4 Options for Garage Cabinets

Choosing the right garage storage system can transform a cluttered, messy garage into an organized and functional space. Garage cabinets are one of the most effective storage solutions for garages. They provide enclosed storage to keep tools, seasonal items, and more organized and protected. There are several cabinet options to consider when determining the best solution for your needs and budget.

Freestanding Cabinets

Freestanding garage cabinets offer versatile, affordable storage. These cabinets come fully assembled and ready to set in place. They are available in various widths, depths, heights and finishes to fit different garage layouts and styles.

Pros of Freestanding Cabinets

  • Cost effective solution. Freestanding cabinets are typically the most budget friendly option.
  • Easy installation. Since freestanding cabinets come fully assembled, installation is a breeze. Just place them in the desired spot.
  • Versatile storage. Use them to store anything from tools and sporting goods to seasonal items. Many feature shelves, drawers, hooks and more to accommodate different storage needs.
  • Flexible placement. Freestanding cabinets can be positioned along walls, set back-to-back, used as room dividers or islands.
  • Durable construction. They feature durable materials and quality finishes. Metal and high-grade wood materials ensure long-lasting use.

Cons of Freestanding Cabinets

  • Limited customization. Freestanding cabinet sizes and layouts are fixed. They can’t be customized to fit odd-shaped garage spaces.
  • Potential mobility issues. If not secured to walls, tall cabinets may topple over if too heavily loaded on top. Rolling cabinets may shift over time.
  • No unified look. Freestanding cabinets often feature different finishes and hardware compared to other storage systems. This can make the overall look disjointed.
  • Take up floor space. Because they sit on the floor, freestanding cabinets take up valuable floor space in the garage.

Best Uses for Freestanding Cabinets

Freestanding garage cabinets work best for:

  • Adding extra storage to an existing system. Mix-and-match freestanding cabinets provide inexpensive expansion.
  • Budget-friendly storage. Get affordable enclosed storage with ready-to-use freestanding cabinets.
  • Storing hand tools, sporting goods, seasonal items and hardware. The shelves, drawers and hooks accommodate these items neatly.
  • Dividing garage space. Position back-to-back to create separate storage zones in an open garage.

Wall-Mounted Cabinets

Wall-mounted garage cabinets provide excellent overhead storage. Installing cabinets on walls keeps items up and out of the way. Wall cabinets come in an array of widths, depths and heights to customize your storage solution.

Pros of Wall-Mounted Cabinets

  • Increased floor space. Mounting cabinets on walls keeps floor space clear for vehicles and larger items.
  • Customized storage. Mix-and-match wall cabinet sizes and layouts to fit the space and storage needs.
  • Easy access to contents. Cabinets mount at convenient heights for organized access to stored items.
  • Unified look. Wall-mounted cabinets feature matching finishes and hardware for a coordinated look.
  • Versatility. In addition to tools and sporting goods, use wall cabinets for garage workshop, laundry room or pantry storage.

Cons of Wall-Mounted Cabinets

  • Professional installation required. Wall cabinets must be properly secured to wall studs to safely bear heavy loads.
  • More expensive than freestanding cabinets. Customized wall cabinet systems are pricier than off-the-shelf freestanding cabinets.
  • Fixed placement. They can’t be rearranged or easily removed like freestanding cabinets.
  • Weight capacity. Make sure cabinets can bear the weight of heavier tools, equipment and supplies stored in them.

Best Uses for Wall-Mounted Cabinets

Wall-mounted garage cabinets work best for:

  • Increasing overhead storage space. Get items up off the floor while keeping them conveniently accessible.
  • Storing lightweight supplies and gear. Small parts, automotive fluids, camping/sporting equipment are ideal.
  • Creating a unified look. The matching style provides a custom, built-in look.
  • Adding storage without losing floor space. Keep bulky items like coolers and sports gear up and out of the way.

Overhead Storage Racks

Overhead storage racks provide an open and cost-effective alternative to enclosed cabinets. Racks mount to ceilings through directly to joists or plywood backing. Various shelving units and accessories hang from the racks to customize your storage system.

Pros of Overhead Storage Racks

  • Budget-friendly solution. Racks cost significantly less than both cabinets and custom built-ins.
  • Easy installation. Racks come in standard widths that attach directly to joists or plywood backing.
  • Adaptable storage. Add different shelving units, baskets, bins and hooks wherever needed for customization.
  • Garage space visibility. Open racks allow you to see all stored items unlike closed cabinets.
  • Durable and sturdy. Metal racks securely hold heavy items like tools, tires and gear overhead.

Cons of Overhead Storage Racks

  • Open storage. Without doors, everything is visible and exposed including messy/cluttered contents.
  • No weight limit per shelf. Be careful not to overload shelves to prevent dangerous collapsing.
  • Requires ceiling installation. Racks must be securely anchored to joists or plywood backing to hold weight.
  • Exposed storage. Contents are subject to dust and other airborne garage particles without enclosed storage.

Best Uses for Overhead Storage Racks

Overhead racks work best for:

  • Storing lightweight items overhead. Sporting goods, camping gear, tote bags work well.
  • Holding larger/taller items. Long tools, lumber, kayaks and rolled maps store neatly.
  • Adding open storage on a budget. Inexpensive solution for open overhead storage needs.
  • Quick access to items. See and grab items easily with open rack system.

Garage Floor Cabinets

Floor storage cabinets provide enclosed storage down low. They come in wide cabinets that sit flush on the floor against the wall. Floor cabinets usually feature roll-out drawers for storing tools, hardware and supplies.

Pros of Garage Floor Cabinets

  • Enclosed floor storage. Keep items clean, contained and out of the way.
  • Roll-out access. Drawers roll fully out for complete and easy access to contents.
  • Custom sizing. Floor cabinets come in different widths and layouts for a custom fit.
  • Durable construction. The low position and heavy-duty materials withstand garage use.
  • Matching appearance. Floor cabinets coordinate with wall-mounted cabinets and other garage storage.

Cons of Garage Floor Cabinets

  • Difficult to reposition. Large floor cabinets are heavy and hard to move once in place.
  • Reduce open floor space. Even mounted flush along walls, floor cabinets take up valuable floor real estate.
  • Most expensive option. Customized sizing and durable materials make floor cabinets the priciest option.
  • Low positionstrains access. Constantly having to squat down to access storage can be hard on the knees and back.

Best Uses for Garage Floor Cabinets

Floor cabinets work best for:

  • Storing hazardous chemicals, flammable liquids, cleaning supplies safely away from kids/pets.
  • Holding heavy tool sets, automotive batteries and other dense items close to the ground.
  • Keeping sporting goods, coolers and camping gear contained but easily accessible.
  • Creating a unified, built-in storage system when paired with wall cabinets.

Key Considerations When Choosing Garage Cabinets

With many options available, focus on the following key factors when selecting the best garage cabinet solution:

  • Intended use – Tailor storage to items you need to organize. Shelving for general storage or drawers for tools? Enclosed cabinets or open racks?
  • Garage layout – Consider the size, ceiling height, floor plan and existing storage when planning.
  • Available space – Floor cabinets consume space but increase storage density. Wall cabinets increase overhead room.
  • Budget – Less expensive options include racks and freestanding cabinets. Custom systems cost more.
  • Ease of access – Ensure cabinets are positioned conveniently to avoid straining.
  • Aesthetics – Determine the look you want from matching cabinetry systems to a simple utility storage look.
  • Future needs – Will you need more space for additional items down the road? Select an adaptable system.
  • Installation – Factor in if you’ll DIY or use professional installation. This impacts cost and project time.

Selecting functional and organized garage cabinets tailored to your specific storage needs, garage configuration and budget will dramatically improve your garage. Investing in high-quality storage solutions leads to a clean, mess-free space you’ll want to spend time in doing hobbies, projects and just hanging out.

Frequently Asked Questions About Garage Cabinets

Garage cabinets are a popular storage solution. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about selecting and installing garage cabinet systems.

How are garage cabinets constructed?

Quality garage cabinets are typically constructed of high-grade plywood or sturdy steel. Plywood offers durability at an affordable price-point. Steel cabinets provide maximum strength for heavy-duty items but cost more. Particle board cabinets are cheaper but don’t withstand moisture well.

What are the standard cabinet dimensions?

Common garage cabinet heights are 65-96 inches. Widths range from 12-48 inches wide or wider for floor cabinets. Standard depths are 12-24 inches deep but deeper cabinets store more. Taller cabinets have heights of up to 96 inches.

How much weight can garage cabinets hold?

It depends on the materials and quality. Average stock cabinets hold 50-100 lbs per shelf. Heavy-duty cabinets and custom systems bear 300+ lbs per shelf. Wall-mounted cabinets on only one stud can hold 50-70 lbs max per shelf. Proper installation is key.

What cabinet finishes are best for garages?

Durable finishes that resist wear, moisture and grime are best. Powder coated and enamel paints provide protection. Bare metal finishes also withstand garage conditions but are prone to scratches. Laminates chip easily in the garage.

Should I get matching cabinetry?

Matching cabinets provide a unified, built-in look. Mixing cabinet styles can look disjointed. But mixing can allow you to save money by adding cheaper freestanding cabinets to wall-mounted cabinets later.

Can I install cabinets myself?

Some freestanding and smaller wall-mounted cabinets can be DIY-friendly. But proper installation of larger and overhead cabinets requires securing to studs and ceilings to safely hold heavy loads. Pro installation is recommended for anything beyond very basic cabinets.

How much garage cabinet storage do I need?

Consider how many items you need to store and any seasonal fluctuations. It’s better to have more storage than you need than not enough. Aim for cabinets to have 30-50% extra capacity than you currently need to accommodate future storage needs.

Where should I position garage cabinets?

Avoid blocking doors and windows. Place floor cabinets along back walls or garage sides. Put wall cabinets at least 18 inches above workbenches and other surfaces. Ensure cabinets are conveniently accessible without excessive stretching or bending.


Installing well-planned, high-quality garage cabinets makes it easy to organize tools, gear, hardware and anything else needing storage in your garage. Matching cabinetry systems provide a clean, built-in look while mismatched cabinets allow you to mix and match options. Focus on choosing the right storage features, placements and configurations to keep your unique items neat, tidy and easily accessible. Investing in garage cabinets streamlines your space for maximum functionality.