What Is The Difference Between Racking And Shelving?

There is a very simple difference between a racking and a shelving system. You may use the words interchangeably. Often without realising that there is a stark difference between the two and the fact they are totally different. Most warehouses have some sort of a storage system. It creates efficiency and organisation within the warehouse if implemented correctly. In some warehouses the storage system may consist of both racking and shelving systems.

Shelving Systems

We all know what a shelf is. Whether it is a cabinet shelf storing books or an industrial shelf storing tools. The use of industrial shelving is a great option in warehouses and workshops.

In the main the use of shelving systems are to store items accessible by hand. Including books, boxes and small parts. It is usually a lighter duty system then a racking system. Meaning that it can sustain lighter weights than racks.

There are three types of industrial shelving that we offer here at Abbott Storage Systems.

Open Span Shelving Systems - Particle Board Shelves

Particle Board Shelving


  • Most cost effective shelving option
  • Easy assembly
  • Suitable in most warehouse situations


  • Can’t store liquids on it as it will deteriorate the board
Open Span Shelving - Steel Shelf Panels

Steel Shelving


  • Easy assembly
  • Great shelving option for storing liquids


  • Most costly shelving option

Wire Shelving


  • Cost effective storage solution
  • Easy assembly


  • Can’t store small loose items as it will slip through the mesh holes

Racking Systems

Racking is a heavy duty storage system. Usually stacked higher and deeper with items and pallets, than a shelving system would be. In order to access the loads on racking often it requires machinery such as a forklift.

There are three types of racking system that we offer here at Abbott Storage Systems:

Find out more on their differences on this blog here.

Racking and Shelving System Difference

Now that you understand different types of racking and shelving systems. Do you want to know the simple difference? When a storage system has shelves it becomes a shelving, otherwise its known as racking. So when a racking system has timber shelves or mesh decks add to it, it is known as shelving and is no longer racking while it has shelves.

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