The 10 Best Freestanding Shelves
This wiki has been updated 8 times since it was first published in January of 2020. Freestanding shelves offer a great way to maximize space and order belongings whether you’re a homeowner organizing a closet, a chef stocking a kitchen pantry, or a teacher stowing coveted school supplies. No matter which unit you choose, please consider placing it on a level surface, securing it to a wall, and following any and all safety guidelines that come with it. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 10, 2021:
Just one minor update this time around, which was the addition of the Muscle Rack instead of the slightly shallower model previously in its place from Sandusky. Aside from that, we haven't altered our rankings. Of course, you'll clearly note that some of these models are purely functional, such as the AmazonBasics Storage that's hard to beat in terms of toughness. Others, like the ClosetMaid Cubeicals, which comes in a variety of configurations and colors, look good enough to fit in many well-decorated indoor spaces.
February 27, 2020:
As a reminder, you should always make sure your shelves are on a level surface, or if that’s somehow impossible, make sure it has feet that can be adjusted to level. Additionally, no matter what your situation, you should consider fastening the shelf to a wall and/or anchoring it in some safe and secure manner. I realize some might think this defeats the purpose of having a freestanding shelf, but better safe than sorry. Of course, as always, follow every one of the manufacturer’s guidelines as closely as possible, and never store more on any one shelf or unit than it is designed to hold.
Safety aside, on a more practical note, remember to figure out what tools, if any, you will need to assemble your model before it arrives. Nothing is more disappointing than settling in for an evening of furniture assembly only to discover you don’t have what it takes to do the job. There were a lot of popular options out there were omitted from this ranking, mostly due to their flimsiness. While some offerings have a lot of great reviews, some of those reviews don’t tell the whole story. In most cases, when measuring the value of each unit, durability and safety come before price and convenience.
That being said, it was a tough choice including the Furinno Turn-N-Tube even though it is a popular option on Amazon, because the model has PVC in its design. PVC is a known carcinogen, but this comes down to inhalation, ingestion, and other specific circumstances. This being the case and operating under the belief that you aren’t buying a freestanding shelf in order to burn and/or consume it for one reason or another, this model has been included. In the end, it is better that you do your own research where the safety of PVC furniture is concerned and decide for yourself whether or not it is right for your situation. We will say that the same logic which would lead someone to avoid purchasing PVC shelving would probably also drive that same someone away from owning an automobile, considering how dangerous and toxic those are.
Meanwhile, there are lots of popular freestanding wire shelves out there, and we have a whole other ranking dedicated to those, so we’ve only included the best of those here. The AmazonBasics Storage, for instance, is available in a couple other sizes, but it would make for a very homogenous and uninspiring list if there were several of what is essentially the same model included, and it’s very likely anyone clicking that link can/will find the other sizes with minimal effort, if that’s what they’re looking for. Similarly, the Seville Classics Steel Wire is so popular we thought it would seem suspicious if we didn’t rank it here. Ultimately, many different people need many different freestanding shelves for many different reasons, so we want to present a range of what’s best.
Finally, if you want to give your shelves a little more protection, consider using shelf liners. There’s even tough plastic options out there that can turn the perforated tiers on the Sandusky Lee or the wire mesh landings on the Origami Foldable into solid surfaces.
Pickawood This purveyor offers has a wide range of made-to-order storage solutions, freestanding shelves very much included. Their website has a configuration tool that lets you plan out your ideal shelving system, which is just as fun as it is handy. pickawood.com
CustomMade Marketplace While CustomMade is better known for its custom jewelry, it's worth checking out their marketplace, where you can find some one-of-a-kind freestanding shelves, among other custom, vintage, and/or reclaimed offerings. custommade.com