When selecting a filing cabinet, you should pay attention to its material, design, capacity and several additional factors. Read this article to get to know which parameters you should focus on.
Even though we tend to do more and more paperwork in digital format, some of us still need to handle many printed documents. To keep them organized, you might want to purchase a filing cabinet for your home or office. In this article, you’ll find recommendations on choosing the best furniture item of this type. You’ll learn how to select the optimal material, design and number of drawers. Plus, you’ll get to know which additional aspects you might want to pay attention to.
Types of Filing Cabinets
Filing cabinets are available in the following five varieties.
- Vertical. These look like more traditional pieces of furniture, so you can often see them in home offices. Also, businesses buy such cabinets for small offices because they are great for optimizing space. Thanks to their front-to-back filing systems, vertical cabinets can be rather deep.
- Lateral. These are ideal for high-volume offices, especially those with wide floor surfaces. Normally, lateral cabinets have two long drawers — but sometimes, they might have more. They can hold a larger amount of paperwork than most vertical counterparts and are particularly useful for those who stick to a letter-by-letter filing system.
- Mobile. You can roll such cabinets around wherever needed. Most furniture items of this type are vertical — but you might come across lateral ones as well. Usually, they have two or three drawers. Many mobile filing cabinets can fit neatly under standard-height desks to provide convenient storage without eating up a lot of room. However, not all of them can hold large files, so make sure to double-check their dimensions before the purchase.
- Open-shelf. These wide and shallow furniture items resemble bookcases more than filing cabinets. Their open fronts are suitable for filing end-tab folders side-by-side. You can place such a cabinet in a narrow aisle or an area with a limited amount of space. Probably, you have come across this type of furniture in medical facilities — doctors and their assistants use it to store highly accessed files.
- Flat. These are made up of a series of flat, shallow drawers. They are ideal for storing large, flat items, such as blueprints. To maximize your office space, you might consider stacking several flat filing cabinets on top of one another.
Filing cabinets of all these categories can be either fireproof or not. You might need a fireproof one if you work with sensitive documents. Such cabinets are also water- and theft-resistant, so they will provide maximum safety for your papers.
Filing cabinets are typically available in three materials.
- Plastic. It’s the most budget-friendly option and it’s available in dozens of colors. It looks stunning in modern interiors but might be not the best fit for a room of a classic design.
- Wood. It looks premium and is very durable. Available in different styles and finishes (such as oak, maple, beech and walnut), wooden filing cabinets are the most popular choice for home offices. Such a furniture item can easily become the focal point of the room.
- Metal. The color palette of this material is limited — but it’s the only option that can be fireproof. Metal is durable, sturdy and professional. You would be more likely to see such a furniture item in an office rather than a private home.
Given the large variety of options in modern office furniture shops, it shouldn’t be a problem for you to find an ideal cabinet.
Number of Drawers
The number of drawers should fit the layout of the room where you’re planning to place the cabinet. If the floor space is scarce, you might opt for a tall cabinet in a thinner design to avoid a crowded feel. A long two-drawer lateral cabinet will look appropriate in a wide room.
Besides, you should estimate the amount of your paperwork. Your filing cabinet should be able to accommodate all the documents that you already have plus those that you will accumulate in the next few years.
Other Aspects to Pay Attention to
Not all filing cabinets lock. You might want to choose a lockable one for confidentiality reasons. Also, locks are essential if you buy this piece of furniture for your home where you have kids and/or pets.
Cat and dog owners should also appreciate cabinets with scratch-resistant surfaces. They have a rough, textured casing. They will serve you for many years and you’ll be able to move them around the premises as often as you wish.
To facilitate the process of moving, consider purchasing a filing cabinet with castors. This will save you from the necessity of lifting heavy weights.
The most beautiful handles are not always the most convenient ones. When choosing a cabinet, try to pull open and push close each drawer section. For aesthetic reasons, you might opt for stylish D-shaped handles. If the space is limited, you might prefer a unit with discreet molded handles.
If you tend to pack your files as full as they can get, think about whether you might need counterweights. This should help prevent your filing cabinet from tipping. Furniture items with anti-tilt mechanisms normally allow you to open only one drawer at a time to be able to keep balance.
To better organize the contents of your lateral filing cabinet, you might want to use hanging bars. They will help you to file your documents in a front-to-back fashion.
Also, you might consider using follower blocks. These are metal drawer dividers that were often used in filing cabinets before hanging files became commonplace.
Hopefully, this article came in handy and now you better understand how to choose a top-notch filing cabinet. The primary factors that you need to consider are type of the cabinet, material and number of drawers. An ideal filing cabinet should be spacious enough to fit all your stuff and able to withstand heavy use. It should nicely fit the interior of your home or office, have an affordable price tag and include all the additional features that you might need.