Modular Storage Systems vs. Static Shelving: Which is Better For Industrial Application

Determining which method of storage to use – modular storage systems or static shelving – is an important decision to make that can mean the world of a difference for industrial application.

While both modular storage and static warehouse shelving have their advantages and disadvantages, it is crucial to choose the right method depending on the particular case. To determine which one to use, you must take into consideration a number of factors.

In this article, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both storage methods and the factors you must use to figure out which one to use.

What Are Modular Storage Systems & Static Shelving?

Warehouses can become very cluttered and disorganized very easily… and quickly. Obviously, most warehouses have an organization system set in place that dictates how items are stored, where they are stored, how they are stacked, etc.

A functional storage system for warehouses is essential. 

Warehouses are major investments for businesses and the packages they deal with are almost always of great importance to the company. Therefore, deciding on which warehouse storage system to use is one of great importance that can either help or hurt a business’s output.

There are actually a few different systems that warehouses use today. Two of the main storage systems include ‘modular storage’ and ‘static shelving’.

Before we get into the advantages/disadvantages of each and the factors to consider to choose a storage system, let’s discuss what each of these storage methods actually involves.

What Is a Modular Storage System?

A modular storage system is an ergonomic design method of storage for warehouses. 

With this system, items are not left out in the open. Items are secured and ‘tucked away’, with items usually much more easily retrieved than with static shelving.

What Are Its Main Characteristics?

Modular storage systems make better use of space with cabinets, drawers, and shelf combinations. 

These storage compartments can be slid out, just like a clothing drawer is. This system makes warehouses look much cleaner and more organized, while also usually making it easier for workers to navigate a warehouse floor and find what they are looking for. More about modular storage systems at

What Is Static Shelving?

This form of warehouse organization is called ‘static’ shelving because, as the name suggests, the shelves remain static, or still. The shelves – which store the items in a warehouse – remain in one place, not to move or slide out in any way.

This is your classic warehouse storage system, where items are placed onto shelves that do not move. 

What Are Its Main Characteristics?

Static shelves are just basic shelves stacked on top of one another. They are platforms in rows where items can be placed on top of these platforms.

Usually, a warehouse with static shelving will have long aisles where workers can walk down each aisle to find items. Obviously, the layout of a static shelving system will be organized in some way.

Modular Storage System vs. Static Shelving

When deciding on which storage system to use – a modular storage system or static shelving – a warehouse must consider multiple factors.

Factors to Consider

Some of the main factors to consider when deciding between a modular storage system and static shelving include:


Certain warehouses need to maximize their space more effectively than others.

Static shelving has limitations – even if they are stacked very high, these items become very hard to reach.

If space is a concern, opt for a modular storage system.


The cost of the actual storage system should be considered also.

Generally, modular storage systems are much more expensive than static shelving.


Static shelving keeps items exposed, while modular storage can be locked. Not only that, you can’t steal the entire unit of modular storage – you can with static shelves.

If security is a concern, go with a modular storage system.


Generally, static shelves look worse and more unorganized compared to modular storage systems.

If appearance is a factor for your warehouse, you can’t go wrong with modular storage.


Similar to security, static shelving offers no protection against dirt or dust.

If your items are valuable or you simply want them protected externally, modular storage is ideal.


Obviously, access to items will vary from warehouse to warehouse since no one storage system is designed the same.

That said, static shelving generally is easier for workers to access items. This is because the items are in the open as opposing to tucked away.

But, since modular storage is usually more organized, it can also be easier to access items as well.

It really depends on the warehouse floor layout and design.


Flexibility is much better with modular storage over static shelving.

It is easier to move cabinets than it is to take apart rows of shelves.

If flexibility is an important factor for your warehouse, a modular storage system is a good idea.

Advantages for Industrial Application

Each storage system has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

What Are the Main Advantages of Modular Storage Systems?

Modular storage systems have the main advantage of space. When it comes to optimizing space and being economic, modular storage systems make much more out of a warehouse floor than that of static shelving.

In fact, modular storage systems can save up to 70 percent of the space in a warehouse! (That is if switching from static shelving).

Also, flexibility is better with modular storage – the cabinets can be moved much easier than static shelving can.

Modular storage systems are also more secure due to their locking capabilities. They also protect items from dust and dirt, which other storage methods do not. Static shelving is simply not secure at all – if security is important, modular storage is the way to go.

All that said, another advantage of modular storage systems is the look. This type of storage ‘hides’ items and looks a lot cleaner and less-cluttered than static shelving.

What Are the Main Advantages of Static Shelving?

Static shelving is usually cheaper compared to modular storage systems, which is enough of an advantage by itself for some businesses.

This storage system has a bit of flexibility in terms of design and how the shelves are arranged in a warehouse. The shelves can be arranged in long aisles or short aisles, whichever necessary. They can be arranged in U-shaped cells as well.

That said, there is a certain level of space constraints when it comes to static shelves. You cannot ‘spatially- optimize’ these shelves the same way you can with portable storage. This is usually not an issue but it truly depends on the warehouse needs. 


As mentioned, to decide which storage system is best for a specific warehouse, you must assess the actual warehouse. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to storage systems.

The cost of each storage system should be analyzed as well. 

If you already have static shelving, is it worth the cost of switching to a modular storage system? Is your current static shelving storage design not enough to store all the items in your warehouse?

When it comes to industrial applications, there are a lot of variables. Usually, switching to a modular storage system – even if it’s only partially – is worth the cost and will have many benefits.

But, each warehouse is unique. Conduct a thorough cost-analysis and analyze the current storage space to see if any improvements are even necessary.

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