The first time I rented a self storage unit, the storage center informed me that I needed to purchase a disc lock to secure my new storage unit. I didn’t even know what a “disc lock” was.
Turns out the disc storage lock (also called a disc padlock) is a much more secure lock solution as compared to the classic padlock.
Disc locks have been around for many years. Even in 2023, they are still among the most popular locks for self storage doors.
The storage center was able to provide the storage lock for me, but I didn’t know if I was getting a good price — or being taken for a ride. I thought for sure the storage facility was just trying to squeeze more money out of me, but I was pleasantly surprised that the price was pretty good. Especially when I did some comparison of storage unit locks afterwards.
It turns out that storage centers might make a little money on the sale of a disc lock (if even that), but the real reason for having a disc lock on the storage unit is to better protect my belongings. And when the customer’s belongings are well protected, the storage center is better off too.
So if it’s your first time in renting a storage unit, do yourself a favor and get the disc lock when they offer it. It’s probably low priced and the locks are easy to use.
What exactly is a disc lock? Keep reading to find out.
Disc Locks with Self Storage
Disc locks are the most common locks used with self storage. These locks are easy to open, hard to break, hard to pick, and hard to cut. Pretty much all the characteristics you’d want in a lock.
The most popular type of disc storage lock is the disc padlock style. This style of lock has two parts: the shackle and the keyhole. The shackle is attached to the door or gate by a hinge.
The keyhole is where you insert the key of course. When the key is inserted into the keyhole, the shackle can be rotated 90 degrees so that it opens right up.
Featuring a thick shackle that is snug on the door latch, there’s little latch surface area on the shackle — which makes them difficult for anyone to cut with bolt cutters.
Made of heavy duty stainless steel, these optimized storage locks include an anti-picking mechanism. Breaking these locks takes a lot of time and effort — and even the storage centers don’t like having to break them if they don’t have to.
Disc Lock vs Padlock
I was always used to seeing padlocks growing up. I had no idea what a disc lock was.
So it was interesting to find out that a disc lock is typically stronger than a padlock. A padlock will easily bend or break under pressure. But a disc lock won’t budge unless you apply enough force to completely obliterate it.
The shackle on a disc lock is rounded with only a small part being exposed. This makes it very difficult to cut with bolt cutters.
In other words, disc locks have a closed shackle and padlocks have an open shackle. This makes the disc lock much more secure.
On other drawback is that padlocks tend to wear down over time.
How Strong is a Disc Lock?
A disc lock is one of the strongest security measures you can take for your storage unit. A disc lock will keep thieves from breaking into your storage unit. But how strong is a disc lock?
According to the National Association of Security Companies (NASC), a typical padlock meets medium security levels. Whereas the disc lock is rated at a higher security level because they are difficult to cut and more difficult to pick.
How Much Does a Disc Lock Cost?
You may wonder how much a disc lock costs. In fact, some storage facilities charge as much as $45-$130 for a disc lock. That’s fairly close to market costs.
Some storage centers even charge around their cost as a way to build goodwill with customers.
When renting a storage unit from a reputable storage facility, you should expect to pay a reasonable amount for the lock. Its a way of you the customer thanking the storage center for thinking ahead.
If You Do Buy Your Own Lock – How to Pick the Right Disc Lock
There are many types of disc locks available. Here are some things to consider before buying one:
• Size: Most disc locks come in three sizes: 1 3/4″, 2″, and 2 3/4″. Personally, I’ve always used the 2 3/4″.
• Weight: It’s important to make sure the weight of the lock matches the strength of the door or gate. That way the door can hold up the lock.
• Anti-Pick Mechanism: Look for a disc lock that includes an pick proof mechanism to prevent people from picking it.
• Price: Don’t buy a disc lock just because it’s low priced. There are plenty of good inexpensive disc locks available.
• Warranty: Ask about the warranty on the lock. Many disc locks offer warranties ranging from 30 days to six months.
• Security Level: Consider the security level of the lock. Is it strong enough to keep out intruders?
• Key Features: how many keys do you get? Typically it’s two keys.
Do All Storage Centers Use a Disc Lock?
Many people consider disc locks the industry standard for securing mini storage units, but they’re not compatible with some storage center doors.
If you’ve rented a unit in the past but no longer needed it, you might still have the disc lock sitting around. You can sell it back to the storage center or give it away as a gift. You’ll probably receive a few dollars for it though.
Call your selected self storage facility ahead of time to see whether they allow you to bring in your own disc storage lock. If they can’t make it work, they’ll probably have a different storage lock type that you can purchase.
Get the lock offered by your storage center. You’ll save time and headaches that way. If your storage center does not offer a lock, you can find good low priced locks at Home Depot. If you really want to save money on the lock, check out Craigs List
The Companies that Make the Best Storage Unit Locks
There are many companies that manufacture disc storage unit locks, and the quality of their locks may vary depending on the specific product and application.
Here are a few companies that are known for producing high-quality disc storage unit locks:
- Master Lock – Master Lock is a well established brand that produces a range of security products, including disc storage unit locks and padlocks. Their locks are designed to be durable while providing reliable security.
- Abus – Abus is a German company that produces a variety of security products, including disc storage unit locks. Like many German products, their locks are known for high-quality construction and an advanced locking mechanism.
- Yale – Yale is another good brand that produces disc storage unit locks and other kinds of locks. Their locks are designed to be easy to use.
It could be helpful to research reviews from other customers to determine which brand and model of lock is best for your need. We’ve never had a Master Lock let us down and can highly recommend them.
Examples of Other Types of Self Storage Locks
Some of the most common ones are listed below.
These are also a common type of storage lock used in self storage centers. They come in many sizes, from tiny keys to huge industrial sized padlocks. Padlocks are usually made of hardened steel and feature a thick shackle.
A padlock is typically placed on the outside of the gate or door. A padlock is also commonly used as a security measure for securing items inside the unit.
Electronic Locking Devices
An electronic locking device uses a sensor to detect movement. If someone attempts to open the gate or the door, the sensor will send a signal to the lock, which then opens the gate or door. Electronic locking devices are often used in conjunction with a keypad. You would enter your code on the keypad before opening the gate or door. Once the gate or door is opened, the sensor will no longer detect any movement.
Keyed Entry Locks
Keyed entry locks work much like traditional locks. However, instead of using a key to unlock the lock, this type of lock requires a special access code. To gain access to the unit, you must input the correct code through a keypad.
This type of lock is generally more secure than a regular lock because there is less chance of losing the key.
Where to Keep the Keys
As with any lock, you either have a set of keys — or there’s a combination number to memorize.
For keyed storage locks, when storing your keys at home, make sure you store them somewhere safe. This could be a fireproof box under your bed, a safe deposit box at the bank, or even a hidden compartment in your closet.
It’s always a good idea to hide one of the keys when you’re not using them. Although hide it in a spot that is easy to remember (in case you need to retrieve it).
And keep your other key on something you frequently use so that you know right where to find it.
The best storage spaces are often kept secret. You can call now to get an estimate and reserve your space — all within 5 minutes. It’s a huge timesaver that way.
Call anytime and start saving.