Best Prepper Shelving for Supplies and Gear

by Tommy Grant

It’s time to get organized. You’ve got the storage plan and now you need the shelves to execute. Setting up a proper supply room takes foresight and the right gear, and the best storage shelving can help you get there.

There are a lot of options to consider when it comes to shelves: size, weight capacity, durability, etc. This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best shelving for storage, tested them, and now the results are in: the overall best, a budget option, and a heavy-duty upgrade option. If you need a place to organize your supplies, one of our picks will be more than dependable.


Contents (Jump to a Section)


The Best Storage Shelving

Reibii Heavy Duty

Strong, Adjustable, and Well-Made

Adjustable height shelving with heavy-duty load-bearing capabilities brings a ton of value to your storage spot.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Serious shelving at not-to-bad of a price? This rack gets it done. Adjust the heavy-duty shelves up and down to maximize your space utilization and know that they’ll hold a massive amount of weight. Store your food buckets, water bricks, and survival gear with peace of mind.

Here is how it measures up:

  • Alloy steel
  • 2,000-pound weight limit
  • 5 adjustable shelves (400-pound max per shelf)
  • 35.5″ W x 72″ H x 16″ D
  • 35 pounds

With unsurpassed value, it’s easy to see why the Reibii Heavy Duty Rack is the best.


Amazon Basics Heavy Duty Storage Shelving

Budget Storage Rack

Amazon Basics

Inexpensive, Effective, and Lightweight

A lightweight versatile rack for fast, efficient, and surprisingly strong storage.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Amazon is slowly taking over the world and they’ve been making their own products for a while now. This basic shelf is an exceptional value and can store a lot for just 9 pounds worth of steel.

Here are the full specs:

  • Alloy steel
  • 750-pound weight limit
  • 3 adjustable shelves (250-pound max per shelf)
  • 24″ W x 30″ H x 14″ D (also available in larger sizes)
  • 9 pounds

If you are looking for dependable shelves on a budget, you can’t go wrong with an Amazon Basics Wire Rack.


WORKPRO 68 4-Tier Metal Garage Shelving Units

Upgrade Heavy Duty Shelving

WORKPRO

Industrial-strength, Top-Quality, and Expandable

Industrial racking at residential prices brings unparalleled strength, durability, and expansion capabilities.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

When you are storing water or other heavy items, you’re going to need some strong shelving. WORKPRO has made a rack that steps up to the challenge, providing industrial strength and versatility. The crossbeams attach to the uprights the same way warehouse industrial racks do, allowing for fully adjustable shelf height and the ability to expand multiple shelves.

Besides the great warehouse-style flexibility, the uprights, beams, and wire grids are strong. With powder-coated steel, you’ll never need to worry about replacing or this shelf failing you. All you need to figure out is how you’ll configure this beast of a racking system in your storage area.

Here are the details:

  • Powder-coated alloy steel
  • 7,200-pound weight limit
  • 4 adjustable height shelves (1,800-pound max per shelf)
  • 68″ W x 65″ H x 24″ D (also available in smaller sizes)
  • 264 pounds

If you are looking for the best of the best, pick up WORKPRO Industrial Racking.


Everything We Recommend

Reibii Heavy Duty Prepper Shelving

Reibii Heavy Duty

Adjustable height shelving with heavy-duty load-bearing capabilities brings a ton of value to your storage spot.

Where to Buy

$119* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Amazon Basics Heavy Duty Storage Shelving

Amazon Basics

A lightweight versatile rack for fast, efficient, and surprisingly strong storage.

Where to Buy

$33* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

WORKPRO 68 4-Tier Metal Garage Shelving Units

WORKPRO

Industrial racking at residential prices brings unparalleled strength, durability, and expansion capabilities.

Where to Buy

$299* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing


The Shelving and Racks We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to several types and brands of racks that we compared: Gladiator, Rubbermaid, G-Rack, CAT, SafeRacks, Black & Decker, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each.

We considered a wide range of shelving but quickly ruled out mobile racks (with wheels) and plastic storage shelves. These typically did not hit our weight requirements, since water bricks and other bulk food and water storage can get heavy.

We’re always looking for new and better equipment, so if you have shelving that has been holding up for your prepper stash let us know in the comments. We review most of our tested equipment annually, so we can always get it in the next roundup round and see if it makes the cut and we can see if it will beat out our top picks.


What to Look For

The best storage shelving has several important features to look for that set it apart:

  1. Value
  2. Durability
  3. Weight Capacity
  4. Size
  5. Quality

When you get the right blend of these, you can find a shelf system that will work perfectly for your prepper pantry or supply room. Below, we break down what each of these features means for the racks that truly set themselves apart.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like a rack shouldn’t blow out your entire budget. There are plenty of options with a wide range of prices that span between our budget pick and upgrade pick.

You never want to spend too much money on one resource, especially something with a singular purpose like shelving. It’s better to diversify your preparedness gear to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios.

Durability

Steel racks have excellent durability when compared with the cheaper plastic shelves, but there are also a wide variety of steel options.

A little bit of engineering using angles and tubes and/or more steel material thickness contribute to racks that not just support more weight, but are less likely to get bent or broken.

Weight Capacity

Weight capacity is important because canned food, water bricks, and some survival gear can weigh quite a lot. Getting racks in place just to be restricted on how much you can store is very counterproductive.

Make sure that your shelving solution can handle what it’s meant for. Even our budget option can handle a lot, but you aren’t going to be putting any water bricks on the shelves any time soon.

Size

The biggest limiting factor in the shelving size you can accommodate is your storage area. Even if off-the-shelf racks won’t work in your area there are plenty of ways you can get shelves to work for you. You can use wall shelves or make your own rack system.

The size of racks typically scales with the cost and many off-the-shelf racks have several configurations available.

Quality

Shoddy manufacturing quality is not something you want to see when you assemble your storage shelves, and that is pretty easy to tell right out of the box. Flimsier racks can have bent uprights, cross-members, or support grids.

If you choose to make your own racks, make sure you’re starting off right by selecting straight lumber. Poor lumber choices will lead to a wobbly rack down the road.


How to Organize Prepper Shelves

There are many ways to configure shelves and usually, the amount of storage space you have can limit your options. One of the best ways to organize your shelf is to have the front and back open for First In, First Out (FIFO). This way, you can backfill your supplies like a grocery store does. This makes it less likely that you will have food spoilage or other expired gear since you will be using the oldest supplies first.

Even though many store-bought racks list weight capacity per shelf, it’s a good idea to put the heavy stuff down low. This way you can easily get to it and reduce the chance of injury reaching for a heavy food bucket or water brick.

The last consideration is to keep high-use items at eye level. This is just a best ergonomics practice and will help you eyeball inventory quickly if you don’t track it using a spreadsheet.

If an off-the-shelf rack won’t work for you, you can always build something yourself. Here is Homestead Engineering with massive homemade FIFO can shelving:


Who Needs Prepper Shelving?

You don’t need to make an entire warehouse, but having a well-organized area for your prepping resources is important. There are several disaster and emergency scenarios where seconds matter- and you don’t want to be sifting through a pile of supplies to find what you need.

Supply shelves are needed (and considered essential) for your:

Solid shelving can also come in handy with your:

Shelving always has its uses, so if you find yourself with extras you can always use them in other storage areas and in the garage.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best storage shelves is useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical military and prepping experience:

Bernuzzi, C., et al. (2016). Pushover Analyses of Hand-Loaded Steel Storage Shelving Racks. Journal of Earthquake Engineering. Volume 21. Issue 8. Pages 1256-1282. (Source)

Higgins, N., et al. (2017). Human factors and ergonomics assessment of food pantry work: A case study. Work. Volume 56. Issue 3. Pages 455-462. (Source)

Kabel, A., et al. (2014). Disaster Prepper: Health, Identity, and American Survivalist Culture. Human Organization. Volume 73. Issue 3. Pages 258-266. (Source)


The Final Word

Make sure all of your resources, supplies, and gear have a strong, stable home. Racks aren’t prepping and survival specific, so you will always find uses for storage investments. Having an organized storage area can also really help in a disaster or emergency where seconds matter.

Here are a few other reads our subscribers have also found helpful:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing found the Reibii Heavy Duty Rack to be the best option given its value, weight capacity, size, durability, and manufacturing quality.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.


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The Best Prepper Shelving



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