There are many different situations why you might be considering storage. You may need storage as a short-term solution, while you relocate to a new home or business. Alternatively, you may need storage as a long-term space for your business or household valuables, or to safely and securely store your belongings while you travel abroad for work. Whatever the reason, there are different options you need to consider when choosing the type of storage that is right for you.

There are two main types of storage in the UK, self storage and container storage. To help you figure out which is best for you, we have provided a detailed comparison of both types of storage below.


What Exactly Is Self Storage?

A self storage facility refers to a structure consisting of individual units leased for the storage of business, commercial, or personal goods and belongings. They come in a variety of sizes and can be rented for short or long term.
Self storage facilities have onsite staff and security and are usually conveniently located in London so you can easily find one near you. They are suited for just a few boxes, important documents you may not have space for in your home or office, or the contents of your entire home.

What Is Container Storage?

Container storage offers storage for your possessions in individual containers, that vary in size, which are housed together within a warehouse or secure compound. Both short and long term options are available.
Container storage units come in a variety of sizes and can be used to store your personal items like wine or art collections, seasonal items that cause clutter in your home, keeping the entire contents of your home safe and secure while you move or for businesses looking for somewhere to store retail or furniture and equipment that they no longer use daily.



One of the most important factors you need to consider when choosing the right storage option is how often you are going to need access to your things. While each storage company will vary, below you’ll find a general comparison of the kind of accessibility you can expect between self storage and container storage.

Self Storage

One of the key advantages of self-storage is that you often have 24/7 access to your things. Many facilities offer drive up access which means you can park directly outside your unit. You can access your storage locker when you need to by visiting the unit directly.

Container Storage

Containers are stored in the locked facilities of storage companies. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have access to your belongings. Instead, in order to keep costs low many container storage facilities request that you reach out to them when you would like items returned. In many cases, they will return your items directly to your door.


The sky is really the limit here. Storage unit sizes usually start at 10 sq. ft. and can go as large as 500 sq. ft. Both self storage units and container storage units offer a variety of sizes so you can find one that is best for you.

Self Storage

Self storage units usually start in the 10 sq. ft. range and go up from there. The sizing is quite strict since each company will have various locker sizes. Even if you don’t need to use an entire unit, you made need to rent it anyway because you can’t rent 1/2 a unit. Furthermore, depending on the company that you book with, self storage may have limited larger sized units. Especially in city centers.

Insider tip: When you’re loading your belongings into a self storage unit make sure to not to overpack. Packing too much in will restrict proper air circulation and can lead to mold.

Container Storage

Container storage units usually start at around 35 sq. ft. in size and go up from there. Having a variety of sizes to choose from means that you will only pay for the space you really need. It’s also possible to rent very large units given the flexibility with container storage.

Insider tip: Here is where the full service that some container storage facilities offer comes in handy. Letting the professionals handle, pack, transport and store your belongings means that you don’t have to worry about over (or under) packing your unit, and can let the professionals choose the perfect size for you.

If you’re looking for more tips on choosing the right unit size, check out our other article.


If you’re thinking about putting some of your possessions into storage, security should be a priority. Both self storage and container storage, offer some state of the art security measures in order to ensure that your belongings stay safe. Individual companies will have different security measures in place but make sure to look for facilities with onsite security, insurance and temperature controlled units.

Self Storage

At a self storage facility, you will be the sole key or passcode holder. Many companies leave the onus of providing a padlock on the customer and you’ll also have to insure your own belongings, although this can often be purchased from a storage company directly.

A legitimate self storage facility will have 24-hour surveillance and onsite security personnel, but these do come at a cost.

Container Storage

Containers are stored in the locked facilities of storage companies and can only be accessed by their staff. Not having 24/7 access here can actually be considered an advantage, as people won’t be coming and going at all hours.

Make sure to ask about the premises and talk to the staff about their specific security policies, insurance policy, and how your belongings will be protected from damp and cold before making a decision. Containers are usually stored in larger facilities in low traffic areas, which again, could be an advantage in terms of security as they are not as accessible to petty crime.


Of course cost is always an important thing to consider. The price of storage can be expensive, especially if you want to rent an easily accessible unit in central London.

Self Storage

Largely due to 24/7 accessibility and location, self storage is significantly more expensive than container storage. Prices of self storage units also do not include packing, moving, supplies, or insurance.

Insider tip: A lot of self storage companies offer low introductory rates that will increase significantly in upcoming months. Make sure to ask for a comprehensive per month breakdown of rates and fees, based on the length of time you will be renting the unit.

Container Storage

One of the biggest advantages of container storage is the cost. Since container storage doesn’t provide 24/7 access and can store your items in bulk at designated facilities, they are the cheapest storage option in London. The cost is often half the price of similar sized self storage units.


Now that you have a comprehensive comparison on the most important differences between self storage and container storage, we’ve provided a finally summary below on the most common uses of each.

Self Storage

You’ll want to consider renting a self storage unit if you meet one or several of the following criteria:

  • You need 24 hour, 7 days a week access to your belongings
  • Your business needs to store goods or items that you need to access or exchange frequently
  • You need onsite staff to accept packages and deliveries on your behalf
  • You don’t mind packing, transporting and storing your belongings yourself
  • You need a very short term storage solution, with a small number of items

Container Storage

You’ll want to look into renting a storage container if you meet one or several of the following criteria:

  • You don’t need 24/7 access to your items
  • You don’t need frequent access to your items
  • You are looking for the lowest rate
  • You don’t want to pack or deliver items to the storage unit yourself offers the cheapest rate on storage throughout North, East, South, West and Central London. We offer FREE professional packing, pick-up and safe and secure delivery into our storage facility, and will return your items to you when you want them. Contact us today for more information or get a quote directly on our website.

Happy storage hunting!

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