The Best Filing Cabinets
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At one time, it seemed like electronics would eliminate the need for paper. But despite the fact that many processes have shifted to digital, paper use is still alive and well. Paper and cardboard materials make up the largest part of municipal solid waste, which means workers are still printing, reviewing and tossing paper documents.
There are good reasons to generate paper, even if you’ve reduced paper use in your daily life. For example, your work may require physical documents that you can save for later reference. You might also prefer to have copies that you can review whether or not your computer is on.
For that, a good filing cabinet comes in handy. You can open a drawer and find the paperwork you need in its own file folder. And even if you store records digitally, it may be important to have a backup hard copy in case your hardware gets damaged.
Most filing cabinets are fairly basic. They may be made of lightweight steel with a painted or baked enamel finish and will include hardware in the form of handles or pulls, or perhaps label holders. They’ll also feature some sort of gliding suspension system to hold hanging files and allow you to slide them around easily. You’ll want to make sure your documents are safe when you aren’t around, even if your file cabinet is stored in a secure area, so look for one with a secure lock.
If your office is in your home, you might look for other features in a filing cabinet. For example, you may want a one with a low profile so it can fit under a desk or one that easily blends with your more stylish living room décor. Some people also like to have wheeled casters on their files, to make them easier to move around.
Our Picks For The Top Filing Cabinets
- 1. Lorell Locking Steel Construction Filing Cabinet, 2-Drawer
- 2. Bush Furniture Key West White Oak Lateral Filing Cabinet, 2-Drawer
- 3. Lorell SOHO Smooth Glide Suspension Filing Cabinet, 3-Drawer
- 4. Space Solutions Hanging File Folders Compatible Filing Cabinet, 4-Drawer
- 5. Office Dimensions Core-Removable Lock Filing Cabinet, 4-Drawer
- 6. DEVAISE Anti-tilt Mechanism Wood Filing Cabinet, 2-Drawer
Locking Steel Construction Filing Cabinet, 2-Drawer
Featuring steel construction, a black baked enameled finish and glide suspension, this standard filing cabinet will give you years of use. The 24-inch-tall unit has a lock and a low, lightweight profile that makes it a good fit for any office.
Great for Small OfficesThis utilitarian file cabinet features a streamlined build that makes it perfect for small offices.
Key West White Oak Lateral Filing Cabinet, 2-Drawer
This lateral file cabinet features an elegant white wood-style finish with an X-pattern accent and bronze hardware, making it suitable for any living space. You’ll get two drawers in a 30-by-20-by-30-inch unit that holds letter and legal files in a variety of ways.
Attractive DesignThe attractive wood-style design of this file cabinet makes it a great fit for areas that get a lot of visibility.
SOHO Smooth Glide Suspension Filing Cabinet, 3-Drawer
This three-drawer vertical cabinet can be used alone or in combination with others as an easy storage solution for letter-sized files. The top two drawers lock on the lightweight unit, which is made from steel with chrome pulls and works well with hanging folders.
Safe for HouseholdsKeep your files securely locked away in the upper two drawers of this basic three-drawer cabinet.
Hanging File Folders Compatible Filing Cabinet, 4-Drawer
Get plenty of space for your letter-size hanging file folders as well as high-sided drawers so you can store office supplies. The painted steel surface makes this 16.38-inch-tall cabinet look great in your office space, and a cam lock keeps the top two drawers secure.
Easy SetupThis tall standard file cabinet ships fully assembled, so you won’t worry about putting it together.
What to Look For
- Many filing cabinets feature steel construction. This gives you a durable storage solution for your paperwork, but it won’t protect the internal contents against fire or water damage. If you have important documents, you’ll want to invest in a fire- and water-resistant safe.
- Drawers that catch or don’t open and close without a struggle can be frustrating. Look for an option that builds in special features to keep each drawer’s glide smooth and trouble-free.
- If you’re eco-conscious, some filing cabinets are made from recycled materials to help you reduce your carbon footprint.
- The capacity of file cabinets can vary dramatically. Some are deeper than others, allowing you to pack more documents into the space.
- If you have documents on legal paper, keep in mind that some file cabinets are designed solely to hold letter-size documents and hanging file folders. Unless you want to try to cram your legal documents in by folding them, look for a cabinet with legal-file capabilities.
- Pay close attention to the physical dimensions of any file cabinet and measure your space to make sure it will fit.
- Some file cabinets ship fully assembled, while others require you to put them together upon arrival. In some cases, you can pay a little extra for expert assembly.
- Label holders on the exterior of your drawers can help make it clear what’s inside. If you have intensive storage needs, you might want to line up multiple similar file cabinets and use exterior label holders to alphabetize your files or separate documents by type.
- If you see a need to move your file cabinets occasionally, one with wheels can make a big difference. Lifting filled file cabinets can be tough, while emptying files and returning them to the drawers after your move may be time-consuming, too.
- Many file cabinets now build in locks and come with a key or two. Consider leaving the key in a well-hidden location in your office so it can be accessed by multiple people if needed.
Filing Cabinet Rankings
More to Explore
Filing cabinets might not seem as essential to daily life in the digital era, but there was a time when they were seen as truly innovative. Vertical filing cabinets have a couple of different origin stories. They were invented in the 1890s by a supply company called the Library Bureau, which built a prototype based on a secretary’s idea, and Edwin Seibels, an insurance agent. Siebels couldn’t get a patent because the patent office considered that he’d come up with an idea, not an invention.
With devices such as the telephone and calculator also arriving around this time, the file cabinet was occasionally marketed as “equipment” or as an “appliance” rather than just “furniture,” to make it seem more exciting. But it truly marked a new and influential way of looking at data. With a file cabinet, offices no longer had to keep their information in books; they could break information up into discrete, manageable, classifiable parts that were easily retrieved and stored. This method of accessing information even guides how we filter information on a more digital level today.