Do I Need Climate-Controlled Storage?

Written by: Editorial Team - Published: Jun 17, 2024


One of the many decisions you will need to make when deciding on a storage unit is whether or not a climate-controlled unit will fit your needs. The following guide defines the major differences between climate-controlled and non-climate-controlled storage units and specifies the types of items you can store in each. Because these storage options both have pros and cons, it is important to be aware of the distinguishing attributes of climate-controlled and non-climate-controlled storage to ensure you choose the appropriate unit.


What Is the Difference Between Climate-Controlled and Non-Climate-Controlled Storage Units?

As you begin comparing storage options, you may notice that some facilities offer climate-controlled options, whereas others do not. Climate-controlled storage facilities use air conditioning, humidity control, and heating to control the environment of their storage units. Because they have to be securely sealed for these climate-control measures to function, they are also highly effective in repelling pests like rodents and cockroaches from entering storage units. However, this extra level of protection comes at a cost — most climate-controlled options cost far more than non-climate-controlled storage units of a similar size. For renters who are storing valuables or antiques, the higher cost is worth it to ensure their items are safe.

On the other hand, non-climate-controlled storage units are a popular option for renters who have more general storage needs (i.e., they are not storing particularly delicate or valuable items). Although they may not fully protect your items from the heat, cold, or humidity, they are easy to access and can store multiple rooms’ worth of items. However, it’s worth noting that some items are unsuited for non-climate-controlled storage units, so it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons of climate-controlled versus non-climate-controlled storage units.

What Should I Store in Climate-Controlled Storage Units?

Some items can suffer significant damage in outdoor non-climate-controlled storage units. If your stored items include any of the following, you should consider changing your storage solution to a climate-controlled option. The following are only a few examples of items you should store in climate-controlled units; other items, like antiques, fine jewelry, or business inventory, may also benefit from a temperature-controlled storage space. 


If you are storing important personal or business paperwork, it is important to ensure that humidity does not permanently damage your records. Particularly for small business owners, safely maintaining business records may require a reliable, climate-controlled storage unit. 


If you have amassed a collection of paintings, sculptures, watercolors, or other pieces of art, a climate-controlled storage option can protect these works from fading or water damage. Additionally, if you are storing sentimental artwork, like your childrens’ drawings and paintings, you may be interested in this extra level of protection to ensure your precious memories will last for years to come.

Wine and spirits

Perishable items like wine and liquor must be kept at a certain temperature to avoid spoilage, particularly in the hot months of summer. Most climate-controlled storage units will work for these items; however, if you need your storage unit kept at a specific temperature, it is important to confirm this feature with your storage provider.

What Can I Store in Non-Climate-Controlled Storage Units?

If you aren’t storing anything particularly fragile or delicate, a non-climate-controlled storage unit may be the right choice for you. The following categories demonstrate a few common examples of items you can store in non-climate-controlled storage units, but it is advisable to use your best judgment to make sure your items are safely stored. 


Most sofas, bed frames, mattresses, and kitchen tables can be safely stored in non-climate-controlled storage, particularly if they are covered by a tarp to protect against dust. It is particularly important to cover upholstered furniture or antique furniture to protect delicate surfaces. 


Typically, everyday kitchen appliances or large appliances like washer and dryer units do not need to be stored in climate-controlled storage units. You can store microwaves, blenders, lawn mowers, dishwashers, and toasters with confidence in non-climate-controlled storage units.

Sealed boxes and crates

Essentially, you can store many other textiles, documents, and sentimental items in non-climate-controlled storage as long as they are securely sealed in airtight, waterproof containers. This will protect your papers, linens, clothing, and other items from dust and humidity while in storage.

Pros and Cons of Climate-Controlled Units

Many renters value the peace of mind they feel knowing that their belongings are safely stored in a climate-controlled unit. With heating, cooling, and humidity-control options, any number of fragile, delicate, or perishable items can be safely stored for months or years. However, these units are often much smaller than non-climate-controlled options, so if you require a large amount of storage space, these units will likely not offer enough room. Additionally, climate control can come at a steep cost, significantly raising the monthly fee.

Pros Cons
Climate control Higher cost
Pest deterrence Difficult to access
Extra security Generally smaller than other storage options

Pros and Cons of Non-Climate-Controlled Storage Units

If you do not want to incur the extra cost of climate-controlled storage, you may consider a non-climate-controlled option. Non-climate-controlled storage units are generally known as “drive-up” units. This convenient level of access means you have easy access to your storage unit and can retrieve your items whenever you need. However, because these units are often outdoors, it means that you will be exposed to the elements when moving items in or out of your unit and that the temperature of your storage unit cannot be controlled.

Pros Cons
Less expensive No protection against heat and cold
Easy to access Little protection against humidity
More storage space Little protection against pests and dust