Self Storage Security Features – Importance and Overview

When you decide to store your stuff at a self storage facility, one big question pops up: “Will my things be safe?” Fair enough. After all, you’re not there to keep an eye on them and self-storage burglaries do happen. So do floods, fires and powerful storms.

All this means your belongings face risks, big and small, when they’re out of your sight. That’s why security at self storage facilities is important. For peace of mind, make good security the top priority on your list of factors to consider before renting a unit.

Want to know the security features you should look for in a storage facility? The list may be long, but it’s worth checking as many boxes as possible. After all, you want to keep your belongings just as safe as if they were at home with you. Maybe even safer.

Access Control

An access control system is your first line of defense with preventing unauthorized access to your storage unit. When looking at storage features, check out how the facility handles access. The more layers of security, the better. After all, your belongings are worth protecting, right?

Electronic gate access — The entrance gate only opens with a secret code. It’s not just any code, though. It’s unique to you. You punch in your PIN code, and voilà, you’re in. This means only people who should be there can enter.

Personalized key code access — Okay, you had to punch in a code at the big gate but your unit should require a code too. It makes sure that you, and only you, can get to your stuff.

Video intercom — Talk face-to-face (via video) with someone from security before they let you in.

Key fob or card — Carry a little gadget or card that unlocks the door. Easy and efficient but make sure you don’t lose it.

RFID smart lock — Install an app on your phone, wave it near the lock, and it pops open. Welcome to the future of access control.

Biometric entry — This one’s a bit like something from a spy movie. Instead of codes, it uses your fingerprint or maybe even your face to let you in. It’s super high-tech and hard for anyone else to copy, but only premium facilities have it.


Surveillance and Monitoring

Around-the-clock surveillance and monitoring are essential for spotting trouble and keeping things in check. With cameras watching over your stuff, it’s like having eyes everywhere. And it’s not just any cameras; digital surveillance is what you’re after. It’s sharper, clearer and doesn’t miss a beat. Also, make sure those cameras aren’t just for show. They need to record everything, all day, every day. This way, if something goes wrong, you’ve got the evidence you need.

Another thing to enquire about is on-site managers or guards. Some places take it up a notch with a manager or security guard right there on the property. This means there’s always someone to respond to emergencies or suspicious activities. At some facilities, the manager doesn’t just work there; they live there. A resident manager means there’s someone to keep an eye on things, even after hours.

Pro Tip: Don’t just nod along when the storage facility mentions surveillance. Ask about the cameras.

  • How many are there?
  • Where are they located?
  • Are they always recording?
  • How well do they work at night?
  • How long do they keep the footage?

The more you know, the better you can feel about the safety of your belongings.

Security Camera

Lighting and Visibility

A well-lit facility, inside and outside, is like a no-go zone for troublemakers. With no dark corners for sneaky activities, thieves think twice when there’s nowhere to hide. Good lighting also means you can see clearly, reducing the risk of accidents and making you feel safer. And another thing: Lighting helps other security features do their job better. After all, cameras work best when they can see clearly.

How can you make sure the lighting is as advertised? Visit the facility after sunset. This is your best chance to see how well-lit it really is. Look for bright exterior lighting that makes it easy to spot anyone approaching and discourages trespassers. As for the inside, the facility should have motion-activated lights that come on as soon as you enter. No fumbling in the dark for you.

Well-lit Storage Facility

Locks and Alarms

Ah, the dynamic duo of storage unit security: locks and alarms. The thing is not all facilities offer individual unit alarms, so ask upfront. It would be good to have an alarm that screams if anyone but you or the manager tries to sneak into your unit since each alarm would be tied to a unique code.

While storage facilities are in charge of alarms, for the locks, the ball is pretty much in your court. But how do you know what the right lock is for your storage unit? Hint: Disc locks may be your best bet, but that’s only because not all storage facilities offer cylinder locks as an option.

Here are some extra details to make an informed decision:

Padlocks For storage units, the closed-shackle variety is your best bet. Less shackle showing means less chance for cutters to get a grip.
Disc locks Their round design and minimal shackle exposure make them tough for thieves to crack. It’s the best value for money in the lock universe.
Cylinder locks This sleek, inside-the-door option with no visible shackle means bolt cutters won’t do any good here. They are also drill-proof and require a special key that cannot be easily duplicated.


Remember, the storage unit security system is only as strong as its weakest link. By choosing a sturdy lock and opting for a unit with an alarm, you’re taking critical steps to ensure your items are safe and sound. Don’t skimp on the lock, especially if storing valuables!


Individually Alarmed Storage Units

If you are looking for something more than just a standard padlock on your storage unit, seek out storage facilities in your area that offer individually alarmed storage units. This type of security feature will sound an alarm if the storage unit is accessed improperly. This alarm will not only scare off any potential intruders, it will also alert the facility manager and staff that a self storage unit may be vulnerable.


Fencing and Perimeter Security

Good fences do more than make good neighbors; they make good self-storage security. So, when checking out a storage facility, take a good look at the fencing. It should encircle the entire property, be tough to tamper with and, ideally, pack an extra punch with electric deterrents. This isn’t the place for your average chain-link solution that can be easily cut. Electric fencing offers a zap of deterrence that’s safe but effective. If combined with alarm sirens and lights, that’s even better.

Physical barriers aside, a facility may also use state-of-the-art security beams that add an invisible layer of protection. These beams, when interrupted, trigger alarms, enhancing the overall security of the perimeter.

No Tresspassing

Fire Safety

During your initial visit to the storage facility, ask about their fire safety protocols. Check for the presence of smoke detectors, heat monitors and the type of fire suppression systems in use. Understanding these measures gives insight into how well the facility can protect your belongings from fire-related damages.

For instance, a well-equipped facility will have a suite of devices designed to prevent fires or minimize damage. This includes alarms, smoke detectors, heat monitors and extinguishers. In fact, every storage unit should have a fire extinguisher within 75 feet.

And another thing: Forget about traditional water-based methods that can cause additional damage to your belongings. Many facilities now have switched to dry chemical fire suppression systems. See if the one you have your eyes on has done so too.

Fire alarm

Resident Manager

A storage facility that provides resident management ensures that there is always going to be someone available on the property to deal with any emergencies that may arise. Having a manager on the storage facility property 24-hours a day will not only make getting your questions answered easier, but it will also help defer any funny business that may try to find its way onto the property.


Climate Controlled Units

While not the first thing you might think of under “security,” climate-controlled units play a big role in safeguarding your belongings. Climate-controlled storage is typically indoors, so you have an added layer of security being indoors versus outdoors visiting your storage unit. Their double benefit: protecting items in storage against environmental damage and pests.

That’s because climate-controlled storage units keep temperature and humidity levels steady. This protects your items from extreme heat, cold and moisture, so they’re safe from warping, rusting, mold and mildew, or other damage caused by environmental conditions. 

At the same time, these units are typically well-sealed. This keeps pests out, and no bugs or rodents means less risk of damage to your items.

Choose a Secure Self Storage Facility

When it’s time to choose a self-storage facility, site visits are key. Pictures online are fine, but seeing is believing. A visit to the facility gives you a real feel for its security measures. Is the fencing as sturdy as they claim? Are the cameras in every corner?

Also, while there, be prepared to ask the right questions. Ask about access control (How do they manage it? What kind of locks do they recommend?), surveillance (Are cameras recording 24/7? Who monitors them?) and fire safety (What kind of fire suppression systems do they use? How often are they checked?).

It also helps to inquire about their protocol for emergencies, including natural disasters. How quickly can they respond? Do they have a plan in place? Do they offer storage renters insurance? Knowing there’s a strategy for the unexpected adds a layer of comfort and these are all security measures to look for in a long-term storage facility.

It can be tempting to go for the cheapest option, we know, but remember, you get what you pay for. Take your time, do your research on storage unit security features and choose wisely. Your peace of mind and your belongings are worth it.