What to Know About Wire Shelving Units

Warehouse Wire Shelving Systems

Wire shelving units are among the most versatile storage options for warehouses and distribution centers. However, as versatile storage equipment, wire racks can also be an excellent solution for residential applications like storing sports equipment, tools, and paint in a basement or garage. Commercial wire shelving is also perfect for a home office for storing files, office supplies, and even electronics like printing equipment.

Lightweight and straightforward to assemble and install, these freestanding shelves allow you to increase storage capacity in any environment. This saves valuable floor space, allowing workers to move quickly and efficiently through picking routes.

Wire Shelving Configurations

When selecting a wire-shelving unit, you’ll need to determine the side-to-side width and load capacity requirements. Start by measuring your product dimensions to find each shelf’s minimum height, depth, and width. Ideally, you should select a shelving unit with adjustable shelves so you can accommodate differently sized inventory or goods with different SKUs.

Advantages of Wire Shelving

A wire shelving unit has several advantages compared with other storage systems, from improved visibility to easy assembly. Here are several ways a wire shelving unit can benefit your business.

Ventilation and Hygiene

Wire shelving is easy to clean because its open design prevents dust and debris buildup. It also promotes air circulation, reducing condensation and moisture retention. The increased airflow is suitable for freestanding commercial kitchen shelves and kitchen pantry storage, keeping perishable food products fresh for longer.

High Visibility

The wire shelving design allows light to penetrate and pass through the system. The increased visibility enables retail sales associates, kitchen staff, and warehouse pickers to locate, access, and retrieve inventory more quickly. This helps to create an efficient workspace, regardless of your business.

It also provides fewer hiding places for pests. This helps prevent inventory damage and contamination, which is critical for storing consumables like food, beverages, and pharmaceuticals.

Wire shelving is one of the best choices for creating eye-catching retail product displays. This option is ideal for closet shelving to find clothing and accessories in residential settings.

Ideal for Fire Safety

Due to its open design, a wire shelving unit allows overhead sprinkler systems to access every shelf and product, ensuring fires are extinguished before they cause extensive damage. A wire shelving unit is one of the safest options if you need warehouse or garage shelving units for storing flammable items, such as volatile chemicals.

The open design also allows you to install drip trays and barriers to contain spills or leaks if they occur.

Assembly Without Tools

Wire shelving is an excellent option if you want a storage solution that you can assemble and install yourself. Assembling a wire shelving unit requires no special tools — you can put together most models by hand.

Wire shelving features adjustable shelving heights. The wire shelves attach to the upright posts using split sleeve clips which place tension on the uprights to remain in place. Simply place the two halves of the split sleeve at the desired height on the posts and slide them through the bottom of the shelf collars. Then, press down on the shelf or tap a rubber mallet to secure it.

Increased Mobility

A shelving system on wheels is more versatile than the stationary alternative. A set of lockable casters is one of the most useful accessories you can add to a shelving system. This enables you to easily move a loaded shelving unit from one location to another.

Casters are not simply wheels. The wheel is the circular part that revolves on an axis. The caster refers to the assembly, which contains the wheel and the fork-like bracket that attaches the wheel to the shelving unit and allows it to swivel or cast in a 360° circle. You can upgrade your existing wire shelving unit by purchasing a mobile kit.

Our Mobile Chrome Wire Shelving Unit, manufactured by Jaken, has 5” lockable swivel casters and fully adjustable shelves. The 4-shelf shelving unit has a 400 or 500 lbs. weight capacity per shelf, depending on your chosen configuration.

This makes wire mesh a flexible shelving option, suitable for various storage needs, from automotive equipment to gardening tools. You can also use this shelving unit to store paper files and other office supplies.

Wire Shelving Accessories

You can enhance the functionality of a wire shelving unit with numerous accessories. Add-ons like footplates and donut bumpers improve the system’s stability, while document holders and bins increase organization for more accessible storage and retrieval.

Document Holders

A document holder allows you to display product information for warehouse inventory tracking. While many warehouses and other businesses use paperless systems, such as barcode scanners and RFID, having a physical copy of inventory documentation can be helpful, especially during routine inspections.

Donut Bumpers

A donut bumper is a rubber or plastic disk that fits above a caster assembly on a shelving unit’s leg to protect it from impact damage. Forklift and other material-handling collisions with the shelving unit may occur in high-traffic environments.

Foot Plates

Standard on fixed industrial shelving and racking systems, foot plates allow you to bolt the uprights of the shelving unit to the concrete floor of the warehouse or factory for additional stability. This prevents lateral deflection and can stop the shelving unit from falling over due to impact.

We stock several foot plate options for a variety of storage equipment, including wire shelving and standard pallet racks. Our steel footplates from Dynamic Storage Company are a cost-effective solution to add stability to your shelving units. They can be bolted to the floor to create a more secure storage area for heavy-duty goods.

Stackable Shelf Bins

When you need to keep small or heavy items stored and organized, consider our Stackable Shelf Bins, manufactured by Quantum Storage Systems. Available in four lengths and three widths, these waterproof and chemically resistant polypropylene bins are ideal for storing products of various sizes, from canned food to pins, screws, and nails.

The bins can be attached to rails and louvered panels to provide additional storage space for hangable items. Each bin has a label front label slot for convenient identification, and you can select from five different colors for particular product types. Units with drawer inserts, bins, and built-in storage cabinets increase the organizational efficiency of your home or business.

Stainless Steel Wire Shelving

Materials to Consider When Choosing Wire Shelving Units

Wire shelving is available in various materials and surface finishes to suit your storage requirements. These include:

Stainless Steel Wire Shelving

The most common material for a wire shelving unit is stainless steel. Containing a minimum of 10.5-11% chromium and less than 1.2% carbon, stainless steels are resistant to rust, reducing the corrosion concern and giving them a longer lifespan than other materials.

Stainless steel is inert, non-toxic, and hygienic. This makes it suitable for use in high-humidity environments. For example, corrosion resistance is perfect for kitchen and bathroom shelving.

Stainless steel doesn’t experience pitting, so there are fewer pores in which bacteria can collect. These alloys are also easy to sterilize, so stainless steel shelves are often used to prevent contamination and disease transmission in medical settings.

Carbon and Alloy-Steel Coatings

Durable steel wire shelving is usually carbon or alloy steel. Unlike stainless steel, however, these alloys do not offer the same resistance to corrosion. To protect these shelving units against rust, it’s necessary to select one of several protective coatings or finishes:

Powder Coating

Powder coatings are oven-cured thermoset or thermoplastic dry powders that protect the substrate against oxidation. This type of coating is susceptible to chipping, cracking, and peeling, so inspecting and maintaining powder-coated shelving systems for damage is essential.

Powder coating can provide a more durable and uniform finish than liquid paints, as the layer is thicker. You can usually select high-visibility orange or yellow coatings for safety.


Galvanizing is when a metal finisher applies a protective zinc coating to steel parts to prevent corrosion. Galvanized finishes aren’t as decorative as other coatings but are relatively inexpensive and provide excellent abrasion resistance.

Chrome Plating

Many leading brands manufacture chrome wire shelving. Chrome can provide a hard-wearing, corrosion-resistant coating, extending the life of carbon and alloy-steel shelving units.

Chrome shelf sizing varies, so no matter what products or items you want to store, you can find wire shelving with chrome plating. If you are looking for a decorative wire shelf, chrome shelving has more aesthetic appeal than galvanizing, which can be ideal for a retail environment.

Black Finish

While many businesses find stainless steel and chrome’s metallic or silver-colored decorative, modern, and minimalist, some prefer black shelving. Black is less intrusive and complements almost any type of décor. For this purpose, several wire-shelving units are available with a black epoxy finish that protects against rust and meets this color requirement.

Additional Features for Shelving Systems

Adding accessories to your heavy-duty metal shelving unit allows you to create a custom wire shelving system to improve your facility’s organization and boost warehouse productivity. Some of the shelving accessories that we offer at Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. include:

Adjustable Legs

Shelving units have posts or uprights that provide structural support to the shelving system. These may also be called legs, particularly at the point closest to the floor. Adjustable legs are essential if you need a shelving unit whose height you can increase or decrease according to the vertical space limitations of your home or business.

A good example is a zinc-plated steel wire-shelving post that you can adjust in 1” increments. Each increment corresponds to a circumferential groove that locks. Each shelf can support up to 800 lbs.

Adjustable Wire Rack Shelving

An adjustable wire shelving unit is a type of wire shelving rack that can be adjusted to fit your specific storage needs. Here are some of the types of adjustable shelving to use:

  • 5-tier wire shelves
  • A 6-tier wire shelving unit
  • Multi-purpose adjustable metal wire shelves
  • An 18-inch-deep wire rack shelf
  • 4-tier industrial welded wire shelving
  • 4-tier wire storage shelves

There are a few things that you should consider before purchasing adjustable wire shelving, such as the type of finish, weight capacity, and the types of wire shelving accessories that you will need. With some research, you can find the perfect adjustable unit for your warehouse, home, or office.

Heavy-Duty Construction

For all its advantages and versatility, wire shelving does not equal the strength of heavy-duty steel industrial shelving units regarding lbs capacity per shelf. If your capacity requirements require storing heavier items, such as machine parts, castings, engine blocks, or bar stock, industrial steel shelving or racking system built with a high weight capacity would be more suitable.

We offer several industrial shelving options for applications requiring extra strength, providing increased weight capacity and durability for the most demanding storage requirements.

Selecting the Best Shelving for Your Business

Whether you need custom storage space or additional warehouse racking, wire shelving offers several advantages compared with other systems. At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we sell a wide variety of freestanding shelves, with customization options available to meet your needs.

For a complete storage solution, check out our online catalog or give us a call at (800) 589-7225. Whether you need custom shelving units or an industrial shelving rack, our team of knowledgeable professionals can help you find the best storage solution for your specific requirements.


  • How Wide is Wire Shelving?

Standard wire shelving units are 48”, 60”, and 72” wide. However, the width you need depends on the inventory you intend to store. To avoid wasted storage space, measure your inventory’s width, height, and depth before purchasing a wire shelving unit.

How Much Weight Can Wire Shelves Support?

Depending on the size, some industrial wire racks have an 800 lb. weight capacity per shelf, such as our Quantum Storage Chrome Wire Shelving. You’ll need to discuss this with the supplier to ensure you receive an accurate capacity estimate, including the capacity per shelf and overall weight capacity.

This is also based on an evenly distributed load. Never exceed the weight limit of a shelving system to minimize the risk of shelving collapse.

  • What is the Best Material for Shelving?

Carbon and alloy steel offer a high degree of strength for industrial and other business applications. However, these materials are susceptible to rust. Stainless steel is strong and corrosion-resistant, making it ideal for kitchen storage and different environments where food safety is a priority.

  • Do Wire Racks Require Bolts?

Recent design improvements in wire racking shelving systems include boltless designs. Boltless shelving is a very durable storage solution for retail establishments.