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Locker Buyer's Guide

Locker Buyer's Guide

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Lockers play an important role in schools, gyms, and other facilities every day. They teach adolescents about accountability and responsibility and they protect valuables and personal items in public spaces. There was a time when lockers were pretty much all the same. Today, however, there are many different locker choices for designers, school officials, and others to choose from that provide maximum security and affordability.

Locker Buyer's Guide

Whether you need a few lockers for a classroom or hallways lined with lockers for a new school, here are some considerations to think about before making any purchasing decisions.


Lockers can be made out of metals, wood, or plastic depending on the type of locker needed for a certain space. Metal lockers meet the needs of most locker requirements for the lowest cost. Wood lockers provide a warmth and style that are common in resort or country club dressing rooms. Plastic lockers are generally the most expensive but are highly recommend for areas with moisture or corrosive elements. Pools, gyms or areas near coastal waters are a good fit for plastic lockers. A newer material, called phenolic, is also available and often chosen for its antibacterial material that is resistant to water damage, graffiti, and daily wear and tear.

Sizes and Uses

Since lockers can be used in a variety of settings, erase the picture of the stereotypical locker from your mind. Instead, think about the primary use of the locker and the space where the locker system will be implemented. Certain areas may call for different design specifications, sizes, and even materials to be used. Here are a few of the common uses and the best sizes for them:

  • Everyday School Use – The most common form of school lockers are not full length, but half sized and come in sections of six with three lockers on top and three on bottom. The configuration allows for multiple lockers to be placed as needed along a hallway. Metal is still the most commonly chosen material for its durability and cost effectiveness but phenolic is also becoming a popular choice for its solid construction attributes.
    School Lockers
  • Gyms – School gyms and standalone gyms often provide a number of different locker choices to those who use the facilities. Sports lockers commonly have a small locked space for valuables and a large space for storing sports equipment and other items. General gym use may get by with mostly small cubed lockers along with half-sized rectangular lockers and a few full length lockers. The number of lockers you choose to install in a gym area should be dictated by the amount of traffic you expect to encounter in a certain period of time. For the most part, gym lockers are only used for an hour or two at a time.
    Gym Lockers
  • Musical Instruments – Some students may be able to store their instruments in their general use lockers, but others may require a separate area for storing larger musical instruments. Cubby holes in a secure music facility or locked storage lockers are configured specifically for musical instrument storage and are important for organization and protection within the school space.
    Band Instrument Lockers
  • Small Children Use – Elementary school aged children may also need a place to store coats, lunchboxes and other items without the need for locking capabilities. Early childhood lockers can be valuable teaching tools for helping children learn about organization and designated placement areas.
    Kid's Lockers
  • Electronic storage – Electronics lockers are designed for additional security and protection. They can be outfitted with a number of different locking capabilities including a traditional padlock, key lock, or digital lock and is perfect for storing cell phones, tablets, wallets, and other important items. Not commonly used in the school setting, these lockers are ideal for hospitals and other public venues where secure storage may be a necessity.
    Electronics, Cell Phone and Key Lockers
  • Sports and Country Clubs – Nicer venues, like sports clubs, may feature upscale wooden lockers stained to match décor. These lockers can be outfitted with locking capabilities similar to other lockers, but are more fashionable than metal and composite material alternatives.
    Wooden Club Lockers
  • Heightened Security Needs – In some schools or workplaces, clear lockers are being implemented to provide an additional layer of security. Locker administrators can see into the locker without having to open the door. Transparency prevents the need for traditional locker searches in many cases and also discourages workplace theft. It’s a great solution for retailers and other employers.
    See-thru Clear Lockers

Locking Capabilities

Whichever locker style is best suited for your needs, you may be able to customize the locking capabilities. The most common form of lock is the combination lock, which is used widely in school systems. Most lockers accept both padlock type locks and/or built in type locks. The most common locks for lockers come with a master key control feature for administrative access and have combinations which can be rotated from 5 to 7 years, providing the same lock for a school system whose students move through grade levels before graduation. Padlocks are typically used in gym settings in schools and in other sports facilities.

Locker Locks

A third type of lock is becoming more popular. Keyless lockers are electronic and are generally battery operated. Users can access the locker by entering a predetermined code. If the battery runs low on the device, locker administrators can get into the system manually.

Other Considerations

Some lockers are available completely assembled and are ready for placement and use. Others must be assembled on site and may require additional accessories such as bases, locks, and locker number designations. Locker assembly is time consuming for most customers. Ordering assembled lockers saves time, labor costs and effort. Assembly requires connecting and tightening 45-60 nuts and bolts per vertical column (1 Locker).

Some reasons to buy lockers unassembled: Assembly does not require special tools or skills, just time. Unassembled (KD-"knock-down") requires less room on the truck and reduces freight costs and possible damages in transit. Since you are doing the assembly, you save that cost and can use those savings for other products. Donated labor from private groups such as PTA's or Alumni associations are very popular.

Most locker hinges are configured specifically for everyday use and are available with piano hinges or a similar construction. Look for vented lockers to ensure that gym bags and other locker contents don’t go rancid within the locker environment. Different locker brands have warranties or lifetime guarantees that may be helpful for problems during the first several years of use.

With so many locker materials, features, and locks to choose from, the best choice may not be as straightforward as it would first appear. Talk with one of Worthington Direct’s knowledgeable locker representatives for more information about locker options and which locker may best suit your space’s needs. From hat shelves to coat hooks, we understand the nuances that make a locker purchase worthwhile for years to come.

Top Brands for Lockers:
Hallowell Sandusky Lee Jonti-Craft

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