Self Storage Units

Guide to Storage Unit Sizes And Types

June 12, 2023

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The Sizes and Types Of Storage Units Your Renters May Be Looking For

If you’re building or buying your first self-storage unit facility, you probably have plenty of questions. Sizes and types of units are always of top concern for new storage investors, as these factors influence how you price, advertise, and market your units. 

Self-storage units come in a variety of sizes and types. Deciding which ones to choose for your facility is critical, as different customers are looking for different qualities in a self-storage unit. A renter looking to store gardening equipment or patio furniture may not care about climate control, while for someone else looking to store collectibles or antiques that could be damaged in humid temperatures, climate control might be non-negotiable. Likewise, different renters will have different size and volume preferences.  

To help you meet your target customer’s needs, this article breaks down sizes, types, and pricing for the various self-storage units you may have in your facility. 

Sizes of Storage Units 

Traditionally, storage units are measured and classified in terms of square footage. In the U.S. alone, there is almost 3 billion square feet available as rentable storage space. The most popular storage unit size is 10×10, with about 23% of self-storage units having these dimensions. However, the sizes of individual self-storage units vary.  

The three most popular self storage unit sizes by square footage are 10×10, 10×20, and 10×15. These three sizes make up 60% of all available self-storage units in the U.S. The remaining 40% consist of 5×10 units, 10×30 units, 10×25 units, 5×5 units, and other dimensions.    

Height and Size Variation 

You may have noticed that there is a third dimension we’ve neglected to mention so far: height. Height is just as important to the calculation of a unit’s total volume as width and depth are. However, storage facility owners rarely include height in a unit’s advertisement or description. Why is this? As it turns out, unless a customer plans on hanging or stacking items, height is less important to the decision of which size to choose. Most items will need to sit comfortably on the ground to be stored securely, making height less of a priority for most renters. However, there are some renters who will have taller items to store. For this reason, it’s sensible to include at least a few taller units in your facility. 

Likewise, most facilities offer a range of length and width dimensions to diversify the types of clients they can serve and give them a few different options to choose from. When deciding which sizes to include in your facility, conduct some initial market research to find out which size has the highest demand and history of success in your region. However, it’s not a bad idea to include a few different options and volumes for customers to consider as well. 

Pricing Different Sized Storage Units 

How does size affect the price of a self-storage unit? 

According to 2020 data from Neighbor.com, storage units rented at approximately 91 cents per square foot per month in the U.S. Here’s what this average looks like across the various self-storage unit sizes: 

Size Average Monthly Rate 
5×5 $22.75 
5×10 $45.50 
10×10 $91.00 
10×15 $136.50 
10×20 $182.00 
10×25 $227.50 
10×30 $273.00 

Remember that these prices are based on the national average. If storage units are renting for $1.50 per square foot in your city, for example, these rates could increase substantially. Of course, the cost of self storage unit amenities like climate control or electronic security will also impact these prices. For more about pricing, check out our article about it

Types of Storage Units 

In addition to sizing, storage units are also classified by their types. Here are some of the features, amenities, and other factors you may use to classify your units. 

Drive-Up/Outdoor Access Storage Units 

Drive-up or outdoor access storage units are units that renters can access from outside. Renters do not need to enter the facility and access their unit an interior hallway. For drive-up units in particular, renters have especially easy access to their units as they can drive right in front of them to load and unload. Many renters looking to store furniture or other heavy objects prefer this type of unit since they won’t need to move items down a hallway or try to load them on an elevator. 

Indoor Access Units 

By contrast, indoor access units can only be accessed inside the facility. These units may boast better security since only authorized customers are permitted inside the facility, but they make moving items a bit trickier. Most indoor storage facilities have wider elevators and hallways to accommodate this issue. 

Climate-Controlled Storage Units 

Many items that renters may want to store are temperature sensitive – they could be damaged by moisture and humidity in warmer climates or by freezing temperatures in colder ones. To offer renters a better guarantee that their belongings will be stored safely throughout the seasons, many facilities offer climate-controlled units. These units maintain a steady temperature and humidity level inside the unit (usually between 55- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit) to keep mold, mildew, and moisture out. 

Items that commonly require climate-control include anything made of wood, leather, metal, or upholstery. For example, furniture, electronics, media, musical instruments, antiques, collectibles, medical supplies, appliances, and artwork should all be stored in climate-controlled units. 

Storage Units with Electricity 

Most storage units do not offer electricity within their units. Unless the unit is climate-controlled, there’s no reason to need power. Plus, it discourages renters from using their storage units as living spaces, as it is illegal to live in a storage unit.  

However, some storage units offer electricity as an amenity. For instance, some renters might want electricity for business purposes if they store perishable items that require refrigeration. Another reason a renter may want electricity in their unit is if they are planning to do some activity in their storage unit. For example, although storage units cannot legally be used as business offices, some renters may want to use their units to restore furniture, work on a crafting project, or to simply spend some time outside the house. These renters might be willing to pay more for proper lighting and access to power. That being said, if you do offer self storage units with electricity, be sure to solidify your policy for preventing renters from living in their units

Vehicle Storage 

Some storage units are designed specifically for storing vehicles. These units don’t just store cars and SUVs, but also trucks, trailers, RVs, boats, jet skis, etc. Many people who own these kinds of vehicles and others don’t want them taking up space in their garage or driveways, so storage units are a good option for them. These units tend to be larger than traditional ones and may be located in a separate section of a storage facility. 

Full-Service Facilities 

Also known as valet storage, full-service storage is a type of storage in which the storage company visits renters’ homes to pick up belongings for storage and return them back afterwards. Renters never need to actually visit the storage facility, which stores all customers’ belongings in shared storage accommodations. Full-service storage companies tend to charge slightly more on account of delivery fees and drivers. 

Conclusion 

The various storage unit sizes and types described in this article aren’t the only ones available, but they do offer renters considerable flexibility in storage options. If you’re building a facility, adding units, or considering what kind of facility to buy, understanding the nuances in sizes and types can help you make the most informed decision for your prospective renters. 

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