If you have ever lost a bicycle to thieves, then you must be familiar to the sinking, gut-wrenching helplessness that comes with such theft. Although every bike lock can be broken through by a determined thief, a quality bike lock will reduce the risk of your bike being targeted by thieves. Even if for some reason your bike is singled out, a good bike lock will slow down the thief and might even frustrate the thief enough to leave it alone. Choosing the best cheap bike lock under $20 /$ 50 is not easy. The sheer number of bike locks on the market can make it hard to make the right choice. To help you make the right choice, we have compiled a list of the ten best cheap bike locks under $20/$50. Furthermore, we have created a buying guide to help you in choosing the right bike lock.
- Features to Consider in Cheap Bike Locks
- Best Cheap Bike Locks 2020 (Under $20)
- Best Cheap Bike Locks 2020 (Under $50)
- 1. SIGTUNA Bike locks
- 2. Master Lock Street Cuff Locks
- 3. OTTOLOCK Steel & Kevlar Combination Bike Lock
- 4. Kryptonite Keeper 785 Integrated Bicycle Lock Chain Bike Lock
- 5. Kryptonite Evolution 11-14mm U-Lock
- 6. Kryptonite KryptoLok Integrated 9.5mm Chain Bicycle Lock
- 7. Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 Standard Bicycle U-Lock
- Guide to Buying the Best Cheap Bike Locks (under $20/$50)
Features to Consider in Cheap Bike Locks
Before choosing the right bike lock, there are several factors you must consider. Failure to consider these factors can make you choose a bike lock that would not serve you correctly. In this section, we will consider one of the most vital factors.
Type of Bike Locks
There are three main types of bike locks available on the market. They are:
- Cable locks
- Chain locks and
Cable locks are lightweight bike locks that are very portable and can be easily affixed to different objects. They are flexible and often come as combo locks. If you stay in a low-crime area, a cable lock might be all you need to keep your bicycle secure. As they are often locked and unlocked via a combination lock, you do not need any keys.
Advantages of Cable Locks
- Cable locks are generally the lightest types of locks
- They are compact, portable and convenient to carry around
- They are flexible and are easily affixed to several objects
- They come in bright, visible colors that can deter thieves
- These locks are not appropriate in high-crime or even medium-crime areas
- They are easy to destroy
- They are at risk from all the different methods used by bike thieves
- The combo-lock is not as safe as other lock options
As the name implies, these locks are like chains. They are heavy, tough, and can be looped around a bike or several bikes at a time. Chain locks are usually made of metal and similar tough materials. It doesn’t use a combination lock like cable locks but prefer a padlock. Since the chain is made of a hard material, it can scratch the bike; therefore, it usually has a sleeve to protect the bike.
Advantages of Chain Locks
- The weight and padlocks are usually enough to deter would-be thieves
- They are made of durable, sturdy materials that cannot be easily broken
- The size and flexibility means they can be used for different bikes and looped around different objects
- The moving parts make it hard for thieves to cut through
Disadvantages of Chain Locks
- They are often heavy and cannot be carried about
- If there is no sleeve, the lock can scratch the bike or chip the paint
These locks are also referred to as U-Locks. They are so named because of their shape. In essence, there are simply giant padlocks. They are usually made of metal and have a removable crossbar. The crossbar is looped around the street furniture and the bicycle. Some manufacturers package them with a cable that can lock your wheels as well.
Advantages of D-Locks
- These locks are made of strong, durable materials
- They are a tad heavy but are usually lighter than chain locks
- They are resistant to picking, leverage, and drilling methods of theft
Disadvantages of D-Locks
- It is still a heavy lock
- These are the three main types of locks on the market. In the buyer’s guide, we will consider the other vital factors that affect your choice of bike locks.
- In the meantime, let us consider the ten best cheap bike locks under $20/$50.
Best Cheap Bike Locks 2020 (Under $20)
The bike lock is made of materials that are of high quality. It is made of solid zinc alloy. The lock cylinder and lock plug are made with an ABS shell. Overall, it is quite durable and safe to use. It might not deter desperate thieves, but it looks intimidating enough to deter petty thieves.
Also, it comes with flexible steel cables that offer cut resistance. The braided steel cable is durable. Adding another layer of protection is the inner core protection.
The lock comes in different color combinations to match your style. It comes in blue, pink, black, orange, green, and purple.
Performance & Features
To keep thieves out and provide you access to your bike, the lock features a combination lock. The unique combination is easy to set. If for some reason you forget your combination, the Titanker lock offers the Basic Self Coiling Resettable Combination. This feature allows you to reset the combination.
With the keyless combination lock, you do not have to worry about carrying around a bunch of keys.
The lock is easy to carry around as well. It comes with a mounting bracket that you can use. Simply install the bracket on your bicycle and take the lock wherever you desire.
We love the versatility the lock offers. Although it is primarily for protecting your bike, you can use it to secure gates, lawnmowers, ladders, grills, and so on.
The Bell Catalyst comes with a 12mm shackle that is hard to cut through. The bike lock comes in different styles. There are the 200, 300, 500, 550, and 750 U- Lock variants. The higher the number, the more the protection offered. Regardless of the variant you choose for your bike; you can rest assured that the lock will provide excellent protection.
Performance & Safety
The protection you receive depends on the grade you buy. We tested all models, and here are our results.
The 200 U-Lock has a steel shackle and a dual locking mechanism. The design makes it rather light yet effective.
If keeping your bike safe is very important due to the high rate of crime in your area, the 300 U-Lock is a great option. Aside from the 8″ steel shackle it as it comes with a vinyl crossbar and coating. The shackle coating protects your bike from scratches while riding.
It offers a high level of security. The lock is easy to set up. Aside from unlocking it with a key, you can set up a unique combination to keep your bike safe from thieves. Like the Titanker Bike Lock Cable, it has a carrying bracket which makes it portable and easy to carry around.
The Etronic Security Bike Lock is designed to keep petty thieves away from your bike. It comes in five different colors you can choose from, depending on your taste. It comes with flexible steel cables and a vinyl coating that prevents scratching. It weighs about 12 ounces, which makes it super-portable and convenient. The flexible steel cable on the lock measures 1.85 m in length. Altogether, it has a nice design that you might appreciate.
It is a keyless bike lock; hence, security is provided via the combination lock mechanism. You can set your password by combining your favorite digits. The braided steel cable of the lock is strong and offers decent protection against cutting. With a clip mount, you can attach the lock to your bike with relative ease.
The lock is a versatile lock that can be used for locking gates, ladders, and other stuff in addition to bikes.
It should be noted that if you live in a high-crime area, you might be better off choosing a stronger bike lock. However, if you just require basic protection, this is the ideal lock for you.
Best Cheap Bike Locks 2020 (Under $50)
The bike lock isn’t the lightest on this list, but the number of buyers and positive reviews indicate that users enjoy using the bike lock. It comes with a 16mm steel shackle that is intimidating enough to deter most thieves. Aside from the 16mm steel shackle, it comes installed with an 1800 mm woven steel flex cable for an extra layer of protection.
Security & Features
The Sigtuna Bike Lock uses keys and bolt protection. This double security feature makes it provide excellent protection for your bike. Of all the cheap bike locks under $50, the Sigtuna bike lock is arguably the most secure that we have tested. The steel shackle is hard to cut through. The Double Bolt Locking Mechanism on the lock comes with an 8/10 security rating. As a result, it is resistant to pulling, leverage, jacking, and prying attacks.
Other features include 3 Abloy Keys that ensure you always have a spare key for the lock, a vinyl coating to prevent scratching during your ride, and bike mounts. The bike lock mounts are easy to install and durable.
All the parts of the lock have a durable coating to prevent corrosion and other forms of damage. The lock comes with a dust cover, and the steel flex cable has a durable coating.
We like this bike because the 1200 mm flex cable can be used to secure more than one bicycle at a time.
It is a versatile bike lock that can be used on fences, poles, and even lock two bikes simultaneously. Overall, you will be hard press to find a bike lock that provides this level of protection for under $50.
The locks are basically handcuffs. At least that was the initial impression we had when we got them out of the box. It is quite simple to fix. Attach one cuff to the fence, pole, or other stationary street material and attach the other cuff to the bike. The bike lock features a heavy rotating linkage that connects the two cuffs. It is made of reinforced, laminated steel. Thus, despite the appearance, it is quite sturdy and offers excellent protection. It weighs 1175g, which is relatively lightweight.
Performance & use
As pointed out earlier, the bike lock is easy to use. The laminated steel used in the construction makes it very strong. During our testing, we tried to pry the cuffs away from the bike and the pole, but with no success. We used a hammer to no avail. The rotating linkage also makes it quite tricky knowing the right spot to attack.
It is also resistant to levering. After minutes of trying this, the only success we had was in chipping the paint.
The cuffs are always full; thus, there is virtually no space between the cuffs to insert a tool to lever the cuffs.
Altogether, the bike lock is quite an innovative and secure lock. The only problem we had with these locks is that they only lock the bike’s frame to a point. To ensure that your bike is totally safe, it will be smart to bring a cable to attach to the bike’s wheels.
The Ottolock Steel & Kevlar Combination Bike Lock features a Cerakote ceramic paint finish that provides a durable, beautiful finish. At first glance, it is one of the most attractive locks we have tested. It weighs 151 grams, which is the lightest on this list. You can keep it in your pocket and pop it out when you need to keep your bike secure. This lightweight design comes in handy in many situations. Where most bike locks are anything but sleek, this lock flips the script!
Performance and Security
When it comes to bike locks, looks and attractiveness are merely a bonus. You might wonder if the Ottolock will provide adequate security or if it is simply a good-looking lock. Well, during testing, we discovered that this small lock delivers sufficient protection.
It comes with a combination lock that lets you set a 3-digit combination. It is made of Kevlar, which drastically enhances its resistance to cutting and damage. Once coiled to your bike, it is almost impossible to remove. It is super-easy to use, and the coil is extendable to fit through your frame and wheel.
The only gripe we had with this lock is that the 3-digit combination isn’t very difficult to decipher. Hence, if you will be leaving your bike unattended to for a while, you might want to add another layer of security.
The Kryptonite Keeper 785 Integrated Bicycle Lock Chain Bike Lock is made of triple heated boron-manganese steel. This chain lock comes with a 7mm four-sided links that add a layer of durability and resistance to force. Kryptonite is one of the best bike lock manufacturers on the market, and with this chain lock, they once again prove their mettle. The chain links are housed in a nylon-webbing sleeve. Hence, when you are riding, the chain lock doesn’t chip the bicycle paint.
Performance and Security
The 7mm four-sided chain provides excellent protection from theft. It has a deadbolt design and an end link design. The end link design is important because, in previous versions, the spot between the lock and the chain is vulnerable to attack. Hence, the end link design eliminates the vulnerability.
The disc-style cylinder is created to be picked and drill resistant. With an 85cm chain length, it can go round the wheels and handle with ease, thus enhancing security.
The Kryptonite Evolution 11-14mm U-Lock is the second product from Kryptonite on this list of the best cheap bike locks under $20 / $50. It features a similar design to former iterations from Kryptonite; however, it offers better protection for a slightly higher price than its counterparts.
The Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 comes in a sturdy design. The shackle is a millimeter thicker than that on the already impressive Kryptolok Series 2. It is made of hardened steel which offers excellent protection from cutting and angle grinding. To add a layer of security, the shackle has a dual bolt design. Hence, any potential thief will have to cut the lock twice to be unlocked. Furthermore, because of the dual bolt design, it is harder to use leverage attacks on the lock.
It has an oval shape which increases the protection offered.
Ease of Use
One flaw we found in this bike lock is the weight. However, if you are used to U-locks, it’s not exactly a surprise. U-Locks often come with increased weight, and the Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 is no different. To help you with transporting the bike, Kryptonite has included a carrying system. The mount can be installed on your bike, and it allows you to fasten the bike lock to anywhere on the frame.
The bike lock can be locked to many types of street furniture. Bike racks, railings, street signs, and so on are the different spots you can easily fix the lock to. The keyhole comes with a dust cover that protects the hole from dirt and other particles that might jam the mechanism.
The KryptoLok Integrated 9.5mm Chain Bicycle Lock is a decent bike lock. It has 9mm links to offer protection. Compared with many budget chain locks, it offers a lot of protection. It has a weight of 1.77 kg and a total length of 55 cm.
The 9-millimeter chain links are made from triple heated manganese steel.
According to the company, the security rating is 6/10. While this isn’t the highest we have ever tested, considering the price it comes at, it is quite secure. And according to Sold Secure, it has a silver rating. This gives an idea of the level of security it offers.
During testing, we observed the chain lock to be quite durable and hard to destroy. It offers decent resistance to levering, although a quality bolt cutter will shear it in two. The end link design of this chain eliminates any vulnerability.
Its disc-style cylinder is pick resistant. It has a certain heft that makes it feel really durable. It is also drill resistant to offer total security. The lock head is integrated with a deadbolt to make it impenetrable as well.
It features a weather-resistant nylon sleeve that protects the chain from the elements. The sleeve also ensures that while riding, the chain doesn’t chip the paint or scratch your bike.
During testing, we observed that this chain lock doesn’t have a dust cover for the keyhole. This means it is susceptible to jamming due to dust or debris.
Design and Construction
The lock weighs around 1.6 kg which might be a tad heavy for some folks. It might be a burden carrying it around in a backpack. Thankfully, it has a mounting bracket in the package. Therefore, you can easily attach the lock to the bracket. The bracket is versatile and can be used with different tube styles. It doesn’t get in the way of your cycling and features a 360-degree rotation system. It has a 13 mm hardened steel shackle to protect the bike. The U-bend makes it hard to use a bolt cutter.
Security and Use
One of the tools used by thieves in breaking a lock is the drill. Thankfully, you do not have to worry about a drill-wielding thief when you have this lock. The disc-style cylinder on the lock is drill resistant. It is not only resistant to drills, but also to blunt force like that from a hammer.
Furthermore, it is designed to prevent leverage attacks. During our testing, we tried these methods to no avail. The bike lock is highly versatile. There are different ways to lock the bike, and each way grants you protection.
The steel shackle of the lock is coated with vinyl to prevent scratching of the bike.
Guide to Buying the Best Cheap Bike Locks (under $20/$50)
In the review above, we have discussed the features, pros, and cons of ten of the best cheap bike locks under $20 and $50. By considering these locks, you can streamline your choice. Since there are numerous types and brands of bike locks on the market, this review will help you choose correctly. We realize that you might not fancy the ten on our list and you might want something else. To help you make the correct decision, we have made this main buyer’s guide. This section will highlight the vital factors to consider when making your choice.
Type of Lock
In the mini buyer’s guide, we highlighted the three main types of bike locks you can buy. Aside from cable locks, D-lock, and chain locks, there are also folding locks and ground anchor bike locks.
As the name implies, these locks can be folded. They have a very compact design and can be taken about. Furthermore, they have a mounting bracket on the bike frame.
Advantages of Folding Locks
- They can be folded; hence, they are easy to carry
- They are lightweight
- Due to their size, they can be used to secure the bike to different street furniture
- They are rare to find
You might think these locks do not apply to a mobile bike owner, but you have to consider that most bike thefts occur in the home. These locks are drilled into the ground and offer a strong lock. They come in different sizes and have varying ratings.
Advantages of Ground Anchors
- They are very secure locks
Disadvantages of Ground Anchors
- They can only be used at one point
- Installation of these locks might require skills
No matter the type of lock you choose, you must ensure that it suits your needs and provides adequate protection. Remember, cable locks are the least secure of the types of locks while D-locks and Chain locks are usually the most secure.
Therefore, if you reside in a low-crime area, choosing a cable lock might not be unwise. However, if your area is a medium or high-crime area, using a cable lock might not protect your bike.
Regardless of the type of bike lock you choose, the security rating is an essential factor to consider. The rating of a lock is an excellent way of determining how effective it is. Sold Secure is the body tasked with rating the security offered by a bike lock. This non-profit organization is under the auspices of the Master Locksmiths Association. It provides security ratings, not just for bike locks, but for other security products.
There are different levels of ratings by the body. Let’s discuss them briefly.
Bronze: A security product with a Bronze rating can withstand an assault from a basic set of tools.
Silver: Just as silver is a superior metal to bronze, a silver rating means that the security product should be able to withstand attacks from a slightly enhanced set of tools.
Gold: This is the ultimate rating. If a security product is rated “gold,” it means that it can withstand an assault from a highly enhanced set of tools.
It should be noted that no matter the rating of a bike lock, with the right tools and sufficient time, every lock can be broken. However, the Sold Secure rating indicates the amount of time it will take to break down the lock. A gold rating means that the lock can withstand up to 5 minutes of continuous assault by a full set of tools.
Hence, if you own an expensive bicycle, or you want the absolute best bike lock for your bicycle, a bike lock with a Gold Sold Secure rating is the ideal choice.
Type of Lock Mechanism
There are two main types of lock mechanisms. They are Keyed locks and Combination locks.
These locks use flat or cylindrical keys. In the past, many folks avoided cylindrical keys when it was discovered that by using a ballpoint pen, the entire system could be unlocked. However, improvements have been made to newer models. This flaw has been eliminated. Therefore, you can now conveniently choose between either style.
Since keys can be easily misplaced, keyed locks come with more than one key. That way, if you lose one, you can always have a backup.
These locks are usually found on cable bike locks. They are great because you can’t lose your key; since it doesn’t have one in the first place. All you need to do is to remember your number combination. The best combination bike locks have at least 4-digit combinations. Anything less is highly susceptible to being guessed by a thief
There are many brands on the market with each one claiming to provide all the security that you require. Due to the number of brands, there are wide variations in quality. One way to choose the right bike lock amidst this sea of locks is by choosing a lock from a reputable brand. Reputable brands have, well, a reputation to protect. Hence, they usually produce locks of higher quality than other brands.
Furthermore, when you run into issues with the lock, they usually have excellent customer support and provide technical assistance.
These are the vital factors that should affect your choice of bike locks. To help you keep your bike more secure, the next section will show you practical ways of keeping your bike safe.
How to lock your bike
No matter how good the bike lock is, a determined thief with the right tools and enough time can still steal the bicycle. Hence, aside from using a bike lock, what practical tips can help you secure the bike? Let’s see.
Park in a busy location
Which bike will be easier to steal, one parked in a dark alley, or one parked in a busy location? You guessed right, the one in a more bustling area. If you park where there are loads of people or even CCTV cameras, it can be enough to deter a would-be thief.
If it is possible, park in a location where there are many bikes. That way, the thief might avoid your bike and steal one that has worse protection than your bike. It makes the thief nervous as people come and go, and it gives the thief less room to “work.”
Choose an immovable object to affix the bike to
If you choose an object that can be broken or removed, daring thieves will not mind stealing your bike along with whatever it is fixed to. Therefore, choose objects that cannot be broken.
This practical steps can help you, and you should endeavor to take note of all of them.
Losing a bike to theft can be avoided by getting a bike lock. It doesn’t have to be expensive to keep your bike secure. The ten best cheap bike locks under $25 /$50 that we have reviewed are great options. We hope you use this review and buying guide to make the right choice!