Differences Between Racking And Shelving in Warehouse

Mar. 18, 2023

Warehouses are essential for storing goods and raw materials, and one of the most important aspects of warehouse management is organizing and storing products in an efficient and safe manner. Two of the most common methods for organizing products in a warehouse are racking and shelving. Although they may seem similar, there are distinct differences between the two methods.



Racking refers to the method of storing products on vertical frames that are typically made of metal. The frames are called uprights, and they support horizontal beams that provide support for the products.

Rack support warehouse specializes in open-air steel structure warehouses with progressive warehousing equipment systems in outdoors.

Steel racking is the best structure, which is strong enough to support further warehouse improvement on space utilization.

The beams are often adjustable, allowing the height of the storage area to be modified to suit different sizes of products.


Racking can be further divided into different types, including:


  • Pallet Racking: This is the most common type of racking and is used for storing pallets of products. Pallet racking can be configured in different ways, including selective, drive-in, and push-back.

  • Selective Racking: This type of racking is designed to allow for easy access to individual pallets. Products are stored on beams that are arranged in a series of levels, and forklifts are used to move the pallets in and out of the racking system.

  • Drive-in Racking: This type of racking is designed to maximize storage space by allowing forklifts to drive directly into the racking system. The pallets are stored in deep lanes that can accommodate multiple pallets, making it an efficient method of storage for products that have a long shelf life and a low turnover rate.

  • Push-back Racking: This type of racking is designed to allow for multiple pallets to be stored on each level. When a new pallet is added, it pushes the existing pallets back, creating more storage space.

  • Cantilever Racking: This type of racking is used for storing products that are long and bulky, such as lumber, pipes, or sheet metal. Cantilever racking consists of vertical columns that support horizontal arms, which are used to support the products.

    Rack Supported Building

Rack Supported Building


Shelving is a method of storing products on horizontal shelves that are typically made of wood, metal, or plastic. Shelving can be either free-standing or fixed to the wall, and it is often used for storing small to medium-sized products.


Shelving can be further divided into different types, including:


  • Boltless Shelving: This type of shelving is designed for easy assembly and disassembly without the need for bolts or screws. The shelves are supported by vertical posts that are connected by horizontal beams.

  • Wire Shelving: This type of shelving is made of wire mesh and is often used for storing items that need ventilation, such as food or chemicals.

  • Mobile Shelving: This type of shelving is designed to be moved from one location to another, making it a versatile option for warehouses that need to frequently reconfigure their storage space.

Differences between Racking and Shelving

Racking and shelving are both storage solutions commonly used in warehouses, retail stores, and other commercial spaces. While they may look similar at first glance, there are some key differences between the two:


  • Design: Racking is typically designed to hold larger and heavier items, such as pallets or heavy machinery, while shelving is designed for smaller items such as boxes or individual products.

  • Strength: Racking is generally stronger and more durable than shelving, as it is designed to withstand heavier loads and greater weight capacities.

  • Configuration: Racking is often configured in a modular design that allows for customization to fit the specific needs of the space, while shelving tends to have a fixed design that is less customizable.

  • Accessibility: Racking is often used for high-density storage and may require specialized equipment such as forklifts or pallet jacks to access items stored at higher levels, while shelving is typically more accessible and easier to reach.

  • Cost: Racking is generally more expensive than shelving due to its strength, durability, and customization options.

In summary, while racking and shelving may look similar, their design, strength, configuration, accessibility, and cost can vary significantly depending on the specific needs of the space and the items being stored.

Call us