Top 8 Best Garage Shelves
By | Last updated: August 11, 2020

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’x25′ 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 probably need more of ’em.

1. Editor's Choice: Muscle Rack Silver Steel Storage Rack

Putting aside the brand name which is ripe for inappropriate jokes, this is a solid storage rack that incorporates double-riveted beams to create a trio of shelves plus a top loft. Assembly is dead simple and the shelves themselves can be adjusted in 1.5-inch increments.

The use of particle board as the shelf surface isn’t the greatest, so hit up your local lumberyard for boards cut to size. Overkill? Sure. But when was the last time you cursed a shelf for being too sturdy? This thing stands 5 feet tall and weighs nearly 50 pounds.

Pros/Robust frame, easy assembly
Cons/Bloody particle board
Bottom Line/Worth the cash

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

Offered in more colors than the vast majority of cars on sale today, this pegboard system is the clear rig for organizing tools and other garage necessities. The advantage of having your tools on display is twofold: they’re always at hand and you can show them off to yer buddies.

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 great backdrop

5. HyLoft Wall Shelf with Hanging Rod

From the same brand as the tire rack listed above, this wire single shelf system is useful and can be mounted nearly anywhere. Twin arms will each need to be secured into wall studs to make sure the whole thing doesn’t come crashing down guillotine-style.

Those openings in the wire shelf are a bit big, precluding the ability to place small items on this shelf without losing them like keys through a sewer grate. Don’t discount that supporting rod that spans the shelf’s width, as it’ll prevent bowing when you invariably overload it with too much stuff.

Pros/Compact and easy to set up
Cons/Big-gap wire racking
Bottom Line/Good for bulky items

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.

Those end caps are made of heavy-duty industrial resin (read: plastic), allowing you to build strong, custom-sized shelves once you’ve picked up a few lengths of 2×4 lumber. Once joined with the 2x4s, each shelf can support spans up to 8 feet and can apparently hold up to 1,000 pounds. Finished shelf depth is 16 inches.

Pros/Dirt cheap, an ingeniously simple solution
Cons/Lots of assembly required
Bottom Line/Break out the tools then store your tools on the shelf you made

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/ Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

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

  • avatar

    Avoid the cheap plastic shelves they sag over time :(

  • avatar

    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

    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

    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

    #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

    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

    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

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

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

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