Gate Entry Advice

By Vince Mancuso,

While any gate is enough to deter most break-ins at a storage facility, not all access types are created equal—and with phrases like “keycode access” and “computer-controlled access,” it’s easy to get confused. So, what exactly are the things to look for in security? How do you know when you need something basic or something advanced? Read on to find out about the different gate systems.

The Benefit of Gated Storage

It is important to note right away that any gate—basic or advanced—gives renters both a secure feeling as well as real protection. Most would-be thieves, vandals, or other trespassers are deterred by the site of a gate and remain off the property. While the personal or financial value of what you plan to place in your storage unit should be a factor in determining how advanced you need a facility’s security features to be, it’s important to always make sure the facility has any sort of gate, as a gate is the first line of protection to your belongings.

Photo by Carlos

Regardless of using a basic or advanced gate system, there are a few things to note. The first of which is how long the gate remains open once you enter the facility. Be sure to look for a gate that doesn’t linger and allows someone to tailgate in behind you. While a slow gate does avoid reentering the same code to get multiple vehicles in for one move-in date, it can also allow a potential thief to follow in behind a tenant.

Lastly, look for the exit point—do you drive out of another gate by using a keycode, or is it automatic? Having an automatic exit may defeat the purpose of having a security gate in the first place, as any would-be thief can easily get out once they have what they came for. In short, be sure that your exit is just as secure as your entrance.

Basic Gate Security

A basic gate at a storage facility comes in the form of a sliding gate, however, barrier-arm gates are becoming more popular. These simple gates grant access with the use of a unique key code given to each tenant, ensuring that only you should be getting in with your code. These basic gates are mostly seen at mom-and-pop storage facilities and serve their purpose of keeping out those who don’t belong inside the facility and near the storage units.

Electronic Key Pad
Photo by Jacob Haas

A basic, key code-access gate is great for basic storage needs and not storing anything that is too great of personal or financial value such as a cache of Christmas decorations or seasonal clothes that would otherwise consume your storage space at home. While these items are still worth protecting with additional features and practices, such as video surveillance and a lock on your unit, a basic entry is more than enough to protect these items.

Advanced Access and Security

Many facilities offer more advanced entry systems. While these gates do often open with key codes, they can also use key cards or even more advanced measures such as finger scans. Typically speaking, electronic-gate access is more than just a gate as it can include other features such as video surveillance on the entry pad.

Advanced security access also allows for other benefits and practical uses to both the tenant and the storage facility. For instance, electronic gate access can track who enters a facility at what time. It can also grant remote access to a storage facility manager should a tenant be stuck inside the gate for some reason. Some multi-story facilities in larger cities even have elevator access set to only allow tenants on their particular floor.

Fingerprint Scanner
Photo by David Shankbone

These advanced systems are clearly a benefit to those storing belongings of high personal and financial value, such as financial records, family heirlooms, or high-end electronics. Facilities with more advanced security features do tend to come at a slightly-higher rate depending on the location, but the price is worth the benefit of additional protection.

As with most storage features, determining whether you need a basic keypad entry or more advanced electronic gate access depends on your particular situation and storage needs. Those storing away items of little value can save money by finding useful, but basic, security features while tenants needing more protection can go with advanced electronic gate access.

All images have either been provided by a listed organization or are licensed under the Creative Commons.