What Is Mobile Shelving?

Whitney Leigh White

Mobile shelving is a shelf storage system that can be moved from place to place. They are used within warehouses, commercial and office spaces, garages, and more. This type of shelving can help maximize storage space, especially in areas where there are space limitations. Mobile shelving systems are available in many forms, including rotary file, lateral sliding, high density systems and more. Through the use of customized mobile shelving systems, people and businesses are able to store items and paperwork in systematic and organized manners.

Businessman giving a thumbs-up
Businessman giving a thumbs-up

Rotary file mobile shelving systems are used by many people and businesses because they provide an attractive way to provide storage space within an office. In fact, many individual offices use this type of mobile shelving because it can be customized with top work spaces, allowing it to be easily used as a desk. Rotary storage systems are available in an assortment of sizes and can be often be utilized as a color coding storage system. Within a rotary storage system are two cabinets that spin, providing quick access to any items stored.

Many people find that lateral sliding systems are an economical way to implement mobile shelving. These types of systems are purchased as single stationary units, but can be positioned alongside one another to provide easy access to any items or documents stored within them. Lateral sliding systems are also ideal to use when color coding is necessary. These types of shelving systems are often installed in spaces where normal storage compartments will not fit.

High density mobile shelving systems are mounted on mobile carriages which glide on tracks. Most times, high density systems are set up into rows, and, due to the tracks, each row of shelving can be easily accessed. High density systems provide the ultimate way to maximize floor space, and they are often seen in courthouses or law offices.

Anytime a person or business is looking to purchase mobile shelving systems, the disadvantages of each type of system should carefully be evaluated. A rotary shelving system tends to have a high price tag when it comes to cost per filing space; this is mostly because the shelves must be installed in manners that allow them to spin. They also tend to jam easily. Most times, when lateral shelving systems are used, they cannot be locked and the items stored inside are exposed. High density systems tend to not be very durable due to the torque that is endured from the carriages moving up and down their tracks.

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Discussion Comments


As someone who has purchased dozens of used systems, all it takes to reduce the occurrence of jamming is common sense and a little bit of maintenance. Removing paperclips, pens and other debris from the track goes a very long way in the longevity of a mobile system. Having the system installed by an experienced team will also help with the life of your shelves and employees, no one gets squished when the tracks are leveled first. As with any major investment, pay for it now, or pay for it later.


Having sold High Density Filing and Storage equipment for 20 years, the comments about durability and jamming of equipment are not true when the correct equipment is purchased. Go with high quality equipment and consult with an expert before you purchase. The best systems come with a lifetime warranty.

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