10 Best File Cabinets | March 2017

We spent 32 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. With just about every home these days having a home office, or at least a corner carved out of a room for a desk, most people will find they need one of these file cabinets to hold all their bills and other personal papers. Of course, we've also included some sturdy models that can handle the rough and tumble of a busy workplace, too. Skip to the best file cabinet on Amazon.
10 Best File Cabinets | March 2017

Overall Rank: 4
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 10
Best Inexpensive
The HON 514PP 510 boasts four letter-size drawers, and its tall, skinny design makes it great for tight spaces. You can keep documents you need to access regularly in the top drawer to minimize the need to crouch. Unfortunately, the drawers don't slide easily.
The Nexera Essentials Mobile is the perfect addition for an office where lots of files constantly need to be moved around. With two catch-all drawers and one filing drawer, each nearly 18 inches deep, this cabinet can handle the filing needs of high volume businesses.
The Home Decorators Collection Oxford is a classic looking piece that will brighten up a home office. It has a hardwood veneer that adds incredible durability and creates an all-around smooth surface that never splinters or cracks, plus it is easy to clean.
The Bush Furniture Cabot Collection has an interlocking file mechanism that prevents tipping when opening a heavy drawer. It's also the same height as most standard desks, so you can put it next to your desk and extend your workspace.
  • accommodates a4-sized files
  • 1-year warranty is included
  • the handles feel cheap
Brand Bush Furniture
Model WC31880-03
Weight 84.3 pounds
The Calico Designs 51100 is a good storage solution when space is limited. Five casters make it easy to move, and it's low enough to fit under most desks. It has one deep filing drawer, plus two shallow ones perfect for immediately accessing necessary documents.
  • includes a utility tray
  • can support a lot of weight
  • top is made of plastic and can crack
Brand Calico Designs
Model 51100BOX
Weight 40.6 pounds
The Comfort Products 60-COUB1028 Coublo has four little cubbies that are perfect for holding personal items, a small clock or some pens. The two knob handles make it easy to open, and it has removable rails, so you can use the bottom drawer any way you like.
  • quality anti-scratch laminate
  • has clear assembly instructions
  • doesn't have a lock
Brand Comfort Products
Model 60-COUB1028
Weight 56.3 pounds
The Z-Line Designs Lateral has an elegant espresso finish and a shape that makes it look like an armoire, making it equally suitable for an office or a home. Its extra wide tabletop makes it perfect for displaying photos, or placing a printer or other equipment on.
  • metal rails for easy filing
  • feels very sturdy
  • lock is difficult to attach
Brand Z-Line Designs
Model ZL2262-2ELU
Weight 77.2 pounds
The Hirsh Industries LLC is both sleek and versatile. Instead of handles that stick out, you open the drawers using small indents at the top, which gives the unit a totally flat profile and makes it easy to store away. Plus it comes to you fully assembled.
  • opens and closes quietly
  • counterweights included for stability
  • casters are hidden for an elegant look
Brand Hirsh Industries
Model pending
Weight pending
With its 4 equal-sized drawers that feature shiny chrome handles and smooth glide suspension, the Lorell 25976 provides superior storage functionality for any room. Each drawer is designed to hold letter-size or legal-size paper, along with office supplies.
  • casters are removable
  • rolls easily on rugs and hard floors
  • quality steel on the inside
Brand Lorell
Model 25976
Weight pending
The Poppin White Stow has a clean-looking powder coating over strong steel construction. 2 of its 4 casters are capable of locking to prevent accidental roll away, and it can be ordered with a bright orange or blue front and interior to add a little color to any office.
  • rounded edges are kid-safe
  • casters can swivel 360 degrees
  • top can be locked
Brand Poppin
Model pending
Weight pending

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: 03/25/2017 | Authorship Information