Shelving Locations & Applications

Shelving is one of the most versatile storage solutions you can invest in. It can be used in almost any location and for nearly any application, with a wide variety of materials and configurations. Realistically, some form of shelving should be used in essentially every situation. After all, shelving is needed wherever things need to be stored or used at various intervals.

When choosing the right shelving for your needs, you must consider the application first. Some types of shelving offer superior performance in certain conditions compared to others. So, which applications need which types of shelving? Below, we will outline common areas where shelving is needed and recommend the best types that may be especially beneficial for your application. 


Industrial Shelving

Industrial settings can encompass a range of specific applications, but shelving is necessary for nearly all of them. What usually sets industrial shelving apart from other applications is the weight and breadth of the items that need to be stored.

To ensure your facility adheres to the highest safety standards in supporting such inventory, you must optimize your shelving to facilitate heavy items. The type of shelving you choose (including the material type), how you secure your shelves, and your layout will all be important when choosing industrial shelving.

What to Look for in Industrial Shelving

Before purchasing shelving for an industrial setting, examine what you will store. This alone will largely determine what shelves you’ll need. Here are some things to consider:

Do you have large, bulky items that need a lot of wide shelf space? Do you store many boxes of various sizes? Open wire shelving is probably for you.

Are you storing small, fragile items? Solid shelving may be a good idea, but wire shelving could also work (you’ll need to purchase shelving inlays to prevent items from falling through the wire spaces).

Will you be storing liquids? You’ll want solid shelving, which will prevent cross-contamination in the event of a spill through a slightly raised edge on all four sides.

There are other questions to consider as well. For instance, will your industrial area be cleaned often? If so, you’ll want mobile shelving (with wheels), which can lock into place for sturdy storage and be easily moved when you need to clean.

Speak to a Metro representative about your industrial shelving needs, and they’ll help you find the ideal shelves for your space.

Kitchen and Restaurant Shelving

Most restaurants and commercial kitchens can have many different styles of shelves. From solid and vented shelves to wire and plastic shelving, each material and style combination provides unique benefits and solutions to common kitchen organization challenges.

When choosing shelving for these settings, it is crucial to start with the material type. Surface materials are extremely important for health and safety wherever food is being prepared, packaged, stored, or otherwise handled.

For example, if you use metal shelving in a place where salt water will touch the shelving, you may encounter corrosion, which could cross-contaminate food. Conversely, you’ll be wasting money investing in expensive, anti-corrosive, mobile shelving where you only need basic, stationary shelving for dry storage.

In kitchens, these are your main choices for material types:

  • Polymer or Plastic Shelving: Plastic is corrosion-proof and will never rust, making all-polymer plastic kitchen shelving the best choice for wet environments, including walk-in coolers and freezers. Metro’s all plastic shelving features Microban antimicrobial protection, and removable, easy-to-clean shelf mats. Available in solid and vented/grid options, the shelf mats can be wiped clean or put directly in a dishwasher.
  • Open Wire Shelving: Traditional open wire metal shelving is the best option for dry storage. Available with or without casters, wire shelving is designed to securely handle your storage needs when moisture is not a factor.
  • Epoxy-Coated Wire Shelving: Another option for wet environments is epoxy-coated wire shelving. Epoxy-coated wire shelving offers a corrosion-resistant solution when the budget does not allow for polymer shelving. When choosing epoxy-coated shelving for a foodservice application, be sure to choose one with added antimicrobial protection.

Hospital Shelving

In hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other medical settings, there are strict guidelines in place to maintain a clean, sterile environment. Each medical setting has its own unique procedures, but in general, there are standard requirements that purchasers and managers must consider as they shop for the best shelving solution.

In terms of shelving materials, even though open wire shelving can be used for general storage, it is generally not recommended for sterile hospital settings. That’s because the manufacturing process used to create wire shelving includes soldering and welding. These methods can leave snag points where surgical kits' delicate blue sterile wrap may easily be ripped, resulting in re-sterilization — a costly and time-consuming procedure.

Metro offers sterile hospital storage through polymer shelving, which will not rust or corrode even with repeated cleaning. It also remains durable even in a moist or wet environment. The polymer has built-in antimicrobial protection, so your products stay cleaner between regular cleanings. Finally, our sterile shelving also provides smooth, snag-free surfaces, which makes cleaning easier and helps reduce mishaps with sterile packaging.

Laboratory Shelving

Laboratory settings can encompass a variety of different applications, depending on the purpose and functions of the lab itself. However, most laboratories will need shelving, and the material best suited for laboratories is stainless steel shelving.

Stainless steel is extremely durable, rust- and corrosion-resistant, and is designed to handle the rigorous demands that a laboratory or cleanroom requires. Stainless steel shelving with open wire shelves is available. It also comes in a number of different types of solid shelves to allow you to customize a storage solution specific to your application. Stainless steel can withstand high-temperature cart wash and autoclave.

For laboratories with limited space, we recommend a high-density shelving system. The Metro Top-Track systems eliminate aisle space that is otherwise often used in lab settings. Simply attach your desired number of mobile units to the overhead track and move them in and out of the way as needed. Various sizes are available, and tracks and unit systems can be customized to meet your laboratory’s demands.

Whether your laboratory is dealing with sensitive electronic components or corrosive chemicals, we have shelving solutions to meet your needs.

Office Shelving

Offices require shelving in copy rooms, storage closets, cubicles and individual office spaces, lobbies, maintenance offices — basically, everywhere.

Shelving holds the paper products, desk supplies, and other materials that allow offices to operate efficiently. While all offices are unique and have special needs when it comes to shelving, there are general goals that are universal in most offices:

  • Improved Organization: Without adequate shelving in an office, organization is nearly impossible. Keeping materials stacked on tables or in drawers makes them prone to disarray and damage, which is a waste of time and money for any office. Steel or wire shelving units from Metro keep products clean, neat, and well-organized.
  • Easy Access to Materials: The ability to access the materials you need quickly and easily for your own work or general office needs is crucial in an office setting. With efficient storage, you can save time rooting around for envelopes, specialized paper binding materials, and more.
  • Helpful Add-Ons: For shelving units that need to double as workspaces or storage for uniquely-shaped items, Metro offers many add-ons and shelving accessories, such as hooks, baskets, and bins. These can be easily added to shelves for better, more efficient storage.
  • Customization: It is immensely useful to be able to change the layout of your shelving units, as storage demands for office settings will naturally evolve over time. Metro’s open wire shelving allows for adjustments quickly and easily whenever needed. You can even add extra shelves to your existing shelving unit without having to disassemble it with EZ-ADD shelves.
  • Durability: Even in office settings, weight needs for storage can be demanding. Many of Metro’s shelves can hold hundreds of pounds each. House even the heaviest items without worrying about breakage or deterioration of your shelving.

Perhaps more than any other setting, office storage needs can vary greatly. While paper products, binders, writing utensils, and other office supplies will likely be at the forefront of your storage needs, you may also need shelving storage for kitchens, bathrooms, product inventory, and more. With Metro’s office shelving options, you’ll find exactly the storage you need at price points that fit your budget.

High-Quality Commercial and Industrial Shelving for Any Industry

For over 90 years, Metro has been the world's leading manufacturer of storage and transport equipment in the Healthcare, Foodservice, and Commercial markets. In this time, we’ve become experts in understanding the best types of shelving for all applications.

Whether you’re looking to launch a restaurant, upgrade your cleanroom, or improve the SPD storage at your hospital, we can help. To view all of our available storage solutions, be sure to visit our website. And if you have any questions about the best shelving for your application, feel free to contact us with any questions.