Affordable storage unit locks: 3 to avoid & 3 to buy

The most important thing you want for your storage unit: a strong, dependable lock. Moishe’s has the other things you need: 24/7 security, cameras, guards, access gates, and fences. Moishe’s Self-Storage facilities have many lines of defense set up to protect your belongings, but it’s important to get the best lock you can afford. Select a self-storage lock that will ensure your possessions will be safeguarded against potential thieves who make it into the facility (which is unlikely).

Most important things to remember when choosing a self-storage unit lock:

  • Large secure, or hidden, metal lock ring
  • Accessibly by key (not a combination)
  • Anti-drill plate
  • A good warranty

Three locks to AVOID at all costs

1. Traditional Padlocks

Padlock for storage unit

Also known as cylinder locks, padlocks work via a pin inside a cylinder that moves with a key. This may be the traditional type when you think “lock.” They are simple to use and only require a key, which makes them attractive to many users. They can, however, be easily picked by burglars and can also be re-keyed without removing or breaking the lock. You can also get “bump keys” easily enough and for those reasons. There’s also a lot of space for a bolt-cutter to squeeze in to cut the lock. Unless you get an expensive version, most of these padlocks don’t have an anit-drill plate. (We don’t recommend this option for a storage unit.)

2. Keyless padlocks

Combination padlock storage unit

Eliminating the use of keys, these locks can be opened with a number combination preset by the manufacturer or set by the user. These locks are great for those who tend to misplace or lose keys and for those who want to give unit access to others.

The disadvantages of these locks, however, include forgetting the combination or having others guess the code. One quick search on Google offers a variety of instructional videos with how “How to crack your Master Lock combo in 3 easy steps.” Also, they can be easily cut with tools like bolt cutters. (We don’t recommend this option for a storage unit.)

3. Cylinder locks

Cylinder lock for storage unit

You’ll need special permission from the storage company to install one of these locks. Sometimes, however, the unit offers these as an option for your unit. Bolt cutters will not be useful against this type of lock. A thief could try to pick this lock, or simply hit to attempt to destroy it. (We don’t recommend this option for a storage unit.)

Three locks to BUY for your storage unit

1. Shrouded Locks

Shrouded padlock for storage units

These may very well be considered the best locks on the market. The “shroud” or “shackle cover” hides most of the lock ring, so there is no place for a traditional bolt cutter to latch on, therefore it can’t be cut. This one uses a key, not a combination, for access. This one also has an anti-drill plate, which prevents a drill from biting into the metal of the lock — it will only catch on the plate and spin there, unable to break through it to the lock itself. The plates are made of a metal that is usually stronger than typical drill bits. (This is our highest recommendation for a storage unit lock — click image to access on Amazon.)

2. Hidden padlock

Hidden padlock for storage unit

These locks have a hard outer metal coating that protects from drills. The hidden metal latch is behind the outside steel coating, so bolt cutters cannot access it. This particular one uses a key, which we highly recommend. This is a go-to when searching for a storage unit lock.

3. Disc Locks

Disc lock for storage unitCombination locks for storage unit

These lock types were specifically designed for storage units and are the ones that are first in your search list when you type “storage unit locks.” A burglar can’t remove these with a bolt cutter because the “U” part of the lock can’t be easily reached. Hammers cannot break open the lock either. For a thief to get through disc locks, they would have to invest quite a bit of time and resources, which means they will likely move on to a unit with a less secure lock. Both a key or a combination are good options, but we recommend the lock option.

What you can do if your items are stolen

Before stowing your possessions, photograph each item individually and make a list of all the objects (and serial numbers if possible). This way you can recover the items if lost or stolen. Consider purchasing insurance before you stow if your items are very valuable to you. Many insurance companies offer insurance (like renters) that covers your possessions in a unit if they break, are lost, are damaged, or stolen.

A word of caution

Make sure you aren’t storing anything that the storage facility doesn’t condone. If you store chemicals or flammables, which are against most storage contracts, this could void your rental agreement and could render you liable if they were to cause a fire. Look over the insurance policy carefully to see what’s covered.

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