Let’s Learn Locker Lingo

Line drawing of locker fronts set against multicolored background.

Whether it was 30 years ago in school, or earlier this week at the gym, almost everyone has used a commercial locker. You know the basic parts: the combination lock, the lift-to-open lever, the swinging door, and the hooks inside. But that is where your knowledge ends. And that is more than sufficient… for most locker users.

However, if you’re shopping for storage lockers for your organization or business (which may very well be the case, if you are reading this), knowing a bit more than the basics will be helpful. Lockers for students, athletes, employees, or business patrons share similar parts and designs. Keep reading for an explanation of those locker details, from the locker experts at Partition Plus.

Basic Commercial Locker Terminology

It is important to understand that “locker” is a relatively vague word that can be used to describe any of the elements we are about to discuss. For our purposes, “locker” refers to an individual, lockable compartment. Partition Plus offers lockers manufactured by Penco and others.

Locker Materials

Common commercial locker materials include steel, solid plastic (HDPE), and solid phenolic. Consider general durability, moisture resistance, and aesthetic appeal when selecting a material. If you anticipate vandalism or rough use; certain materials are preferable. Close proximity to steam, humidity, and splashes will also inform your choice. And, as with any manufactured item, some product varieties will look “better” to the individual eye than others.

Line drawing of lockers, three banks of three frames.

The image above shows (3) banks. Each bank consists of (3) frames. From left to right, the first bank has (2) single tier frames and (1) two tier frame. The second bank has (3) single tier frames. The third bank has (2) single tier frames and (1) six tier frame.


Frames are not just for bowlers and fine art. In the world of commercial lockers, the term “frame” is equivalent to a column. Think of it this way: a frame can have a single tall compartment, or many (two, three, four, or six) smaller compartments, stacked vertically.


Tiers describe the number of lockers that are stacked within a frame. We mentioned a column with a single compartment. That would be one frame with a single tier: a locker. Six individual storage spaces in a vertical stack? That would be one frame, six tiers: a total of six lockers.


A bank of lockers describes one or more frames that are connected before installation. For instance, say you run a grocery store and your break room needs 9 locking compartments. Your needs may be served by three banks of three frames, each of which with a single tier. Likewise, two banks of three frames, each of which with two tiers, would give you 12 lockers (that are half the size of the 9 lockers in the previous example). Banks are the largest unit lockers are measured by before installation into the wall, hallway, or other space.

Other Commercial Locker Terms

What we’ve discussed so far covers the basics. Next week, we’ll talk more about accessories and components used during the customization and installation of commercial lockers.