Self storage comes in handy in a variety of circumstances: moving, downsizing, remodeling, or simply not having enough space at home for all your belongings. Self storage is even more important in a big city like Chicago, where apartment living is widespread, and there’s also a high influx of newcomers. The street rate for a 10X10 self storage unit in Chicago stands at around $110 per month. A 10×10 unit is quite roomy, allowing you to store a variety of items, including extra furniture, out of season clothing, tools, sports equipment and so on.

When renting a self storage unit, you also need to get a durable storage lock to make sure your belongings are safe. The renter is responsible for the purchasing and installation. Here’s what you need to know about selecting and buying the best storage locks in Chicago:

Pick the right storage lock type for your unit

There are several models of storage locks to choose from – and it’s important to understand the pros and cons for each type before deciding on what to purchase.

  • Padlocks are inexpensive and widely available but might not be the safest bet as their long, thin bars make them easy to cut through. If you’re opting for padlocks, make sure you purchase a high-quality, sturdy one.
  • Combination locks are similar to padlocks in design, except they don’t have a key. Instead, you are using a number sequence to lock and unlock them. They’re very convenient, as you don’t have to worry about the key, but they do have the same safety issues as the regular padlocks mentioned above.
  • Cylinder locks are very safe, but you might not be able to use one for your storage unit. They’re difficult to install on a storage unit door, and not all storage facilities allow this type of lock.
  • Disc locks are pretty much the standard in the self storage industry and are recommended by most facility owners and managers. They’re very sturdy, easy to use, and their design makes them impossible to remove with bolt cutters.

Another important consideration is not to use old locks that you might find in your storage unit’s door. Sometimes, former renters might leave the lock behind, but it’s not safe to reuse them since copies of the key probably exist.

Now that you learned the advantages and the disadvantages of every type of storage lock, here’s where to find them in Chicago:

Shop for locks at your storage facility

Most facilities offer storage unit locks to buy, so the first step would be to ask the facility’s manager about the selection of locks they sell. However, if you’re not happy with the quality, the degree of safety the locks provide, or the prices, you can look elsewhere for better options. However, it’s essential that, by the time your belongings are packed and ready to be deposited in the storage unit, you also have your storage lock prepared and ready to go.

Drop by the local hardware stores and locksmiths

Hardware stores and locksmith services usually provide a wide variety of products to choose from. A big plus is that you can talk to the store employees and ask questions about the locks and find out which one is the best choice for your needs. Here are some of Chicago’s most reliable companies for buying storage locks:

  • Chicago Locksmiths offers a wide variety of locks you can use for your storage unit, and they are also available to assist you 24/7 should you have any ulterior issues with your lock (such as losing the key or simply not being able to get it open).
  • Crafty Beaver is the friendly local hardware store where store associates always have the time and the willingness to answer all your questions, so it will be easy to find the right product for your needs.
  • United Locksmiths provide the full range of locksmith services in the Chicago area: automotive, residential and commercial, and will help you select a reliable storage lock for your unit.
  • O.N. Locksmith offers everything from regular padlocks to sophisticated smart locks. You can find everything you might need to secure your space at this professionally licensed locksmith company in Chicago.
  • Nonstop Locksmith not only sells a large selection of locks, but the company also provides installation services if needed and is available for emergencies.

Order your storage lock online

If you don’t want to physically shop around for a storage lock, you can obviously order it online. Amazon sells a huge variety of locks, so you’ll definitely be able to find one that’s safe and reasonably priced. However, before ordering it online, make sure it has the right characteristics for a storage unit door. It’s better to order products that say, in their description, that are suitable for storage units. You should also check out if the lock is destined for outdoor use, as many units are located outdoors.

Even as most storage facilities have many security measures in place, being fenced and gated, and fitted with security cameras, the storage unit lock is still needed and is your responsibility. A good-quality, sturdy storage lock will give you peace of mind, knowing that your belongings are well protected.


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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