Whether you’re clearing out your garage to make extra space for a new car, downsizing from a three-bedroom house to a one-bedroom apartment, or you’re just in need of temporary storage before you move in to your new home, self-storage will likely be your most practical solution.
If you find yourself in this situation, figuring out how much different storage unit companies cost will naturally become a top priority.
Storage unit prices can vary depending on a number of factors, like:
- How long your items will be stored
- Whether it’s ground-level or on a higher floor
- Whether it’s standard or climate-controlled
To ensure you don’t waste money on storage space you won’t use, it’s wise to determine which size storage unit you need before shopping around. You’ll then want to compare storage unit prices by calling at least one local storage facility or using an online service like SpareFoot to get quotes from multiple providers.
By understanding average storage unit prices, you can get a better idea of how much you might expect to pay before you rent storage.
National average storage unit costs by size and type
|Unit Size/Type||Standard Unit||Climate-Controlled Unit|
|5 x 5||$57||$79|
|10 x 10||$98||$152|
|10 × 20||$188||$224|
|10 × 30 |
*Sizes may vary
*Not all first floor units
*May include promotions
We calculated the following average storage costs using online quotes from multiple facilities in rural and metropolitan areas. With so many storage options, however, these figures may not reflect exactly what you’ll pay. Getting several quotes based on your specific needs is the best way to get accurate storage unit prices.
Average unit cost by city
|5 x 10 Unit||10 x 10||10 x 20|
|Los Angeles, CA||$171||$278||$473|
|New Orleans, LA||$109||$172||$280|
|Kansas City, MO||$71||$120||$186|
Storage figures for the above cities are from Life Storage. These figures reflect the average costs for climate-controlled storage units.
Factors that affect self-storage facility rent
Even within the same city, self-storage prices can vary significantly. Here are several factors that can influence your monthly storage unit costs.
Though size is certainly a big factor in monthly costs, location is often even more important.
You may be able to rent a 10’ x 30’ climate-controlled unit in a tiny Texas town for less than it would cost for a standard 5’ x 10’ unit in Chicago, New York City, or Washington, D.C.
If you live in a large metropolitan area with a high cost of living, finding a unit outside city limits may save you big bucks — though in some cases, a convenient location may be worth the extra cost.
Storage unit sizes play a major role in determining cost.Depending on your needs, a large storage unit will almost always cost more than a smaller unit within the same town or city. The more square feet available, the more you should expect to pay (though the cost per square foot is usually cheaper with larger units). However, it may cost more per month to rent storage in a small unit that is climate-controlled than in a larger standard unit.
The items you’ll be storing will dictate what kind of unit you need and how much your monthly storage unit prices will be. Specialty storage options, such as motorcycle or vehicle storage, come with a much higher average price than a typical storage unit.
Sensitive items like musical instruments, antique furniture, and electronics may require renting a climate-controlled unit that regulates both temperature and humidity, especially in areas prone to extreme weather conditions.
Type of unit
Self-storage units come in all shapes, sizes, and types to fit most needs and budgets. Keep in mind that not every storage facility offers all types of units!
Indoor storage units offer more protection from the elements. Outside units with roll-up doors may be more affordable and convenient because they offer drive-up access, but they’re generally best for sturdier items like tools, outdoor gear, and patio furniture.
Climate control is another issue that warrants close attention when screening prospective storage providers. Climate-controlled units offer protection against extreme temperatures, but because they require more energy to maintain, they also cost more.
Likewise, you’ll want to consider other features like which floor the unit is on, how high the ceiling is, and whether elevators, loading docks, and/or carts are available.
Access and security features
If you’ll be setting out on a year-long world tour after your items are safely stored, you won’t need to worry about ensuring 24-hour access.
For most families, however, it’s a necessity.
Many storage facilities are available 24/7, but others limit access to “office hours.” When storing items you use regularly, 24-hour access is a must.
“We’ve found that our customers value having access to their items around the clock,” says Nick Huber, owner of Bolt Storage. “Life happens, and you never know when you might want to get access to your recreational vehicle, camping supplies, or other things needed around the house.”
Also, you may want to look into whether the facility has:
- Security guards
- On-site staff at all hours
- Traditional locks, keyless entry, and/or automatic gates
Whether it’s an independent facility or part of a chain
Independent storage unit companies can have big disparities in price and service versus those affiliated with national chains.
Branded storage providers may offer seasonal discounts, special promotions like your first month free or reduced rates on moving truck rentals, packing supplies and even online bill pay. Some will even knock off a percentage of your monthly rent when you book your unit online. Local companies don’t always offer these features, but that doesn’t mean they’re always more expensive. It’s best to get quotes and check for any available promotions with each facility you consider to find ways to save money.
Duration of storage time
Storage companies rely heavily on promotions, and they commonly give significant discounts to those who sign long-term storage contracts. Renting on a month-to-month basis could result in higher monthly storage unit prices — though you also won’t be locked into a contract. So if you only need a short-term rental, it may still be better to stick with a month-to-month contract so you don’t pay for any extra storage time you don’t actually need.
Time of year
Like their moving company counterparts, public storage facilities often experience high demand during the peak season between May and September. If you can, opting to store your items during the fall and winter may result in decreased storage unit prices.
Most storage unit companies require their customers to have insurance. Policies offered by the storage facility itself frequently add between $5 and $35 to the storage cost.
These insurance policies usually have a number of deductible options, but they’re often very limited in scope, so read the fine print carefully to know exactly what is and isn’t covered.
Additional types of storage
There are a few additional types of storage that might be a good fit for you. Of course, these storage unit prices will vary significantly from those of a standard storage unit. Not all facilities offer these options, either. You’ll need to contact local facilities directly to see what they offer.
Though storage is most commonly used for household goods, it’s increasingly becoming a necessity for many small businesses, as well. Storage facilities that are open 24/7 are the most popular choice for business owners looking to store everything from displays and documents to sales materials and surplus inventory.
Depending on what you need to store for your business, you may be able to use a standard storage unit.
Drive-up units are similar to garages because they’re at street level, they feature roll-up doors, and they allow vehicles to get within just a few feet for easily accessible unloading.
They’re often cheap storage units, comparatively, and are convenient for those dealing with heavy, bulky items that would be a hassle to wrangle into and out of elevators and upstairs units.
Portable and container storage
Moving container companies have become a fairly popular storage option recently thanks to their flexibility and ease of use (even though they tend to be more expensive than a typical storage unit).
Here’s how it works: A moving container company drops off one or more portable containers at your house, and you have a few business days to load them up. You’re charged based on the number of containers you use.
With portable storage, customers can choose to have their items stored on-site or at the company’s facility or even transported to another city or state in the container. This makes them especially convenient for cross-country moves. However, you cannot access the container’s contents if it isn’t kept on your own property.
If your significant other has been bugging you to get that old boat, RV, or spare car out of the driveway, outdoor storage may be a great, cost-effective option. Outdoor boat or RV storage may be covered or uncovered, and it may even feature handy amenities like electrical and water hook-ups and washing stations.
Find storage units that work for you
Storage costs can vary quite a bit based on what you need — but by having a general idea of the average costs in your area, you can find a safe place to keep your valuables that won’t break the bank!
Of course, finding the right storage unit means more than just finding cheap storage units. By making sure you work with a reputable facility, you won’t have to worry about hidden fees, security issues, or other storage mishaps.
1. Which is a better storage solution, a regular storage unit or a moving container?
A moving container usually makes more sense when you need to store your stuff for a regional or long-distance move, while a storage unit is best when you aren’t moving and are just in need of extra storage space. It’s helpful to decide self-storage vs. moving container so you get the best storage unit for your needs and budget.
2. Where are self-storage units the cheapest versus the most expensive?
According to SpareFoot, storage unit prices are cheapest in places like Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Springfield, Missouri; and Newark, New Jersey.
Some of the most expensive storage locales include Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Dallas. It all comes down to supply and demand!
3. Why do storage unit prices vary so widely?
Storage prices can differ greatly even for similar units within the same town or city.
Remember, prices depend on a number of factors like storage location, season (i.e. times of high demand), and storage unit size and type.
But keep in mind that one facility may appear less expensive than another only because their advertised price doesn’t include certain fees or is based on a promotion for which you may not qualify. You may save money upfront only to see increased rental fees later down the road.
It’s imperative to read the fine print and make sure you know exactly what you’re getting before signing on the dotted line.
4. What is the most popular storage unit size?
The most popular storage unit size is 10 x 10 feet, which is about half the size of a one-car garage. That’s typically big enough to hold the contents of a two-bedroom apartment (furniture and boxes).
However, smaller and larger storage unit sizes are available, depending on how much space you need. U-Haul’s storage unit size guide lists units ranging from 5’ x 5’ all the way up to 10’ x 30’, with several other sizes in between. Most of their competitors offer similar sizes, though they can vary slightly.
5. How much does a small storage unit cost?
5’ x 5’ and 5’ x 10’ units usually cost somewhere between $50 and $70 per month and are best suited for studio and one-bedroom apartments.
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