When it comes to securing a locker, which type of lock is the best: a combination or key lock?

Each has its own strengths and weaknesses and can each be used for different things. Whether you a setting up a school locker area or a gym locker room it is important to make the right choice. There are three major concerns when you are considering these two options.

  • What happens when you lose a key or forget the combination?
  • What happens when you need emergency access?
  • Which is generally more secure?

Losing Keys and Combinations

One common criticism in this debate is the fact that locker keys may be difficult to keep track of and that they can easily be lost, especially when young students are involved. However, combinations can often be lost or forgotten as well. To combat key loss you can wear it on your person using a plastic wrist strap or a simple lanyard. Either way, backups must be kept especially in schools. For key locks, spares should be kept with someone you trust or in a school office. With combinations, records should be kept of all the combos or a master override key can be used.

Emergency Access

One area where combination and key locks differ is in accessibility. With a key lock, only the holder of the correct key can enter the locker. With a combination lock, anyone who knows the combination can get inside. Under normal circumstances, limiting the access to your locker is ideal and ensures that you know who is accessing your safe keepings. However, in an emergency, or if a combination is lost or forgotten, being able to get into a locker easily may be important. If a key is lost, stolen or otherwise unavailable a backup must be readily available. If a combination is forgotten, it must be recorded somewhere or and override master key must be used.

General Security Concerns

When it comes to securing valuables, which type of lock is more protective? Which is the hardest to crack? This depends on what your lockers are being used for. The best kind of lock is one that is part of the locker or one that the locker protects. For instance, the Probe 1 Door Low Locker has a hasp and staple lock that makes it more difficult to cut or break a padlock shackle. Also, different companies often make unique keys. For instance, Bisley locker keys, Link Lockers locker keys, and Garran locker keys each go with specific brand locks, making them harder to replicate.  A combination lock just needs a three number combination to crack. Unfortunately, both can be cracked by professional thieves, which is why you shouldn’t keep items of tremendous value in a safe. For a school locker area, however, both are useful for deterring opportunistic theft.