Storage Unit vs. Storage Shed: What is the Best Option for You?

Storage unit or storage shed; which is right for you? Both options are useful for homeowners and small business owners who need to store personal belongings or supplies and equipment. As a matter of fact, in terms of space efficiency and ease of access, both types of storage offer advantages over traditional solutions like garages, basements, and attics.

Keep in mind, however, that there are important differences that you should consider before deciding which of these two choices makes the most sense for you. Cost, convenience, and security are a few factors to think about before you make a final decision.

Storage Unit vs. Storage Shed: Which is Your Best Option

Storage Unit

A storage unit is a large, indoor space that can be rented by individuals or businesses to store their belongings. Most facilities offer a variety of unit sizes with individual access doors, climate control, high-end security features, and convenient hours. Universal Storage Group locations have a wide range of types and sizes of self storage units to fit your needs and your budget.

Storage Shed

A storage shed is the classic solution for homeowners who want to store their items close to home and keep them protected. Storage sheds are typically freestanding and constructed of wood or metal. Like storage units, storage sheds come in a variety of sizes, and you can often customize them with add-ons, like shelving and workbenches. Storage sheds are designed to protect your belongings from the elements and pests, but you may need to take special precautions for items like gardening tools or seasonal decorations to prevent rust or rot.


The cost for constructing a shed is typically between $800 and $4,000. You can save money with a DIY kit, but you will expend significant time and labor. The average cost to rent a storage unit is approximately $90 per month. Remember, this is the average cost and will vary by square foot size, location, and availability. It’s ideal to comparison shop if you’re renting a storage unit. If you’re renting for the short term, a storage unit may be more cost-effective. A small shed may be the better choice for long-term items that you regularly use, such as a lawn mower or a ladder.

Factors to Consider

Keep the following questions in mind as you read about the pros and cons of each option.

  • Will I be storing my items for the long- or short-term?
  • Will the number of items I store stay consistent over time, or will I need to upsize or downsize my space within the next few years?
  • Will the items I’m storing need climate-controlled storage that will prevent damage and deterioration over time?
  • Do I need these items at my fingertips on a daily basis, or can I easily drive a few miles to retrieve them on occasion?
  • Do I really have the space on my property to build a shed or can that space be utilized in a better way?
  • Does my homeowner’s association allow sheds? Are their permit rules and regulations or tax implications?

Self Storage vs. Storage Shed Pros and Cons


Self Storage: The majority of today’s self storage facilities offer a high level of security with digital video monitoring, vigilant onsite managers, fully-fenced perimeters, and bright lighting. A large number of self storage properties offer the security of smart technology. Through cloud-based applications, tenants can use an app on their mobile device to gain access to the facility and their unit. As an extra level of security, this technology also monitors any movement in or around their unit. Digital key sharing enables tenants to grant temporary access to friends and family, which can be immediately revoked when it is no longer needed.

Storage Shed: If you’re storing valuable items in your shed, you’ll need to purchase good-quality locks. If you have a home security system, it’s a good idea to add your shed. If you don’t have a home system, you can buy a relatively low-cost alarm for your shed.

Climate Control

Self Storage: If you’re storing valuable artwork, books, furniture, antiques, or any other temperature-sensitive items, you need climate-controlled storage to maintain safe temperature and humidity levels. Climate-controlled units offer a high level of protection to your belongings and keep them safe from damage and deterioration.

Storage Shed: To keep the temperature in your shed safe for more valuable or sensitive items, one method would be to add ventilation and a power exhaust fan. If you’re planning to cool your shed with air conditioning, you’ll need insulation and a radiant barrier to help maintain a safe, comfortable temperature.

Pest Control

Self Storage: Storage units are routinely sprayed for pests, eliminating as much as possible the fear that unwanted bugs or rodents will contaminate and destroy your belongings. The manager of your facility will be happy to explain how their specific pest control methods keep your possessions safe.

Storage Shed: Like any other exterior storage, your shed will be prone to bug and pest infestation. To keep critters away that could damage your building, boxes, or other items, you will have to hire a professional pest service.


Self Storage: Traveling to a self storage facility will involve more time than accessing a shed in your backyard. If you’re storing large items or significant numbers of boxes, you’ll need to find a way to transport these items to your unit.

Storage Shed: With an outdoor storage shed, you’ll walk only a few steps to retrieve items when you need them, and you’re less likely to forget what you’ve stored. On the other hand, an outdoor shed requires maintenance in the way of regular painting and repairs. If your HOA permits a shed on your property, they will expect you to maintain it to meet the standards of the neighborhood.

Summing Up

All in all, both storage units and storage sheds are useful tools for people who need to store their belongings, but there are some important differences between the two. When it comes time to make your decision, keep these pros and cons in mind so you can pick the best option for you.