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
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 being the best locks for storage units. They are used for securing mini storage units and drive up units, but disc locks 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
Examples of Other Types of Self Storage Locks
Disc locks have a reputation for being the best storage unit locks. However, disc locks might not fit all door types.
In this case, there’s still other high quality locks that can be used to protect your possessions.
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.
The best padlock for self storage is typically the Master Lock. Those have always been a favorite of mine.
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.
How to Open Storage Unit Door
To open a storage unit door, you will typically need to insert a key or enter a code to unlock the lock on the door. Once you have unlocked the lock, simply turn the handle or lift the latch to open the door.
If you are having trouble opening the door, double-check that you have unlocked the lock properly and that you are using the correct method to open the door.
If you continue to experience difficulties, contact the storage facility manager for assistance.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How to cut a disc lock off a storage unit
It’s not easy — that’s why they’re known as the best locks for storage units. And the storage center crew dislike trying to cut one of a unit.
But it can be done, with a little patience and often there’s a cost to cut lock off storage unit — even with the best self storage locks.
Cutting off a disc lock from a storage unit can be done using bolt cutters or an angle grinder. Bolt cutters can be used if the shackle diameter is less than the maximum cutting capacity of the bolt cutters. Otherwise, an angle grinder may be necessary to cut the shackle.
If cutting a disc lock, remember to wear safety goggles and gloves to protect yourself from flying debris. It’s also important to have permission from the storage unit owner before attempting to remove the lock.
How to pick a storage lock
It’s a challenge for me to provide instructions on how to pick a lock — as this can be used for unlawful purposes. It’s important to always use locks legally and ethically.
If you are the owner of the lock and have lost the key or combination, it is best to contact a professional locksmith or the storage facility for assistance in accessing your unit.
Attempting to pick a lock without proper authorization can result in legal consequences along with damage to the lock.
How to break storage lock
If you have lost the key to your self-storage disc lock, you should contact the facility management and they can assist you with gaining access to your storage unit.
It’s important to follow the proper procedures and not damage any property in the process. Attempting to break a lock without proper authorization can result in legal consequences and damage to the disc lock.
How much does a Public Storage lock cost?
These days, prices change so quickly that it’s difficult to really know a price. I’ll give it my best shot here but it could change quickly.
Public Storage offers a variety of locks for purchase, ranging from basic padlocks to more advanced disc locks.
The cost of a Public Storage lock depends on the type of lock you choose, as well as the location of the storage facility. In general, basic padlocks can cost around $10-15, while disc locks can range from $15-30.
Some Public Storage facilities may offer discounts on locks or have promotions that include a free lock with a new rental. It’s always a good idea to check with your local Public Storage facility for pricing and availability of locks.