Pros and Cons of Popular Warehouse Storage Racks May16


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Pros and Cons of Popular Warehouse Storage Racks

Having a well-organized warehouse creates confident workers and facilitates business operations. Buying the appropriate warehouse racking system is the difference between a cluttered and unsafe workspace and a clean, safe, and efficient one.

Each of the following four racking systems offers specific benefits depending on your product and the space available for storage. Factors like budget, turns and picking requirements, and SKUs also impact your warehouse storage strategy.

Whether you are designing a new warehouse, expanding or simply updating your equipment, consider the pros and cons of these popular storage racks before making your decision.

1.Cantilever racking
These racks are made for storing non-standard and cumbersome products like lumber, furniture, and metal pipes. Cantilever racking uses a system of arms and braces locked into uprights to create versatile storage space. The levels of the rack can be easily adjusted to fit long and awkward inventory.

Unfortunately, the cantilever racks leave little width within the aisle to operate, but that is because of its ability to store oddly shaped items. The lack of width within the aisles can cause some safety concerns. When using cantilever racks, make sure there is enough space for the forklifts to maneuver, and consider installing guard rails for additional safety.


  • Versatility and its ability to store bulky items.
  • Easily adjustable levels.
  • Simple installation.
  • Moves inventory off the warehouse floor.
  • Compatible with other storage systems.


  • Aisle width decreases, causing safety concerns.
  • Doesn’t work with pallets.

2.Pallet flow racking
This storage system is ideal for high volume products. The product is loaded from the back and rolls (flows) to the front of the system for easy picking.


  • Creates ideal density storing.
  • Has a single load and pickup system which limits damage by forklifts.
  • Works well with the first-in-first-out (FIFO) inventory system.
  • Ideal for fast moving SKUs.


  • These racks are pricier compared to most.
  • Can only be used with good quality pallets. Otherwise, they get stuck in the system causing it to become jammed.
  • The wheels and brakes require frequent maintenance.

3.Push back racking
This type of racking is designed for use with a deep reach forklift and involves a strip of rollers or trolleys that move along the rails of each lane. The strips incline slightly forward, using gravity to move the product. The pallet closest to the aisle is removed first, which then starts the pallets behind moving forward.

This process is repeated to create a simple, efficient loading and unloading station.

Warehouses that have limited space use push back racks. These racks offer more product storage and eliminate the need for multiple loading and unloading aisles.


  • High-density storage without driving into the rack.
  • Handling times are shorter.
  • Eliminates the need for multiple aisles.
  • Great for use with very narrow aisle equipment like Swing Reach Trucks.


  • Difficult to access all pallets.
  • Restricted number of lanes.
  • Product damage is possible.
  • Vertical height is lost due to the slope of the rails.

4.Drive-in pallet racking

Drive-in pallet racking has the potential to increase storage even more than push-back racking: You can add up to 75%. These types of racks are perfect for storing items that do not need immediate accessibility.

These racks decrease aisle space, which reduces the square footage requirement for forklift paths.


  • Perfect for long term storage.
  • Ideal for last-in-first-out inventory storage.
  • Beam height can be adapted to different sized inventory.
  • Low cost of unit space.


  • Difficult to reach each pallet by forklift.
  • Incompatible with some forklift systems.

Final thoughts
Designing or expanding your warehouse doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Contact a professional to help you choose the right storage solution for your warehouse setup and inventory needs. They can even install the system with minimal disturbance to your warehouse.

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