A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.
Posted On by Ralph Goodman
I want to begin by acknowledging the presence of Master Lock padlocks on this list. I have shared many times my how Master Lock even going as far as including the company as one of the brands that security experts love to hate. But to paraphrase myself, “Not every product that this company puts out is terrible, but the terrible products certainly outshine the good.” Some make for good locker locks or maybe the best gym lock for your needs.
The thing about locker locks is that, much like great storage locks, it only pays to have them be so secure. Lockers are themselves so insecure and are rarely owned by the people using them (meaning the true owners are justified in removing your security as they see fit). All of this is to say, your focus may not be on having the best possible security. And even the best possible security can only accomplish so much.
The locks on this list are not necessarily recommended outside of the purpose of being used as locker locks. Some of the locks on this list may provide very little security. This lack of security will be expressed in the description of each particular lock. Outside of being locker locks or gym locks specifically, most locks on this list will not provide the security needed for other tasks. And in the case of gym security, there is more to know than what would make for the best locker lock.
If you are looking for safety in the crowd, this combination padlock provides the best method of blending in. You can use the Master Lock Standard Combination to find security in the herd. If it is singled out as an individual based on the value it holds (or the perception of value), the lock will not hold up against most attacks.
This is not one of the locker locks that is going to provide you with much in the way of actual physical security, so I would not recommend its use if you have valuables you are storing in the locker. But if all you have are a change of clothes, it will accomplish the most basic task of suggesting to an opportunistic criminal that they should look elsewhere.
The lock is also extremely inexpensive (a price matching its level of security). For children who need locker locks for school lockers, a combination lock is good because they can write down the numbers discreetly in a notebook they carry with them, whereas losing track of a key can create a bigger issue. As a gym locker lock, it also allows you to not take a key with you to exercise.
One step up from the Master Lock Standard Combination, the Master Lock Speed Dial, which offers shimming protection. This is one of the most important and basic levels of security a padlock should have. A lock such as this will keep kids looking to make mischief or low-skilled thieves from being able to open your locker locks.
Some people also find the combination system to be much more user-friendly than a standard combination dial. You can also reset the combinations on these to make things easier. I would recommend using a combination that can be remembered must be weighed against something that would be obvious, easy to guess or stumble upon.
A combination lock, as already expressed, is great for locker locks because you will not have to carry a key. If you lose a notebook with a few directions (left, up, up, down, right, left, up), this is not obviously a combination and does not necessarily compromise your lock. But if your combination for this lock is compromised, it can be changed without replacing the lock.
If you are interested in the convenience of an electronic lock or a smart lock for the purpose of locking up your locker, this is your best option. It is really not a horrible lock. There is shimming protection, water protection, and a port to use a 9-volt battery to temporary give the lock a charge if the internal battery dies.
You can have your cell phone in your pocket and the lock will open without you having to use a combination. But if you want to put your cell phone in your locker, you can turn this feature off and open the lock with a combination. They have really thought about practicality with this lock, except for one feature.
The lock itself is not very strong. When struck by something like a hammer, the lock will fall apart. However, most school security makes sure kids don’t have objects like hammers, so a kid’s locker should be fine. For a gym locker lock, a hammer strike might be hard to differentiate from clanging weights, and there is nothing to prevent someone from bringing in a hammer. Most likely this will not be an issue if you are not targeted, but it is good to know.
The Stanley Hardened Steel Padlock makes it on almost every recommended padlock list I write. It is often described as one of the lower security options, even if it is one of the best padlocks of all time. In this case, it is the highest security lock I would recommend. Once you go beyond this level of protection, you are not really achieving better security.
With something like the Stanley as your gym locker lock or for all of your locker locks, it is going to make more sense for the criminal to attack the locker. You do not have any control over the security of the locker itself. Many modern gyms use plastic and wood composite wood doors or thin steel lockers. School lockers can be pried open and the metal can be bent in a way that leaves an opening large enough to reach through.
Throughout the history of padlocks, a padlock has only been able to protect containers to a certain degree. If the container is insecure, or more insecure than the lock, that is going to be what criminals target. The Stanley padlock is going to give them little choice other than that. It does have a key, but the core is interchangeable so you can have it work with the same Medeco key you have on your front door to limit the number of keys you are using.
If you are looking for the best padlocks of all time, you should read that particular article. These are what I believe to be the best locker locks. Outside of use for school children or as a gym lock, the majority of these locks are not going to do the job of protecting things that are extremely valuable. These locks are to make the best out of a bad situation. Or in some cases, these locks are just to give you the slightest peace of mind.