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

Industrial shelving is a great option to improve storage in your facility, and better storage and organization leads to a more productive and efficient workflow. But different types of shelving are better suited to different applications. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of steel, rivet, and wire industrial shelving.

Industrial Steel Shelving

Industrial steel shelving is the gold standard for warehouses and large storage facilities due to its durable and efficient design, and heavy-duty weight capacity per shelf. Steel shelving allows you to make the most of your storage space by storing items higher due to its increased stability and solid structural integrity.

Types and Applications


Bulk steel shelving, such as Jaken FASTRAK™ Bulk Shelving, is ideal for items that are too large for standard steel shelving units featuring heavier capacity shelving and the ability to store items directly on the ground underneath the unit.


Open steel shelving is highly accessible and is strengthened by using braces for added stability. Open shelving can be extended by connecting long braces between units to create a system that is well suited to warehouse and industrial storage applications. While the steel shelving decks are ideal for automotive use as they resist damage by leaking oil and automotive fluids.


Closed shelving, such as Boxer™ Box Shelving, offers added rigidity and support due to the closed side and back panels. While this type of unit does not have the same accessibility as other units, it is the perfect storage option for protecting sensitive inventory from dust and debris and can be used for retail applications due to its stylish design.



Industrial steel shelving frames, decks, and components are constructed from high-grade steel designed to last years even with heavy-duty use with many models featuring “triple bends” on all fours side of the shelf for increased strength and rigidity.

At Shelving +Rack Systems, Inc, our industrial steel shelves are made from a welded box beam design with lapped corners and triple bend side flanges. Shelves are attached to the upright posts via 4 compression clips, and each shelf has a capacity on 1,000-lbs when loaded uniformly.


One of the biggest benefits to using industrial steel shelving is that is can be easily adjusted to suit the weight capacity and dimensions of your inventory. Models such as the Tri-Boro Klip It™ industrial steel shelving is light duty option and features compression clips that attach directly to upright posts for independent shelf adjustment.

Additional shelves and longline braces can also be attached to extend your steel shelving system to fit the layout of your storage facility.


Depending on the application, you can customize industrial steel shelving with a range of accessories and additions to create a system to suit your business. Some accessories that you may consider are hinged or sliding doors for added security, drawers and bins for holding bulk small items, and label holders for more efficient organization.

Industrial steel shelving is also available in arrange of colors and finishes beyond the usual functional matte grey from high-visibility yellow for compliance with OSHA safety standards for warehouses to blues and oranges for use in retail operations.

Aesthetically Pleasing

While most warehouses focus more on how a system functions rather than how it looks, industrial steel shelving is an excellent combination of form and function making it the perfect option for retail and Big Box stores due to the open construction for easy accessibility for customers and aesthetically pleasing design to enhance product displays.

Space Optimization

Industrial steel shelving can make the most of your open space by expanding your storage space with mezzanines. Solid steel mezzanines increase your floor space, improve workflow and efficiency, and effectively double your storage capacity without the need to expand your warehouse. Mezzanines also allow you to store heavier items higher up on the shelving units, as the raised unit has the same stability as the ground level.



As industrial shelving is constructed from tough, durable steel designed to last it can be more expensive that other warehouse shelving types. For small warehouse operations with low volume or limited storage space, steel shelving may not be the best option for your warehouse.


The flip side of the durability of industrial steel shelving is that the same strong, durable material that gives steel shelving its longevity is also the reason that it is not as easy to uninstall or reconfigure.

The installation process for steel shelving is more complex that for other types of shelving involving welding for added support and strength, making it difficult to reconfigure if you need to change or expand your warehouse layout.

Rivet and Boltless Shelving

Rivet shelves, also known as boltless shelving, offer the most versatile style of shelving for your business. With its simple design of interlocking rivets and teardrop holes, this type of shelving can be installed quickly and easily without the use of additional hardware and provides an incredible stable and heavy-duty storage solution.

Types and Applications

Single Rivet

Single rivet shelving features a single rivet that attaches the shelf to the upright posts via the teardrop holes. While this style offers less weight capacity, it also offers more accessibility than double rivet units. Each shelf can hold around 250 – 300 lbs. depending on the manufacturer, and each shelving unit features 4 of 5 shelved for increased storage space. Single rivet units are perfect for commercial applications, storerooms, and offices.

Double Rivet

Double rivet shelving uses two rivets for each upright post and feature shelves of a thicker width with a heavier weight capacity up to 1,500-lbs per shelf. Each double rivet shelving unit typically features between 2 and 3 shelves allowing for more space for larger items. These shelves are better suited to heavy-duty use in warehouse and industrial settings.


Easy Installation

Rivet shelving used specially designed rivets in place of nuts, bolts or welding to secure shelves and braces. This means that it can be clicked together in a fraction of the time that it takes to install steel shelving.

Because it is so easy to install, rivet shelving can be easily reconfigured to suit the layout of your warehouse or storage space for a system that can grow as your business grows.


As rivet shelving can be easily reconfigured, it is considered the most versatile of all steel shelving types. You can install both wire and particle board deckling can be used depending on the type of inventory you need to store, and you can easily extend the unit with add on shelves and braces.

As it can be easily disassembled, this style of shelving is an excellent option for businesses with high projected growth as the storage unit can grow with your business as save your time and money.

Better Access

Rivet shelves are accessible from all four sides of the unit, making it the ideal solution for more efficient loading and picking. The open style shelf also allows for optimal visibility for locating and tracking inventory and better ventilation for air circulation and fire suppression systems.


Not Aesthetically Pleasing

Unlike other open styles of industrial shelving, rivet shelving is not as pleasing to the eye. While this may not impact warehouses where they prioritize function over form, this may be an issue if you regularly tour clients through your facility or if you plan to use this shelving for other applications such as retail storage.

Not Customizable

Rivet shelving does not come with the same range of accessories that other types of shelving systems offer. Though you can extend your units with additional posts and decking, accessories such as shelf dividers or doors can’t be installed on these units.

Wire Shelving

Wire shelving is a lightweight shelving option for storing small items or displaying products. It is easy to customize to suit a variety of applications and can come as a mobile unit to offer a space saving solution for high density storage facilities.

Types and Applications

Stationary Shelving

Stationary wire shelving is a flexible and stable option for your small storage needs. The entire unit can be clicked together in minutes with shelves that can be adjusted in 1-inch increments to accommodate various sized bins, baskets, and boxes for organizing your inventory. You even have the option to create a corner unit or extended units that offer the same stability by anchoring the shelving to the floor with foot pads.

Stationary shelving is the perfect lightweight storage solution for the home, office, retail, and commercial applications.

Mobile Shelving

Mobile shelving offers the same lightweight storage as stationary units but has the added benefit of being portable to allow you to transport your inventory easily and optimize your storage space.

Mobile shelving comes with both rolling and braking casters for added security. They can come with wire deck shelves that can be adjusted in 1-inch increments and are available in an open style for optimal accessibility and a 3-sided unit which feature open mesh panels maximize protection but still allow for ample ventilation.

Cargo carts are another mobile shelving option better suited for heavy-duty use and feature 5 x 2-inch casters mounted to a welded caster pad for added protection against collisions. These units can come completely enclosed with double mesh doors or with a half drop gate to protect inventory.



Wire shelving comes with a range of accessories that can be easily installed so that you can create a custom storage unit to suit your business. Some accessories include giant plastic bins for storing bulk small items, document holders for more efficient logistics, s-hooks for creating corner units without additional upright poles, and lockable casters for creating mobile units.

Wire shelving can come with either wire decking for superior ventilation and compliance with OSHA safety standards, or particle board decking for lighter weight capacities.


Wire shelving units, while still made from durable materials, are lighter than other storage options which allows them to be easily mounted on rolling casters to create a mobile storage unit. This increased mobility can allows you to transport inventory easily, maximize your storage space, and reconfigure the layout of your warehouse as necessary.


Like rivet shelving, wire shelving is accessible from all four sides, but it also typically features a lower profile for better and safer access to top shelves. This safer, more ergonomic work environment allows for more efficient picking and loading in warehouses, and more functional product displays for commercial and retail applications.

Easy to Clean

A safe and clean storage unit not only protects employees from injury but also protects your inventory from damage. The open design of wire shelving prevents dust and debris from settling on the decks and can be easily wiped and disinfected if they become dirty. This makes them perfect for hospitality and food storage applications.

Food Safe

In addition to being easy to clean, wire decked shelving units can be used for cold storage in restaurants and warehouses at the mesh allows for optimal cold air flow around produce for better quality produce with a longer shelf life. Wire shelving can also be coated in antimicrobial and antifungal epoxy for improved hygiene.

Rust and Corrosion Resistant

At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc, our wire shelving units are constructed from a variety of rust and corrosion resistant materials including chrome, stainless steel, and electro-plated zinc. These durable units come in a range of finishes and can be coated in a variety of different colors to suit the style of your business.


Not for Heavy-Duty Use

Wire shelving is an excellent option for storing small products and light weight capacities, which means that it may not be the right option for high-volume heavy inventory as seen in large warehouses.

Low Profile

Because they are also lower than other types of shelving units, they do not maximize the vertical space in large storage facilities and are better suited to commercial and retail applications rather than warehousing.

Final Thoughts

The best way to discover which is the right style of industrial shelving for your facility is to talk with an expert. Call Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc on 800-589-7225 (RACK) to talk with one of our sales team about how industrial shelving can optimize storage and boost productivity in your business.