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When it comes to locks for your summer camp or community escape room, there are plenty of options. Now, I’m not talking about an electromagnetic lock with a trigger and controller. That would cost $200-$500 for the one lock and we want to keep the costs low.
Here are 15 lock variations that range in price from $2-$80 each.
KEY LOCKSThese are your typical locks that can be found just about anywhere. Players love finding keys.
COMBINATION LOCKSI suggest you stay away from the standard round combination lock that is often used. May kids have trouble with working them. Instead use combination locks where you simply have to align the correct numbers. These come in lots of sizes, from suitcase locks too much larger ones. These locks are great since there are so many ways you can reveal a set of numbers for the lock.
WORD LOCKSHere we have combination locks that use letters instead of numbers. Great to use with clues that lead to a word in a book.
DIRECTIONAL LOCKSThese are fun locks to have. Left, Left, Up, Right and unlock. Keep a few of these on hand as they can break with excessive and rough use. That said, I really like these locks. The Dialspeed on the right is a directional lock on steroids.
BOTTLE LOCKSWant to hide a clue or puzzle in a bottle and lock it up? This is the lock you need.
PASSWORD LOCK BOXThis lock is also a box and a great place to hold keys to another lock or a message of some sort. Attach it to a wall or set it on a table.
ELECTRONIC TOUCHPAD CABINET LOCKThis neat lock is perfect for locking a desk drawer or a cabinet. You could even make a wooden box and install this lock. you might think that an electronic lock like this would be very expensive, but this one is under $40 at the time of this article posting. Oh, and this lock also opens with an RIFD card that comes with it.
CARDKEY TRAVEL LOCK While the cabinet lock above can also be opened with a cardkey, this little lock does not require installation. How fun would it be to have players find a cardkey and have to figure out what to do with it?
FINGERPRINT TRAVEL LUGGAGE LOCKOkay, these locks are a bit pricey at around $60, but imagine the players of the game learn that the only way to open this lock is to use the finger of a certain staff person (who may or may not be in the room at that time).
MAGNETIC CABINET LOCKSThese low tech locks can be found nearly anyplace that sells baby items. It’s to keep kids out of drawers. Install this lock on a cabinet or drawer and then hide the magnetic knob. Presto! A low-cost and unique lock. These usually come in packs of 4-6. Each individual lock is between $2-$5.
ANTIQUE STYLE PADLOCKSDepending on the theme of your escape room story, these types of key padlocks can be a neat addition.
CHINESE OLD STYLE KEY LOCKSThere are a variety of locks that are called Chinese Old Style. These are usually small and meant for jewelry boxes – which is a great place to keep small items or notes.
ICE CREAM PINT COMBINATION LOCK PROTECTORLooking for something really different (and a bit silly)? Empty out your favorite Ben and Jerry’s ice cream pint (into your mouth), clean the pint and place an item or note inside. Then lock it down with this protector.
LILY WATER PADLOCKIf you can find one of these locks it would be a really neat addition to your collection. The keys are the cool part. They are rare but I did see one on Ebay recently for $80.
HANDCUFFSHave a couple of cabinets that you want locked up? Want to create a story where the goal is to free someone who is handcuffed to something? Having a pair of handcuffs in your collection of locks can come in handy.
BONUS: HASPLet’s say you have multiple groups solving their own puzzles, each looking for one key, and you only want to use one lockbox. You can use a hasp to lock a box using up to six different locks. Always have a hasp.
For information on How to Create a Low Cost Escape Room for Camps, Youth Groups and Community Centers check out my ebook.