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What Is the Difference Between Industrial Shelving and Industrial Racking?


It’s an $8.49 billion global industry, and it’s growing every day. But what is industrial shelving and racking? What are the differences between the two? How do you know which type is right for your business?

The storage, organisation, and accessibility of your products are of the utmost importance for your facilities. Having the appropriate storage for your commodities allows for easier access in the long run.

Both industrial shelving and racking serve the same fundamental purposes. They assist you organise products in a warehouse, distribution centre, production facility, workshop or similar space. Here’s a quick and easy-to-understand guide to assist you get started.

What Is Industrial Shelving and Industrial Racking?

Industrial shelving and racking are a specialised form of storage equipment. Each is designed to hold volumes of items from small parts to heavy or bulky items in a warehouse or commercial setting.

Unlike traditional shelving, which is typically made from wood or light weight metal, industrial shelving is usually made from steel or other durable materials.

Additionally, industrial shelving is often outfitted with unique features such as reinforced shelves and various hanging and storage options to segregate different items and profiles of items. In many cases, industrial shelving can also be customised to meet the specific needs of a business as like industrial racking, also known as pallet racking.

For example, some businesses may need shelves that are accessible for hand-picked items whereas another business may require taller or wider than standard with special handling for storing large, palletised items. Whatever the requirements, there is sure to be an industrial shelving solution that will suit the needs of any business.

The Differences Between Industrial Shelving and Racking

Industrial shelving and racking are both storage solutions for businesses, but they have different applications. Industrial shelving is usually used for lighter items, such as boxes of paper or small hardware. Racking, on the other hand, is designed for heavier items, such as pallets of supplies or large machinery.

What Makes Industrial Shelving Unique
  • Made from steel or other durable materials
  • Usually outfitted with reinforced shelves and easily adjustable shelves
  • Are best suited to hand-loaded products
  • Can be customised
What Is Unique About Racking
  • Designed for heavier items
  • Often used with other storage solutions, such as mezzanines
  • Requires forklifts to load the materials onto the racks
  • Can be customised to meet the specific needs of a business

Both types of storage systems have their benefits and drawbacks. Industrial shelving is typically less expensive than racking, but it can’t hold as much weight. On the other hand, racking is more durable and can support more weight, but it can be more expensive.

Which Type of Shelving or Racking Is Right for You

There are many different types of shelving and racking available on the market, so how do you know which one is right for you? The first step is to assess your needs.

What type of product are you planning to store? How much space do you have available? How many products do you need to store?

Once you have a clear understanding of your needs, you can begin to narrow down your options. For example, if you need to store heavy or bulky items, you will need a strong and durable racking system to accommodate the weight.

You may need to consider a compact shelving system if you have limited space. Once you have considered your needs, you can begin to compare different products and choose the one that is right for you.

The Benefits of Using Industrial Shelves or Racking

Regarding storage, industrial shelving or racking is one of the most efficient ways to keep your products safe and organised. Here are some of the numerous benefits of using industrial shelving or racking:

Increased Visibility

When products are stored on shelving, they are much easier to see and access than if they were stored in bins or on the floor. They reduce the risk of back injuries from bending or stooping. This makes it easier to inventory your products and keep track of what you have in stock.

Improved Organisation

Shelves provide a tidy and neat way to store items, making it easier to find what you need when you need it. This can save time and increase efficiency in the workplace.

Enhanced Safety

Industrial racking is designed to be sturdy and stable, preventing items from toppling off racks and injuring workers. Additionally, racking make it easy to store items at greater height, but still accessible to forklifts.

Maximised Space

More floor space is available for other purposes such as walkways, equipment, and machinery when storing products on shelves. This can assist to improve safety by reducing trip hazards and increasing manoeuvrability in tight spaces.


Industrial shelving is a very cost-effective storage solution that can save businesses money in the long run. When products are properly organised and stored, businesses can avoid losses due to lost or damaged goods. Additionally, shelves can assist prolong product life by protecting them from dirt, dust, and other environmental hazards.

Choosing the Right Type of Shelf or Rack for Your Needs

There are many different types of industrial shelving and racking available on the market, so it’s essential to choose the one best suited for your needs. Consider the following factors when choosing a shelf or rack:

  • The type of product you need to store
  • The weight of the products you need to store
  • The amount of space you have available
  • The number of products you need to store
  • How much more space you will require as your business grows

Once you have considered these factors, you can begin to compare different products and choose the one that is right for you. Here’s how you go about that:

  • First, consider what kinds of items you’ll store on the shelf or rack. If you’re planning on storing heavy objects, you’ll need to choose a shelf or rack to support the weight.
  • Second, consider the size of the items you’ll be storing. If you’re planning on storing larger items, you’ll need to choose a shelf or rack with more surface area.
  • Finally, think about where you’ll be placing the shelf or rack. If you’re planning on putting it in a high-traffic area, then you’ll want to choose a shelf or rack that is durable and capable of handling minor collisions. By considering all these factors, you can be sure to select the correct type of shelf or rack for your needs.
Which is Right for You: Industrial Shelving or Racking?

Industrial shelving and racking are the answer if you’re looking for a safe and effective way to store your products. Bowen Storage has a wide selection of shelves and racks to choose from, so you can find the perfect solution for your needs.

Our shelves are designed to be sturdy and stable, and they come in a variety of sizes to accommodate different products. We also offer a variety of racks, including pallet racks and cantilever racks, which are perfect for storing heavy or bulky items. No matter what your needs are, we have the ideal solution for you.

Contact us today to learn more about our products and services!

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