14 Types of Shelves And Their Characteristics & Benefits

Types of Shelves Types of Shelves

Shelves are an integral part of any industrial setting, ensuring efficient space utilization and organization. As the world of industry advances, the demand for specialized shelving systems has never been more pressing. Linquip, a leading name in the industrial world, presents a comprehensive guide on the various types of shelves used in the industry.


  • Shelves play a critical role in industries for efficient space utilization and organization.
  • Key Types of Industrial Shelves:
    • Pallet Racking (for bulk storage),
    • Cantilever (for long items),
    • Modular (customizable),
    • Wire (ventilated design),
    • Mezzanine (elevated storage),
    • Mobile (maximizing space by reducing fixed aisles),
    • Drive-in & Drive-through (for bulk storage with forklift access),
    • Multi-tier (vertical multi-level storage),
    • Flow Racking (stock rotation),
    • Automated Systems (for high efficiency),
    • Robotic (faster storage/retrieval),
    • Corner (utilizing corner space),
    • Bin (for small items),
    • Gravity (using sloped design).
  • Linquip provides a comprehensive platform for exploring these shelves, consulting experts, and choosing the right solution tailored to specific industrial needs. The platform also emphasizes sustainability and the digital advantages of modern shelving solutions.


The Importance of Industrial Shelving

  • Optimization of Space: Efficient shelving systems maximize storage within a given space.
  • Ease of Access: Properly organized shelves ensure quick retrieval and storage of items.
  • Safety: Sturdy industrial shelving reduces the risk of accidents and damage to goods.


A Deep Dive into Different Types of Industrial Shelves

Here are the most common types of Shelves in Industry

  1. Pallet Racking
  2. Cantilever Shelving
  3. Modular Shelving
  4. Wire Shelving
  5. Mezzanine Shelving
  6. Mobile Shelving Systems
  7. Drive-in & Drive-through Racking
  8. Multi-tier Racking System
  9. Flow Racking System
  10. Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS)
  11. Robotic Shelving
  12. Corner Shelving Units
  13. Bin Shelving
  14. Gravity Shelving


Types of Shelves Table with Characteristics and Usage

Shelving Type Characteristic Usage
Pallet Racking High storage density, vertical steel design Bulk storage in warehouses
Cantilever Shelving Extendable arms, vertical columns Storing long items like lumber and pipes
Modular Shelving Customizable, adaptable design Diverse storage needs, flexible configurations
Wire Shelving Open wire mesh, ventilated Medical, retail, food services
Mezzanine Shelving Elevated platform, multi-level Maximizing vertical space
Mobile Shelving Systems Mounted on tracks, space-saving Warehouses needing flexible access aisles
Drive-in & Drive-through Racking Forklift-accessible, dense storage Bulk storage with specific access patterns
Multi-tier Racking System Vertical multi-level storage Warehouses with height advantage
Flow Racking System Sloped design, uses gravity Stock rotation in FIFO manner
Automated Storage & Retrieval Systems Automated mechanisms High-efficiency storage & retrieval
Robotic Shelving Robots handle items Faster storage and retrieval processes
Corner Shelving Units Fits into corners Utilizing corner spaces
Bin Shelving Compartments or bins Organizing small parts or tools
Gravity Shelving Sloped with rollers, leverages gravity Continuous product flow with reduced manual labor

This table offers a concise view of the diverse industrial shelving solutions available, emphasizing their key characteristics and primary applications.


Pallet Racking

Pallet Racking
Pallet Racking (Reference: amazon.co.uk)

Design: Vertical steel racks designed to hold palletized goods.


  • High storage density.
  • Direct access to each pallet.


Cantilever Shelving

Cantilever Shelving
Cantilever Shelving (Reference: amazon.co.uk)

Design: Consists of vertical columns with arms extending outwards.


  • Ideal for long, bulky items.
  • Adjustable arm levels.


Modular Shelving

Design: Flexible design where shelves can be added or removed as required.


  • Adaptability to changing storage needs.
  • Versatility in design options.


Wire Shelving

Wire Shelving
Wire Shelving (Reference: amazon.co.uk)

Design: Made of open wire mesh, usually supported by metal uprights.


  • Prevents dust accumulation.
  • Suitable for environments requiring ventilation or minimal moisture retention.


Mezzanine Shelving

Design: Elevated platform above the main floor to create additional storage space.


  • Doubles storage capacity.
  • Utilizes vertical space efficiently.


Mobile Shelving Systems

Mobile Shelving Systems
Mobile Shelving Systems (Reference: amazon.co.uk)

Mobile shelving units are designed to maximize storage space by reducing the need for fixed aisles.

Design: Mounted on tracks and can be compacted when access isn’t required.


  • Increases storage capacity.
  • Offers flexibility in adjusting aisles based on need.


Drive-in & Drive-through Racking

Drive-in & Drive-through Racking
Drive-in & Drive-through Racking (Reference: still.co.uk)

These are designed for storing large quantities of similar goods.

Design: Allows forklifts to drive directly into the rack to load or retrieve pallets.


  • High-density storage.
  • Drive-in offers LIFO (Last In First Out) retrieval, while Drive-through offers FIFO (First In First Out).


Multi-tier Racking System

A multi-level storage solution maximizing vertical space.

Design: Multi-levels of racking, often integrated with mezzanine systems.


  • Takes full advantage of height within the warehouse.
  • Provides multiple levels of storage within one structure.


Flow Racking System

Flow Racking System
Flow Racking System (Reference: avantauk.com)

Ideal for stock rotation in a FIFO manner.

Design: Utilizes inclined rails and rollers for pallet movement.


  • Automatic stock rotation.
  • Efficient in terms of space and volume.


Corner Shelving Units

Corner Shelving Units
Corner Shelving Unit (Reference: amazon.co.uk)

These are designed to make the most out of the unused corners in a storage area.

Design: Shelves that fit snugly into corners.


  • Efficient utilization of corner space.
  • Ideal for irregularly shaped storage areas.


The Rise of Automated Shelving Solutions

Automation in shelving has revolutionized storage in industries, leading to higher efficiency and lesser human intervention.


Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS)

Uses automated systems to place and retrieve items.

Robotic Shelving

Robots handle items, ensuring faster storage and retrieval.

Bin Shelving

Bin Shelving
Bin Shelving (Reference: amazon.co.uk)

Perfect for storing smaller items, components, or tools in an organized manner.

Design: Compartments or bins on the shelves.


  • Effective organization of small parts.
  • Easy retrieval and inventory management.


Gravity Shelving

Gravity Shelving
Gravity Shelving (Reference: amazon.co.uk)

Leveraging gravity to ensure optimal flow of items.

Design: Sloped design with rollers to move items downward.


  • Ensures continuous product flow.
  • Reduces manual labor.


Tips for Choosing the Right Industrial Shelf with Linquip

  • Assess Your Needs: Understand the nature of items to be stored – their size, weight, and quantity.
  • Consider Future Needs: Opt for shelves that can be adapted or expanded in the future.
  • Safety First: Ensure the shelving system adheres to safety standards.
  • Consult the Experts: With Linquip’s extensive catalog and expert community, you can find insights and recommendations tailored to your specific requirements.


Making Informed Decisions: The Linquip Advantage

Shelving decisions in industries are critical. Mistakes can be costly, both in terms of finance and operations. Linquip offers:

  • Expert Consultations: Directly connect with experts in the field for tailored advice.
  • Vast Catalogue: Whether you’re looking for modular or robotic shelving, Linquip has a comprehensive list.
  • User Reviews: Benefit from the experience of peers in the industry through reviews and feedback.


Considerations for Installation and Maintenance

Industrial shelving isn’t just about selecting the right type; proper installation and maintenance are critical.

  • Stability: Ensure that shelves are installed on even ground and properly anchored.
  • Load Limits: Always be aware of the maximum load limit of your shelving to avoid overloading.
  • Regular Inspections: Routine checks for wear, tear, and damage to maintain safety standards.
  • Cleaning: Keeping shelves free from dust and debris helps in prolonging their lifespan.


The Environmental Edge: Sustainable Shelving Solutions

Sustainability is becoming central to all industrial decisions, and shelving is no exception.

  • Recycled Materials: Many modern shelving units are made from recycled metal or plastic.
  • Energy Efficiency: Automated shelving systems are being designed to consume less power.
  • Longevity: Investing in durable shelving reduces the need for frequent replacements, minimizing waste.


Harnessing Digital Platforms: Linquip’s Role in Modern Shelving Solutions

In an era dominated by digital transformation, Linquip brings the world of industrial shelving to your fingertips.

  • Digital Catalogs: Browse and compare different shelving types and brands.
  • Virtual Consultations: Engage with industry experts remotely.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) Previews: Visualize how different shelving systems would fit into your space using AR tools available on Linquip.



Industrial shelving, in its myriad forms, is the backbone of efficient storage and operations. As we move towards a more digital and sustainable future, platforms like Linquip are at the forefront, aiding industries in making informed, modern, and environmentally friendly shelving decisions. Whether you’re a startup or an established entity, Linquip is your trusted partner in navigating the complex landscape of industrial storage solutions.


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