Above Ground Vs Below Ground Storm Shelters

Tornado shelter door

If you’re considering purchasing a storm shelter for your home or business, did you know that there are two different types? Above ground shelters and below ground shelters are the two most popular types of storm shelters, and each has its own unique benefits. If you’re interested in purchasing a storm shelter and not sure which one will fit your needs, Stronghold Safe Rooms is here to help distinguish the differences.

Related Post: Common Natural Disasters a Storm Shelter Can Withstand

Below Ground

A below-ground storm shelter can be located underground under your home or outside of your property.


  • Saving Space: In-ground shelters can save a ton of space if you don’t have a large yard or land space.
  • In-Home Shelter: With the option of an in-ground shelter you can have your shelter installed in your garage or in the basement of your home.
  • Add Value: Homes with storm shelters already installed can add a significant amount of value to your home.
  • Avoid Lightning: If there’s a large thunderstorm, a below-ground shelter can protect your shelter from lightning.


  • Exterior Problems: Some in-ground storm shelters are known to have problems with bugs and flooding if their storm shelter is underground.
  • Trapped: If your storm doors only swing closed, it’s possible that if enough fallen debris makes its way onto the doors of your storm shelter that you may become trapped.
  • Expensive: In-ground shelters can be a lot more expensive than above ground.

Above Ground

Above ground shelters are, well, above the ground! They are located out in the open and are usually located near a main building.


Easily Located: Since these shelters are located above ground, they can be located almost anywhere, whether it’s outside your business or near your home.

Cost-Effective: Above ground shelters are less expensive than underground shelters as they don’t require any digging or special licenses.

Handicap Accessible: Below ground shelters require stairs, which may not be accessible to everyone. Above ground shelters can be made to be accessible to anyone with disabilities.

Multi-Purpose: While effective during storms, they can also be used as safe rooms during an intruder or theft situation.


Must Travel Outside: If a severe storm or weather hits unexpectedly and you don’t have a lot of time, it can be dangerous to travel outside to your storm shelter.

Related Post: Essential Items to Keep in Your Storm Shelter

Choose Stronghold Safe Rooms

A common myth is that below ground shelters are safer. In reality, experience has shown that below ground shelters are subject to many hazards such as insects, cracking, leaking, and in severe cases flooding. Stronghold builds quality above ground storm shelters that are tested to withstand even the harshest natural disaster. Our above ground shelters have protected families through some of the worst tornadoes in history, including the Joplin tornado of 2011. Contact us today at 417-725-0055 to install a storm shelter that’s built to last.