Editor’s Notes

February 27, 2020:

As a reminder, you should always make sure your shelves are on a surface, or if that’s somehow impossible, make sure it has feet that can be adjusted to level. Additionally, no matter what your situation, you should consider fastening the shelf to a wall and/or anchoring it in some safe and secure manner. I realize some might think this defeats the purpose of having a freestanding shelf, but better safe than sorry. Of course, as always, follow every one of the manufacturer’s guidelines as closely as possible, and never store more on any one shelf or unit than it is designed to hold.

Safety aside, on a more practical note, remember to figure out what , if any, you will need to assemble your model before it arrives. Nothing is more disappointing than settling in for an evening of furniture assembly only to discover you don’t have what it takes to do the job. There were a lot of popular options out there were omitted from this ranking, mostly due to their flimsiness. While some offerings have a lot of great reviews, some of those reviews don’t tell the whole story. In most cases, when measuring the value of each unit, durability and safety come before price and convenience.

That being said, it was a tough choice including the even though it is a popular option on Amazon, because the model has PVC in its design. PVC is a known carcinogen, but this comes down to inhalation, ingestion, and other specific circumstances. This being the case and operating under the belief that you aren’t buying a freestanding shelf in order to burn and/or consume it for one reason or another, this model has been included. In the end, it is better that you do your own research where the safety of PVC furniture is concerned and decide for yourself whether or not it is right for your situation. We will say that the same logic which would lead someone to avoid purchasing PVC shelving would probably also drive that same someone away from owning an automobile, considering how dangerous and toxic those are.

Meanwhile, there are lots of popular freestanding out there, and we have a whole other ranking dedicated to those, so we’ve only included the best of those here. The , for instance, is available in a couple other sizes, but it would make for a very homogenous and uninspiring list if there were several of what is essentially the same model included, and it’s very likely anyone clicking that link can/will find the other sizes with minimal effort, if that’s what they’re looking for. Similarly, the is so popular we thought it would seem suspicious if we didn’t rank it here. Ultimately, many different people need many different freestanding shelves for many different reasons, so we want to present a range of what’s best.

Finally, if you want to give your shelves a little more protection, consider using . There’s even tough plastic options out there that can turn the perforated tiers on the or the wire mesh landings on the into solid surfaces.