those of you who are serious about keeping lock pickers out of your case, the ABUS is your best bet.


  • Hardened steel shackle
  • Solid nickel-plated brass body
  • 7 disc cylinder for over 250,000 potential key combos
  • Custom ABUS Plus key system
  • 1-1/2″ wide lock body
  • 7/8″ vertical clearance and 5/16″ shackle diameter
  • Comes with two keys

#2) ABUS 90/50 KA Titalium 50mm

A second option from ABUS is the 90/50 lock, which also has a 5/16″ diameter shackle. The shackle cover makes for a tighter fit with almost zero play once connected to your case. If you’re worried about the sound of a rattling lock or you’re a motorcyclist, the 90/50 should be perfect for you.


  • Drill protection cylinder
  • Pick-resistant paracentric keyway
  • Ultra corrosion-resistant outer plate
  • Outer steel jacket
  • Precision pin tumbler
  • 5/16″ shackle diameter
  • Can be rekeyed to match your house key

#3) Master Lock 178D Set-Your-Own Combination Padlock

The Master Lock 178D is a great non-TSA-approved budget-friendly lock for your Pelican case. It allows you to set your own combination using the included reset tool.


  • Cut-resistant hardened steel shackle
  • 4-digit combination
  • 2″ wide lock body
  • Shackle 5/16″ diameter and 1″ long
  • Built to resist corrosion in marine and other moist environments

#4) Pelican TSA Cable Lock

This TSA cable lock by Pelican fits all Pelican cases. It’s designed to be used for travel through the airport. If TSA agents need to open your case, they’ll use a special key to open the lock without damaging your case or cutting your lock.


  • Made by Pelican
  • 3-digit combination
  • TSA-approved

#5) Master Lock 4696T TSA Combination Padlock

Here’s another lock by Master. This combination lock is TSA-approved and designed especially for travelers transporting equipment cases. The extended reach and grooved shackle design make this lock perfect for securing your Pelican case while traveling.


  • TSA accepted
  • 4-digit personalized combination
  • Heavy-duty steel shackle
  • 1-5/16″ wide body
  • 1/4″ shackle diameter and 1-7/8″ shackle length
  • Easy to read white on black numbers
  • Better suited for a large Pelican case

#6) Master Lock Solid Brass Keyed Padlock 140Q

Here’s a third option by Master Lock. This solid brass padlock comes in a 4-pack and is non-TSA approved. The shorter length of the shackle ensures there is less play once connected to your case.


  • Cut-resistant hardened steel shackle
  • Solid brass, corrosion-resistant body
  • 4-pin cylinder and a dual-locking lever for added pick and pry resistance
  • 1-9/16″ wide lock body
  • 1/4″ diameter shackle and 7/8″ length
  • 4 padlocks, 2 keys (same keys open all four locks)

#7) TSA-Approved Combination Lock w/ Open Alert Indicator

These combination luggage locks by TravelMore are similar to the Master Lock TSA locks above, except they include an open alert indicator. If TSA decides to open your case, a red button pops up beneath the steel shackle. This way, you know for sure if TSA opened your Pelican case before you leave the airport.


  • 3-digit personalized combination
  • Open alert indicator
  • Travel Sentry certified
  • 100% lifetime warranty
  • Hardened steel shackle
  • Zinc alloy body

#8) American Lock Series 1100

The American Lock 1100 series is another solid non-TSA option to keep your Pelican case secure. The 1100 series uses a key and includes a cover plate.


  • Solid aluminum 3/4″ thick body
  • Hardened steel shackle and cover plate
  • 5-pin tumbler cylinder and AM3 keyway
  • Double ball locking
  • 1-1/2″ wide body
  • 1″ shackle length and 1/4″ diameter

#9) American Lock Series 5200

If you’re looking for a shackle diameter with less play, the 5200 series could be perfect for you. These locks fit a Pelican case, and you must first lock the lock to remove the key.


  • Solid body government padlock
  • Hardened steel shackle
  • 1-1/8″ shackle length and 5/16″ diameter
  • 1-3/4″ wide lock body

#10) Bosvision 4-Digit Retractable Cable Lock

Are you impressed? Maybe not, but this is one of the locks I thought of during my brainstorming session for the best lock for a Pelican case. I’ve already confirmed that the knob on the tip of the cable measures 6mm, which means there is more than enough room to fit the knob through a Pelican case lock hole.

The reason I chose this lock is that the 3 ft. cable allows you to pass the cable through both holes in your Pelican case before fastening the cable to a fixed object. For those of you who are traveling and want that extra layer of security inside your hotel room, this lock will stop petty thieves who want to run off with your case.

You can also use this lock outside around town to connect your case to a fixed object to prevent grab-and-go robberies. The retractable cable allows you to tighten it to your desired length before locking it.


  • 4-digit personalized combination
  • 3-foot retractable cable
  • Vinyl-coated steel cable
  • Push-button easy retraction
  • 6mm diameter head and 3/32″ diameter cable

Bonus Pick • Pacsafe Mesh Bag Protector

I told you I went outside the box – did I go too far? If you own a large Pelican case, this mesh bag protector by Pacsafe could work for you. You’ll also want to use one of the padlocks listed above in conjunction with the bag protector.

Why did I include this contraption? The bag protector allows you to attach your Pelican case to a fixed object while you’re traveling. The holes in the mesh are too small to pull a larger Pelican case through.

Plus, this protector packs into a small bag and won’t add much weight to your luggage. It comes in three sizes.

Final Thoughts

If I had to choose the best lock for a Pelican case, I would go with the first two models by ABUS. The only downside to ABUS locks is they’re not TSA-approved.

When choosing the best TSA-approved lock for your Pelican case, take into consideration the size of your case and the amount of play the lock will have.

I saw both positive and negative reports for several of the TSA locks above, and I think the negative reports stem from people choosing the wrong locks or expecting too much from a simple lock.

ABUS is the most high-security while all TSA locks provide only a certain level of security.

Tip: You may want to use small zip ties in conjunction with the 1/4″ diameter shackle locks in case your latch fails during air travel (let’s hope it doesn’t).

Other than that, best of luck keeping your Pelican case secure!

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