It isn’t just bread, milk and meat. The cost of storing your stuff is going up too.
A convergence of factors from the COVID-19 pandemic to the price of steel have caused the average price of a storage unit to rise more than 21% from 2020 to 2021.
How Much Does a Storage Unit Cost?
The average monthly cost to rent a self-storage unit in the U.S. is $108.18 per month.
On a per square foot basis, the average cost of self-storage nationwide was $1.16. Those figures are based on an analysis of all reservations made on the SpareFoot self-storage marketplace for the full calendar year of 2021.
That change is a 21.4% increase in cost compared to 2020 when the average storage rent for all units was $89.12. So what is causing storage rents to surge? It is a classic case of supply and demand.
Why Are Self-Storage Prices Going Up?
Demand for storage in 2021 went into overdrive due primarily to ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote and hybrid work arrangements continued on, creating a need to make permanent office space at home. Sales of boats and RV spiked as more people avoided air travel. Record numbers of people left their jobs during The Great Resignation necessitating changes in living arrangements. Housing costs have also soared, preventing many from moving into larger homes or apartments.
On the supply side, the rate of self-storage development has declined since the start of the pandemic. Typically developers build more storage to meet demand, but supply chain issues and inflation have made construction of new facilities more expensive. For example, the price of steel surged more than 200% in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic prices. Construction labor also become more expensive and harder to find.
Storage Prices by Unit Size
Usually larger units are more expensive to rent than smaller units, but cost less on a per square foot basis. Local demand and availability for certain sizes in a market or at a single facility can also affect the price.
The table below shows the average rental cost in 2021 for the six most popular storage unit sizes. Prices for each unit type increased across the board, with 10×30 units rising the most. This is most likely do to heightened demand for large units corresponding to the popularity of boats and RVs.
|Unit size||Avg. Self-Storage Prices Per Month (2021)||$/sq.ft.||Year-over-year change in cost|
Factors Affecting the Cost of Self-Storage
Storage unit prices can vary widely, even within the same market. There are many factors that contribute to the prices offered by any given storage location.
Keep in mind that the average prices above include both climate-controlled and units without climate control. Climate-controlled storage units are generally about 30 to 50 percent more expensive than units without climate control.
There are several other factors that can affect the price of storage units, even within the same market. For example a facility in a rural area will typically be cheaper than a facility in an urban area. When shopping for a storage unit, it is important to consider these additional factors.
Climate controlled storage units offer better protection for your stored items, as it regulates air temperature and humidity all year-round. Because of the additional costs required to install, maintain and power these systems, you can expect to pay a premium to rent a climate-controlled storage unit.
You can save money by renting a unit without climate-control, however your items will be susceptible to extreme temperatures and high-humidity. This may be fine for the short term storage of durable items, but climate control is strongly recommended when storing valuable and delicate items for long periods of time.
You can expect to pay more for a storage unit from May to September than you would during the rest of the year. During these months is when most Americans move to new homes, which is a major driver for the storage industry. With the increased demand, storage operators are able to increase prices on their storage inventory. Renting a storage unit during the off-season can save you more money than renting during the peak season.
Storage Unit Sizes
Perhaps the greatest determinant of self-storage costs is the size of the unit. Smaller units naturally cost less than larger units. However, larger units should cost less per square foot than a smaller unit.
To find the price per square foot, multiply the size of the unit (10×10=100) to find the total square footage. Then divide your monthly rent by the total square footage. This yields the price per square foot, and can be useful way to make sure you aren’t being charged more than you should for a larger-sized units.
Special Storage Discounts
Promotions and specials are very common in the storage industry. Some companies offer first month free deals, for example. When shopping for a storage unit, these promos should be factored into the overall price of a storage unit. Be sure to read the fine print, however, to see if there is a minimum commitment required.
Facilities often offer discounts to groups such as seniors, teachers, students and veterans. These special prices aren’t always advertised, so make sure to ask before signing your rental agreement.
Storage Unit Insurance Coverage Cost
It is important to remember that insurance is not included with the price of storage. Most storage facilities require that your items are insured, and some may ask for proof of insurance. Often times your homeowners or renters policy will cover your items, but not always. You can typically purchase storage coverage from the facility you are renting from.
Generally speaking, $2,000 of coverage will cost around $10 to $12 a month. Policies can go up to around $30 a month and provide up to $5,000 worth of insurance coverage.
Storage Facility Type and Location
Another major factor in pricing is the type and location of the storage facility. A facility in a dense urban area will cost more than a facility in a rural area, as there is more consumer demand inside cities and suburban centers.
The type of facility will also affect cost. Age and condition of a facility could also be a factor. Newer, multi-story indoor facilities typically will command a higher price than an older outdoor facility with drive up access.
In addition to climate-control, other amenities can add to the monthly cost of renting a storage unit. For example, a facility with extensive video cameras throughout the property might charge more than a similar facility without video monitoring. Depending on the market, you might also pay a bit more for 24-hour access.
There has been a recent trend towards unmanned facilities that use a kiosk system to handle rentals. These may cost slightly less to rent from than facilities with an onsite manager, as there is less overhead in the form of employee wages.
Other Facility Charges
Depending on where you live, there might be local taxes applied to your monthly storage rent. Also, some facilities might charge a small administration fee on top of the quoted monthly cost.
Full Service Storage vs Traditional Storage
Recently there has been a new storage concept available in some cities called full service storage. Also known as on-demand or valet storage, these new providers advertise that they offer a more convenient option than traditional mini storage. Full service storage companies will pickup your items from your home and place them in a shared warehouse with other customers’ stuff. When you are ready to receive your items, the company will deliver them to your home.
These companies try to price their services to be comparable to the cost of traditional self-storage. However, there is sometimes a delivery fee and a minimum commitment required.
Popular traditional self-storage companies include Public Storage, U-Haul, CubeSmart, Life Storage and Extra Space. However the majority of self-storage facilities are operated by small and medium sized operators.
Average Self-Storage Cost by Location
If you are searching for “storage units near me“, prices will vary widely depending on where you live in the United States. One major factor is the square foot of self-storage per capita available in a market. The lower amount of square footage available per capita, the higher prices you can expect to find. In other words, storage is more expensive in dense urban areas compared to rural and suburban locations.
10 Cheapest Cities For Storage Units
We recently examined self-storage reservations made on our network for the top 200 markets across the country to find the most affordable places to rent storage in America.
All prices based on SpareFoot reservations made in 2021 among the 200 most popular markets. Click the city name to reserve a storage unit and check prices.
|Rank||City, State||Price Per Month|
|6||Oklahoma City, OK||$66.54|
|7||Baton Rouge, LA||$69.57|
10 Most Popular Cities For Self Storage
All prices based on SpareFoot reservations made in 2021 among the 200 most popular markets. The following markets had the most reservation activity on the SpareFoot network. Click the city name to reserve a storage unit and check prices.
|Rank||City, State||Price Per Month|
|1||Las Vegas, NV||$121.02|
|3||San Diego, CA||$137.04|
|4||San Antonio, TX||$97.93|
|7||New York, NY||$117.98|
|8||Los Angeles, CA||$186.62|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Storage Prices
How much does a storage unit cost?
The national average monthly cost to rent a storage unit is $108.18 This average includes all sizes and both climate controlled and non-climate controlled units.
How much does a 5x5 storage unit cost?
A 5x5 storage unit on average costs about $55.45 per month. This price includes both climate controlled and non-climate controlled units.
How much does a 10x10 storage unit cost?
The average cost for a 10x10 storage unit is $119.84 per month. A 10x10 storage unit is also the most popular size among renters.
How much is a 10x15 storage unit?
A 10x15 storage unit costs on average $154.45 per month, and is considered a large unit since it can hold the entire contents of a one-bedroom house.
How much does a 10x20 storage unit cost?
The national average cost of a 10x20 storage unit is $171.21 a month. A 10x20 unit is considered a very large storage unit, and is generally less commonly booked.
How much is a small storage unit?
A 5x5 and 5x10 unit are considered small storage units and have an average monthly cost between $55 and $79.
How much is a large storage unit?
Large storage units include 10x15, 10x20, and 10x30 and have an average monthly cost between $154 and $246 or more. Larger units are growing in popularity due to increased sales of boats and RVs.