Fact Checked

What is a Lateral File Cabinet?

R. Kayne
R. Kayne

While the most common type of filing cabinet might be a vertical filing cabinet, a lateral file cabinet has many appealing advantages. Built with volume, style and strength in mind, it can accommodate reams of paperwork without taking up lots of floor space. It is also more efficient than stacking several vertical file cabinets.

A lateral file cabinet resembles a utility cabinet, with horizontal drawers like that of a dresser. Hanging files are normally hung side-to-side rather than front-to-back, as in vertical cabinets. Some cabinets come with versatile inserts that can be used either way.

Lateral file cabinets can accommodate large amounts of paperwork and files.
Lateral file cabinets can accommodate large amounts of paperwork and files.

If files are hung side-to-side, the wide drawers make it easy to glance down a large number of files quickly for required paperwork. Unlike a vertical file cabinet, the lateral cabinet drawer need not be pulled out as far to search for a needed file. This is of particular importance in tight quarters where attendants are passing back and forth or working in close quarters. Because a lateral file cabinet can hold so many files, this type of unit is often used in medical offices, hospitals, law enforcement agencies, schools, and other establishments that require constant access to paperwork. This type of filing cabinet can have two, three, four or more drawers, and units can be placed side-by-side as needed.

Many models feature drawers that are counterbalanced, and some are adjustable. This prevents the cabinet from becoming unstable or toppling with a full drawer extended. Taller units are commonly made with interlocking drawers so that only one drawer at a time can be extended. A double-walled or reinforced cabinet will ensure the furniture stays square over time. Steel ball bearings on the roller mechanisms, suspension and other design features will create a difference in the ease of motion of laden drawers, and the quiet with which they open and close.

Lateral file cabinets are most commonly made of steel or wood. Some are designed with a storage cabinet or office supply pantry above, and two or more filing drawers beneath. A low, two-drawer model made of wood can double as a nice table or fax or printer stand. There are also cabinets designed for wall mounting.

Because a lateral file cabinet is made to support so much weight, construction plays into price. A two-drawer cabinet typically costs less than a four-drawer model. However, these products should perform well and stand the test of time.

These cabinets are available everywhere office furniture is sold. They are also often available from outlets that sell used office furniture. This can be a great way for a growing business to acquire quality cabinets at an affordable price.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


what are the disadvantages of a lateral filing cabinet?

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Lateral file cabinets can accommodate large amounts of paperwork and files.
      By: pixelrobot
      Lateral file cabinets can accommodate large amounts of paperwork and files.