When it comes to finding a self storage unit, there are a variety of factors people consider. These include price, access hours, whether the facility has climate control or not, and whether it sells supplies on-site or not.
Above it all people want their stuff to be safe, so security is at the top of the list.
Here are the security features to look for in a storage facility.
Let's start with what security features you should expect of any given self storage site.
A Fence Around the Property
If the facility has outdoor vehicle storage or drive-up units, it needs a barrier around the property. Many facilities have high fences for this purpose. These are meant to keep non-tenants from wandering onto the premises.
Coded and Gated Access
When you sign up for a storage unit, the facility will provide you with a gate code, which allows you access to the premises. Often you'll need to use your code to get into an interior unit as well. If the facility has only interior units, there may be no gate, but your code will be required to get into the building with your unit.
Every facility needs a good 24-hour camera surveillance system. This is often monitored in the office, and by a third-party security company.
Any facility you plan to rent from should have good lighting indoors and outdoors. These lights should be motion-sensitive and turn on as you approach.
An Alarm System
An alarm system needs to be in place to notify employees or the third-party security company in case someone accesses a building without a proper code.
Now you know the basic security measures all facilities should take, let’s get into what you can think of as upgrades.
A Stone Wall
Ideally, instead of a fence, a facility will have a concrete or granite wall surrounding it, about eight feet tall. This provides greater protection than a fence. Such a wall can't be cut through and is difficult to climb without a ladder.
Individually alarmed units
An alarm system is important and will alert the facility if there's a break-in. However, individually alarmed units are better. A facility with individually alarmed units allows for a quicker response from security and the police.
Occasionally, you'll find a facility where the manager lives on site. The house may be off to the side or right in the middle, but facilities like this tend to be serious about security. Having a manager living on site is a big deterrent to would-be robbers, and this ensures someone is there at night to work with the police or their chosen security company.
Nokē Smart Entry
Even locks have come a long way in recent years. Some facilities are now using the Nokē Smart Entry system by Janus International.
For years, Janus has developed and provided locks for the self storage industry, but this new system eschews traditional locks and plates for an electronic solution.
If a facility has the Noke Smart Entry system, that means that units don't have a visible lock. Instead, tenants open their units, and get in the gate, with a smartphone app. The system uses cloud-based technology and Bluetooth to get you in the gate, into the building, and into your unit. Users don't have to memorize a gate code or carry around an extra key. They can share access with a family member or a business partner as well. Nokē is new, so don't expect to find it widespread yet. However, consider it a good sign if you find a facility that has implemented it.
If a facility has the basic security features we mentioned, then it should be a secure, safe place to store your belongings. However, we do encourage you to compare and find a facility you feel comfortable with.