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Top Types of Industrial Warehouse Shelving

brown wooden ceiling with light fixture

Choosing the right type of shelving for your warehouse is just as important to your budget as it is to maximizing the organization of your inventory.

The Pros and Cons of the Most Common Industrial Warehouse Shelving Units

There are many different industrial warehouse shelving units to choose from, making it hard to decide which one will work best for your facility. Therefore, when you are deciding on which shelving system to implement, it is vital to consider the pros and cons of each if you want to purchase the one that’s most efficient for your warehouse.

What is Industrial Shelving?

Industrial shelving units are one of the most essential components of a warehouse facility. They play a key role in the storage and organization of your supply and materials. Considering that every facility has different needs, there are many options to choose from when it comes to industrial warehouse shelving, each with its own set of benefits and costs. 

Why Choosing the Right Type of Industrial Shelving is Essential

Using the right industrial warehouse shelving is critical if you want to keep your supply organized and your processes running as smoothly as possible. However, every operation has different needs, making choosing the most suitable shelving seem challenging. Therefore, when deciding between industrial warehouse shelving units, make sure to choose one that will work best for your applications and the size of your supply, which will ensure that your company’s storage is optimized.

The Most Popular Types of Industrial Warehouse Shelving

Steel Shelving

Steel shelving is by far the most common type of industrial shelving. It’s an excellent option if you are looking for cheap industrial shelving that’s durable and will store any material without collapsing or bending. Not only that, but it’s available in different gauges, styles, and support structures meaning they can take on any of your storage needs. 

Advantages of Steel Shelving

  • Steel shelving is typically easy to assemble and adjust, allowing it to fit your specific needs.
  • There are various accessories and add-ons available so that you can create customized shelving for your supply.
  • It’s incredibly heavy-duty, making it perfect for bulky materials.
  • You can choose between open and closed steel shelving units depending on your needs.
  • These units are available in a variety of color and size options.

Disadvantages of Steel Shelving

  • Some types of steel shelving can be challenging to assemble.
  • It is not designed to be mounted onto castors if you want mobile units.
  • Steel shelving can be costly compared to other industrial warehouse shelving types.
  • Closed steel shelving units tend to be very heavy, making them difficult to transport.

Wire Racks

If your supply requires visibility and air circulation, then wire racks are your best option. These shelves are the perfect choice for many types of warehouse applications as they are incredibly versatile. You can choose from stationary units, mobile units, or ones designed for bin storage to suit your storage needs. Additionally, the wire spacing does not let dust and debris build up on the shelves, making them far easier to clean than other options.

Advantages of Wire Racks

  • Wire shelving is easier to keep clean as dust and debris fall between the cracks.
  • They are made to be lightweight and resistant to mold or rust.
  • Their design allows them to mount onto castors for increased mobility.
  • Wire racks provide increased airflow and visibility of your materials.
  • They are suitable for both small and large-scale applications.

Disadvantages of Wire Racks

  • Wire racks can cost more than other industrial warehouse shelving options, such as standard steel shelves.
  • Due to their design, they have a limited load capacity and can easily collapse under a significant amount of weight.
  • Wire racks come in a limited range of sizes because of their limited load capacity.
  • They are not as durable as other types of shelving, meaning damage is more likely to occur.

Bulk Storage Racks

Bulk storage racks are available in various sizes, which allows you to choose the best configuration for your specific needs. Typically, the shelves are made with plywood that can easily be replaced if damaged. If you cannot store your items on wood shelving, you also can purchase steel shelving panels for the unit. Additionally, storage racks are commonly made of a heavy-duty steel frame, allowing them to handle heavier materials.

Advantages of Bulk Storage Racks

  • Bulk storage racks are one of the most versatile shelving options.
  • They are straightforward to assemble and disassemble as needed.
  • These racks can handle loads of up to 2500 due to their heavy steel gauge.
  • Industrial storage racks are available in various sizes, so you can choose one that best suits your operation.

Disadvantages of Bulk Storage Racks

  • These racks weigh a lot because of their heavy gauge steel.
  • This industrial shelving is intended to be used in out-of-sight places such as storage rooms as they are not aesthetically appealing.
  • Items on bulk storage racks cannot be transported using forklifts.

Rivet Shelving

Rivet shelving is one of the most straightforward shelving systems to assemble because these units do not require bolts or clips. Instead, the shelf is made by attaching rivets to its corners or to the steel framework at whatever height you need. These shelves are also highly cost-effective and can be used for various applications such as storage rooms, warehouses, and more.

Advantages of Rivet Shelving

  • Rivet shelves are the most economical type of industrial warehouse shelving.
  • They are easy to put together as you do not need any additional hardware for assembly.
  • Rivet shelving can handle a wide variety of industrial applications as shelves can be adjusted to different heights.

Disadvantages of Rivet Shelving

  • They are made with heavy gauge steel, meaning that they weigh a lot compared to other shelves.
  • They are not an attractive option and should be used in out-of-sight applications.
  • Rivet shelving is not suitable for all operations as they come in a limited range of size options.

Pallet Racking Systems

If your industrial facility receives and stores its material and supplies on pallets, this form of shelving will keep everything off the floor while providing easy accessibility. Pallet racking systems allow you to use verticle space because they can’t be knocked over easily by forklifts due to their anchor system. Additionally, the unit is assembled using nuts and bolts, providing enhanced durability and adjustability. 

Advantages of Pallet Racking Systems

  • These racks are available in almost every size, depth, and height.
  • They are designed to improve forklift access which reduces the chances of injury or damage.
  • Since pallet racks are anchored to the floor, they cannot be knocked over by forklifts.
  • The units feature a heavy-duty frame and sturdy beam levels, making them extremely durable.

Disadvantages of Pallet Racking Systems

  • These shelves cannot be used for inventory that is non-palletized. 
  • A complete pallet rack system can be a costly investment.
  • Damaged pallets or pallets with nails sticking out can get stuck in the shelves.

Final Thoughts on Industrial Shelving

Choosing the proper industrial shelving for your facility does not have to be a strenuous process as long as you consider your warehouse’s specific needs. When selecting a shelving system, you must account for the size of your facility, the typical weight, and dimensions of your inventory, whether or not you need mobile storage, and of course, your budget. Remember, when choosing a storage option, you should not prioritize getting cheap industrial shelving. It may not suit your operation and will need to be replaced faster than a higher-quality unit.

Stanley Gatero is a writer at Disrupt Magazine. He covers topics concerning technology, entrepreneurship, news, and sports. He is an avid traveler.

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