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The Best Bookshelf

Last updated on March 22, 2023
Best Bookshelf

Our Review Process

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Our Picks For The Top Bookshelves

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
  The Best Overall
  The Best Value

Sauder Select Collection Cherry Finish 5-Tier Wooden Bookshelf

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval


Select Collection Cherry Finish 5-Tier Wooden Bookshelf

Featuring an attractive cherry color, this all-wood bookshelf comes in a traditional style with a closed back and sides. It has plenty of space with five shelves, three of which you can adjust.

Overall Take

Traditional and SpaciousConsider this bookshelf if you want something that looks traditional and offers plenty of flexible space for your books.

 Top Pick

Furinno Jaya Contemporary Easy Assemble Bookshelf, 5-Tier


Jaya Contemporary Easy Assemble Bookshelf, 5-Tier

Made from responsibly-sourced composite wood, this three-tier bookshelf has adjustable shelves to help you customize your storage. It's easy to assemble, and you'll get an instruction manual to help you along.

Overall Take

Adjustable ShelvesAdjustable shelves let you change up where you set your taller and shorter items.

 Runner Up

Sauder Select Recycled Adjustable Bookshelf, 5-Tier


Select Recycled Adjustable Bookshelf, 5-Tier

Although this bookshelf comes with five shelves, three of those shelves are adjustable to accommodate larger items. The unit is over 6 feet tall and works well in an office, family room or home library space. Each shelf can support up to 30 pounds, with the bottom shelf having a heavier 50-pound weight capacity.

Overall Take

Multiple Finishes AvailableYou'll find this bookshelf comes in six different finishes, including estate black, chalked chestnut and Washington cherry.

 Runner Up

HSH Rustic Industrial 4-Tier Wooden Bookshelf


Rustic Industrial 4-Tier Wooden Bookshelf

Consisting of a metal frame and wooden shelves, this bookshelf has a modern feel and open design. It's built to be strong and has four shelves. The assembly process is also relatively easy for beginners.

Overall Take

Modern and StrongThis wooden and metal option has an interesting modern style and is built to be strong.

Buying Guide

Bookshelves aren’t just for holding books. You can use them to show off your favorite trinkets or store your CDs, DVDs or video games. You can also find some that have baskets that let you tuck away smaller items like shoes, toys, socks or cleaning supplies. The sky’s the limit, as long as you choose the right shelving from the start.

But what do you look for when you’re shopping for a bookcase? The first feature should be the size and configuration. Measure the space where you’ll be placing this piece of furniture to make sure you get one that’s the width and height you need. Count the number of shelves and consider the space between shelves to make sure there will be enough clearance for the height of the items you’ll be storing there.

Some bookcases have adjustable shelves, which comes in handy for combining short and tall items. Without this feature, you’ll likely find that some of your shelves don’t use the full vertical space, while you’re squeezing items onto the others. When you shop with these factors in mind, you’re sure to get the piece you need from the start.

It’s also important to pay close attention to the type of wood you’re getting. While you can save money by going with engineered wood, make sure the veneer has what it takes to last through years of use. If you can spring for a solid bookshelf, you’ll get longevity, but you’ll have to pay more. You’ll also find these are heavier and more difficult to move from one location to another.

How your wood is sourced can also come into play. If you’re concerned about the environment, look for wood that’s sustainably sourced and manufactured in an eco-friendly manner. Some brands specialize in this and also allow you to save money while getting the quality you want in a way that minimizes your carbon footprint.

What to Look For

  • Unless you’re picking your bookshelf up or having it delivered, you’ll have to put it together. Look for a piece that not only is easy to assemble but comes with step-by-step instructions.
  • Some bookcases have wood covering the back portion, while others are open to expose the wall. It can open up a room more to have backless bookshelves, but you may prefer the look of a back that matches the rest of the piece.
  • The wood you choose will determine how long your piece lasts. A solid piece of wood has staying power, but it can be both hard to move and expensive. Many bookshelves are made using composite or engineered wood, which is a mix of wood and other items. It may contain straw or plastic, along with a combination of different types of wood.
  • Composite wood will have a veneer applied to give it a quality look that competes with solid wood. Once painted and sealed, composite wood can also be water-resistant. That may not be an issue with indoor furniture like a bookshelf, but if you do have a spill or leak, it will be a nice feature to have.
  • Cube bookcases can be a functional alternative to traditional bookshelves. You can display knickknacks and other decorative items, along with smaller pieces like books. Using baskets, you can tuck in a wide range of pieces that you want to keep out of sight.
  • If you get a chip or ding in your bookcase, you can buy a furniture pen that will disguise the flaw.
  • Bookcases don’t have to be made of wood. You can get a metal piece that’s durable, functional and lightweight. It might not be as attractive as wood, although you can find pieces that add an interesting decorative touch to your living spaces. This option is also great if your bookshelf won’t be in an area that gets much foot traffic.

More to Explore

Despite the growing popularity of electronic books over the years, bookshelves have managed to hold their own. One reason for that is the #shelfie hashtag, which has social media users snapping photos of their bookshelves. It not only brands someone as well-read, but it’s a chance to show off an impressive book collection.

For that reason, it’s not only important to choose a bookshelf that’s attractive, but to also build a nice-looking book collection. The trend has increased bookcase sales in recent years, but it’s also had an interesting side benefit. New generations of readers are falling in love with the thrill of collecting and reading physical books.

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