Locker rooms

How to manage locker room cabinets at your gym

How to manage locker room cabinets at your gym
Written by GEORGE Published on 2021-02-01 6 minutes read

Gym locker rooms are an essential part of a club that is often overlooked. This is where your members change clothes, shower, and leave their personal objects while working out. That is why it’s so crucial that these spaces are not just clean and modern but also very secure. Though I’m sure you have complete control over the people that come and go in your gym, and you don’t allow access to unknown people, that doesn’t mean there can’t be incidents in your locker rooms.

Therefore, it’s very important to ensure that your members can securely leave their personal effects in the cabinets. That means each cabinet is big enough to fit all their belongings and, more importantly, it has a secure lock.

These locks can also be a hefty cost for the club. Every time a lock is broken or a member leaves with the key, that cabinet must be fixed, or the lock must be changed. There are many suitable solutions, from the simplest ones like padlocks to more modern ones with keycodes. Each has its own benefits and downsides, depending on the type of gym and how it manages its members.

Below, I’ll show you the most popular cabinet locks for gym locker rooms, with their pros and cons, so you can choose the very best solution for your fitness club.

Cabinets with a padlock

This is the easiest solution that is also very low-cost. Each cabinet has a hinge for a small padlock. The lock can be given to the members at the reception desk when they check in or they can use their own.

PRO: It’s a relatively cheap solution that you can quickly implement and use. You can make members bring their own lock so you can easily eliminate costs with lost padlocks or keys.

CON: It’s not the most state-of-the-art solution, nor the most professional. If you provide the padlocks, you’ll constantly have to replace them. If you make member bring their own, you should also give them the option of buying one at the reception desk, because there is no way some of them will forget to bring one.

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Cabinets with keys

This is one of the most popular solutions for gym locker rooms. And it’s a relatively cheap solution that is easy to use. Members receive a small key when they check-in, and optionally, they leave their member card in exchange.

PRO: It’s a very easy-to-use solution for members. You know exactly what member uses what cabinet, since each one has their own key, and the member leaves their member card in exchange.

CON: Lost keys or those that members forget to hand in can become a cost that should not be overlooked. If you don’t have a member card, members will have to leave personal items in exchange for the key, which they might not want to do. Also, the member can’t choose their own cabinet. Finally, you can easily create busy areas in the locker room if the staff doesn’t pay attention to what keys they give out.

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Cabinets with a key and a barcode

A similar solution that can solve the issue of lost keys is registering each cabinet in your gym management platform and allocating a unique barcode to each one. That barcode is printed on a keychain pendant and attached to the key that belongs to that cabinet. When a member checks in, they are allocated a key by scanning one of those barcodes. This information remains in your management software, and if a member leaves with the key, you’ll know exactly who has it.

You can find out more about’s solution here >>

PRO: This option is equally easy for members, and they don’t have to leave a personal object in exchange for the key. It’s easier to recover a lost key because you have a detailed history of who used what cabinet. That means you have helpful information when you have an incident in the locker room. The cost is very low, and you can scrap most costs for replacing the locks.

CON: Cabinets can be damaged, and keys can be broken in the lock, which means you will have an added cost. Keychain pendants will also deteriorate after some use, so you’ll have to replace them occasionally. In addition, the member cannot choose their own cabinet, leading to overcrowding in certain locker room areas.

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Electronic locks with RFID

Each cabinet in the locker room has an electromechanical lock that can be opened with an RFID card or bracelet. The member receives a card or a bracelet when they buy their membership. They can use this card or bracelet to lock and unlock a cabinet in the locker room. If a member leaves a cabinet locked, a mastercard can be used to unlock any cabinet. Depending on the configurations of the system, a card or a bracelet can be allocated to only one cabinet constantly, which means members cannot keep these cards.

PRO: It’s a modern solution that is also very user-friendly. If members can keep the cards or bracelets, they don’t have to leave any personal items at the front desk, and they can pay for them if they lose or damage them. This option is also very useful for gyms with an access control system that doesn’t require members to check in at the reception desk.

CON: It’s a more expensive solution that requires additional costs if a lock is broken. Though it’s not very difficult to use, you can post instructions on each cabinet door. Some members might have problems using them or forget which cabinet they locked.

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Electromechanical locks with a pin code

Each cabinet has an electromechanical loc with a keypad. The member sets a 4-digit pin code that locks the cabinet. Once the cabinet is unlocked, that pin is erased, and you must select another one. 

PRO: It’s a self-service system that doesn’t rely on the front desk or a member card or a bracelet. The member doesn’t need a key or card, which means they can’t lose anything. This is a state-of-the-art solution and ideal for clubs with an access control system that doesn’t require checking in at the reception desk. That means clubs can work non-stop. Members can also choose their own cabinet.

CON: It’s a more expensive solution that requires additional costs for locks that break down. This is a user-friendly system, but some members might have issues using them, mainly if they forget their pin code.

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Locks with RFID and pin code

There is also a hybrid solution, a mix between the last two described above. Depending on how you or members prefer, these locks can be used with cards, RFID bracelets, or a pin code. For this solution, there are two ways in which you can implement it: online or offline. More precisely, you can choose to have locks with a battery or connected to a power supply.

PRO: Apart from the fact that it’s a very modern solution, you also have various options for implementation, depending on how your members are already used to it. The locks are easy to use, and they can easily be integrated with an access control system. The member can also pick their own cabinet.

CON: It’s a more expensive solution that is not always easy to use by members, mainly if you don’t post instructions on the cabinet’s door. There can be additional costs if the locks get broken.

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Online or offline

Electromechanical locks with RFID cards or bracelets, and hybrid ones can be configured online in a centralized system, or they can be battery-powered.

Those battery-powered are cheaper, but they must be managed manually. For example, if someone leaves the cabinet locked, you must open it with a mastercard. Usually, in clubs that operate like this, an employee checks each cabinet at the end of the day and makes sure they are all open. You should also bear in mind that batteries run out of power, so you’ll have to change them.

On the other hand, online systems can be managed with dedicated software that allows you to easily monitor them. That means you’ll know which cabinet is used, which ones are blocked, and which ones are in use. The disadvantage of such a system is that its budget can be even four times larger than the one for battery-powered locks. Moreover, you need a power supply and an internet connection for each cabinet, which can be difficult to achieve.

A quick catch-up...

All the solutions I showed you above are excellent for gyms, depending on their type and how they are managed. However, if you have a small studio with a handful of cabinets, it may not be worth investing in electromechanical locks or RFID solutions.

However, if you want your gym to run 24/7 and have a large member base, these expensive solutions can be useful for both your staff and your members. They won’t have to wait for keys or their personal items at the front desk. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose the right solution for your gym that also matches your budget.


George works in the fitness industry for over 12 years, during which he combined his advanced IT skills with the ability to solve problems with ingenious tech solutions. As a result, he has become very familiar with the challenges that occur during gyms' daily tasks and their solutions. His experience always takes shape into practical features for our platform

Fitness Business Romania
Fitness Business Romania

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