File cabinets are an office essential. They keep your documents protected, organized, and out of sight. When choosing a cabinet for your work area, the most important considerations are how much space you have and what types of files you’ll be storing. These two criteria will guide your choice.
Vertical file cabinets
This is a traditional style of cabinet that’s common in many offices. Vertical cabinets are more in height than in width; thus using a minimum wall space. They can have two to five drawers and hold letter and legal–size documents. The files in a vertical cabinet are placed from front to back in the drawer, with files facing the user.
While vertical cabinets are a good choice for long–term storage due to their compactness when the drawers are closed, if you’ll be using a vertical file every day, make sure you have enough room in your office. A vertical file cabinet requires an area that’s equal to the depth of the file cabinet (about 29 inches), plus the length of the drawer when open (another 29 inches or so), a total of approximately 58 inches.
Lateral file cabinets
Lateral cabinets, which are wider than vertical cabinets, but not as deep, are built for high–volume capacity. They also have two to five drawers and can hold letter or legal–size documents. Files are either placed in the cabinet from left to right, facing the side of the drawer, or are arranged from front to back in multiple rows. Many two–drawer lateral models are designed to fit underneath work surfaces and tables for additional storage and are often paired with a desk to increase horizontal space.
Lateral cabinets are efficient filing solutions, especially for crowded areas. Most lateral file cabinets are 19.5 inches deep with a 19.5 inch drawer extension. This allows employees to access all the files with a total footprint of 39 inches. Due to their shorter drawer extension, lateral files can be used in spaces where a vertical file cannot. The lateral cabinet that can fit nicely and snug against a hallway wall would be ideal for a narrow office with a high volume of files that are retrieved on a regular basis.
Most file storage cabinets are made of steel for strength. Steel is very durable and can withstand a lot of abuse and still look good. To protect your files, look for a well–made cabinet. A reinforced base and double–walled steel sides, adds sturdiness. All cabinets sold by Fine Grace are tested for durability. Every cabinet that we sell has been through a series of tests to ensure the safety and quality of the storage cabinet.
Struggling with a file cabinet drawer that doesn’t open easily is very frustrating. Invest in a cabinet with drawers that extend fully and glide smoothly on ball–bearing suspension. Also, choose a cabinet with interlocked drawers. This crucial anti–tip feature prevents more than one drawer in a cabinet from being opened at a time.
Protection of Contents
If you’re planning on storing confidential files, choose a cabinet with a central locking feature — all drawers are secured with the same mechanism. A lock kit will allow you to install removable and interchangeable lock cores in your storage cabinets so that you can use one key for them all.
If you’re concerned about losing your documents in a fire, consider a fireproof cabinet. These cabinets carry the Underwriters’ Laboratories Class 350 rating for fire and impact resistance, meaning that they can withstand temperatures of 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour, and the impact of a 30–foot drop.
Plan ahead: Your filing needs may change over time, so purchase a cabinet that can accommodate both letter and legal–sized files and be sure to choose one with adequate expansion room.
Mobility: Need to move your files around the office? Try a mobile file cart. Dimensions vary, but these carts are generally no higher than 30 inches and no wider than about 15 inches. Many feature lockable casters, hanging file frames, and a lower shelf for large items. They’re a handy item that can be tucked under a table or desk when not in use.
Check out collections: Many office ensembles come with lateral file cabinets. Because the items in a furniture collection are sold separately, you can add multiple cabinets as needed, or purchase complimentary pieces, such as a mountable hutch, that will provide additional storage and display options. It’s the ideal way to create a professional and coordinated look for your office while still meeting your filing needs.