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How much do storage units cost?

Unit size, location and features are all a factor in determining cost

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by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team
storage units

The U.S. has more than 1.7 billion square feet of total rentable self-storage space. Whether you’re planning on downsizing or need space to store your boat, storage units provide safe and reliable weather and theft protection at an affordable cost. In this article, we break down how much a storage unit costs and what goes into the overall price to help you find the best fit solution for your specific needs.

What is the average storage unit cost?

The average storage unit costs $87.89 per month. The total cost depends on the size of the unit and what type of facility you’re renting from. A 5-feet-by-5-feet unit, which is about the size of a home closet, averages $45.18 per month. But a 10-feet-by-30-feet space, which would be a better fit for a vehicle or multiple large items, costs $199.02 per month on average.

The most common storage unit size is 10 feet by 10 feet, which is about the size of a child’s bedroom. This unit comes at an average monthly cost of $95.

What factors affect the cost of a storage unit?

Not all storage units are created equal. Some units have a bevy of valuable features that drive the price up, while others offer a more bare-bones place to store unused items. But add-on features aren’t the only thing that can drive up a price — something as simple as where you live can have a big impact on what you’ll pay. A unit in a suburb is likely to be more affordable than one in a major metropolitan area where space is less available and demand is higher.

  • Unit size: 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 options commonly range in size from 5 feet by 5 feet all the way up to 10 feet by 30 feet.
  • Climate control: 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 the changing temperatures, such as antique furniture or documents. Climate-controlled units are more expensive than those without climate control.
  • Security: Some units are drive-up facilities, but others have secure entrances and exits. If you choose a facility that’s more secure, like one that has a security guard, cameras or keypad entrance, 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.
  • Location: Just like how rent is often higher inside city limits, your monthly rate will fluctuate depending on where your unit is located. If you have the flexibility, you should consider a facility that’s a little out of the way to save more on your monthly cost. 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 unit: You can choose whether you want to use a facility with indoor or outdoor units. Outdoor units are garage-like facilities where you can drive up and secure your unit with a padlock and key. Indoor units are inside a building, which gives you extra security. 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 additional fees, such as security deposits, insurance protection, administration fees and more. When comparing companies, be sure to ask what types of fees they charge in addition to the rental cost.

Frequently asked questions

Do storage units run your credit?
No, storage units typically don’t run your credit before renting units. But, if you miss a payment, it can hurt your credit in the long run.
Can you get insurance on your storage unit?
Yes. Most companies offer insurance as an added cost. But before you buy insurance, make sure to check your homeowner’s insurance policy — it may provide coverage for the 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 for every $100 of coverage. Most deductibles are about $500, so insurance policies might not be worth it unless your storage unit is full of high-value items.
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 amount more expensive. 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.

Bottom line: Are storage units worth the cost?

In most situations, we say yes. In general, if you need extra storage space, you usually don’t have the option not to rent a storage unit unless you’re willing to part with your items instead of storing them or are lucky enough to have friends or family who can store them for you. A storage unit offers flexibility and security for your belongings. And, with the ability to choose a type of unit and facility based on your price range, it’s pretty easy to find a storage solution that is worth it in your specific situation.

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Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team

As a member of the ConsumerAffairs research team, Jessica Render is dedicated to providing well-researched, valuable content designed to help consumers make informed purchase decisions they can feel confident making. She holds a degree in journalism from Oral Roberts University.