Applications and Advantages of Cantilever Racks

Heavy Duty Cantilever Racking System

The storage systems you implement in your warehouse or distribution center directly impact your business’ storage capacity, floor space, horizontal and vertical space, and efficiency. While pallet racks are a mainstay among modern warehouse facilities, these systems are inappropriate for long, irregularly shaped, or awkward loads.

An excellent alternative to traditional pallet racking is cantilever racking systems for storing a heavy, cumbersome, or bulky load.

What is Cantilever Racking?

Cantilever racks are designed for storing a broad array of long or odd-shaped loads. Suitable for use in indoor and outdoor environments, you can find cantilever rack systems in warehouses, lumber yards, and cold-storage facilities.

Industrial cantilever racks are available in either a single- or double-sided configuration, allowing you to increase the storage capacity of your warehouse.

In the single-sided configuration, the metal frames consist of two upright columns attached to two bases in the single-sided configuration. This appears like an “L” shape when viewed from the side. These uprights are typically connected using braces—two arms project outward from the uprights, per level or bay, and cradle inventory items.


Cantilever bases are horizontal beams that anchor to the warehouse floor and provide stability to the system. The cantilever rack’s load capacity and the length of its arms determine the size of the bases needed.

Brace sets

Braces connect the cantilever uprights to increase structural stability and prevent lateral cantilever deflection. Cantilever racks are available with several different braces, including diagonal, X-shaped, and horizontal brace designs. The X-brace is particularly strong and fits between two horizontal braces, attaching the upper and lower brace.

Upright columns

The vertical uprights, or vertical columns, are attached to the base at the rear of the storage system. These components provide support to the arms, so they need to be rigid and stable.


The cantilever arms have direct contact with the products you store on the rack. Each cantilever rack arm should be level with the brace and angled slightly upward to prevent inventory from rolling off. You can also bolt the arms to the cantilever rack uprights for additional reinforcement.

Stop pins

Stop pins prevent items from falling or rolling off the arms or the base of the cantilever rack. They extend upward from the top of the arm to secure items that are likely to slip.

Types of Cantilever Racks

There are two different cantilever racks, and your specific needs determine which one is the best choice for your business. Both types are durable and designed for holding a wide range of materials.

Structural cantilever rack

Structural cantilever racking is composed of heavy-gauge hot-rolled steel structural elements suitable for storing medium to heavy loads. This includes using I-beams and a four-bolt attachment method to connect arms to the steel columns.

Structural racking generally requires longer lead times, is more expensive to manufacture, and the assembly process is more complicated. However, structural racks are stronger, more resistant to impact damage and provide wide-ranging load capacities.

Galvanized medium duty cantilever racking

Racking systems for warehouses are available in various surface finishes, from durable paint to chrome plating. We offer structural cantilever racking, manufactured by Red Steel Materials Handling, that features a galvanized finish for increased rust protection. This heavy-duty I-beam cantilever rack has arms adjustable in 4” increments, allowing you to find the perfect height for storing several different types of products and awkward materials.

Mobile cantilever systems

Advantages of Cantilever Racks

Little Giant manufactures an all-welded stationary or mobile cantilever racking system where warehouse space is limited. The arms have removable retainer pipes that extend to 5” in height for increased load security, and each storage level has a 1,500 lb. load capacity.

This single-sided cantilever rack has structural channel components for high strength and a powder-coated finish. The mobile base allows you to maneuver the rack where demand is highest without unloading and dismantling the system, creating an efficient mobile storage option for busy warehouses.

Roll formed cantilever rack

This type of racking uses lightly constructed cold roll formed steel components. As the manufacturing and assembly process is simpler than structural racking, production lead times are shorter, and the prices are generally lower.

However, roll formed racks also tend to have lower weight capacities and are more vulnerable to impact damage caused by forklift trucks.

Applications for Cantilever Racking

Cantilever racking is a versatile storage solution for bulky products. Their flexibility and strength make them ideal for the industrial storage of bulky items. Cantilever racks are used for storing the following products:

Fabric rolls

Fabric rolls, including rolled carpeting and rugs, pose a storage challenge for other storage systems. Cantilevers are optimal for storing rolled fabrics, as there are fewer restrictions regarding horizontal space. Cantilevers also lack decking that may damage these delicate materials. Cantilevers also keep fabrics off the warehouse floor, protecting them against dust, moisture, and other contaminants.

Lumber and drywall

Building products and materials come in odd shapes and sizes, including sheets and long beams that require heavy-duty shelving. Cantilever racks are perfect for providing easy access to building materials without slowing down warehouse operations.

Steel bar stock and other metals

Cantilever racks are ideal for storing long, heavy items, such as steel pipes, tubing, heavy bar stock, and aluminum and steel sheets. As the cantilever rack does not have decking, there’s no vertical obstruction, providing flexible storage and direct access to products.

Cantilevers avoid floor stacking, increasing the storage space in your warehouse. The cantilever rack arms can also support differently sized loads depending on the adjustment.

Advantages of Cantilever Storage Systems

To meet the storage needs regarding bulkier and heavier materials, cantilever systems offer several advantages.

Adjustable based on your storage needs

The angle and height of the arms on cantilever racks are easy to adjust. The design allows for uniform weight distribution without deck support and can store light or heavy-duty items like building material, depending on your weight capacity requirements.

Saves time and money

Cantilever rack installation is simple, reducing your company’s downtime. As cantilever racks can store awkwardly shaped materials, you don’t need to invest in product-specific storage solutions, reducing operational costs.

This system also reduces the need for floor stacking, which can result in damage to your inventory, increase clutter, and create safety hazards for workers.

Direct pick access to materials

These shelves are designed to make it easy to place and remove long, bulky materials using standard material handling equipment, including forklifts and pallet trucks. This increases productivity and efficiency in your warehouse, lumber yard, or factory.

Ideal for limited space

If you need additional space, cantilever racks are ideal. These systems require less aisle space than pallet racks, increasing maneuverability.

Choose the Right Racking for Your Warehouse

Cantilever racking is a long-term capital investment that can increase the productivity of your business by eliminating product-specific storage challenges.

At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., our team can help you find the optimal storage solution for your specific warehousing needs, whether you need industrial cantilevers racks or a light duty cantilever rack to store longer, oddly-sized materials.

Give us a call at (800) 589-7225 or browse our catalog to find new and used shelving and rack systems and accessories to meet your storage needs.