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Choosing Industrial Shelving

A shelf is just a shelf, isn't it?

Not all shelving systems are the same and it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. From engine parts to building materials, from nuts and bolts to fine crystal paperweights, the system you choose must be fit for purpose.


Industrial shelving comes in a variety of different sizes and specifications, often making it difficult to find the right product for you.  It is for that reason that we have created this handy guide to help you choose the right system for your needs...


What do you want to store?

When buying industrial racking, think about the maximum depth and width the items you want to store could be and consider how much clearance you need above these items in order to be able to remove them safely and with ease, especially from taller shelving units. In some cases a wider, lower shelving bay may be a better solution than a taller, narrower one.

Industrial shelving is available with both chipboard and steel shelves and whilst both offer similar performance, steel shelves can more easily be cleaned, making them ideal for storing liquids or oily components whilst  their smoother surface also makes them a more suitable choice for holding fragile and easily scratched items.

Shelf sizes

Industrial shelving is designed to hold much heavier loads than that of the standard choices, however it is important that loads are spread evenly over each shelf, in order to achieve a ‘uniformly distributed load’, or UDL. When choosing your shelves width and depth, plan to use as much of the shelf area as possible to spread the load and prevent bowing. It’s often a good idea to buy industrial shelving that has a higher UDL than you think you will need, to be on the safe side.

It’s not just about price

Industrial shelving is widely available and it may be tempting to go for a cheap option, however quality is just as important as cost. Buying cheap industrial shelving is a false economy; usually made from thinner steel it just won’t last. Ensure the product you buy has been well tested and uses a sturdy and rigid construction - the uprights and crossbeams should be made from at least 2mm steel.

Using your shelves

Your industrial shelving system should be strong and durable but also easy to assemble and maintain. A boltless shelving design can be built using only a rubber mallet and a willing helper. Choose a system that has a powder coated finish for maximum durability and an attractive look; these can also be easily cleaned with just white spirit and a cloth.

Industrial Shelving
Where to buy

ShelvingDirect’s industrial racking holds a massive 500kg UDL - that’s an impressive half a ton per shelf. To put that into perspective, each shelf could hold a whole polar bear, or a full-sized sea lion, although wouldn’t want the two to share a stockroom!

Steel industrial shelving comes in a range of standard sizes, but here at ShelvingDirect we know that customers’ requirements can be unique. That’s why we also offer bespoke industrial shelving tailored to your specific needs.

Call 0845 1947370 for more information (Mon–Fri 08.00 to 17.30) or email