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How to Choose the Right Locker for Your Location:
Materials, Locks and Smart Locker Systems

Dijana Samsa
August 05, 2021

Choosing the right locker can become complicated when it comes to research. You have to carefully select the best locker material for your location and look into various types of locks available. 

Is a mechanical padlock the best fit, or do you want to look into the smart locker systems but don't know where to start?

Here is a quick summary of everything you need to take into consideration when choosing a locker.

Materials

Lockers are usually made out of one of these materials: wood, metal, laminate (HPL) or  plastic. Each of the materials comes with its pros and cons, and depending on your location (e.g. aquatic or office space), one can come out on top as the perfect fit.

Material Wood Metal Laminate (HPL) Plastic
Sturdiness Medium High High High
Maintenance Difficult Difficult Easy Easy
Cost High Low High Low
Possible damage Molding, water damage Rusting in humid condition, denting Delamination, chips easily Colour fading from direct sun exposure
Resistance No wear and tear No wear and tear No wear and tear, no water damage No wear and tear, no water damage, resistant to corrosion and molding
Aesthetic Elegant design Simple and sturdy Elegant design Functional design
Suitable locations Office spaces Schools, gyms Aquatic locations, gyms, office spaces Aquatic locations, gyms, schools

It's all about balancing out the pros and cons of each material and choosing the best one for you. Feel free to reach out to your locker manufacturer and ask any additional questions you might have.

Locks

The lock market has evolved immensely over the years, and it's come to a point where it can be complicated and stress-inducing to choose the right lock for your locker. Here are some of the different types of locks you can choose from, as well as their features.


Mechanical locks 

Mechanical locks are the simplest type of locks to use and have no technology attached to them. While they are sturdy and can be installed anywhere, the level of security is relatively low.

Another con is that your users might not like using a physical key or carrying coins when they're at your location, especially when today’s lock technology is user centric, with touchless opens and easy access.

Type of Lock Padlock Combination Lock Coin Deposit/Return
How it works Key open Code Cash exchange
Durability Medium High Medium
Security Low Medium Low

Mechanical locks are difficult to manage, with misplaced keys, forgotten combinations or coins that always remain in slots, making it impossible to use the locker.

However, if you're on a tight budget or your end-users are elderly who can't handle technology, looking into mechanical locks might be the option for you.


Electronic locks

There are various types of electronic locks, and just as with mechanical locks, they differ in how they open.

The three main ways electronic locks can work are RFID, pincode and app-open.

At first, electronic locks might seem difficult to understand. However, their installation and how-to-use are very simple. One thing these locks have in common is that they need power (wires or batteries) to operate.

RFID and pincode are, at the moment, the most widespread out of the three types. RFID locks open by card or bracelet, while pincode uses a PIN on the lock keypad.

App-open electronic locks are the most self-serve out of three, allowing users to directly open their lockers through the app they download on their phone.

Type of Lock RFID Pincode Yellowbox Lock (App-open)
How it works Card open PIN open App/PIN open
Durability High High High
Installation Process Wires Wires Batteries
Security High High High

While they are all more secure and much easier to manage than mechanical locks, some management or security issues can come up. 

Managing thousands of RFID cards is very time consuming, and no lock is entirely theft-proof.

Be sure to ask your locker manufacturer any additional questions so that you can make the best choice for your location.


Smart locker systems

Smart locker systems are a new, emerging thing on the market, and can sometimes seem confusing. 

Simply put, smart locker systems are smart electronic locks that come with software that can track and collect applicable data, among other uses. 

Things such as real-time visibility over who uses your lockers, support system, managing banks of lockers with a master key and generating reports is essential, both to already smart spaces and other locations where locker management is the priority. 

The smart locker systems are still the most expensive option, so make sure to evaluate your budget before looking into one of these systems.

With a smart locker system, you can always know how, when and in what frequency the lockers are used.

Smart Locker System Traditional smart locker systems Yellowbox smart locker system
SSO
Visibility over usage
How to Open RFID/Pincode App/Pincode/RFID
Management App
Wi-Fi/Bluetooth Wi-Fi Bluetooth
Central system Yes No
Installation process Wires and Onsite Servers Wireless and Cloud-based
Retrofit option

The Yellowbox is both the electronic lock and a smart locker system, and fully decentralised (thus severely reducing security risks). It also has the user app with the most features, as well as the manager app and dashboard

The user doesn't need Wi-Fi to use the locker, and it's possible to request immediate 24/7 support through each product (user app, manager app and dashboard).

Yellowbox lock is also compatible with most lockers, making it perfect for retrofitting.

The possible downside of the Yellowbox system is the need to replace batteries. Like other smart locker systems, it is on a more expensive side. 

These are some of the things to think about when choosing the right locker for your location. While this article isn't a replacement for in-depth research, it's sure to give you the best head start with everything you need to consider when starting to look into purchasing lockers.