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How much do storage units cost?

Plan to pay from $90 to $290 monthly

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Written by Danni White
Edited by Cassidy McCants

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    Whether you’re looking to downsize and declutter your home or store a boat or other bulky items you don’t use frequently, renting a storage unit may be the answer. Storage rental can get pretty pricey, though, so it’s a good idea to research what you’re getting into and if it’s worth it based on your belongings, your budget and the storage options in your area.

    On average, storage units cost between $90 and $290 monthly. Read on for more about these costs so you can find the best solution for your specific needs.


    Key insights

    • Your storage costs will depend on what size unit you need, where it’s located and its features, as well as the level of on-site security.
    • Portable unit rental may cost around $150 to $290 per month. Your total cost depends on whether you have it delivered to and from your home.
    • If your belongings need to be stored at a particular temperature, look for climate-controlled units. This is a good idea for antiques.

    Types of storage units

    A good first step if you’re considering renting a storage unit is to determine what kind of container you need. Traditional units are like small garages with outdoor access, but there are also indoor and portable storage options.

    Outdoor storage units

    Outdoor units are garage-like facilities where you can drive directly to your unit, which is secured with a padlock and key — they might be what you think of when you imagine a typical storage unit. These often aren’t climate-controlled and are more susceptible to security issues, so they tend to be a bit cheaper than other options.

    Climate-controlled storage units

    Not all units have climate control. Climate-controlled storage offers steady humidity levels and temperatures between 55 and 85 degrees. These facilities are better for items that might get ruined in changing temperatures, such as antique furniture or documents. Climate-controlled units are typically more expensive than those without climate control, however.

    According to Jack Haley, founder of Moving Astute, a website that offers moving quotes, "Climate-controlled storage units typically cost about 10% to 15% more than traditional storage units. Items that benefit most from them are delicate items that can be damaged by extreme temperatures, such as electronics, musical instruments, and photographs."

    Portable storage units

    You can rent portable units, often called pods or moving containers, whether you’re moving a long distance or just need temporary storage. Typically, the company will deliver the unit to your home; you’ll fill it, and then the company takes the filled container either to one of its locations or to your new home.

    What is the average cost of a storage unit?

    The average storage unit costs about $190 per month, but your exact price will vary based on the size of the unit, what type of facility you’re renting from and many other factors. A 5-foot-by-5-foot unit, which is about the size of a home closet, averages about $90 per month. A 10-foot-by-30-foot space (a better fit for a vehicle or multiple large items) costs $290 per month, on average.

    The most common storage unit is 10 feet by 10 feet, which is about the size of a child’s bedroom. This size comes at an average monthly cost of $160.

    Unit sizeAverage monthly costPossible uses
    5 feet by 5 feet$90Small household possessions, not including larger items like furniture
    10 feet by 10 feet$160Furniture from a single room (like during a renovation)
    10 feet by 20 feet$220Multiple rooms of furniture (like during an ongoing move)
    10 feet by 30 feet$290Large-scale items, such as vehicles and RVs

    How much do portable storage units cost?

    To store items in a portable storage unit, you can expect to pay around $150 to $290 in rent per month, depending on the size. Some portable storage companies require you to store the container at their facilities, while others let you keep the container at your home. A portable container might make sense if you’re ultimately moving your things to a new home.

    Your costs will vary based on how much storage you need and whether the container needs to be delivered to your home or a new destination. The overall costs for transporting a portable unit for a move can be in the thousands.

    What factors affect the cost of a storage unit?

    Not all storage units are created equal. Some units flaunt fancy features, while others are cheaper and more bare-bones. But your costs also depend on where you live and time of year — for example, a unit in a suburb is likely to be more affordable than one in a major metropolitan area where there’s less space and demand is higher.

    • Unit size: As a general rule, the bigger your storage unit, the more expensive it will be. In the U.S., the most common storage unit size is 10 feet by 10 feet, but units typically range in size from 5 feet by 5 feet to 10 feet by 30 feet.
    • Security: Some units are drive-up facilities, while others have secure entrances and exits with security guards, cameras or a keypad entrance. If you choose a facility that’s more secure, you should expect to pay more. For some people, the protection is worth the added cost, especially for high-value items like jewelry or vehicles.
    • Season: The time of year can impact rental costs. During peak times, like the summer months (when many students use storage between semesters), storage can cost more.
    • Location: In the same way rent is often higher inside city limits, your monthly rate will vary based on where your unit is located. If you have the flexibility, you might consider a facility that’s a little out of the way to save on your monthly costs. If accessibility is important to you and you expect to visit your storage unit often, paying extra for one closer to your home might be worth it.
    • Indoor or outdoor/climate control: You can choose a facility with indoor or outdoor units. Indoor units require entering a building, which gives you extra security — and it can also mean climate control. For this reason, indoor storage facilities are typically more expensive than outdoor ones.
    • Length of rental: If you just need your unit for a short period of time, your monthly price may be higher. Many companies offer discounts for long-term rentals or contracts.
    • Additional fees: Some companies charge security deposits, insurance protection or administration fees. When comparing companies, be sure to ask what types of fees each charges in addition to the base rental cost.

    Some companies also offer valet storage programs, where your items are picked up, stored for you, then delivered back to you when you want them. This service adds to the cost.

    Market events can also impact the cost. The coronavirus pandemic has led to increases in pricing, and the growing demand for RVs has resulted in pricing increases for 10-foot-by-30-foot units.

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      FAQ

      Do storage unit companies run your credit?

      Storage unit companies typically don’t run your credit before renting out units — but missing a payment can hurt your credit in the long run.

      Can you get insurance on your storage unit?

      Most companies offer insurance as an added cost. But before you buy insurance, check your homeowners insurance policy — it may provide coverage for items kept in storage units.

      How much does insurance cost on a storage unit?

      It’s usually very cheap — typically around 50 cents to $2 per month for every $100 of coverage. The deductible can be as high as $500, so insurance policies might not be worth it unless your storage unit is full of high-value items. However, some facilities require that you have insurance on your unit.

      Are storage units or storage pods cheaper?

      It depends. With storage pods, you have to pay for the unit itself and for it to be stored (unless you’re able to keep it at your house), which can make the overall cost fairly pricey. But if you’re planning on filling and moving your pod, it can be cheaper than taking out a storage unit and paying for a moving truck — it really depends on your situation.

      Is ordering your storage unit online cheaper?

      It can be cheaper to order a storage unit online. You might be able to save 10% to 20% on a unit with some companies by buying online.

      Bottom line

      Some people contend that storage units are a waste of money, arguing that if you’re not going to use the items again, storing them doesn’t make sense. However, there are many scenarios where storing items at a self-storage facility makes sense.

      As a general rule, if you need extra storage space, renting a storage unit is a good idea — unless you’re willing to part with your items or are lucky enough to have friends or family who can store them for you. A storage unit offers flexibility in terms of price and type of unit, as well as some security for your belongings. Just make sure to find a storage solution that’s worth it for your specific situation.

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