The Pros and Cons of Steel, Rivet and Wire Industrial Shelving

Steel Industrial Shelving

When selecting a storage system, it’s essential to install shelving suitable for the type and size of your inventory and the material handling system you use. The wrong type of shelving can cause issues, from safety hazards to productivity loss.

Certain types of industrial shelving are more popular due to their durability, strength, and versatility. Industrial steel, rivet, and wire shelving provide the foundations for many warehouse storage systems around the country.

Steel Industrial Shelving

Steel industrial shelving is the gold standard for industrial storage facilities. It is durable and versatile so that it can be used for various product types, including heavy-duty goods.

Steel Industrial Shelving Pros:

If you’re considering investing in steel industrial shelving, here are some of its main advantages:


Industrial steel shelving is designed to last, even in harsh warehouse environments and facilities with heavy traffic. All components are manufactured using heavy-gauge steel, from the frames to the metal shelving corner posts. Steel shelving is often viewed as a permanent storage option and is frequently found alongside comprehensive pallet racking systems in warehouses.

If you require extra-strength steel shelving, choose a unit with heavy gauge steel posts and shelf supports. This ensures it can stand up to the wear and tear of daily use and provides resistance against contact with warehouse machinery.

Although some steel shelves have a powder coat finish, non-treated steel can be coated in scratch-proof paint for added durability.

Certain types of steel shelves, like solid galvanized shelving, are temperature resistant, making them suitable for outdoor use. It is also an excellent option for cold storage rooms, where food and beverage products are housed.

Our industrial shelving units are built from 20 gauge steel, making them a durable option for a variety of uses, from warehouses to retail stockrooms. These units are available in open and closed configurations with up to seven shelves.

While this is a heavy-duty option, it is also quite versatile and easy to reconfigure. The gray powder coat finish gives it an appealing aesthetic that won’t look out of place in a retail store.

Load capacity

Industrial steel shelving can be used for both heavy-duty and bulk storage. The high-quality steel components give these units a high load capacity, ensuring you can store a high volume of goods and various product types. This helps warehouse managers create more efficient use of aisle space.

Due to their durable build and load capacity, many steel shelves also enable you to optimize the warehouse’s vertical space.

In storage facilities and warehouses, efficient space utilization is key to productivity and profitability. While making the most of the available space is important, it’s also crucial to be wary of warehouse safety. Packing high volumes of goods onto a shelf can free up aisle space, but it can also cause health hazards.

When purchasing a shelving unit, ensure its load capacity is adequate for the inventory you intend to store. Overloading shelves can cause them to collapse dangerously, potentially injuring warehouse staff and damaging products.
Our all-welded heavy-duty steel shelving is a durable option for a range of industries and product types. Each 12 gauge steel shelf boasts a 2,000 lbs. weight capacity, ensuring it can support machinery, automotive parts, and building materials. These shelving units are available in four or five shelf configurations.


Steel industrial shelving can be versatile. Some units are highly customizable, allowing you to add extra shelves, various decking materials, and shelving end panels. Our broad selection of steel shelving includes options with open and closed configurations, depending on your storage needs.

Open shelving allows seamless access to goods from all sides, while closed configurations can help keep your inventory safe.

Our 200A steel units are our most versatile option for heavy-duty storage. The shelves adjust on 1 to ½ inch centers, allowing you to configure them according to your needs. This is particularly useful for facilities that deal with a high number of product SKUs.

Another critical advantage of these units is the ease of assembly. They require no nuts, bolts, or clips to install and reconfigure. The shelves are available in laminate or particleboard. Load capacities per shelf range from 150 to 300 lbs. This open configured shelving allows warehouse operators to access goods from all sides.

Steel Industrial Shelving Cons

While steel industrial shelving is an excellent option in a wide variety of applications, it may not be the right solution for your facility. Industrial steel shelving has two main drawbacks:


The robust and heavy-duty nature of steel industrial shelving means it can be challenging to put together, uninstall, and reconfigure. Some steel units require welding and anchoring to provide added support and stability.

However, at Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we provide professional installation services, ensuring your shelves are assembled and installed correctly.


The main downside of high-quality steel shelving is the cost. It is built with strong and durable materials and components, so it costs a little more than timber or plastic shelving units.

However, it is long-lasting and durable, ensuring it can last for several years or even decades. Warehouse managers should view high-quality steel shelves as a long-term investment.

Rivet Industrial Shelving

Rivet Industrial Shelving

Rivet or boltless shelving is one of the most simple yet versatile storage options for low to medium-duty goods. It is typically used for commercial shelving for storing cartons or boxes filled with lightweight goods.

Boltless shelving is known for its ease of assembly through its teardrop design and pin connectors. There are two main types of rivet shelving: single and double rivet.

Single rivet shelving uses one rivet to attach the shelf to the upright post. It features teardrop holes that allow the components to connect without the need for nuts, bolts, or shelf clips. Single rivet steel shelving is fast and easy to install but may not withstand heavy loads. These units are typically used for a commercial space, an office, or retail storerooms.

Double rivet shelving features two rivets designed to slot into pre-made grooves on each upright, locking them in place. The shelves are typically thicker and heavier, capable of supporting heavier loads than single rivet shelves.

Rivet Industrial Shelving Pros

Rivet industrial shelving is widely used in a variety of industries. In addition to providing an excellent storage option for maximizing warehouse space, other benefits of rivet shelving include:

Ease of installation

Rivet shelving doesn’t require installation accessories like nuts, bolts, fasteners, and clips. Boltless shelving consists of metal shelving corner posts into which clip beams and shelf decking. A single rubber mallet is all you need to assemble and install rivet shelving for most models. The ease of installation saves businesses time and money on installation and reconfiguration.


Rivet shelving can be customized and adjusted to fit a variety of storage spaces, from garages to fulfillment centers. Many boltless units are available in a variety of heights and have adjustable shelves.

They are the perfect shelving option for fulfillment centers that process various product types since each unit can be reconfigured quickly to accommodate changing SKUs.

We provide a wide range of customizable shelving options: our 200B shelving units or an excellent low-cost option for durable storage spaces like industrial warehouses. The shelves adjust in 1 to ½ inch increments and are available in heights ranging from 3 to 12 feet. They don’t require cross braces for stability, ensuring you can access the free-standing shelves from all sides.

Choose between laminate and particleboard decking. The load capacities of the shelves are available from 500 to 1,100 lbs. We also stock additional or replacement shelves if necessary.


Boltless shelving is typically less expensive than heavy-duty steel or epoxy wire shelving units. Since it doesn’t require complex parts or additional storage components, it can be manufactured and assembled cheaply.

Since it is available in a variety of sizes, load capacities, and materials, you can find rivet shelving to accommodate virtually any budget.

Our Boxer box rivet shelving is a high-quality, cost-effective storage option for medium to heavy-duty goods. The fully welded box frame is supported by sturdy 14 gauge steel uprights that allow 1 to ½ inch adjustments. These units are available in open and closed configurations. The closed units feature 24 gauge steel panels.

The heavy-duty shelves are available in 20 or 22-gauge steel. Choose between a range of shelf load capacities from 550 to 850 lbs. This is commercial quality steel shelving.

Rivet Industrial Shelving Cons

Storage equipment is designed for specific types of products and product management systems. Despite its cost-effectiveness and customizability, rivet shelving may not always be the best option for your business. The drawbacks of rivet shelving include:


Boltless shelving is practical by design, making it an excellent option for industrial settings. However, it is not very aesthetically pleasing, particularly when compared to some types of industrial wire shelving.

While it may improve the functionality of a warehouse or distribution center, rivet shelving may not be a good option for retail environments like clothing or bookstores.

Load capacity

Standard boltless shelving is designed for easy assembly without tools, sacrificing strength and stability for convenience. Pallet racking or steel industrial shelving may be better if you require heavy-duty storage.

However, at Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we stock several boltless options that offer medium to heavy-duty storage capabilities.

Wire Industrial Shelving Systems

Wire Industrial Shelving

Wire industrial shelving is one of the most widely used storage options for a range of industries, from pharmaceuticals to retail. It is lightweight, adjustable, and allows consistent air circulation, perfect for perishable goods or cold room storage.

Wire Industrial Shelving Pros

The mesh design and wave pattern make industrial wire shelving a versatile storage option. Wire shelving improves visibility and promotes steady airflow, making it an optimal solution for specialized storage, like food and beverages. The main advantages of industrial wire shelves include:


Wire shelving is manufactured from steel mesh, allowing air to pass freely between shelving units. This helps prevent dust and allergens from accumulating, keeping your inventory clean and free from pollutants. Constant airflow also reduces condensation from developing on your goods, ensuring wire shelving can be used for dry storage applications like food produce.

Wire shelving is suited to chemical products and pharmaceutical storage. The shelves may be strengthened with coating, increasing the steel’s resistance to chemical exposure.

For example, we stock NSF-approved epoxy wire shelving. It has an antimicrobial coating, baked and cured to reinforce the strength of the steel. These shelves are perfect for wet or humid environments and may be used to stock chemicals. We carry a variety of colors, including black, chrome, and green epoxy wire shelving.


Wire shelving is popular for mobile storage, particularly when transporting perishable goods to and from cold rooms. Despite its strength and durability, the wire design means that wire shelving is often much lighter than other varieties, making it perfect for transporting goods.

Our 4-shelf, zinc-plated mobile carts are fitted with 2 to 5-inch braking casters, ensuring they can move heavy goods through a storage facility. Each cart has 1,200 lbs. storage capacity, distributed evenly across all shelves. The wire rack shelving has a stainless steel base, providing durability, while the zinc exterior offers chemical and temperature resistance.

Small parts storage

Wire shelving is also an excellent option for small parts storage. The shelves can be stocked with cartons or boxes for organizing machine components, tools, or accessories. This type of unit is useful for car garages or hardware stores.

Mobile units can be used to transport racking repair equipment, labels, and other maintenance equipment around a facility.

Our chrome wire shelving units with magnum bins are a versatile storage option that can be used for heavy-duty and small parts storage. These units are available with five to nine shelves, each of which can support up to 800 lbs. Choose from a variety of storage bins in a range of colors to help identify items quickly and easily.

Wire Industrial Shelving Cons

Wire shelving is used in a variety of niche industries. It is lightweight yet durable, making it a perfect option for harsh warehouse environments and mobile storage. However, it has its limitations:

Load capacity

While there are some heavy-duty wire shelving options, this type of unit is designed for lightweight use. It offers excellent space-saving qualities for the high-density storage of small goods. However, it may be unsuitable for low-volume heavy-duty storage in large lumber yards or building material warehouses.

Low profile

Wire shelving doesn’t offer the same level of vertical storage as other materials, like industrial steel shelves or pallet racks. These low profile units are often more suitable for retail or commercial applications than industrial warehousing.

Improve Operational Efficiency and Productivity With Industrial Shelving

Regardless of your industry, industrial shelving provides a range of organizational benefits. Available in a range of styles and materials, you can find the right storage units to solve your storage needs. At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we stock a variety of new and used storage equipment, including industrial shelving.

Whether you require commercial wire shelving for your retail store or industrial steel shelving for a warehouse, we can offer several solutions. We also provide planning, design, and installation. If you need assistance selecting shelving for your facility, contact us today.

Browse our online catalog to view our full inventory list. For more information on our services and products, call us at (800) 589-7225.