Racking vs Shelving – What’s the Difference?

Storage solutions provide an efficient arrangement for businesses that rely on having an organised space to manage inventory. As a Warehouse owner, you need to know that the fixtures you choose will meet your particular storage needs and ensure that your business will have the capability to easily and efficiently retrieve stock when it’s needed.

To that end, it’s important to understand the difference between racking and shelving units. While both shelving and racking offer storage, there are clear differences; especially when considering the sizes of the items to be stored, the recessed space available, the intended use, and so on.

To help you decide which is best for your business, let’s first look at the basics of each.

What is Industrial Shelving?

Regular shelves are traditionally designed to store light to medium-weight items for use by individuals. When you think about shelves at home, picture books and knick-knacks. For example, you might use shelving to organise your kitchen utensils, or to store books or photographs in a study or family room.

Industrial shelving is a variation of the traditional shelving unit. It’s typically used in industrial settings, such as warehouses, manufacturing plants, and retail locations to store a variety of products and materials.

Industrial shelves are typically stacked on a racking system and connected to overhead cranes so that heavy items can be moved quickly and efficiently. To that end, there are four types of shelving to consider:

  • Steel Shelving
  • Wire Shelving
  • Rivet Shelving
  • Widespan Shelving

What is Warehouse Racking?

The primary function of warehouse racking is to provide storage of goods in a way that allows the goods to be accessed quickly, easily, securely, and safely. It’s often a part of a larger storage system that includes shelving, pallets, and conveyor belts.

Racks are usually constructed of metal, but can also be made of wood. In either case, they are designed to hold weight. For example, a typical warehouse rack can hold 5,000 pounds of material.

The design of the racking is an important consideration because it will affect the organisation of your warehouse. Racking can be partitioned using infill panels to create storage spaces that are customised to fit your specific needs.

The Bottom Line: Choosing the Right Storage Solution System for Your Business

When thinking about your storage needs, it’s important to carefully consider the amount of weight that will be involved and the size and shape of the objects to be stored. A good rule of thumb is to consider the heaviest item that will be stored on the shelving, and decide if the weight of that item will be too much for the shelf to support. If that’s the case, you may want to consider racking instead.

If you already have shelving or don’t plan to make significant changes to the current setup, you may want to consider adding racking to your storage system. Racking can be used to hold objects that are too heavy for shelving, or it can be used in addition to shelving to offer additional storage space.

As you consider your warehouse storage needs, be sure that you understand your options, the exact items to be stored, and your budget.

How Can We Help You?

Are you looking for suppliers who could help you build a practical and functional racking system? If so, 3JC is here to help.

We have become one of the UK’s leading suppliers of new and used pallet racking, industrial shelving, and plastic storage solutions. With our help, we can elevate your warehouse system and improve your team’s efficiency.

Learn more about how we can help you today!