Howsarlock Metal Portable Lock Review

The Howsarlock comes in handy for hostels, dormitories, and bathroom stalls that won’t lock or stay closed. We just wish it came with a carrying case.

Howsarlock Metal in Detroit
Howsarlock Metal Portable Lock Review

Our Verdict

7.7 /10
Good info






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  • Keeps doors locked to protect against unwanted intruders
  • Handy for bathroom stalls with broken locks
  • Can give you peace of mind when traveling solo


  • Metal is loud and clanky
  • Can be challenging to insert depending on the door
  • Awkward to carry with no included pouch or case

Technical Details

  • Notable Materials

    Steel, Aluminum

  • Manufacturing Country


Full Review

The Howsarlock Metal Portable Lock is exactly what it sounds like—a lock that you bring along when you want some extra security. Why might you want to travel with one? Sometimes traveling on a budget means staying at a dodgy hotel or hostel with questionable doors that don’t lock properly. Sometimes they don’t lock at all. If you had a Howsarlock, you could stick it in the door jamb to keep out unwanted guests. That way, you don’t end up having to sleep with one eye open using your backpack as a pillow in fear that someone might steal it.

It can also give solo women travelers extra peace of mind that no one will barge in at night. And if your family travels with young children, you know how easy it can be for them to open the hotel room door and wander out—even when your head is turned for what seems like only five seconds! While peace of mind and safety are priceless, the low cost of the Howsarlock doesn’t hurt either, and we’ve found the benefits to be worth it.

Howsarlock Metal Portable Lock in Detroit
Howsarlock Metal Portable Lock | One of those “just in case” travel accessories.

Beyond that, using a public restroom in the middle of nowhere with a door that doesn’t lock is no fun. Worse is when the stall doesn’t have a door at all. The Howsarlock won’t help you in the latter case, but as long as there’s a door with a door jamb, it’ll make it extremely difficult for someone to open.

This funky little tool can save you from a ton of potentially embarrassing situations like having the bathroom door open while you’re in the middle of your business. Or having a maid come into your hotel room unexpectedly when you aren’t quite presentable yet. It came highly recommended by one of our Pack Packer Pro members, who said they take it everywhere when traveling. Our community is full of experienced travelers, and the Howsarlock seemed like a lightweight and valuable tool, so we decided to try it out for ourselves.

Howsarlock Metal and Howsarlock Original
Howsarlock Metal Portable Lock | The metal version (left) vs. the original Howsarlock (right).

On their website, Howsarlock says the idea for a portable lock came about after the creator (a retired Design and Technology instructor) “saw the need for a portable locking system for use on internal doors.” Maybe they had one of those awkward maid experiences we mentioned earlier.

There are two types of Howsarlock Portable Locks available. There’s the original, which is made of sturdy reinforced nylon, and the metal version. Though our Pro member had great experiences with the original, this review will focus on the Howsarlock Metal.

Usage and Durability

When you first take it out of the box, the Howsarlock just looks like two oddly shaped pieces of metal connected together with a nylon braid. That’s pretty much exactly what it is. To be more specific, it’s a combination of heavy-duty steel and aluminum alloy. The flat piece is what you hook in the door jamb, while the “C” shaped piece goes inside it to lock. Let’s take a look at how to install this thing.

Before we start, you should know that the Howsarlock is not made for any external doors like the front door to your house. If you want to keep someone out that badly, you’re better off getting an alarm installed. This is only meant for use on internal doors—i.e., hotel rooms, dormitories, and bathroom stalls.

Howsarlock Metal materials
Howsarlock Metal Portable Lock | How does this thing work?

First, you want to open the door and place the flat plate into the door jamb. Second, close the door (duh)! Third, slide the “C” shaped piece through the hole in the plate that’s sticking out and tighten it until it clicks into place securely. It’s pretty straightforward, and the directions are written right on the box, so you don’t have to bookmark this page. Unless you really want to. We won’t be mad.

It can take a bit of fiddling around with, as it’s not always easy to close the door over the plate. This depends on the door you’re using it with, but it only takes a few minutes at best. Nothing major. We kind of like that it’s not too easy because that means children will have a hard time messing with it, no matter how clever they are. When you’re ready to take it out, just undo the “C” hook and open the door.

Howsarlock Metal Portable Lock | Installing the lock in a few simple steps.

Even if someone has the key, putting a Howsarlock in the door will prevent them from opening it. So it’s useful even beyond travel if you have roommates and just don’t want to be bothered. While we weren’t going to attempt to actually rip the door open during our two weeks of testing, we did pull on it pretty aggressively. On every occasion, the Howsarlock stayed in place. Even if it is possible for a thief to actually get inside your room with the Howsarlock on, the resistance will at least make them think twice.

The only minor nitpick we have is that it’s clunky and can be a little noisy when it bumps up against other gear in your bag. We wish it came with some sort of case or pouch to carry it in, but you can always stick it in a small organizer pouch of your own. If you do that, we recommend either putting it in a pouch by itself or inside one with a zippered pocket. It can get scratched up easily, but these are just cosmetic blemishes and don’t affect the functionality.

Even though the original is made out of hard plastic, we tried it briefly, and it still held the door in place. We didn’t test it for as long as the Howsarlock Metal, so can’t vouch for how well it will hold up over time, but we can say it doesn’t seem too shabby.

We were intrigued and a bit skeptical of the Howsarlock at first, but it did exactly what it was supposed to during our testing. It’s hard to argue against the value of something that’s lightweight, inexpensive, and can give you an extra layer of safety. We can see the Howsarlock being one of those “just in case” products that we pack on future trips.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • The C hook feels very chunky and should hold up well against a ton of force
  • Requires a bit of adjustment to get it hooked in tight, depending on how loose the door gap is
  • The two metal pieces do clash and make noise if you hang it off your bag
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • Holds the door in pretty tightly and makes it hard to open
  • Takes a while to place properly in the door
By Randiah Green
Created May 31, 2021 • Updated February 13, 2023
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