The value of the items people put in self-storage can vary considerably. This is one reason storage facilities offer different levels of security—and sometimes at quite different prices. For very valuable items you might want the extra peace of mind that comes with knowing a facility employs very advanced  safely measures; alternatively, a different level of security that doesn’t break the bank may well be preferable.

Getting the Security You Need

Putting items in self-storage may seem straightforward, but the industry has grown enormously in recent years and you now have several decisions to make before you decide where to put them. One such choice may be between a facility that has very sophisticated security and one that helps stretch your dollar further.

Wondering whether the storage facility is offering the right security is one of the most frequently asked questions about self storage. If you’re looking for a place where your possessions are kept in a place with extra safety measures, you have plenty of options. When you’re browsing for your ideal storage unit and you see some facilities you like, it’s important to then go over each one’s security features to make sure they will let you rest easy.

And you can match a storage facility’s security provisions—and rents—with the value of the items you want to store, so you find a facility that not only gives you peace of mind but also charges what you are willing to pay. Here we look at the security measures you might encounter. Don’t be alarmed if one is not being used at a facility—they may compensate by using another measure instead.

Controlled Access

The gates of a large facility may have an electronic entry system with a keypad or proximity card. Some facilities even install biometric thumbprint or hand scanners to ensure only renters can gain access, or they may photograph each car number plate and even drivers’ faces as they enter. Automatically motorized gates are better secured between customers and can give protection against people tailgating into the yard. Places without the drive-in option won’t need to pay for these features, and neither will you if you rent there.

Controlled access also extends to doors within the self-storage facility, and if these are wired with alarms then an additional level of protection is provided. Some self-storage facilities use even more sophisticated ways to restrict access, including allowing customers access to just the areas that house their units or electronically assigning hours when they can enter the premises.


CCTV surveillance technology is a well-trusted way to guard a property. The placement of cameras is as crucial as the number of them and lighting is important as it helps the cameras get clear recordings. Infra-red motion-detecting cameras may also be used. Ask at a facility to find out what their provision is in this regard.

Self-storage facility with CCTV cameras
U – Stor Mini Storage – 991 Transport Way, in Petaluma, CA

Of course, one of the best ways of enforcing security has a human form. They will ensure that nobody unauthorized enters the premises, and spot other problems quickly too, and their very presence tends to put off intruders. Seeing guards on the premises may well give you extra peace of mind, making this type of security doubly worth having.


Storage units need securing. Unless you buy a lock that the self-storage facility offers, you will need to provide your own. A general rule about locks is that the reputation of the manufacturer is usually a good indication of quality—a good lock repays its purchase cost as you can take it with you when you stop renting the storage unit.

Padlocks are common, though the weaker types can be cut easily. Good quality disk locks are often recommended and they can be harder to break. Alternatively, electronic locks are used at an increasing number of facilities, they can send an alarm signal when the lock is being opened, and can even be operated by the tenant using a smart phone app. The security they provide is good, but you certainly can’t take these with you when you go!

Disk lock on a self-storage unit
Image via Shutterstock

When you want to store your stuff, evaluate what it is worth to you and what level of security you would like to pay for. The industry is so well-developed now in many parts of the country that you will surely find something that meets your requirements. Some facilities will offer advanced security that will put your mind completely at ease, while others will offer excellent value and all you need for the items you want to store.


Francis Chantree is a writer and editor for Yardi, focusing on real estate and lifestyle content. He is a former programmer and researcher who exchanged computer language for his greatest passion, human language! When not writing and proofreading text, he can be found gardening and reading.

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