Top 8 Best Garage Shelves
By | Last updated: May 12, 2021

There’s a general understanding amongst gearheads that no matter how big one’s garage or storage space, it’ll eventually fill up. A two car garage will be just as full as a single, while that 40’ x 40′ unit your neighbor is building will be filled to capacity by year’s end. It’s just the natural order of things.

And before you get yer knickers in a knot, we’ll be doing a separate post about storage cabinets and workbenches. This list is simply about shelves – and trust us, you need more of them than you think. Your author is partial to shelves that hang from the ceiling to keep floor space free, but those that rise from floor to ceiling have their place as well. It’s always a good idea to mount these securely – especially the ones hanging from the rafters.

Just make sure to sell that box full of parts in the corner which fit a car you haven’t owned in a decade, ok?

1. Editor's Choice: Fleximounts Overhead Garage Storage Storage Shelf

True to his word, this author is kicking off with a product he would actually buy. This garage shelving will keep your gear off the floor, freeing up space for what’s supposed to be in the garage – cars. Suspended by robust angle iron, the whole unit weighs over 40 pounds, so make sure the brackets are securely fastened into a roof joist and not just the gypsum or ceiling tile.

A 22-inch to 40-inch ceiling dropdown provides up to 60 cubic feet of storage space depending on how closely you mount this thing to the ceiling. Surface dimensions are three feet by six feet, making it ideal for organizational tools like Rubbermaid containers but also suitable for those boxes of junkyard parts you keep meaning to sort through.

 

Pros/Off the floor, 450-pound capacity
Cons/You'll probably need a ladder to access it
Bottom Line/A smart use of garage space

2. AmazonBasics 5-Shelf Heavy Duty Storage Shelving Unit

Looking for all the world like a chip rack hauled straight out of a rural general store, this shelving system from the House of Bezos mixes wire platforms with plastic endcaps. It’s available in a couple of different colors and with or without casters (we’d bin them for stability).

Amazon says it’ll bear about 1,750 pounds of evenly distributed weight, meaning you can’t park the kid’s dirt bike on it so don’t even try. Creating vertical space is never a bad idea and this shelf will certainly get the likes of gas cans and toolboxes off the floor.

Pros/Five shelves, convenient size
Cons/Wire racking means stuff can fall through
Bottom Line/You can put at least 300 pounds of detritus on each shelf

3. HyLoft Folding Storage TireLoft

Yes, this is a specific-use shelf … but it’s still a shelf. It’s also the one residing on the wall of my garage holding a quartet of 18-inch mud tires for the truck. Adjustable in width, this unit can hold a range of tire sizes and is good for about 300 pounds in total.

Installation requires it to be securely bolted into wall studs, not to mention the need for it to be level. After all, tires are round and can roll away. If you’re confident with those skills, this rack is easy to set up and folds away when not in use.

Pros/Gets space-robbing spare tires off the floor
Cons/Patience-testing installation
Bottom Line/Gets a real-world thumbs up from me

4. Wall Control Pegboard Organizer

This handy pegboard is now offered in more colors than the vast majority of cars on sale today. In fact, there are no fewer than 35 hue combinations when considering both the backboard and shelf options. It all makes for a good way to organize tools and other garage necessities. The advantage of having tools on display is twofold: they’re at hand and you can show them off. Doesn’t do anything for theft prevention, though.

This is a metal pegboard, purported to be many multiples stronger than one hewn from traditional materials. This also means it’s magnetic. Three 16 in x 32 in Black powder-coated pegboard panels combine for a total tool storage area of 48 in x 32 in which will accommodate many pegboard hooks.

Pros/Looks great, endless customization
Cons/You'll forever be buying more pegboard hooks
Bottom Line/Doubles as a wall feature

5. Fleximounts Garage Wall Shelving

Similar in concept, if not spirit, like the ceiling-mounted shelves listed at the beginning of this list, are these wall-mounted units. Offered by the same company as those roof hangers, these units provide a surface measuring two feet by six feet. There are a pair of shelves in the pack.

Supported by multiple wall hangers and a robust crossbar, these shelves are listed as being able to bear “up to 400lbs total”. We will err on the side of caution and assume that figure refers to both shelves, putting capacity at 200 pounds apiece. We recommend you do the same. High-quality screws are provided in the kit; make sure to mount the supports for these shelves into wall studs lest the works of it come crashing down with the grace of a drunk elephant.

Pros/Provides storage space up and out of the way, affordable
Cons/Will require precise bracket placement
Bottom Line/Measure twice, install once

6. Smaid 12-Pack Garage Storage Hooks & Hangers

Yeah, ok – technically not a shelf. But these hooks and hangers provide the same benefit of getting your crap up and off the garage floor by creating space on which to hang items like ladders, shovels, and even some larger tools. When properly installed, these hooks can apparently hold better than 75 pounds each.

A dozen hooks are included in this pack, arriving in five sizes from flat arms over a half-foot deep (perfect for a ladder) to curved hooks that’d be ideal for holding a big hammer or mallet. Each hanger hook provides 2 types of screws for use on wooden, brick or concrete walls.

Pros/Can literally be placed just about anywhere
Cons/Not technically a shelf
Bottom Line/Endless customization options

7. RhinoShelf RhinoMini Universal Shelf Kits

Part of a larger storage system, this RhinoMini shelf is intended as a universal wall-mounted design that does not compromise your ceiling. If you think that to be an odd statement, then you’ve never witnessed the devastating hack jobs that some people do installing those hang-from-above shelving systems.

RhinoMini is available in a ton of sizes, ranging from just 4 feet long to nearly 20. The seller describes them as “economical, strong, and attractive”, adjectives that have also been used to describe your author but you’ll have to guess which ones.

Pros/Many options, looks tidy
Cons/Very expensive
Bottom Line/Get what you pay for

8. 2x4basics Custom Shelving and Storage System

Fancy yourself a bit of a carpenter? On good terms with the crew down at the building center? Then this may be a good option. Essentially, the seller is providing the end caps and hardware to create a shelving system. Getting the lumber itself is your job. These days, with lumber in demand and prices stretching into the stratosphere, that may be easier said than done.

Nevertheless, the end caps in this kit made of heavy-duty industrial resin which permits the construction of strong, custom-sized shelves after you’ve picked up a few lengths of 2×4 lumber. Once joined with the wood, each shelf can apparently support spans up to 8 feet in length. Finished shelf depth is 16 inches.

Pros/Dirt cheap, an ingeniously simple solution
Cons/The kit is dirt cheap but the lumber is not
Bottom Line/Break out the tools then store them on a shelf you made

Garage Shelving FAQs

Are you really writing about shelving?

Absolutely! A tidy garage is a happy garage. Plus, being organized produces the benefit of being able to lay your hand on a tool or stored item right when you need it instead of wasting time looking through the same pile of boxes over and over again. While you’re at it, invest in a Sharpie and label those boxes. Yes, I’m that person.

Are there recommendations for install?

Whether you’ve selected a shelves that are intended to be mounted to another surface or something that’s advertised as free-standing, it’s always a good idea to make sure the shelf is good and secure before putting any items on it. Make sure the installation gubbins have found a home in a roof joist or wall stud as appropriate since the thin wall/ceiling material isn’t going to cut it for bearing much weight.

Even the floor-mounted shelves?

Yes, you should secure those to the wall, too. Think of it this way – if an item on the shelf is not placed securely, it could create a weight distribution problem. Same goes for if a child or pet decides to climb up the shelving unit when you’ve looked away for a second (always keep an eye on pets and kids!). The last thing you want is for the entire enterprise to come crashing down on your collector car – or even your LeMons hooptie.


From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Rental Reviews, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main Photo Credit: urfin/Shutterstock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

13 Comments on “Best Options for Garage Shelving: Leader of the Pack Rat...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Avoid the cheap plastic shelves they sag over time :(

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I’ve been doing a fair amount of researching and not a lot of actual doing for the last 6 months or so when it comes to garage and tool organization.

    Still haven’t really decided but one thing that has popped up several times and I really think I’m gonna try to do is…. get all the shelving wall mounted and off the garage floor.

    Basically makes it really easy to sweep or spray out the entire garage floor. And the few larger items you can’t really get up off the floor, like say, a push mower, you can tuck them under the wall-mounted shelving.

    That’s all I got.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I see what my inventive neighbors do. I see some people after renovation, take the old kitchen cabinets and hang in the garage.

    I bought some 2x4s and some cheap 4x8s, some metal brackets, and built shelves I can’t fill. They are off the ground and I was climbing them. So, they can handle a lot of weight.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Have some time? Any carpentry skills? If so, do what I did – make your own. I made a continuous solid-surface workbench on one side. I made a center stack of drawers for all my mechanic’s tools under that surface in the center. No dovetails here; solid wood and primitive but strong joinery techniques. To the left and right are sets of double doors that have deep cavities – perfect for the extra generator, car wash stuff, charcoal bags. The top shelves are open cabinet boxes to the left and right of the window. Car care stuff, oil, service manuals, etc all live here. Total cost about $700 in materials (good drawer slides are expensive) but I use every bit of space.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      If you can find lumber. Currently in Southern Ontario at least there is a shortage. The large home builders are getting first choice. Lots of deck and fence projects currently on hold.

  • avatar
    RHD

    #8 – four 2x4s assembled side to side do not make 16 inches, but 15 inches. The manufacturer is making a shelf depth claim based on ignorance of the true dimensions of lumber.

  • avatar
    Jarred Fitzgerald

    Well, I’d rather go for the more affordable ones. They do not come cheap like they used to.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    I put the Wall Control steel pegboard in 2 closets and I like it a lot. Great flexible organizing. I also use certain components of the Rubbermaid Fast Track garage system, but indoors. Double-track shelving systems have certain things that are universal and certain things that are proprietary, and I’ve learned a few tricks of what mixes and matches.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Storage tips:
    a) A double row of storage bins like those shown on the shelf in “#7” is incredibly useful for ‘things which you don’t use very often but should be all packaged up together’ [for example, handheld airless sprayer with its accessories and instructions]. Mount them up high (because you aren’t accessing them on a daily basis) and label one end. (My version uses old printer paper boxes and is made of wood, but you are more successful than me.)
    b) The Sterilite 6-Quart ‘squared-off’ containers (“shoebox” size) can be stacked about 4 high and are very useful for storing ‘grouped’ items (“Power Strips”, “RCA Cables”, “Zip Ties”) – again, label one end. The ‘square’ ones are available at Dollar General for a buck each (the ’rounded’ ones at Walmart are completely the wrong shape – too small inside and don’t stack reliably).

  • avatar
    Old_WRX

    I got this for my wife to put her plants on:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0189K14W0/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Impressively sturdy, not too hard to put together, and mostly very nice hardware. Not that cheap though.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    This is actually a timely one of these, as I need to buy some shelves for my storage unit. Appreciate the reading.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I have a hodgepodge of counters and shelving in my shop. Most was given to me. I’ve made some wooden shelves too. It all neatly stores my stuff. I’ve run out of space now that my son has 3 Cherokee’s and 2 F150’S to play with.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    In our old house which had a shallower garage , I used the Fleximount overhead shelf, I’d use it again.I bought it at Home Depot. I never had the stones to hang off it though would support me.
    My goal with current garage is to not have any floor standing units. All hanging , if possible .Why didn’t the good old EZ shelf DIY make the cut? If you mount on study, and use enough brackets they hold alot of weight

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