How to Choose the Best Rack Shelving System

Closed shelving units

Racking vs. Shelving: What is the Difference?

Ρacking and shelving are both critical storage systems. Because of this, often, people use the words racking and shelving interchangeably, without knowing there are some differences between the two.

Shelving refers to the act of storing items on shelves. Shelves are probably the most popular storage system, and they are used in offices, garages, businesses, and warehouses. The most common systems used are particle board shelving, steel shelving, and wire shelving.

Particleboard shelving is a cost-effective solution that is suitable for most warehouses. Steel shelving is a durable and resistant option against rust and the best solution for storing liquids.

Wire rack shelves are also a cost-effective solution and allow fire suppression systems to penetrate the shelving to comply with local fire codes and OSHA safety standards; however, small loose items can slip through the wire decking mesh holes, so you need additional bins or totes to keep small items organized.

Pallet racking is a heavy-duty storage system that is usually stored higher and deeper with items and pallets. To access loads on racking systems, heavy machinery such as a forklift is often required. Racking is also ideal for storing oversize or non-uniform items. Cantilever racks lack decking, allowing you to store elongated, bulky, or awkward items like lumber, steel piping, and furniture.

At Shelving + Racking Systems, Inc., we offer a wide variety of industrial shelving and racking options, including mobile shelving, steel industrial shelving, rack shelving, and wire shelving. In addition to shelving, we also provide a wide range of storage and warehouse products such as workstations, conveyors, and containers.

Features to Look for in Storage Racks and Shelving

With so many storage options available, it can be difficult to choose a specific type of industrial shelving. You should think about your specific storage needs when making the decision. An expert can help you decide the best storage solution for your particular business or product. These are some of the points you should consider when buying shelves or storage racks.


Choosing a quality brand is essential to ensure your shelves perform well and are long-lasting. Top brands offer better quality designs and also use superior materials in their products.

With more than three decades of experience, Shelving + Racking Systems, Inc. has helped many businesses become more efficient with well-designed, high-quality storage systems.

Assembly Type

Most storage systems can either be unassembled or pre-assembled. Depending on the type of storage you need, one works better than the other. Large shelves for warehouses need to be assembled at the site. But with a relatively small garage shelf, you can buy the parts and assemble them yourself.

Boltless shelving is by far the easiest type of shelving to assemble. They do not require the use of fasteners such as bolts, pins, or clips. Instead, they work with pins or hooks you can insert on connectors between uprights. The only tool required is a wooden hammer or rubber mallet to apply force to the connector. Boltless shelving isn’t only easy to assemble; it’s also fast. You can quickly disassemble your shelving for transport or reconfigure it according to your needs.

Our team of professionals can design a shelving system that meets your specific needs and carry out the installation for you. We have experience working with a wide variety of applications, and we always work hard to create a storage system that matches the requirements of the business.

Color Family

Even though color may seem unimportant, it can be used to your advantage when dealing with shelving and racking systems. Color can help you improve the organization of your storage space. When buying a shelf, choose a different color from the items you are going to store. This can help the items stand out and improve visibility.

It’s common to use different colors with bins and containers, and the same can be applied to shelves. Using different colored shelves can also help organize your office, workshop, or home. Different colors can indicate that different shelves are used to store different items or tools. This makes it a lot easier for staff to retrieve tools when needed and increases their overall productivity.

Best Rack Shelving system

Shelf Type

Choosing the right type of shelving system for your business makes all the difference. Depending on the items you want to store, their weight, and their size, you’ll do better with one type of shelf or another.

Wire shelves can accommodate a wide range of products in commercial or industrial facilities. They provide good airflow, which is an advantage when storing food and other sensitive products. However, they aren’t ideal for an automotive or manufacturing business that uses lots of tools and small engine parts. They also have a lower weight capacity than many other shelving types, so they may be unable to store auto parts and machinery.

Steel shelves are one of the most popular options for their durability and relatively low cost. You can purchase steel shelves with different weight capacities depending on your inventory. Steel is so durable that even used shelves can last for a long time. Also, steel shelves are excellent for storing liquids and greasy or oily items.

Like in many other fields, technology is also changing the way businesses store their products. Those willing to invest in technology are increasing the efficiency of their warehouses. For example, warehouses for eCommerce businesses that need to make fast deliveries can benefit from a mobile shelving system that’s electrically powered.


When it comes to the price of a storage system, whether it’s a small shelf or a large racking system, you should aim for a balance between quality and price. A quality shelf is more expensive, but it will last for many years in good condition. Wire shelves tend to be cheaper than steel, but it’s a good idea to invest in sturdy and resistant steel shelves if you need to store heavy equipment.

Used shelving is a great option, especially when you are first starting in business, transitioning to a larger space, or stocking seasonal goods temporarily.

We can help you find the right product that meets your needs and is within your budget.

Width, Depth, and Height

A key question to consider is the size of the racks or shelves that you need. You’ll need a racking system that matches the measurements of the pallets and items you want to store.

In some industries, such as the automotive industry, the pieces and components of engines are constantly changing, which can create a storage problem. That’s why automotive shelving has open designs with sliding systems that make the storage units customizable. For any industry where parts or inventory often change size and shape, flexible and customizable storage models are best.

Weight Capacity Per Shelf (lbs)

Measuring the accurate weight capacity that your shelves can handle is important to avoid costly accidents in the workplace. Especially for manufacturers dealing with heavy items and equipment, you should ensure the shelves can hold the weight.

Take the Next Step in Warehouse Efficiency

At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we have been helping businesses improve their storage systems and material handling equipment since 1979. With decades of experience in the field, we can help you improve the efficiency and productivity of your business or warehouse. If you are looking for a company that can install a large racking system, we can get the job done. To learn more about our services and products, contact us online.


Why do you think storing goods on racks and shelves is better?

Storing goods in racks and shelves allows you to optimize the use of space in a warehouse or any other facility more efficiently. It also helps organize items, improving picking and handling efficiency to increase overall productivity.

Is it cheaper to build your shelves?

While buying materials and designing a shelving system can be cheaper, quality and durable shelving designed by an experienced manufacturer is always a good investment and OSHA compliant.