Cable vs Chain Lock: Which Is Safest? 

Security can definitely be an issue if you live inside an ugly neighborhood. You must ensure the safety of your essential items by smartly attaching security devices.

I believe there’s something for almost all types of essential items. My friend from work, who lives in a problematic neighborhood, often sees a lot of robberies, so he is extra careful about his bike as it is his daily driver to move around.

As of now, he is rather confused over what to get, a chain lock or a cable lock. We did manage to filter down which is the best. You are probably going through the same problem.

So, let us talk about which is better, a Cable or a Chain lock. 

Cable vs Chain Lock: Which one should you decide?

Cable Lock VS Chain

You are probably in a dilemma about whether a cable or a chain lock will be a convenient purchase for your bike. Worry not! As I am here to assist you, talk you through the specifics of both of these security devices, and in the end give you enough clarity so that you decide wisely.

Cable Lock

Cable locks are those types of locks that are easy to carry with no issues related to weight. You can always carry around a cable lock in your bag, unlike the other locks that are heavy or take a lot of space. Cable locks are made of thin steel wires assembled together to form a strong structure that is difficult to cut open.

The steel compound is then shaped so that the lock stays flexible and does not take up a lot of space. It is widely recommended to not get cable locks as your primary security lock because of their vulnerability.

It should always be considered an option if you don’t have your primary lock with you. Mostly all types of locks are more rigid and secure than cable locks. They are cheap and easy to carry that’s why they should be considered a secondary option for security. 

Now let us talk about the pros and cons for you to understand at a glance. 

  • Pros 
  1. Carrying isn’t an issue at all. You can just wrap it on your seat post if you want. 
  2. Weight won’t be an issue because its trait is less weight.
  3. An extra lock. You can secure your bike tools or other important things with a cable aside from your bike.
  • Cons
  1. Fragile form factor. Can be cut through basic bolt cutters or hacksaws. Even the toughest ones. 
  2. Must be used as a secondary security device. 
  3. It should not be used in areas where theft is common. 

Chain Lock

The chain lock is definitely a common choice for lots of people we know. It is recommended as well used a lot. Unlike cable locks, chain locks can indeed be used as the main security tool for your daily driver.

The variety of chain locks adds a lot of value and convenience when thinking to purchase one. Whether you need one that is lightweight or if you need one which is significant in size and length.

Heck, you can even get chain locks that can lock more than 1 bike. Chain locks are made with rugged metal licks that are very robust.

It will take you professional tools and a significant amount of time to cut through a chain lock. 

If you’re someone who’s willing to carry something portable, I recommend you get a portable chain lock. Because it’ll be easy to carry and won’t have that much weight like the typical chain locks.

A portable chain lock is quite realistic to use if you’re someone who’s very active in riding.

It’ll add some weight because even the most lightweight chain lock is heavier than D locks and cable locks but you will be able to adjust. 

But for security purposes at home or inside a lousy neighborhood, stationary chain locks may be a better choice for you since the chains are thicker and longer in size.

The chains will be even more difficult to cut as well as you will be able to attach two bikes to them. 

Now let us talk about the pros and cons for you to understand at a glance. 

  • Pros
  1. Protection. Thieves won’t just be able to casually cut through a chain lock with a standard bolt cutter.
  2. Variety with convenience is a lot more in cable locks than in any locks. 
  3. Portable chain locks are just as secure and easy to carry. 
  • Cons
  1. Weight distribution. All Cable locks are heavier than most bike locks.
  2. If the metal link is not thick or rusty then some bolt cutter might be able to cut through it at ease. 
  3. If you’re not careful with the placement of it then it can ruin your bike’s paint job as well as leave some bumps because of the weight. 

Which is more secure?

Cable vs Chain Lock Which one should you decide

My job here is to make your life easy so I’ll tell you what is a better option for you. Chain locks are a no-brainer compared to most locks let alone a cable lock.

Even for the most casual user or for someone who lives in a neighborhood filled with good people. Data from the Harvard Police Department shows that out of all the locks, bikes that were locked with cable locks had been stolen the highest amount of times.

Even if you’re looking for something small-shaped, there are chain locks that are portable. The thin shards of steel are so easy to tear through at you don’t even need to be a professional robber.

So, I genuinely don’t see a reason for you to get a cable lock if it’s gonna be your primary lock. Only keep it as an extra. Chain locks are more secured than Cable locks any day of the week. 

Which is easy to use?

In terms of ease, I’d say cable locks are because of their small form factor and weight distribution.

Just attach it to any part of your bike without a worry because its surface won’t harm your bike’s paint job or it take a lot of force to attach your bike.

And, of course, as I have mentioned before, it definitely comes first than any type of lock when we are talking about portability. 

Basic Differences

I’ll show you a table so that you understand the differences between the two security tools.

Remarks Cable LocksChain Locks 
Security:Less SecureMore Secure
Portability:Portable Some are Portable but not like Cable locks.
Price:Cheap, in general,Comes at all prices based on size and usage.  
Priority:Secondary SecurityPrimary Security 
Can Try:Master Lock 8413DPF Python Cable LockPortable: Kryptonite New York 1210
Heavy Duty: ABUS Hardened Steel

Being Cautious!

A fair warning would be that a thief will most likely succeed when attempting to steal a bike. It is your job to make the thief’s life difficult while trying to steal.

You must place your bike or attach the cables in such a manner so that at least you may be able to buy some time. Because the robbery needs to be done stealthily and quickly. You are good to go if your bike is placed in an active area but the risk arrives when the location is quiet with hardly any people.

Use special locks and keys, use two different locks together one that requires a key to open and the other that requires a key combination, and entangle the cables with both the front and rear tires.

No matter what lock you use, Just be a smart person about it based on the area you are locking your bike


If you had to buy something else, then you would obviously buy a U-shaped lock or a D lock. It is the most common out of all the locks out there. It is basically a giant padlock.

A U shape lock is a complete metal material that is difficult to cut through with a bolt cutter. It’s in general quite difficult to carry around because of the size and heavyweight.

U locks are also relatively cheaper and they often come with a bracket to attach them to your bike’s frame or saddle. It may not be a better alternative than a chain lock in a lot of aspects, but it is undoubtedly better than cable locks in terms of safety. 

Wrap Up 

You should be a responsible person in terms of purchasing your bike locks because if you’re using more secured and robust locks, you are evidently a contributor to decreasing bike theft.

In my opinion, no matter what sort of biker you are, a cable lock can never be your primary lock tool.

You might be thinking that your bike is extremely old, no one is going to steal it, so I should as well get a cable lock which is cheaper and easier to use.

Then, after a while, I can guarantee you one day on a cold night. You will see that your bike has been stolen. So, I believe in almost all aspects. A chain lock wins versus a cable lock. 

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