Drive-Ups Vs. Walk-Ins

In our Vs. series we put different storage options up against each other to find the best solution for your needs.

Drive-Ups Vs. Walk-Ins is where we put standard drive-up storage units against standard walk-in storage units.


There were a few categories we considered:

Size, Accessibility, Lighting, Cleanliness, Price and more…


Most drive-up storage units are about 10 feet wide and vary from 8-40 feet deep. Some storage facilities have drive-up units that are 5 feet wide and 8 feet wide, it will depend upon the building layout.

The drive-up unit’s accessibility is very convenient, you can drive your moving truck or car right up to the door and truckunload. They are great for large items like refrigerators and couches because you can unload without having to roll items down a hallway or up an elevator to get them into your storage unit. The 10 foot wide drive-up obviously has a wider doorway than the standard walk-in storage unit that has a doorway that is about 3 feet wide. Doorway width is also important if you are storing those large bulky items, many fingers have been jammed moving a large couch through a small doorway.

Not all storage units are lit from the inside and lighting can be important in finding stored items. A drive-up storage unit has access to the sunlight in the day and your headlights in the evening if your unit is not properly lit.

Drive-up storage units can be more subject to elements like leaves, dust and dirt than interior walk-in units. Other storage customers drive their cars passed your drive-up unit to get to theirs blowing road dust through the weather-stripping on your roll-up door and into your unit.

The pricing difference is not much when you compare a drive-up to a walk-in storage unit. The drive-up is generally around $10 more than a walk-in storage unit of the same size. Price isn’t really the problem it’s the availability, most people will choose a drive-up unit over a walk-in of the same size due to convenience. With a limited number of drive-up storage units to choose from you may have no choice but to rent an interior unit.


Walk-in storage units range in size from 5×5 to 5×15 and from 8×10 to 10×10. Every storage facility is different and some offer different sizes due to the way their building was constructed. Some buildings are made with metal walls that can be configured to other sizes, but others are constructed with lumber and plaster making them permanent.upstairs

The interior size of a walk-in unit can range in size but the size of the doorway usually remains the same. The doorways on most interior or walk-in units are around 3 feet, this makes for a tough time getting large items into your unit. This is one reason why some people will pay a few more dollars per month for the drive-up unit. Another reason why people may pay more for a drive-up unit is that some walk-in units are up stairs or elevators.

Since not all storage units are lit from the inside, it would be beneficial to find a unit close to a hallway light. Walk-in storage units tend to get dark inside without the exterior light that the drive-up units receive from the sun.

The exterior elements such as dust and leaves are less in the walk-in units generally because they are inside, down hallways or up stairs. Storage staff members generally sweep up dust and dirt that accumulates in the hallways of the interior buildings. Sweeping the hallway is a cleaner method than using a leaf blower to clean up the driveways as some facilities do. Blowing the leaves and dirt just sends more dirt and dust under your door and into your unit.


The size of a storage unit depends upon how much you need to put in storage. Smaller items can be stored very easily in a walk-in unit but big items like furniture and appliances may get too bulky. The doorway opening seems to be a big difference between the drive-up and walk-in storage units. A drive-up unit usually has a roll-up door with an opening of about 8 feet wide 6 feet tall making it very easy to load and unload large items.

Speaking of large items, it’s easier for you to drive-up and offload your moving truck full of furniture right into your unit than it would be to load dollies and carts and push them down halls or up elevators to your walk-in.

Cleanliness can be a factor at some facilities, dust and leaves can get under the roll-up doors and into the storage units. Interior walk-in units are cleaner due to less road dust and exposure to natural elements like leaves and dirt.

The price you pay depends upon the size unit that you rent but you generally pay about 10 bucks more for a drive-up storage unit than you would for a walk-in of the same size. You can determine if the price is worth the convenience.

Continue to follow our Vs. series to find more solutions to your storage problems.

Happy Holidays

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Offer valid on self storage sizes of 10x15 and larger.

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