Best climate-controlled storage units

Which storage companies can protect your temperature-sensitive belongings?

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The self-storage industry is growing rapidly — many Americans currently rent a storage unit, whether it’s because they have too many possessions to store at home or are in the process of moving. A climate-controlled storage unit is a safe place for belongings, especially furniture, electronics and important documents.

While not all storage facilities offer climate control, it may be a feature to look for if you plan to store temperature-sensitive items. This feature can go a long way in protecting your most valuable possessions, especially if you live where temperatures fall below 32 degrees or rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Our picks for climate-controlled storage units

Our picks for climate-controlled storage units

Several factors make a storage company ideal, but the most important is a secure facility. You want to feel like your belongings are protected and that you can visit your unit without fear for your own safety. Storage facilities should have video monitoring (both indoors and outdoors), as well as gates and doors with access codes. They should also be clean and well kept. It’s a good idea to visit a self-storage site you’re considering so you can verify the conditions firsthand.

Our top three picks for best climate-controlled storage units are secure, have good customer reviews and are widely available in the U.S.

Public Storage
  • Temperature range: 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Personal access code: Yes
  • 24/7 monitoring: Yes
  • Manager on site: Yes
  • Availability: 40 states and Washington, D.C.

Public Storage is one of the largest operators of self-storage facilities in the nation. It offers a wide range of storage options in many different sizes ranging from 5-foot-by-5-foot units to 10-foot-by-30-foot units. It also has storage lockers available with climate control. Not all units are indoors or climate-controlled, so be sure to make it clear that you need those features when renting your unit. You can browse available storage units in your area on the company’s website.

What we like
Public Storage provides free reservations, which means you can reserve a unit online and cancel later with no extra fees or charges. There are also no long-term contracts because rental agreements are month to month. The company offers promotions to new customers, such as $1 first month’s rent if you book online.
What to consider
Public Storage doesn’t currently offer 24/7 access to its storage units, so you’ll have to visit your unit during certain hours (usually between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.). The company also doesn’t operate in all states, so there’s a chance there’s not a facility near you.
What reviewers say
Happy Public Storage customers who left reviews on our site often say they appreciate the company’s helpful on-site staff. A reviewer from Michigan said about their experience: “Every time I come in I'm greeted by Trica. She is wonderful, always so sweet and listens to my problems. We just love her. I almost moved to a cheaper place but Trica talked me out of it and I stayed. She's the best. Keep her.”
U-Haul Storage
  • Temperature range: 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Personal access code: Yes
  • 24/7 monitoring: Yes
  • Manager on site: No
  • Availability: Nationwide (not all locations offer climate control)

U-Haul offers both storage lockers and self-storage units ranging in sizes from 5 feet by 5 feet to 10 feet by 30 feet. It has indoor, outdoor and drive-up units available with climate control. With U-Haul, you can also rent one of its trucks or trailers to move your belongings to your storage unit. There’s no cost to reserve a storage unit online, and you get a free lock when you move in.

What we like
U-Haul doesn’t require long-term contracts (rental agreements are month to month). The company also doesn’t charge administrative or deposit fees. Some U-Haul facilities offer 24/7 access, and sometimes the company offers discounts to customers who rent a U-Haul truck or trailer.
What to consider
While U-Haul has locations in every state, it doesn't have as many facilities in each state as some of its competitors. This could mean there’s not a U-Haul storage facility near you if you don’t live in a metro area.
What reviewers say
People who’ve used U-Haul storage and left a review on our site often mention how simple the company makes the process.

“The process was easy and smooth. Their customer service people were nice and able to answer all my questions," a reviewer from New York said. "I discussed with them over the phone what I needed stored and they handled everything with care. I felt my items were taken care of and safe. All in all, my experience was positive. I was completely satisfied with their service and I would use them again.”

Extra Space Self Storage
  • Temperature range: 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Personal access code: Yes
  • 24/7 monitoring: Yes
  • Manager on site: Yes
  • Availability: 41 states and Washington, D.C.

Extra Space Storage is another of the largest self-storage companies in the U.S. Though it's not available in every state, it does operate more than 2,000 locations nationwide. Similar to its competitors, the company offers a range of storage options, from small lockers to 10-foot-by-30-foot units.

What we like
Extra Space Storage offers a number of storage options at competitive prices. If you reserve online, you can take advantage of the special web rate for most storage units. Also, there’s 24/7 access available at some Extra Space Storage locations.
What to consider
The company requires a 15-day written notice (or 10-day verbal notice) before moving out. If you forget to give notice, you could be charged for the next month’s rent after you’ve vacated the unit. Also, climate-controlled units may have a significantly higher price than units without climate control (50% or more in some cases).
What reviewers say

Satisfied reviewers on our site often mention the ease of reserving a unit and the helpful staff. One Extra Space customer from Pennsylvania said: “To start off with, reserving the unit was extremely easy and painless. It can be done 100% online, including signing the lease, and all you have to do is go to the facility to put a lock (that they provide you with inside your unit waiting for you after reserving) on the unit after reserving.”

That specific location doesn’t have 24/7 access, so they gave the company a rating of 4 rather than 5 — “although I won’t deduct more than that because overall I like Extra Space,” they wrote.

How much does climate-controlled storage cost?

You can expect to pay anywhere from 10% to 50% more for a storage unit if you need climate control.

The cost of climate-controlled storage is generally higher than that of regular storage. However, the added cost comes with added protection for your items.

According to Nick Valentino, vice president of market operations at Bellhop, a moving company, “Climate-controlled units offer a higher level of protection from the elements. They are typically temperature- and humidity-controlled, which can help to protect stored items from damage. In addition, climate-controlled units may also offer features such as dehumidifiers, which can further protect stored items.”

On average, climate-controlled units add 10% or more to the monthly rent price of traditional storage units (such outside units). In some cases, though, you could pay a 50% (or higher) premium for a climate-controlled unit.

The protection climate-controlled storage units offer may be worth the extra cost, especially if some of your items are valuable or irreplaceable. With some items, you just don’t want to risk it.

“There are a few items that are best stored in climate-controlled environments, such as valuable paintings or photographs, electronics, and important documents," Valentino said. "Temperature and humidity can damage those items beyond repair.”

» CALCULATE: How much storage units cost

What can you store in a climate-controlled storage unit?

You can store just about anything in a climate-controlled unit that you’d store in a typical unit. Clothes, shoes, household items and books, for example, can all be stored safely in a climate-controlled unit.

However, because climate-controlled units come with added costs, it’s best to make sure you plan to store temperature- and humidity-sensitive items before you opt for this special type of storage unit. It’s generally recommended to use climate-controlled storage if you plan to store your items for an extended period of time — from several months to a few years.

Here are a few items that are best stored in climate-controlled settings:

  • Artwork
  • Antiques, collectibles (like coins) and family heirlooms
  • Furniture (especially if it’s made of wood, which is more susceptible to damage caused by changes in humidity)
  • Photographs, DVDs and other memorabilia
  • Important documents, like wills or insurance policies
  • Wine
  • Musical instruments
  • Computers and electronics


Can you store food in a climate-controlled storage unit?

You may be able to store nonperishable food items, like canned goods or spices, in a climate-controlled storage unit. However, some storage facilities don’t allow food storage because it attracts mice and other pests, so check with the property manager for a list of prohibited items.

Can you get a storage unit with AC?

Your storage facility may or may not have air conditioning, depending on where you live and the type of unit you get. Keep in mind that air conditioning and climate control are not the same: A climate-controlled unit will maintain a constant temperature, while an air-conditioned unit may vary in temperature from time to time. Also, a climate-controlled unit can regulate humidity levels, which can help protect vulnerable items (like wood furniture) from moisture.

Can you get a heated storage unit?

Heated storage units may be available in your area, particularly if you live somewhere that gets bitterly cold winters.

Is climate-controlled storage worth it?

Climate-controlled storage could be worth it, depending on the items you wish to store. For instance, if you want to keep expensive furniture from being ruined before you move into a new place, a climate-controlled unit may offer a great deal of protection. However, if you plan to store items that aren’t susceptible to damage from temperature changes (like patio furniture or garden tools), you could save money and opt for a unit without climate control.

Bottom line

In some regions of the U.S., it may be critical to use climate-controlled storage to protect your belongings from humidity and extreme temperatures. The added cost may be worth it, depending on where you live and what items you plan to store.

As you evaluate potential storage companies, pay close attention to the company's security features. Ask about its climate control system and how it regulates the temperature within the facility. Consider the availability of storage unit sizes and how close or far away the facility is from where you live.

» DECIDE: What size storage unit do you need?

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