Last Updated on November 1, 2021
Let us be honest with ourselves here, the garage is more than just a place where we happen to park our car! For many, it doubles up as a storage area, a workspace for DIY or home improvement work, a bar or even a gym.
The common problem with many garages, however, is that they can quickly become filled with clutter and then they become a nightmare to deal with. Even when working from your garage as part of your job, or for DIY jobs, if there is no organization, it makes the work far more difficult.
This is why having a good system of storage can be beneficial, because even if you do not do any work, at least it will be tidy, and you won’t need to spend time looking for something in a pile of mess.
Choosing the best storage cabinet or unit can be a challenge, especially if you are not sure exactly what you need or are looking for. You may wonder what types of cabinet are available? Or what should I look for in a cabinet? Or which ones are best? These are all valid questions, and this article looks to address them all. Below are 6 cabinets that you can get for your garage based off of different criteria that may suit you best.
Types of Cabinet Available
Believe it or not, there are different types of cabinet that you can buy and each of them have different qualities and benefits about them.
These are the most standard of cabinet storage systems and can usually be found in the house also (think bookshelf). They are usually 5-6 feet tall and have adjustable shelves. There aren’t too many bells and whistles attached to this type of cabinet storage, but they are usually quite slimline and can store a lot of items. They have no wheels attached, can come in different materials and different colours at different prices. However, are not particularly versatile.
As the name suggests, these cabinets are not static and have castor wheels attached. They are often (but not always) smaller than the freestanding variant and are not too customisable but are more versatile with their manoeuvrability and size. They can range in price, but the best ones are usually made of metal and are strong and durable.
Modular units are usually part of a wider storage system, you can arrange and organise these units based off of your needs and special requirements. This level of control and customization does usually come at a cost however but if modularity is what you want, then they are often worth the money. Most are easy to assemble and with the added benefit of customization, it makes modular units an attractive option.
Overhead storage units can be very convenient because they add an extra element of storage whilst not taking up any floor space. Some overhead units also contain built in lights which add extra lighting to your garage, particularly useful if you have a workspace nearby. In spite of being wall mounted, they can also carry heavy weight, just be careful not to store anything too sharp or heavy at a height.
The Full Monty, these mammoths usually come in 5–10-piece sets and contain a combination of each of the above unit types with a workstation too. They are expensive, starting upwards of $1,000 but if you are someone that works with your tools for a living or quite a lot, it is worth the investment.
They are not usually as customisable as modular pieces, but most companies will let you pick the type of units you want and build them specifically for you, so the added customization is not needed. They are durable, convenient and the perfect all-round storage solution. Unless you have a small garage, in which case, consider something from the above unit types.
Things to Consider Before Buying
There are a few key elements that you will need to consider before deciding to buy a storage unit for your garage.
Is the size of the cabinet you want scalable to the size of your garage? There is no point in fixing one problem just to cause another. If you have a larger garage then you are okay, but a smaller garage will warrant some measurements to ensure that what you are getting is what you need and nothing more.
This can link with size of course, but surprisingly, some of the most compact looking units can hold a lot of things (see the Craftsman 2000 Series below). Similarly, will it be able to store what you need it to? If it only has larger compartments, can you add smaller ones to store your nuts and bolts or smaller items? These are things that you will need to consider because there is no use in buying a storage unit that is not capable of storing what you need it to.
Often overlooked, security is a crucial component of a good garage storage unit. This is especially true if there are sharp or heavy tools or items in there and you have younger kids. If a unit has doors, they should be secured with a lock to prevent accidents from occurring and to keep the items inside safe.
Is the material that the unit is made from suitable for your needs? There are 3 materials that most units are made of:
Being versatile, durable, and largely waterproof, plastic cabinets are a good option. They are best for light to medium weighted objects and are usually inexpensive compared to other material types. Not the best option if you have heavy items to store.
Strong and aesthetic, wood is a good material to have on your unit, it is sturdier and can hold heavier items than plastic due to its weight, but it can rot and is in danger of impact damage from heavier or sharper tools.
Probably the most expensive but most durable materials of them all, metal or steel is the best material for storing heavier objects and is capable of taking impact damage far better than plastic or wood. For anyone using their garages as a workshop, this is the best material for you.
Manhattan Comfort Fortress Collection Cabinet
There is a lot to love about this unit, it is well priced at $110. It is made of steel, so it is durable, it contains 2 sturdy and easy to assemble shelves and is a highly compact unit. It is an ideal small 30”x30.3”x12.5” in size, making it perfect for the smaller garage or a solid accompaniment in a larger one and it is overhead which frees up floor space, making it non-invasive.
Its stainless-steel design can hold all of your tools without fear of damaging the material and its sleek design will make your garage look modern as well as keeping it clean. It has an east to follow assembly guide and has keys as well which will keep your items safe and secure, as well as prevent accidents.
It won’t be the best option for heavier items, but it is unlikely that you will use an overhead cabinet for heavy goods anyway. For its price, its size, its durability and for the fact that it ticks all of the boxes in what to look for in a unit, this has to be the best pick overall.
Best Storage System:
New Age Bold 3.0 Storage System
If money is no issue, or you want a complete workstation as well as a storage unit, then look no further than the Bold 3.0. it is a 7-piece unit equipped with a 72-inch stain resistant worktop, adjustable shelves allowing you to customise your workspace storage according to your needs, lockable drawers, a massive 2,100 lb weight limit, a rolling tool cabinet that allows you quick access to your most used tools and a pegboard for current projects, it gives you everything you will need in a system.
The cabinets are made from 18-gauge steel and are durable to chips, dents and scratches. New Age also allows you to customise the set to your liking before buying, from the number of cabinets to the colour of the unit. Separate pieces are also available to add on. The price varies depending on how many units you buy but expect to pay upwards of $1800 at the very least for one of these.
Best Basic Unit:
2×4 Basics Workbench and Storage System
If you would like a workbench and some storage but do not fancy paying $2000, or don’t happen to work from your garage too often, the 2×4 Basics workbench is a safe bet. Important clarification: you do not get the lumbar (wood) with this set, you only get the brackets and will have to get your own wood! In many ways, that is a good thing though because you will be able to fully customize the unit yourself based on your own needs.
A great place to go for inspiration are the Amazon customer reviews. The unit has an 80% five-star rating, with many of the happy customers sharing pics of their DIY creation, offering plenty of ideas for those who are yet to buy or are unsure. The resin brackets are durable, holding up to 1000lb in weight per shelf and it is easy to assemble once you have your lumbar.
Best Shelves for Storage:
Seville Classics 5-Tier Steel Wire Shelving System
Not only are each of the shelves in this unit of industrial strength, but they can carry up to 300lbs each! That equates to a 1500lb weight limit which for a shelving unit as portable as the Seville Classics 5-Tier, is outstanding. It is nothing exceptional in terms of its features, but with its slimline design and height, you can store a lot on it.
No tools are needed in assembly either, making it user friendly and it has adjustable shelves in 1-inch increments too! It also has 4 wheels, making it strong, lightweight, and now portable too, 2 of the wheels lock as well, meaning you need not worry about the unit falling over or rolling. The ultra-zinc plating prevents rust from building up. All of this in a 60”x30” unit is perfect for anyone looking to up their storage game in their garage.
Best Actual Cabinet:
Gladiator Ready to Assemble Mobile Storage Cabinet
The best actual cabinet that you can get for your garage is in my opinion, the Gladiator mobile storage cabinet. Gladiator is one of the leading brands on the market and has a list of quality features that justify its position at the top of the cabinet list.
Just be prepared to pay $350-500 for it! For one, it is easy to assemble and also has wheels making it both user friendly and portable. It contains strong customizable shelves that can hold over 40lbs and a wall bracket is available that allows you to mount it too!
They have security locked down with a built-in lock. At 66”x36”x18” and each shelf being able to hold 45lbs it is not the go to option for heavy items, but it is compact, aesthetic, versatile and customizable. A popular option for those that can afford its quality.
Best for Tool Storage:
Craftsman 2000 Series 5 Drawer Steel Rolling Tool Cabinet
At 26.5”x18”x37.5” in size, the craftsman 2000 series is the smallest unit on this list, but it packs quite a punch. It holds 9,200 cubic inches of storage and up to 500lbs as well. It is made of 20-gauge steel, an even stronger material than the $2000 Bold 3.0 storage unit, which prevents it from damage from tools. It has 5 separate drawers, all designed with an easy ball bearing system, making them easy to open and close, so you can throw away that WD40 spray!
It is super easy to assemble, needing you to attach only the wheels and the handles, it is small, portable, can carry massive weights and store the sharpest of tools. For $280 it is well priced for the security and quality if offers.