Of the over 1.7 billion square feet of self storage in the US, 15.2% was delivered in the last five years. The industry’s considerable recent growth proves it is a great solution not only for clients but also for investors — including during challenging times. Continuing the strong trend, roughly 52.6M square feet of new US self storage space is scheduled to be completed this year, a 38.1% increase over 2022’s deliveries.

Many large investors have discovered what a gold mine self storage has become. To see how much storage space they actually offer now, we decided to get a little…. well, weird! Here are the top 10 players by total square footage of storage, and what this would look like if you got silly with the math — this is courtesy of Steven Wooding’s Weird Units Converter, where you can make all sorts of measurements using rather unusual units.

#10: Prime Storage — 15M square feet in 250 facilities

Prime Storage is a self storage company focused mostly on the Eastern U.S., but with some presence also in the Midwest and beyond. It owns and/or manages over 250 self storage facilities in around 30 states, which offer a total of more than 15 million square feet of storage. This is an area you could cover with about 258 million Post-it Notes, but this might take you and your office buddies at least a couple of days!

Empty colorful Post-it Notes on a wall
Empty Colorful Post-it Notes on a Wall

#9: Merit Hill Capital — 19M square feet in 291 facilities

With 291 self storage facilities across 34 states, Merit Hill Capital doesn’t shy away from rapid expansion — in 2020 it was the single largest buyer of self storage properties in the U.S. Though based in Brooklyn, most of its square footage is focused around California, Texas and Florida. The company’s total of more than 19 million rentable square feet could be covered by about 351 million donuts… no, we are not going to mention law enforcement officers at this point.

Assorted Donuts in a Box
Assorted Donuts in a Box

#8: StorageMart — 25M square feet in more than 250 locations

StorageMart is one of the players on this list that has branched out to other countries as well, specifically Canada and the UK. The company made waves in 2021 when it bought Manhattan Mini Storage — a huge $3 billion purchase — and its total inventory has now risen to over 25 million square feet. You could cover that entire area in 314 million bars of chocolate, enough to give treats to all the nation’s kids… and their moms!

A Variety of Chocolate Bars
A Variety of Chocolate Bars

#7: Storage Asset Management — 30M square feet in over 500 locations

Another company that operates mostly on the East Coast, Storage Asset Management owns or manages over 442 self storage properties across 34 states. It has recently started looking at flex space as an investment as well, a trend that is becoming more widespread as people’s work and storage needs shift. The company’s inventory is made up of 181,131 self storage units totaling 26 million square feet — a surface that could be covered by about 4.5 billion pennies, if you can spare $45 million and you know a bank teller nice enough to count it out for you!

United States Penny Coins
United States Penny Coins

#6: CubeSmart — 44M square feet in over 600 stores

The sixth-place spot is taken by CubeSmart, a self storage company that operates and/or owns 611 stores. New York City has the most, but Chicago and large cities in California, Florida and the Sun Belt are also well served. Its total inventory measures 44.1 million rentable square feet, and if that number makes you want to lie down for a minute, well, it’s roughly equivalent to almost a million king-sized beds!

Beds with Memory Foam Mattresses
Beds with Memory Foam Mattresses

#5: Life Storage — 68M square feet in around 1,200 facilities

Life Storage is headquartered in Williamsville, New York, and used to be known as Uncle Bob’s Self Storage. It boasts around 1,200 self storage properties in 37 states, mostly around the Southeast and Southwest, plus Washington DC. That amount of storage space offered is over 68 million rentable square feet, or, to put another way, that’s more than a thousand football fields — over his career, Tom Brady would have played them all three times!

American Football Stadium
American Football Stadium

#4 National Storage Affiliates — 71.8M square feet in 1,100 properties

With more than 500K self storage units across 42 states, plus Puerto Rico, National Storage Affiliates boasts a huge total inventory. And it is clearly on a roll for getting more, as two hundred of its approximately 1,100 self storage properties were acquired just recently in 2021, bringing its total rentable square footage to a whopping 71.8 million square feet — that’s the equivalent of 636 million iPhone screens!

Smartphones with White Blank Screens
Smartphones with White Blank Screens

#3: U-Haul — 79.7M square feet in over 1,800 facilities

Probably the best-known name on our list is this California-based moving company. Its do-it-yourself approach to moving home also translates wonderfully to storage — its fleet of hundreds of thousands of trucks and trailers is augmented by over 1,800 self storage facilities in both the U.S. and Canada. They hold around 934K storage units, adding up to a total inventory of 79.7 million square feet — that’s the equivalent of 1.6 billion credit cards laid flat!

A Row of Credit Cards
A Row of Credit Cards

#2: Extra Space Storage — 180M square feet in over 2,000 locations

The runner-up in our list is Extra Space, a company with over 2,000 properties in its portfolio. It is present in 41 states plus the District of Columbia. The company likes to keep a balance as an assurance against volatility, with no single property being worth more than 1% of its total portfolio. All in all, their inventory adds up to a mind-blowing 1.7 million storage units with a total of around 180 million square feet — equivalent to more than 1 billion slices of bread!

Ciabatta Bread on a Wooden Board
Ciabatta Bread on a Wooden Board

#1: Public Storage — 205M square feet in over 2,800 locations

Public Storage takes the number one spot as the largest owner of self storage properties in the US, owning over 2,800 locations in 40 states. Most of these are found in California, Texas and Florida, but the company has also expanded into Western Europe. This inventory amounts to a massive 205 million rentable square feet, roughly the same area that would be taken up by 27 trillion ballpoint pen tips — yep, that number has 12 zeros!

Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
Stainless Steel Ball Bearings

Self storage is big business these days, and for good reason. Every square foot rented represents space someone has freed-up at home, whether they stored furniture, books, kitchen appliances or even an RV. A lot of new storage space has been developed recently and there’s more on the way. With the many types of self storage available — including climate-controlled storage and RV storage — there’s  solution for every requirement. Check out our handy unit size guide, and don’t worry, we’ve sorted them using square feet rather than ballpoint pen tips!



Author

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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