If your garage or workshop is in disarray, it can be frustrating to locate the tools and materials you need. One of the most practical and cost-effective ways to declutter your space is to install shelving. However, not all shelves are created equal.
- 1 Types of Garage Shelving
- 2 What to Consider When Choosing the Best Garage Shelving
- 3 Important features to consider
- 4 What is the best way to organize a garage?
- 5 How deep should garage shelves be?
- 6 Are there different sizes of garage shelving units?
- 7 What is the best type of shelving for a garage?
- 8 Is MDF good for garage shelving?
- 9 What shouldn’t I store in my garage?
- 10 Can I mount garage shelving to the ceiling?
- 11 Is particleboard good for garage shelving?
- 12 How do I organize my garage?
- 13 Can I install garage shelving myself?
- 14 How much weight can a garage shelving unit hold?
To help you find the best option, we’ve thoroughly tested a range of popular shelving units and are sharing our practical reviews and shopping tips in this guide.
The 8 Best Garage Shelves for 2023：Tested and Reviewed
- BEST OVERALL:Gladiator 4-Shelf 60 in. W x 72 in. H x 18 in.
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:FLEXIMOUNTS 2-Pack 2x6ft Garage Shelving
- BEST CEILING-MOUNTED:Amazon Basics 5-Shelf Adjustable
- BEST DIY KIT:FLEXIMOUNTS 4×8 Overhead Garage Storage Rack
- BEST FREESTANDING SHELVING:TRINITY Basics EcoStorage TBFZ-0933
- BEST ADJUSTABLE SHELVING:2x4basics 90124MI Custom Shelving
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY:Seville Classics UltraDurable Heavy Duty
- ALSO CONSIDER:FLEXIMOUNTS 3-Tier 1x4ft Garage Storage
#1.Gladiator 4-Shelf 60 in. W x 72 in. H x 18 in.
If you’ve got a typical garage, you’ll understand how quickly it can get cluttered with all sorts of things, including Christmas decorations. While this particular shelf might seem a little excessive for just storing holiday decor, you’ll soon realize its worth when you need extra space.
Gladiator has designed this shelf differently from other boltless options you might find out there. They’ve used a sturdy, one-piece upright for each side instead of the usual practice of shipping separate pieces that are held together by shelves or couplers. Plus, there’s a center support brace that ensures the wire shelf racks don’t sag under the weight of your belongings.
#2.FLEXIMOUNTS 2-Pack 2x6ft Garage Shelving
- Large shelves with plenty of storage
- Heavy-duty brackets can handle a lot of weight
- Two-piece shelf design is easy to install
- Lag bolts too long for drywall-over-concrete installation
When we put the Fleximounts shelves to the test, we were amazed at their exceptional performance. These shelves are like a rare unicorn because they not only have a weight capacity of up to 200 pounds per shelf, but they also have a depth of 24 inches. Despite their heavy-duty hardware, including lag bolts and top-quality brackets, we were still pleasantly surprised by how much weight these shelves could hold.
The installation process proved to be a little tricky, as we had to ensure that the brackets were level with one another, and the lags were a tad too long for drywall-over-concrete installation. Nonetheless, the mesh shelves are designed to be easily assembled into two pieces, which made the process smoother. We did notice a slight wobbling, but this is pretty standard for any wall-mounted shelving unit.
#3.Amazon Basics 5-Shelf Adjustable
- Wire rack shelving is strong and easy to assemble.
- Each shelf is welded together, so wobble is minimal.
- Threaded parts were better than the competition, despite the lower price
- On the smaller side, and Amazon doesn’t sell a full 18-inch-deep unit
- You have to lift each shelf on and off the corner posts, so you can’t just take one out of the middle later on
We only tested one shelf from each brand, and out of all the products we tested, Amazon was the only company that delivered a perfect product. Even though we were able to quickly fix the issues we encountered while assembling the boltless shelves, we were more concerned about the problematic threaded fittings we found on the Seville wire rack shelves. This is what made Amazon Basics come in second place, despite its smaller size.
#4.FLEXIMOUNTS 4×8 Overhead Garage Storage Rack
- Flexible height works in most garages
- Takes advantage of overhead space
- Lots of storage
- Weight is a little low for the amount of space
These ceiling storage dropdown units are designed for storing seasonal items and equipment that aren’t used frequently. Measuring 96 inches in length, 48 inches in width, and 22 to 40 inches in height (depending on your space), these units are made of heavy-duty rolled steel construction that can hold up to 600 pounds on its wire mesh rack.
At first, we didn’t realize that the height was adjustable, and we were worried that we might have to cut the brackets to fit the space. Fortunately, the brackets were easy to adjust, and we were able to make use of the space above our garage refrigerator.
Although the initial assembly presented some challenges, it was a good fit for our garage since it installs into ceiling joists instead of wall studs. Our only complaint was that the weight limit seemed a bit low for the size of the unit, and there was a slight wobble, which may be necessary for safe hanging.
#5.TRINITY Basics EcoStorage TBFZ-0933
- Wheels are optional and are included in the set. 2 optional locking casters also add stability to the shelf.
- EcoStorage™ finish is made with environmentally friendly methods to create chrome color without sacrificing performance.
- With floor levels on, each shelf can carry up to 1000 lbs (or 6000 lbs total for the whole shelf).
- The 18 inch depth is a little shallow for some storage bins.
- Lining up the snap-on parts for each level was a little difficult and caused uneven shelves.
Putting these shelves together can be done by one person, but having two people work together is recommended due to the weight of each shelf. Thankfully, all the parts were packaged separately in bags, making the assembly process a bit more straightforward. To hold up each shelf, there are 8 individual black semi-circles that click together in pairs for each level. However, we did notice that the black plastic snap-on parts that support the shelves can be placed in the wrong spot, causing the shelves to become crooked. We encountered this issue multiple times during installation.
#6.2x4basics 90124MI Custom Shelving
- Very affordable price
- Easy to assemble
- Flexible design works in most garages
- Requires lumber purchase
This system includes six heavy-duty resin brackets that are capable of supporting up to 1,000 pounds. The brackets are designed to slide onto standard 2×4 studs, and they can be easily screwed in place, giving users the flexibility to customize the height, width, and overall design of their shelving space.
Assembling this unique kit was an enjoyable experience for us. It allowed us to make use of some 2x4s we had leftover from a recent project, and the cost of each shelving unit was very affordable. The flexibility of the design was a major plus, and although the kit didn’t come with lumber, it was easy to put together. We also noticed that there was very little wobbling, even when the shelves were fully loaded.
#7.Seville Classics UltraDurable Heavy Duty
- Easy-to-clean chrome plating
- Assembly is easy
- A full 18 inches deep, perfect for storing most totes and crates
- Our shelf had two poorly-made fittings
- You always have to assemble or remove these shelves in sequence
The name UltraDurable is certainly fitting for these wire racks as they are both sturdy and easy to maintain. Similar to other tool-free shelving options, adding weight to the shelves will cause the joints to become even tighter. These shelves are perfect for a wide variety of storage needs and can be used as they are or with a shelf liner to prevent items from slipping through the wire racks.
#8.FLEXIMOUNTS 3-Tier 1x4ft Garage Storage
- Easily adjustable shelves
- Ideal for smaller spaces
- Easier to install than individual brackets
- Lockdown knobs stand out slightly from the shelf
Each shelf in the Fleximounts 3-tier shelves is 48 inches wide and 12 inches deep, and the heavy-duty steel construction ensures that each one can hold up to 150 pounds, giving a total capacity of 450 pounds when weight is distributed evenly among the three shelves.
During our testing, we found that the Fleximounts 3-tier shelves were highly versatile and easy to adjust. The kit includes hardware for attaching the shelves to framing studs, and we were impressed with the 150-pound storage capacity per shelf. Additionally, the relatively compact size of these shelves make them a great option for tight spaces. Installing them was a breeze, and lining up the two wall-mounted brackets made the process even easier. While there was a slight wobble, this is typical for wall-mounted shelves. The only downside we noticed was the lockdown stud on the bracket, which sticks out a few millimeters from the shelving surface.
Types of Garage Shelving
There are several types of garage shelving available, each of which is distinguished by its size, material, and whether it is freestanding or mounted to the wall or ceiling. Prices will vary depending on the material, size, quality, and brand of the shelving.
- Wooden Shelving: Wooden shelves are stylish and eco-friendly, adding a touch of elegance to work and storage spaces. Hardwoods such as oak and maple are strong and durable, while softwoods like pine and pressed wood products such as plywood and chipboard can handle light loads but may warp, buckle, or break under heavy weights. Freestanding wooden shelving units can be moved easily, while wall-mounted shelves are fixed into structural studs via metal brackets and attached firmly to the walls. Some DIY wooden shelving kits come with all the hardware and instructions you need, but keep in mind that some don’t include lumber.
- Metal and Wire Shelving: Metal shelves, typically made of steel, can hold heavy loads and come in various sizes. They are non-porous and easy to clean, resistant to chemicals or paint spills. Metal shelves may have black or powder-coated protective finishes to resist rust and damage. While solid metal shelves are suitable for heavy-duty equipment, wire shelves offer the strength of metal without the weight. They are typically made of steel or chrome mesh, a surface of connected metal strands that form a sturdy grid, web, or net. These shelves are ideal for paint cans, tools, bins, and boxes, but be careful to store any small items, such as loose nails and screws, in containers before storing on wire shelves so they won’t fall through the gaps. Solid metal shelves are often found in freestanding units, as they can be quite heavy to fix directly to the wall, wire shelves can be freestanding or mounted to walls and ceilings.
- Adjustable Rail Shelves: Adjustable rail shelves are ideal for those who need flexibility in terms of storage. They offer adjustable heights by featuring vertical metal tracks that are installed on the wall. These tracks are slotted at equal intervals, with metal brackets designed to fit into each slot. To change the position of a shelf, simply remove it, move the brackets up or down, and refit the shelf at this new height. Commonly made of steel wire, adjustable shelves can easily hold heavy objects as long as the brackets are also metal.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Garage Shelving
After selecting a shelving material, decide whether to go with freestanding or mounted shelves. And for mounted shelves, choose how they’ll attach to the wall or ceiling. Then carefully measure the intended space and learn how to install.
The three most popular and functional styles of garage shelving are freestanding, wall-mounted, and ceiling-mounted.
- Freestanding units provide flexibility and mobility since they are not attached to any surface but can also take up valuable floor space and get in the way of other functions (like parking a car). They are typically wood, metal, or a combination of both.
- Wall-mounted shelves attach to studs (vertical structural beams) at regular intervals using metal brackets. The metal, wire, or wooden shelf then fits onto this bracket for maximum stability and strength.
- Ceiling-mounted shelves attach to ceiling joists using long, adjustable metal brackets and are ideal for storing seasonal items and equipment out of the way. Welded steel construction can provide safe and reliable storage for up to 600 pounds of weight. Access these shelves using a ladder or step stool.
Dimensions and Capacity
Wall-mounted shelves and freestanding units should range between 12 inches and 24 inches deep. For convenient access and visibility, aim for shelves that will hold boxes and other items without cutting into the surrounding space or hiding gear stored in the back. For ceiling-mounted units, look for dimensions of at least 2 feet by 3 feet and larger for storing bulky items like golf clubs or other sports equipment.
Shelf length can vary widely, depending on spatial requirements. Measure how long ideal shelves would be, then look for prefab shelving that approximates this length. Popular for most residential garage spaces are 3-foot, 4-foot, and 6-foot lengths. Custom shelves built using a DIY kit are also an option.
In terms of weight-bearing capacity, be wary of shelving units that claim to bear up to 1,000 pounds. It’s likely that a maximum bearing load for a single shelf is between 100 and 400 pounds. For those with a lot to store, consider multiple shelves rather than overstraining a single shelf. This is especially important with ceiling- or wall-mounted shelves. If the weight load is too great, shelves can pull away from the surface, causing superficial or structural damage.
With freestanding shelving units, simply assemble (if needed), position into place, and start using it—no installation required. Wall- and ceiling-mounted shelves require careful positioning into studs or joists.
Wall studs are 16 or 24 inches apart, and run from floor to ceiling. To locate a stud, use an electronic stud finder or a manual method. Once located, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the shelves. For wall-mounted units, consider spacing shelves around 16 to 20 inches apart for as much flexibility and storage capacity as possible. Ceiling units are usually easier to position when they are adjustable.
Installing adjustable rail shelving also requires locating studs, then firmly attaching the metal track to the studs with screws. Some rail tracks come with hardware compatible with concrete walls as well as drywall. Be sure to read instructions prior to purchase, as some tracks can only be installed into wooden studs, not steel studs. Once the tracks are in place and attached, secure the brackets into the slots, and place the shelves on top.
Our Top Picks
That’s a lot of background information on choosing the best garage shelving, and the sheer volume of information can feel overwhelming. For a bit more guidance on the topic, refer to the following list of models. We put each of these top-rated garage shelving units to the test. Read on to find out why they made the cut.
Important features to consider
Shelf material – If you need water or mildew resistance because you’re parking wet vehicles right next to your storage, wire shelving is your best bet. In less demanding conditions, chip-board shelves are stiff and fairly attractive and can be painted to protect it.
True weight capacity – A shelf’s maximum load rating (often in hundreds of pounds) assumes evenly spread weight and is determined by the strength of the frame. If you weigh down the middle of an unsupported chip-board shelf with even half that much weight, it will bow or even break. Of the boltless clip-together shelving units we tested, only the Gladiator comes with a center support bracket, though you can sometimes buy aftermarket supports. Wire rack shelving is more rigid because the shelves have truss-reinforced welded side support.
Shelf dimensions – Check carefully for how much space you have in your garage, and remember that you’ll need room to stand in front of the shelves. The most common shelf depth is 18 inches, which holds most of the best storage containers in smaller and medium sizes. If you want to load up a 21-inch lawn mower for the winter, you’ll need to pick a deeper 24-inch version of these shelves.
Tool-free assembly – Screwing or bolting together shelves is tedious work. Tool-free shelves, like the models we tested, will save you some time and frustration. The first shelf is always tricky if you’re assembling by yourself, though.
Wheels or anchors – Some shelving comes with holes in the bottom of the shelf uprights so you can anchor it to a floor; boltless shelves aren’t solid enough that you can move them around. Wire racks, on the other hand, are fairly stiff and rigid, so you can order them with casters that let you move your parts shelf around the garage as you work.
Garage Shelving FAQs
What is the best way to organize a garage?
If you have lots of space and tons of heavier items, consider a freestanding garage shelf. If you have limited space and want to preserve floor space, wall or ceiling-mounted garage shelving may be good for you. Just note, ceiling and wall-mounted shelves have a lower weight capacity than free standing and are much harder to disassemble and reassemble if you want to change locations. There are many resources online that offer insight into the best garage shelving ideas in terms of maximizing space.How to Organize Your Garage: Tips for Decluttering & Storage
How deep should garage shelves be?
To be able to see everything on the shelves and not have too many items hidden behind other things, 16 inches is an ideal depth for storing large items. If you’re going to store only smaller items, 12 inches is even better.
Are there different sizes of garage shelving units?
Yes, garage shelving units come in a variety of sizes, both in terms of the number of shelves and the dimensions of each shelf. Some units have a fixed number of shelves, while others are expandable and can have additional shelves added as needed. Be sure to consider the dimensions of your garage space and the items you will be storing when selecting a shelving unit.
What is the best type of shelving for a garage?
The best type of shelving for a garage will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Wooden shelving can add style to your space, and hardwood is strong and durable. Metal and wire shelving can hold heavy loads and are easy to clean. Adjustable rail shelving offers flexibility in terms of storage, allowing you to change the height of the shelves as needed.
Is MDF good for garage shelving?
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is a versatile and inexpensive material that works great for garage shelving. It is strong enough to hold the items from most typical households.MDF Board vs Wood: MDF Particleboard Garage Cabinets
What shouldn’t I store in my garage?
Since most garages are not as temperature controlled or dry as the rest of a house, avoid storing food, important documents, delicate clothing, or hazardous materials in the garage.
Can I mount garage shelving to the ceiling?
Yes, some garage shelving units can be mounted to the ceiling. However, the weight capacity of a ceiling-mounted unit may be lower than a wall-mounted unit, and additional hardware or support may be needed to securely mount the unit to the ceiling. It’s important to check the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure that the unit is designed for ceiling installation.Are Hanging Garage Ceiling Storage Racks Safe?
Is particleboard good for garage shelving?
Particleboard is a standard material used in shelving and works very well. Just be aware that if you’re planning to store large heavy items, you should consider investing in a thicker particleboard.How to Make Heavy Duty Shelves With Particleboard
How do I organize my garage?
Installing shelving areas around the wall space of the garage is a good idea if you’re planning to store your vehicle in the garage or use the main floor space for an activity. With storage shelves on the perimeter, it usually leaves enough space around the car area to easily open doors and get in and out. For smaller garage spaces, using ceiling-mounted shelving can be an excellent way to increase your storage capacity.
Can I install garage shelving myself?
Many garage shelving units come with instructions and hardware for self-installation. However, the ease of installation will vary depending on the type of shelving and the complexity of the design. Some shelving units may require specialized tools or knowledge of construction to properly install. If you are unsure about your ability to install a shelving unit, it may be best to seek professional assistance.
How much weight can a garage shelving unit hold?
The weight capacity of a garage shelving unit will vary depending on the material and design of the unit. Many metal and wire shelving units have a capacity of around 150 pounds per shelf, while wooden shelves may have a lower capacity. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications for weight capacity before making a purchase.