Whether you're looking to outfit a small fitness center changing room or a high-end Division I basketball locker room, a plethora of locker options exist. Featuring everything from solid oak or steel compartments to biometric locks and ambient lighting, today's lockers can serve as a simple place to secure a club member's belongings or a high-tech marvel, crafted to effuse luxury and tailored to an individual athlete's own specifications. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for lockers:

Application
Carefully consider what types of activities and athletes your locker room will be accommodating. Are you designing for a single team? An entire college rec center? A multipurpose high school locker room? A natatorium? The answers to these questions, along with your available budget, will determine everything from what your lockers are made of to whether your lockers have ventilation.


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Number of units
Figuring out how many people you'll be accommodating at any given time is important, as it will determine how many available lockers you'll need. You'll also need to take into account how much space you have. Many locker vendors offer design services, which can help you estimate the number of units that will fit in your available spaces.

Materials
Lockers come in a variety of materials — steel, woods and laminates, and heavy-duty plastics. Along with the material type, you'll want to consider whether you need doors with ventilation for things like sweaty pads or wet swimsuits. For security reasons, some facilities, such as those in high schools, are now installing lockers with transparent polycarbonate door panels, which make it harder for students to hide guns and other contraband.


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Size
An NBA or NFL locker room is usually outfitted with outsized lockers made for athletes with outsized frames. Conversely, locker rooms at an elementary school accommodate smaller people. You might also want to think about what the people who use your locker room will be bringing with them and how much personal storage space they'll need. Are you better served by a bank of 50 smaller compartments, 25 full-size compartments, or a combination of the two?

Customization
A number of companies can work with you to provide a truly unique locker for your facility. Aside from larger sizes and high-end materials, a spectrum of amenities are available, including but not limited to: helmet coolers and equipment driers, cell phone chargers, colored LED lighting and branding, and individual video displays. The sky's the limit if you have the budget.


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Locks
Obviously, locks are an important part of lockers. Standard key and combination locks are the most common choices, but technology is quickly changing the marketplace. Integrated electronic combination locks allow users the convenience of not having to carry a key around, while management is able to more easily control access to the units.


This article originally appeared in the July|August 2018 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Purchasing Guide" Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.