Die-shelving and pallet shelving are for the most heavy-duty applications and are primarily used only in warehouses and factories. Open shelving and closed shelving, on the other hand, are considered “all purpose” shelving units and can be used everywhere from stock rooms and supply rooms to offices to restaurants. Both open shelving and closed shelving tend to have capacities of about 250-750lbs per shelf, making them just right for most commercial shelving needs. So how do you know whether you should use open shelving or closed shelving?
Benefits of Open Shelving
Open shelving tends to be more economical- providing a great deal of inexpensive storage space. Since it’s less expensive than closed shelving, purchasing open shelving is a great way to add to your storage space without maxing out your budget.
Just as the name would imply, open shelving is more open, which allows for greater access to stored inventory. Open shelving can be accessed easily from the front, back, and sides- this is especially important when storing boxes or bins.
Open shelving is great for organizing inventory, allowing boxes, bins, and parts to be organized and stored. Open shelving is also highly configurable, which lets you get the right dimensions for your space. Often times open shelving units will be lined up or connected to allow for a wide row of shelving.
Benefits of Closed Shelving
Closed shelving is a little more finished looking than open shelving, so it’s a better choice for use in areas where people might see it, such as offices or stores.
Although open shelving has x braces on the back and sides to help reduce sway, in general, closed shelving tends to have greater stability than open shelving.
With open shelving it is tempting for employees or coworkers to place oversized items on the shelves that might hang over the edge- increasing the risk of injury if the items were to fall off or cause the unit to become unbalanced. Closed shelving minimizes this possibility by limiting the available shelf space to only appropriately-sized items.
Closed shelving allows better protection for stored inventory, making it a better choice for more fragile inventory or smaller inventory that could fall off an open shelf. Closed shelving also helps prevent light and air flow around products- reducing dust accumulation and light fade on products that are being stored for long periods of time.