I have a buddy who lives about a two-and-a-half-mile canal walk away. Since we live closer now, he has been keeping up with what we are doing with our garage and this website. He had a few questions for me that prompted some new research into the storage realm.
His father-in-law recently moved to the US and is living with them. They have a three-car garage that they are looking to convert into an addition for a guest bedroom. My friend was initially looking at building some heavy duty shelving out of lumber, to help move some of his stored items into a more condensed space.
We talked more about the project and his main concern was that he wanted the shelves to be able to hold the weight of some of the heavier items he needed to store. I asked him what kinds of things he had been keeping in his garage, and he mentioned free weights, 5-gallon buckets of house paint, and some old sound equipment. As the space was smaller, he also liked the idea of being able to build something custom to utilize all of his floor to ceiling space for storage.
As we talked about materials and the cost and effort involved, I was inspired to research shelving outside of the DIY realm. I found that with all the options for dimensions, installation, and placement, purchasing heavy duty shelving was arguably a better choice for my friend and maybe for you as well.
Shelving defined as “heavy duty” can hold over 500 lbs. per shelf and can either be free-standing, wall-mounted, or suspended from the ceiling. The following shelves I reviewed are made of metal and are sturdy enough to handle your heavy duty, garage shelving needs.
When you are looking at heavy duty shelves for your garage, there are a few different options that may initially come to mind. For this article, I am going to cover heavy duty shelving that is made of metal and has a weight capacity of 500 or more pounds. I will review three variations of metal shelves, based on how they are installed and discuss how each different style can benefit your storage space in different ways.
The first, free-standing shelving, is the typical, heavy duty shelving that you see in most stores and garages. The second – wall-mounted shelving, has at least one side-mounted to the wall for suspension and stabilization. The last type of heavy-duty shelving is overhead storage – shelving suspended from the ceiling.
Freestanding Heavy–Duty Shelving
As I mentioned before, freestanding shelving is by far the most common, as it can support the most weight standing on the ground, and the assembly is generally straight-forward. If you are looking for easy access and high weight capacity, a freestanding shelf is going to be your best option. There are several sizes available to fit your space. But do note – once you have the shelving unit built, it will take some work to move it around! (Side note – When I was researching this topic, I did find freestanding shelving units that are on casters, but more commonly they are considered “medium duty.”) If you are comfortable with your garage layout and have the floor space to utilize, this type of shelf is for you. Here are three brands to check out:
This type of rack is commonly seen in grocery stores or retail shops, but depending on what you are doing, these can be an amazing addition to any garage storage plan. These shelves are strong, generally stable, and have a high weight capacity.
Muscle Rack’s – Heavy Duty Shelving specs:
- 72″ Height x 77″ Width x 24″ Depth
- 3 Shelves
- Heavy duty coated wire deck shelving
- 1,000 lbs. Capacity per shelf
I have been impressed with just about everything I have purchased from AmazonBasics. This heavy-duty shelving unit is made of aluminum and is built with double post steel. Individually the shelves can hold up to 800 lbs. each. With optional stiffeners, this unit can hold up to a total of 4000 lbs. If this wasn’t enough, I think my favorite part is that this unit is bolt free, which allows for very easy assembly.
AmazonBasics – Heavy Duty Shelving Specs:
- 78″ Height x 60″ Width x 24″ Depth
- 5 Shelves
- Double post steel wire heavy duty shelving
- 800 lbs. capacity per shelf
- Adjustable shelving height
- Easy assembly
This shelf is great if you have the room in your garage. The length alone (over seven and a half feet!) allows for a ton of storage space. Add to that, four shelves of this length, and can probably accomplish the majority of your garage storage needs in one go. Rather than rivets, the heavy duty shelves are held up with heat-treated, case hardened bolts allowing for additional strength. The shelves individually can hold up to 500 lbs. And the entire unit has a weight capacity of 2000 lbs.
MonsterRax – Heavy Duty Shelving Specs:
- 84″ Height x 92″ Width x 24″ Depth
- 4 Shelves
- Wire heavy duty shelving
- 500 lbs. capacity per shelf
- Heat-treated, case hardened bolts
Wall–Mounted Heavy–Duty Shelving
Wall-mounted shelving is the second style of shelving that can be utilized for your garage. This type of shelving gives you several more mounting options for shelf height and placement, while not sacrificing too much when it comes to max weight limits. These shelves can either be connected to the wall or have the second connection point at the ceiling. This allows for the shelf to be secured at standing height, or overhead. If you decide to go with a heavy duty shelving system like this and are planning to suspend the cables from the ceiling, make sure to follow the manufacture’s installation guide on how to secure the suspension hardware from the ceiling joist. If you are interested in some installation tips, check out this article on how to install your wall mounted heavy duty shelving, check out our article on How to Install Hanging Garage Shelves.
NewAge Products have some of the best heavy duty shelving systems that I have seen on the market. I have purchased garage storage cabinets, and two of these Pro Series, heavy duty shelving systems. They are extremely well made, easy to install, and are very versatile since the suspension cables can either be installed into the vertical stud or the ceiling joist. There are several options, depending on your space and storage needs, but NewAge has an impressive collection of shelves in all different sizes. If you want to know more and would like to read our product review on these heavy duty shelves, click here.
NewAge – Pro Series Heavy Duty Shelving Specs:
- 18-52″ Height x 96″ Width x 24 and 48″ Depth
- Pro Series Black 4x8ft and 2x8ft Wall Mounted Shelf
- 600 lbs. weight capacity for each Wall Shelf attached directly to studs or joists
- Aircraft-grade steel support cables
- High strength fasteners and hardware
- Multiple installation options, as close as 18 in. from the ceiling
- Support cables can be secured to wall studs, ceiling joists or other shelf units
- Durable powder-coat paint finish
- 1-inch safety lip around the perimeter of the frame
Overhead Heavy Duty Shelving
Overhead shelving is the third and final type of heavy duty shelving on the market. I personally like this type of shelving because it moves your storage off the floor, leaving room for other things in your garage. It does, however, take the most planning to ensure that placement doesn’t hinder other things on your ceiling. And weight capacity needs to be considered carefully as these types of shelving units are fully suspended from the ceiling joists. The products reviewed below will all have a 500+ lbs. weight capacity, but if you are going to be storing a heavy load, you need to make sure the shelving is properly installed, and the weight is properly distributed among the ceiling joists. If you would like more information on how much weight you can suspend from the ceiling, check out our article on How Much Can My Garage Ceiling Hold?
I really like the options that come with this heavy duty, overhead shelving. The feet can suspend between two separate joists making installation much easier. If the feet were not able to suspend between two joists, then you would have to get into the attic and add a cross joist so that the weight would be better distributed. The hooks and racks (typically an addon) are included and don’t have to be purchased separately.
Fleximounts – Overhead heavy duty shelves
- 22-40″ Height x 96″ Width x 48″ Depth
- Cold-rolled 14-gauge steel made rack
- Can hold up to 600 pounds of distributed weight safely and effectively
- 4 pcs Flat Hooks; 2 pcs Utility Hooks Included
There are several options that you can choose from to best meet your overall storage needs. When you are looking at what’s available and which will best fit your garage and the dimensions that you have, keep in mind what these three types of shelving have to offer. The freestanding, heaviest of heavy duty shelving will allow you the most storage capacity but will take up the most floor space in your garage. Wall-mounted shelving will allow you vertical choices along the garage sidewalls. Overhead shelving will give you options to get your stored items out of the way, as long as the weight is distributed evenly.
My personal garage has several large, heavy pieces of woodworking equipment that I use frequently, but don’t always want on my tool bench. The standing shelving I went with to store things like my bench grinder, disk sander and mini lathe was an excellent buy. We also purchased wall-mounted shelving to get those paint cans, scrap lumber, and various other items off the floor. The investment was well worth it!
My buddy came over the other day and took another look at the NewAge Wall Mounted Shelves that we have in the garage. I believe in the very near future those same shelves will be hanging up in his garage as well.