Industrial Steel Shelving

Open or Closed Industrial Steel Shelving: What’s Best For Your Business?


Whether people work in an office setting or spend evenings employed at a popular local restaurant, chances are their building has a stock room or supply room that is visited daily to retrieve numerous items that keep things running smoothly. Most businesses today choose industrial steel shelving, which allows them to use it in a variety of settings and with many products. Yet despite steel shelving popularity, deciding between open or closed shelving can be a difficult choice. Before making a final decision, it’s best to examine not only the shelving, but what it will be used for as well.

Inventory Needs

The type of shelving needed for a restaurant may differ from that of a manufacturing plant. Therefore, in most of these cases open industrial steel shelving is the best choice. Not only is it much less expensive than closed shelving, but it also lets people create additional storage space when a business starts to outgrow its present building. In these situations, light-duty steel shelving is one of the most affordable options on the market today. Using 20-gauge steel shelves and compression clips for bolt-free assembly, it is a popular choice with many businesses that use their supply rooms for light to medium duty applications.

Increased Safety

While open shelving is a popular choice for many businesses, it does come with some risks. One of the biggest risks associated with it is the temptation to place oversized items on shelves, since they will allow the items to hang over the edge due to being so open. However, what often happens in many situations is the shelving units become unbalanced, causing items to fall off shelves and injure employees or other people. By using closed shelving, this is eliminated due to the shelves having limited space, allowing only items of correct size and weight to be stored on them.


This can be an important consideration in storerooms and supply rooms that are small. By using open shelving, many different sizes of boxes or bins can be stored on them. For businesses that want accessibility from front or back, or even sides, this is a good option to consider. Once again, light-duty steel shelving can be used in these cases. Because these shelves use compression clips, employees can easily change the positioning of shelves quickly and easily, without having to have tools to remove bolts or screws.

Neatness and Protection

Many businesses prefer closed shelving because they feel it offers more adequate protection of inventory as well as keeps the area neater. One of the biggest advantages of this shelving is its ability to prevent air and light flow around products, keeping them safe from such factors as dust accumulation and fading from exposure to light.

Ultimately, deciding to use open or closed shelving comes down to a combination of factors including available space, inventory being stored, personal preference, safety and budget constraints. While some businesses choose shelving based almost always on cost alone, others instead are willing to spend more in order to have shelving they consider to be safer for their employees. Whether it’s open shelving that offers visual inventory or closed shelving that provides a more finished appearance, businesses should be very sure that the shelving they choose will offer the best combination of efficiency, safety, and practicality.

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