Are Plastic Laminate Lockers Right for Your College?

Vandalized laminate locker.

Plastic laminate lockers are the new arrival in the arena of collegiate lockers, but are they the right fit for your space? As with anything, the answer often comes down to their location, required use, and maintenance. When looking at installing or replacing locker systems, it’s great to know options have increased, allowing for more choices both aesthetically and in regards to function. Sometimes having so many options can be confusing and overwhelming, however, so let’s take a look at the most important areas to consider.


Traditionally, metal and wooden lockers in areas with high moisture can experience rust or warping. Plastic laminate can also chip or swell in humidity. Full plastic or rust-free metal lockers are designed for high humidity areas, like those found in gyms.

Location is important to understanding which materials and finishes will be the most durable in the setting. When it comes to lockers, longevity is the name of the game, and location and required use are the two highest priorities to consider when choosing the right fit. All-welded metal body lockers featuring a laminate or plastic/phenolic door can allow you to have both strength and long-term durability.

Required Use

When shopping for new lockers, it’s valuable to note the many options available that may not have been an option in the past. There is no longer a need to swap like for like, in fact, this may not be the best solution. Today’s student has grown in sophistication in what they want and need in nearly every way. Customization, personalization, and technology are the new norm.

Smarter lockers allow for a variety of configurations for greater needs, including varying degrees of security. This is important as athletes may want uniforms and equipment in one type of locker, and items of high value (wallet, computers, phones, headphones, etc.) in a more secure one.

Different lockers can also be used by the organization to better secure higher priority items – storing equipment related to testing or medical supplies and safety equipment separately, for example. It’s important to think both long- and short-term about needs and design a locker system that is flexible in meeting those needs to maximize budget and space.

Locker Maintenance

Finally, every locker system will have maintenance costs, and those need to be considered. Metal lockers tend to be more secure than plastic, and while both are designed for long-lasting durability, plastic lockers may need to be replaced, rather than repaired. Latching and locking mechanisms are the most likely to break or fail, so learn more about their durability, and ask about warranties. Look at hybrid lockers to get the best of both worlds, such as metal lockers with plastic doors and high quality locking mechanisms.

It’s important to look at costs associated with repair, replacement, lock changes, and configuration options to determine the best balance between budget, space utilization, and long-term function. When considering the best material – plastic, plastic laminate, wood, metal or hybrid lockers – remember quality matters.