Industrial Metal Shelving: What to Know Before You Buy

In warehouses and distribution centers, sturdy shelving is a necessity. Without the proper shelving system, you’re disorganized. That means you’re losing efficiency, productivity and profit.

If you’re looking to add industrial metal shelving or upgrade your current system, you may think you just need to know how much storage capacity you need. That’s a good start, but warehouse-grade shelving is a little more complicated than that. You also need to know which type of shelving you need. It’s also helpful to have an idea of how to assemble industrial metal shelving so you aren’t left feeling frustrated after you make your purchase.

This guide is here to help. Below, we cover the types of metal shelving and some general assembly considerations. Read on to learn more, or reach out to the helpful and knowledgeable team at East Coast Storage Equipment.

5 Popular Types of Industrial Metal Shelving

There are dozens of types of warehouse shelving, but only some of them are truly up for heavy-duty storage and high efficiency. We cover five of the most popular types of industrial metal shelves below.

1. Clip-Style Steel Shelving

In general, steel shelving is affordable, adjustable and durable. These qualities make it one of the most popular types of metal shelving in industrial settings, as well as retail settings. Clip-style steel shelving brings all the qualities of steel and the added convenience compression clips that allow for easy shelf configuration to meet your needs

Clip-style steel shelving (pictured) is extremely versatile and can handle most small to mid-sized items.

Steel can bear heavy loads and lasts a long time, meaning it’s ideal for many heavy-duty applications. However, steel shelves are most often used for carton storage or storing items that are relatively small.

Still, your clip-style steel shelves will be able to store almost anything you need them to, as long as it’s within the system’s load capacity and the units are properly configured. With fully adjustable shelf heights, steel shelving can handle items of most sizes and shapes.

2. Bulk Rack Shelving

For hand-loaded, wide or bulky items, bulk rack shelving is a go-to option for warehouse and distribution center owners. Also called wide-span shelving, these systems are usually boltless, making for easy assembly and adjustment. When compared to other types of industrial metal shelving, these systems most resemble standard pallet racks. They are even made up of vertical uprights and horizontal beams. You can choose wood, wire or metal decking for this type of shelving.

Bulk rack shelving is great for storing wide or bulky items. Systems like the one pictured are typically easy to adjust as needed.

If you’re storing medium to heavy, bulky or extra wide items, bulk rack shelving may fit the bill perfectly.

3. Rivet Shelving

Rivet shelving is best for those who put a premium on convenience and durability. This unique design requires no clips or bolts but can withstand heavy loads. It’s also fully adjustable. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are multiple types of rivet shelving, and some can hold heavier loads than others.

Rivet shelving with shelves made of metal wiring (pictured above) can withstand high and low temperatures and moisture while accommodating heavy loads.

The actual shelves on rivet systems can be made of metal wiring or particle board. Particle board tends to be a low-cost option, but keep in mind that it can be susceptible to extreme temperatures and moisture when wire isn’t.

4. Wire Shelving

Wire shelving usually can’t withstand loads as heavy as those the other common types of warehouse shelving can take, but it makes up for what it sacrifices in capacity with higher product visibility and better air circulation. 

Almost any application that requires high visibility of stored products may benefit from wire shelving.

Of course, that’s not to say that wire shelving is only meant for lightweight items. Industrial wire shelves can often hold hundreds of pounds with ease, but this will depend on the type of wire shelf you buy.

5. Clipless Shelving

Clipless shelving is often classed as a type of backroom shelving. While these systems have all the easy assembly and adjustment advantages of most types of backroom shelves, they’re also extremely versatile. Able to hold more than 500 pounds in most cases, clipless shelves have wide industrial applications outside of backrooms and stockrooms.

Clipless shelving systems like the one above can provide an excellent storage solution for large numbers of smaller items.

If you might need to change your warehouse’s layout on the fly or simply want a shelving system that can be used temporarily and easily disassembled, clipless shelving may be a good option.

How to Assemble Industrial Metal Shelving

How you assemble your new or used metal shelving will depend heavily on the type of shelving you purchased and the instructions from the manufacturer. The good news is that most major manufacturers of industrial shelving publish assembly instructions online.

Here are a few examples:

Within the broad categories of metal shelving, most of the brands will have somewhat similar assembly instructions. Still, it’s important that you follow the instructions to the letter — otherwise, you risk injuries and damaged products if the shelving system fails. You will also need to adhere to the material storage guidelines set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as your local laws.

Some industrial shelving retailers, such as East Coast Storage Equipment, will assemble and install your new or used shelving for you. If you’re pressed for time or worried about getting the shelving assembly right, this can be an incredibly helpful option.

All Your Industrial Metal Shelving Needs: Covered

Strong, efficient shelving is a must-have for any warehouse, but you shouldn’t have to become an industrial metal shelving expert just to buy some reliable shelving units. With East Coast Storage Equipment, you don’t have to.

Our massive used shelving inventory has everything you need at the prices you want. And our experienced team members have the knowledge and skill to help you make exactly the right choice.It’s our job to help you find the shelves you need for your warehouse. We’re ready to do that job. All you have to do is get in touch. Call (732) 451-1808 or contact us online today.

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