How Much Weight Can a Shelf Hold? [Solved]

Final up to date on September 28, 2022

Should you’re putting in cabinets (particularly wall-mount), realizing how a lot weight they will maintain is paramount to your success. Right here’s easy methods to discover out.

The quick reply is that the supported weight relies upon totally on the brackets that maintain the shelf. If put in appropriately in line with the producer’s instructions, they’ll maintain the required most weight starting from 20 lbs to 600 lbs or extra.

However wait, will your shelf actually maintain as a lot weight because the bracket fixture product says? The reply is a particular sure. And we’ll quickly see why that’s.

There’s likelihood you’ve seen them earlier than: the picket cabinets which might be typically used to show books or objects on bookshelves. They arrive in varied sizes: from just a few inches broad to some ft, and could be hooked up to a wall, mounted within the nook, below the TV, or free-standing on a ground. They are often comprised of a number of totally different supplies, similar to wooden, steel, or glass.

What’s fascinating is that whereas these cabinets look sturdy, how a lot weight can they really maintain? It seems that there is no such thing as a easy reply. We all know that the shelf’s weight capability is often decided by two issues: the shelf’s dimensions and the way it’s hooked up to a wall — the thicker and the narrower the shelf, the extra weight it will possibly maintain.

Takeaway: Examine the producer’s specs for any shelving product you purchase. It will likely be indicator of how a lot weight it will possibly maintain. If not sure, or it’s a DIY mission, use wooden boards which might be essentially the most sturdy.

Wooden Sort


Numerous kinds of woods have totally different help strengths. This determines the quantity of strain wooden can stand up to earlier than splitting. This normally is measured in models of kilos per sq. inch. With heavy tools, your shelving wants sturdy wooden. Here’s a checklist of a few of the widespread wood species and their pressure properties (assuming a 2-inch board):

  • White pine – 8,600 psi
  • Purple pine – 11,000 psi
  • White oak – 10,300 psi
  • Purple oak – 13,400 psi
  • Purple maple – 13,400 psi
  • Black walnut – 14,600 psi
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As you’ll be able to see, varied wooden varieties have strengths and benefits for various purposes. As an example, in case your shelving is getting used to help heavy issues, you’ll desire a wooden sort that won’t crack or deform.

Discover, nevertheless, that the power properties of wooden are considerably increased than these of the {hardware} (brackets and screws). Which means the shelf board itself is your least fear as a result of the fixtures will fail lengthy earlier than wooden does. That’s whether it is put in appropriately.

Shelf Thickness and Depth

wood shelves

Most individuals choose to have shallow cabinets as a result of they’re beautiful to have a look at. Do observe that the cabinets’ thickness will rely upon what you might be placing on them. Heavier objects require extra substantial cabinets (2 inches or extra).

The depths of the shelf determine the burden capability too. How deep ought to the racks be to hold as a lot weight as doable? The deeper the shelf is, the larger the brackets are wanted, whereas the shallower it’s, the extra weight it will possibly carry. It could be difficult to retailer heavy objects on a deeper shelf than 6 inches merely since you gained’t get brackets that might help that weight.

Decide how deep the cabinets you select ought to be based mostly on the place you propose to place them. Most kitchen storage cabinets are 12 inches deep since kitchen objects are usually not greater than 12 inches deep. Bookshelves have a width of at the least 10 inches as a result of most books are at the least 9 inches tall.


shelf rack

Shelving design will make or break your plans of how a lot weight they will maintain. When assembling a unit, you should contemplate the overall weight. Brackets should have the ability to stand up to the burden of the objects on the cabinets and the cabinets themselves. The cabinets must also be constructed of sturdy and safe supplies. Should you want plenty of area, you in all probability don’t want the sunshine picket shelf anyway.

However a sturdy building just like the torsion field, can carry much more weight utilizing the identical supplies.

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Shelves with Brackets

As we’ve established, brackets are a very powerful issue when figuring out how a lot weight a shelf can maintain. It’s the weakest level of the development.

So that is what it’s a must to work out. You will discover which you can get brackets that may maintain as little as 20 kilos or as many as 600 kilos (minus the shelf weight itself.)

The brackets are graded in line with the load they will comfortably carry — that is usually indicated within the product description.

Earlier than putting in the brackets, you’ll must know what they will adequately maintain and the way they’re being mounted. The bracket can accommodate a number of models as much as tons in weight. At first look, this might look like a superb concept. However, at all times weigh the load earlier than including brackets.

Just remember to have the precise variety of brackets. A bracket-heavy shelf might maintain the burden of something, but when it’s solely secured at one level, it will possibly break. Brackets should be spaced out uniformly back and forth to help the burden of the shelf.

Extra rods within the floating shelf bracket means extra load it will possibly bear. The extra screws into studs or blocks of wooden, the extra floating shelf area a shelving unit has.

Shelf brackets can have a number of alternate options to select from — practical and ornamental.

Set up

installing shelves

How cabinets are constructed influences how a lot weight they will bear as nicely. A shelving unit is extra sturdy than one mounted on drywall. Your bracket possibility will have an effect on your total degree of help. L-brackets screwed to the wall shield them from falling individually. Relying on the form of shelving you employ, decide how a lot help you might want.

Listed here are some accessible various designs to think about to your shelving wants. The quantity of help you could have to your issues varies with the way in which you prepare them. With these variables, you’ll now have data to choose the specified type of storage provides.

Assembling a shelf is a comparatively easy DIY mission. However, earlier than you begin, it’s essential to have all the required instruments. You’ll want a drill, a degree, a hammer, a measuring tape, and a pencil to mark. You may also need just a few screws and a few wooden glue. Earlier than you start, clear the realm the place you propose to place the shelf. You’ll want sufficient area to maneuver freely in addition to go away a degree work space. And, most significantly, you’ll must ensure that the shelf will match inside the wall cavity.

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Wall Studs

Most partitions (normally drywall-covered) have studs as a part of their building, the exception is concrete and brick partitions. Should you’re going so as to add shelving fixtures (brackets) on drywall, it’s going to solely maintain the burden for those who mount them on the studs.

You need to use a stud finder to search out partitions. Should you don’t have one, you’ll be able to manually discover studs by knocking on the drywall till you discover a place the place it doesn’t sound hole.


Utilizing a number of screws of measurement 4 or bigger will carry a load of 100 kilos or extra. It’s needed to verify the drywall anchors can go at the least 1 inch into the stud.

If you wish to put bookshelves in your house, you want the right shelving {hardware}. Remember the fact that you want totally different measurement screws to mount cabinets, then say, a TV mount.

Drywall Anchor

The anchor designed to carry screws in drywall is simply about maintaining it fastened. It doesn’t imply it will possibly maintain extra weight. Should you miss the studs, usually, you gained’t have the ability to safe cabinets on such a wall.

Enlargement Anchors

Enlargement anchors are used for holding screws in masonry or concrete partitions. The anchor expands as you set the screw in and holds it in place. Such a anchor can maintain extra weight if solely because of the partitions’ sturdier nature.


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