Choosing the Right Lock for Your Storage Unit
There are many factors in keeping your belongings secure. The most important is choosing a secure facility. The next biggest factor is choosing the best lock. Here is a list of locks with the pros and cons of each.
As the name implies, keyless locks do not require a key to be opened. Usually they are either a dial lock or a number combination lock. More modern versions are electronic and can be opened with a FOB (think car door unlocking mechanism) or via an app on your smart phone.
Pros- Convenience, No key to lose or keep track of, Ability to easily give access to a trusted person.
Cons- Code could potentially be guessed by a thief, if the lock is electronic the battery can die, most of these locks can still be cut with bolt cutters or cutting wheels on a grinder. Electronic versions also tend to be pricier than the other options.
Padlocks, use pins in a cylinder that are pressed by a key to open. One of the most common types of generic locks.
Pros- Usually very inexpensive and commonly available.
Cons- Key to keep track of, easily cut by bolt cutters, easy to re-key or pick by criminals.
Disc locks are the industry standard and were specifically developed for self storage. The hasp is protected by the body of the lock and the locks are are hardened to decrease the chance of them being damaged by a would be burglar.
Pros- Harder to cut with bolt cutters as the hasp is protected, usually reasonably priced and commonly available, built to withstand hammering or picking. Usually have to be ground off, which is noisy and takes time. Insurance companies sometimes offer lower rates on storage insurance if a disc lock is used.
Cons- Key to keep track of, may require a little jockeying to get on the locking mechanism depending on the style of door latch used by the storage facility.
Some facilities offer latching mechanisms that use cylinder locks. These locks are inserted into the locking mechanism an fully integrate with the door latch.
Pros- Can not by cut or ground off, only can be drilled which requires knowledge and special tools and takes a good deal of time. One of the most secure options in self storage locks. Usually reasonably priced.
Cons- Lock will only work at a self storage facility, Keys to keep track of.
Other lock considerations:
-Choose the biggest lock that will fit; bigger locks are harder or take longer to remove.
-If your unit is an outside access unit make sure to choose a lock rated for outdoor use made of stainless steel. If you plan to access your unit in the winter and you live in a cold weather climate, consider bringing deicer with you when you visit.
Although locks are an important consideration in the safety of your belongings, remember to choose a secure facility; one with a fully fenced perimeter, keypad access gate, cameras, well lit and an on-site management presence and always carry renters insurance on your stored goods.