The 10 Best File Cabinets

Updated May 10, 2018 by Sam Kraft

10 Best File Cabinets
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Thanks to the growing availability of home-based positions and the increasing ability for employees to work remotely, many people have office spaces these days. If that includes you, one of these file cabinets will let you store and keep track of all your paper documents easily. Of course, we've included some large models that can handle the rough and tumble of a busy workplace, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best file cabinet on Amazon.

10. CommClad Commercial

The CommClad Commercial features four letter-size drawers in a tall, slim design that makes it ideal for use in tight spaces. You can keep the documents you need to access most regularly in the top compartment to minimize the need to crouch.
  • id inserts for easy labeling
  • drawers open very quietly
  • sides dent rather easily
Brand CommClad
Model 514PP
Weight 64 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. Nexera Essential

A useful addition to a workplace in which lots of documents and files need to be moved around, the Nexera Essential has two spacious drawers and one filing compartment, all mounted on sturdy casters. Some rather substantial assembly is required, though.
  • comes in several different finishes
  • smooth drawer glides
  • surface chips easily
Brand Nexera
Model 8092
Weight 60 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Lorell Mobile

With four equal-sized drawers that feature shiny chrome handles, the Lorell Mobile serves as a handsome, functional storage solution. Each compartment is designed to hold letter- or legal-size paper, with space for extra office supplies.
  • casters are removable
  • lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • drawers could be smoother
Brand Lorell
Model 19691
Weight 27.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

7. Calico Designs 51100

With five easy-rolling casters and a low profile, the Calico Designs 51100 is a nice organizational tool that will fit under most desks when space is limited. It comes with one deep filing drawer, plus two shallow ones for quick and simple access to documents.
  • includes a utility tray
  • can support substantial weight
  • plastic top can crack easily
Brand Calico Designs
Model 51100BOX
Weight 39 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Z-Line Designs Lateral

With a double-wide construction and an elegant finish, the Z-Line Designs Lateral is equally suitable for a home office or boardroom. Its large top provides a solid surface to display photos or accommodate electronic equipment, like printers and scanners.
  • lockable for security
  • easy-to-follow assembly instructions
  • heavy and tough to move around
Brand Z-Line Designs
Model ZL2262-2ELU
Weight 75.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Devaise 3 Drawer

The Devaise 3 Drawer arrives fully assembled aside from its five casters, so you should have it up and running pretty quickly. It’s a well-balanced model that you can slide under a desk if space is tight, and its smooth metal surface is easy to keep clean.
  • 2 front casters can be locked
  • all 3 drawers lock at same time
  • tough to keep bottom drawer closed
Model PCA002A1
Weight 49 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

4. Hirsh Industries Pedestal

The Hirsh Industries Pedestal is both sleek and versatile. Instead of handles that stick out, it's built with drawers that have small indents at the top, which gives the unit a flat profile and makes it easy to store. Plus, it arrives fully assembled.
  • rolls well on carpet
  • attractive glossy finish
  • hidden casters for a clean look
Brand Hirsh Industries
Model 18578
Weight 63.8 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

3. Julie-Home Cart

The simple and practical Julie-Home Cart works well as a mobile organizer for important documents, but it’ll also serve as a dresser in a kid’s bedroom or a college dorm. It’s simple to assemble the whole shebang with only a screwdriver.
  • 5 equal-sized drawers
  • comes with a 2-year warranty
  • cutouts for easy drawer opening
Brand Julie-Home
Model pending
Weight 10 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Scranton & Co Letter

You can secure all four of the drawers in the Scranton & Co Letter with a single lock, which helps save time when you’re in a rush. It’s a fairly heavy-duty option with strong aluminum handles, and it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
  • accepts hanging file folders
  • reliable steel ball bearings
  • rust-resistant drawers
Brand Scranton & Co
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Laura Davidson Stockpile

Even though it’s built like a tank with powder-coated steel, the Laura Davidson Stockpile has a stylish, modern look that makes it a nice option for contemporary office spaces. It features a built-in pencil tray and easy-gliding drawers.
  • 6 designs available
  • comes with 2 keys
  • protective feet to save floors
Brand Laura Davidson Furnitur
Model pending
Weight 50 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Safe, Secure, and Sturdy

Regardless of whether you have a home office or you work for a large corporation, chaos cannot be part of the equation when it comes to doing your job. Resources and information must be in a place that's easily accessible and properly organized. While a computer's filing system can help cut down on paper clutter, one can't depend on this technology to maintain documents indefinitely, especially if those documents contain sensitive or private information requiring additional security. For that reason, a file cabinet is a necessary tool for both professional and domestic use.

A file cabinet is a multi-drawer piece of furniture typically constructed from sheet metal, steel, or wood designed to store and organize documents into separate labeled folders that are easy to access. The majority of cabinets are either lateral or vertical in design. Lateral cabinets are wide and offer side-by-side storage of folders and documents, whereas vertical cabinets are taller with front-to-back organization of their file folders. Vertical cabinets are deep, but they take up less wall space than lateral cabinets, making them useful for office storage where space is limited. Lateral cabinets can be placed in wider locations or attached to individual working cubicles.

The drawers of most file cabinets have a handle, thumb latch, compressor, and sliding mechanism. The compressor is an adjustable steel mechanism that moves either backward or forward to allow the manipulation of individual file folders from inside the drawer itself. The sliding mechanism allows the drawer to be opened or closed and its outstop will prevent the drawer from being pulled out completely. The thumb latch for most file cabinets is located near each drawer's handle and must be pressed or pushed to one side in order to open the drawer and access its contents.

Many cabinets also have drawer labels to help the user identify the contents in each compartment. Because they store private and sensitive information, most cabinets incorporate a keyed lock to prevent unauthorized access. Should a file cabinet not have an integrated lock and a business requires additional security, then a locking bar can be installed on the cabinet's outer frame around the drawers to serve a similar purpose.

Choosing Your Cabinet Design

Decor, aesthetics, available space, and storage requirements all play important parts in the type of file cabinet you'll be choosing. The most important consideration is the amount of available space in your home or place of business. For example, if you work for a law firm with small printing and file rooms on the premises, then a vertical cabinet will be easy to place into corners as long as there's enough room to extend the drawers.

If you need additional storage options for your workforce, then lateral file cabinets can also work to an employee's advantage, as these are wider and shorter than their vertical counterparts. That said, they can fit easily under a cubicle desk. Lateral cabinets are also helpful when needing to access the same files several times a day.

A lateral file cabinet allows the user to peak inside and see a variety of file labels all at once. Vertical file cabinets offer a great deal of flexibility for folder organization by letter, number, or subject classification.

Vertical file cabinets are also quite easy to expand due to the depth of their individual drawers. Those cabinets made from heavy, reinforced steel are often fireproof, which adds an additional level of security to documents containing sensitive data.

So is a vertical cabinet better than a lateral one? Both organization styles offer their own advantages. Regardless, they both keep information organized in their own ways. Knowing where one's documents are located, and the knowledge that information is kept secure, makes a person's job easier than if they had to search for individual files all over their workspace with no logical order to them.

One must also consider if they will need to move the cabinet from time to time. Some filing cabinets are built onto caster wheels, which is useful when one requires the need to move the unit from one office room to another without first removing the contents of its drawers or disturbing the organization of those contents.

Since certain cabinets are prone to tipping, researching file cabinets with anti-tip mechanisms such as interlocking drawers will be beneficial as well.

A Brief History Of File Cabinets

The earliest methods of filing systems date back almost five thousands years and included ancient Sumerian use of clay tablets for writing Cuneiform language used to document important information such as weather data and crop yields. These clay tablets were stored in large libraries.

Other early forms of file systems included the use of both leather and papyrus scrolls that were sealed in either stone or earthenware vessels. As early as 2,300 years ago, Greek scribes would fashion books and copies using ink on papyrus and parchment, a thin material made from animal hides. Scrolls would then be stored in large libraries such as the Library at Alexandria.

Fast forward to the invention of the printing press and it suddenly became easier and cost effective to produce multiple copies of publications like newspapers and books than ever before. The documentation and storage of information evolved into a compact form and by the late 1800s, several new methods of filing emerged to organize information both alphabetically and chronologically into small containers. Among these inventions were Shannon files and storage bellows. By 1868, the first multi-drawer file cabinet became available, but it was cumbersome to use because documents had to be laid flat, making the information difficult to organize.

Dr. Nathaniel S. Rosenau is credited with one of the first applications of the vertical filing system, which was also one of many objects presented at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. The earliest vertical file cabinets were made from heavy woods and were soon replaced by steel. Vertical file cabinets are still among the most common types of file cabinets used today.

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Last updated on May 10, 2018 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.

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