Should You Rent a Self-Storage Unit or a Storage Locker?

Written by: Editorial Team - Published: May 20, 2024


In most cities across the United States, renters can choose between a variety of self-storage units and storage lockers for temporary or long-term storage. Both self-storage units and storage lockers come in a variety of sizes and price points, so finding the right storage solution has never been easier. Learning more about the features of these two storage options can help you make an informed decision with the assurance that your stored belongings are both accessible and safe.


The following guide provides an in-depth comparison of storage lockers and self-storage units, including a discussion of their main features, pros, cons, and average cost. Before you choose your storage locker or self-storage unit, it is important to thoroughly assess the type and number of items you will be storing, how often you will need to access them, and whether you will be renting long term.


What Is the Difference Between a Self-Storage Unit and a Storage Locker?

Although some people use these terms interchangeably, there are actually significant differences between self-storage units and storage lockers. The most important difference is that storage lockers are much smaller than standard self-storage units. Additionally, storage lockers are generally situated only in indoor storage facilities, whereas self-storage units can be either  indoor or outdoor facilities. To choose between storage lockers and self-storage units will require you to assess the size and volume of items you will be storing.

Even though storage lockers can fit a surprising number of boxes, they are best suited for renters who only need a small amount of storage. If you require storage for large appliances, motorcycles, or mattresses, even the biggest storage lockers on the market will not be large enough to fit such items. For renters who need to store an entire room’s worth of furniture and boxes, there are many sizes of self-storage units that will meet your storage needs.

How Big Are Storage Lockers?

You can rent storage lockers in a variety of sizes. However,  storage lockers are generally as big as or smaller than the smallest self-storage unit (generally 5’ x 5’). You may find storage lockers with the same length and width dimensions as the smallest self-storage unit, but it is important to note that storage lockers are generally half the height of self-storage units (8’). Storage lockers may be as small as 3’ x 3’, which is a convenient storage option for those who only need to store a few boxes or items. For example, storage lockers are a great choice for storing jewelry, business records, seasonal clothing, or indoor holiday decorations. Additionally, because storage lockers are usually indoor storage facilities, they can accommodate delicate, antique, or valuable items that could be damaged in typical outdoor self-storage units.

How Much Do Storage Lockers Cost to Rent?

Because storage lockers are much smaller than self-storage units, they are also generally less expensive to rent. However, the size and location of a storage locker will affect the overall cost of renting. Although these units are mostly indoors, facilities may offer additional climate control and security options that will further raise the monthly cost. In fact, many renters specifically choose storage lockers for their climate-control features, despite the fact that it contributes to raising the overall cost. Because storage lockers are usually stacked, you may be able to rent at a lower cost if your unit is higher up. If you do not believe an indoor storage locker is the right choice for you, compare storage lockers with 5’ x 5’ self-storage units to determine which will be the best option to fit your storage needs.

Size Average Cost (Per Month)
3’ x 3’ x 4’ $50
5’ x 5’ x 4’ $100

How Much Do Self-Storage Units Cost to Rent?

Self-storage units are available at a wide variety of price points. The price of a self-storage unit is determined by its size, location, and the features of the storage unit. For example, amenities like climate control or extra security will add to the average cost of your self-storage unit. Additionally, your geographic location and the local demand for storage can cause regional fluctuations in the average price of a unit. Before committing to rent a self-storage unit, make sure the monthly fee fits within your budget. The following table demonstrates the average estimated costs of some of the most common self-storage unit sizes.

Size Average Cost (Per Month)
5’ x 10’ $65-$120
10’ x 10’ $80-$215
10’ x 15’ $100-$150

Pros and Cons of Using Storage Lockers

Storage lockers are a great option for those who only need a small storage space or are storing items that need to be in a climate-controlled environment (such as antiques, valuables, or perishables). However, because you need to first enter a building to access your storage locker, moving large items through doorways and hallways can be inconvenient and time consuming. Additionally, because you can’t drive directly up to a storage locker, access to your items is not as immediate as an outdoor self-storage unit.

Pros Cons
Cheaper than large self-storage units Will not fit most furniture or large appliances
Protection from the elements Less immediate access to unit
Climate-control options Complicated loading and unloading

Pros and Cons of Using Self-Storage Units

Every year, millions of families use self-storage units to store their belongings. Because of their wide range in sizes, self-storage units can store anything from a few boxes to an entire apartment’s worth of furniture. For this reason, self-storage units can accommodate a range of storage needs. However, because they do not always offer climate control, the inside of self-storage units can be affected by extreme temperatures and may accumulate more dust and grime than their indoor counterparts. For sealed boxes, covered furniture, and most appliances, this may not present an issue; however, if you are storing anything that could be damaged by high or low temperatures, an outdoor storage unit may not be the right choice for you.

Pros Cons
Easy to access your unit Outdoor units are not climate controlled
Can hold large furniture items and many boxes May have less security
Convenient to load and unload Little protection from dust