What's The Difference Between Industrial Shelving and Industrial Racking?

Understanding The Difference Between Industrial Shelving and Racking

Both industrial shelving and racking are fundamental for organising products in warehouses, distribution centres, production facilities, workshops, and similar spaces. This guide will help you understand their uses and benefits.

What is Industrial Shelving and Racking?

Industrial shelving and racking are specialised storage solutions designed to hold a wide range of items, from small parts to heavy, bulky goods. Unlike traditional shelving, usually made from wood or lightweight metal, industrial shelving is constructed from steel or other durable materials, featuring reinforced shelves and customisable options to suit various business needs.

Key Features of Industrial Shelving:

  • Made from steel or other durable materials
  • Reinforced and adjustable shelves
  • Suitable for hand-loaded products
  • Customisable to specific business needs

Key Features of Industrial Racking:

  • Designed for heavy items
  • Often used with mezzanines and other storage solutions
  • Requires forklifts for loading
  • Customisable to specific business needs

Differences Between Industrial Shelving and Racking

Industrial shelving is ideal for lighter items, such as boxes of paper or small hardware, while racking is designed for heavier items like pallets of supplies or large machinery. Shelving is generally less expensive but cannot support as much weight as racking, which is more durable but often more costly.

Choosing the Right Storage Solution

To determine whether industrial shelving or racking is right for you, assess your storage needs:

  • What type of products are you storing?
  • How much space do you have available?
  • How many products need storage?
  • Will you need more space as your business grows?

For heavy or bulky items, opt for a strong and durable racking system. For limited space, consider a compact shelving system. Evaluate different products based on your needs to choose the best solution.

Benefits of Industrial Shelving and Racking

Increased Visibility: Shelving allows easier visibility and access to products, making inventory management simpler and reducing the risk of back injuries from bending or stooping.

Improved Organisation: Shelving provides a neat and tidy storage method, making it easier to find items quickly, thereby saving time and boosting efficiency.

Enhanced Safety: Industrial racking is sturdy and stable, preventing items from falling and causing injuries. Racking also allows safe storage of items at greater heights, accessible by forklifts.

Maximised Space: Storing products on shelves frees up floor space for walkways, equipment, and machinery, improving safety and maneuverability.

Cost-Effective: Industrial shelving is a cost-effective solution that helps businesses save money by preventing losses from damaged goods and protecting products from environmental hazards.

Selecting the Right Type of Shelving or Racking

When choosing industrial shelving or racking, consider:

  • The type and weight of products to be stored
  • Available space
  • Number of products to be stored
  • Future storage needs as your business grows

For heavy objects, choose a shelf or rack that supports the weight. For larger items, select options with more surface area. Place shelving or racking in areas where durability is key, especially in high-traffic zones.

Conclusion: Finding Your Perfect Storage Solution

For safe and efficient storage, industrial shelving and racking are excellent choices. At Bowen Storage, we offer a wide range of shelves and racks to meet your specific needs. Our products are sturdy, stable, and available in various sizes to accommodate different items. Whether you need shelving for hand-loaded products or racking for heavy items, we have the perfect solution for you. Explore our selection today to optimise your storage and organisation.

Why Use NSI Projects?

NSI Projects have over 40 years of experience in delivering great projects for commercial buildings. We partner with leading suppliers and experts to design, procure and install practical and cost effective solutions for our customers.


Call our experts today on 0800 027 1966.

Huboo warehouse exterior


More Good stored inside due to a new mezzanine floor


The team at NSI Projects provided a complete design and build service to Huboo for this project, taking time to understand our requirements and turning the design into reality. They provided trusted advice and safe project management, allowing us to get on with our daily operations knowing that the installation was under control.

Billy Ansell - Facilities Manager
Industrial pallet racking systems

Ribble Technologies.

We received top notch service from Alex Gallagher and the team with the install of our racking, couldn't recommend NSI enough! Nothing was too much trouble, amazing customer and installation service from start to finish.

Emma Cook - Office Manager
Bulk Powders automated pallet racking system

Bulk Powders.

On behalf of Bulk Powders, NSI Projects designed, procured and managed the installation of the automated pallet shuttle system from start to completion, the site was managed so that the installation and ongoing operations could exist side by side.

Guy Martin - Project Consultant

DHL Stirling Park large racking project

DHL Stirling Park.

I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for the outstanding job your team did on our recent warehouse project. The changes and installation of the new racking was executed flawlessly and within budget, which is a testament to your team’s expertise and professionalism. Their attention to detail, commitment to quality workmanship, and ability to keep everything on track were truly impressive. They went above and beyond in ensuring that all aspects of the project were completed satisfactorily.

Andrius Cekanauskas - Senior Planning Manager DHL Manufacturing Logistics
Euro Options server room created with dividing walls

Euro Options.

We love the job NSI Projects have done, they worked efficiently and completed the job above our expectations.

Ian Tait - Commercial Manager Euro Options
Arial shot of a warehouse with soalr panels installed

John Scott Works.

A big thank you to NSI Projects for providing us with a quick and quality service.

Matthijis Schot - CEO PRN Group