4 Expert Tips To Choose Garage Storage Cabinets

Clutter can be your garage's worst enemy and garage storage cabinets are the best way to defend against it. Choosing the right storage cabinet can be a difficult task though, so we've put together a list of expert tips to help you make the best decision possible.

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What materials should my garage cabinet be made of?

The choice you make in materials will determine not only how much weight your cabinet can hold, but also how long you can expect your cabinet to withstand the test of time. Let's take a look at the most common choices. 

Steel 

Steel storage cabinets typically have incredible shelving weight capacity, with some models being able to hold over 300 lbs spread across their shelves. As strong as steel shelving can be, it can fall victim to rust over time. Luckily, a regular application of rust prevention aerosol sprays or solutions can prevent this. 

Steel cabinets also tend to lack a variety of options when it comes to finishes and style. Most cabinets made of steel will be finished in a simple black or silver finish, with more emphasis placed on function than style. 

Plastic

Plastic storage cabinets are sturdier than you're probably assuming. Many modern models have a shelf weight capacity of over 100 lbs and come with a variety of styles and combination options. Plastic has the additional benefit of being naturally resistant to water and can withstand a wide range of temperature fluctuation.

Lower quality plastic shelving can become brittle in cold weather, so you'll have to be mindful to verify the quality of your cabinets with the manufacturer beforehand. You can also consider using the search function to quickly sift through online reviews to double-check for this specific issue.

Manufactured wood

Unlike steel and plastic, wood has a number of "natural enemies" that already exist within your home, namely, humidity and temperature fluctuations. Manufactured wood can be especially vulnerable to these things, given the way it is typically constructed. 

Manufactured wood panels are normally made from plywood or MDF cores, which are then covered with veneers for appearance. Manufactured wood cabinets offer more than both plastic and steel as far as aesthetic options go.

Manufactured wood can be finished with natural wood grains, hardwood veneers or simple black, white and gray tones, which makes them a good option if you have a décor you're hoping to maintain.

Wall Mounted Steel Garage Storage Cabinet
Steel Garage Storage Cabinet on Wheels
Large White Wood Garage Storage Cabinet
Grey Wood Garage Storage Cabinet on Wheels
Large Black Plastic Garage Storage Cabinet
Grey Plastic Garage Storage Cabinet

What size of a garage cabinet should I choose?

When choosing appropriate garage storage cabinets, it can be easy to overlook the need to size your cabinets properly. Unfortunately, getting some storage space means giving up floor space, so you'll need to know exactly how much space you have available and how much you're willing to sacrifice. 

When ordering your new storage cabinet, try marking out spots on your garage floor that you think would be good spots for your cabinet. Once you have a couple of ideas, use a measuring tape and some masking tape to map out the space your cabinet will take in 3-D.

Of course, your aim isn't to construct a 3-D model, but simply to measure out width and depth on your floor and height along the nearest wall. Having a 3-D estimate can help clear up your decision making since it will be obvious, which cabinets will work and which won't.

What type of garage cabinet is best for me?

If you've completed the measurements recommended in the previous tip, you may have discovered that floor space could be a tricky situation. Mapping things out tends to reveal areas of potential conflict, like a wall socket or door being blocked.

Maybe you were never interested in having a cabinet take up floor space in the first place. Either way, it's the perfect time to start considering whether you'll be ordering a wall-mounted or free-standing cabinet. 

Wall-mounted cabinets

Wall-mounted cabinets are an ideal choice if you expect your toolset to grow over time. Most wall-mounted cabinets come with a mounting system that allows for the installation of additional cabinets as time goes by.

The process can be as simple as sliding one cabinet to the side to make room for another, with the only considerations being how much room is left on your mount and how much wall space you're willing to surrender. 

Wall-mounted cabinets avoid the issue of sacrificing much floor space, so you won't have to worry about obstructing electrical outlets or needing to regularly shift objects in order to make working space. Of course, you'll still have to consider clearance around head height, but installing wall-mounted cabinets over countertops or workbenches eliminates the need for any head height measurements. 

The biggest drawback to wall-mounted cabinets is their relative permanence. Wall mounts can be inconvenient to move from wall to wall, should you decide to relocate your cabinets. Wall-mounted cabinets are also somewhat limited in terms of vertical expansion. Given how close they can be to most ceilings, bigger cabinets tend to stick "out" rather than go "up". This can lead to feelings of being cramped and head clearance issues.

6 Piece Garage Cabinet Set with Wall Mounted Cabinet
Single Steel Wall Mounted Garage Storage Cabinet
5 Piece Storage Set with Wall Mounted Garage Cabinet
2-Piece Storage Set with Wall Mounted Garage Cabinet
Wall Mounted Garage Storage Cabinet Set
Wall Mounted Garage Storage Cabinet in Black

Freestanding cabinets

Freestanding cabinets allow for a far greater deal of freedom as far as location goes, but they also inevitably sacrifice floor space. Where wall-mounted cabinet systems allow for expansion over time, freestanding cabinets usually do not. Freestanding cabinets tend to come as a single unit with several compartments designed for storing a large volume of tools.

Freestanding Garage Mobile Storage Cabinet
Freestanding Long Garage Storage Cabinet
Simple Freestanding Garage Storage Cabinet
Freestanding Garage Storage Cabinet in Grey
5 Piece Steel Garage Storage System with Freestanding Cabinets

What features should my garage cabinet have?

Now that we've covered the absolute essentials, here are a few extra features worth considering in your new storage cabinet. 

Customizable shelving

Default shelving options in your cabinets can be a hassle, having too much space for some things and not enough space for others is not an issue you should have to deal with. Which is why we recommend purchasing a cabinet with customizable shelving, so you will be able to create the ideal storage for your circumstances. 

Locking and child security options

Theft of tools and other hardware from your garage is an unlikely threat in your home but keeping young children away from dangerous power tools can be of unbelievable value. If you live in a home with curious kids, having a simple built-in lock or childproofing mechanism is an easy way to keep your peace of mind intact.

Wheels

Sometimes simple things can make a world of difference in the quality of our lives. If you've ever spent any length of time working with power tools, you'll know how frustrating it can be to walk back and forth between your workstation and cabinet, lugging heavy tools the whole way there.

Having wheels on your freestanding cabinet can be a simple solution fix for this problem. Instead of going back and forth, a simple movement of the cabinet prior to starting your work can save you a lot of walking. 

Tipover restraint device

Also known as a furniture anchor, a tipover restraint device is intended to keep your shelf upright and prevent falls that can be dangerous or deadly. If you've ever had a full garage storage cabinet, you know just how heavy they can get. Freestanding models are normally well balanced, but it's not entirely uncommon for us to misjudge just how full our top drawers can be, which can lead to dangerous falls

A tipover restraint device is an accessory that prevents your cabinet from tipping over by anchoring it to a wall or the floor, eliminating the need for you to worry about overfilling your storage space. Of course, we strongly recommend expanding or upgrading your cabinet once you begin nearing your storage capacity.

Lily is a modern designer with great appreciation for sleek architecture, a love for art in its many forms, and a passion for sharing her experience with people. If you’re looking for advice on how to modernize your old-fashioned place or make your new restaurant a visual blast, she’s definitely the one to ask.