A Buying Guide for Racking on eBay

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A Buying Guide for Racking on eBay

Whether for shopfitting, warehousing, office use, or one of a hundred other commercial or agricultural uses, racking is one of the unsung essentials of modern business life. However, the very diversity of the range of racking available to buyers can lead to problems for the uninitiated. Choosing the wrong type of racking for the wrong job can potentially prove to be a costly and very inconvenient error. This is especially the case if the buyer has bought further items, such as a forklift truck, in order to complement the racking set-up. For this reason, it is worth taking a little time to become familiar with the principal types of racking and the use that each is most appropriate for before making a purchase.

eBay offers a wide range of different types of racking, which amply reflects the diversity of requirements for this flexible product. Whether for retail racking, industrial racking, catering racking, or office racking, eBay can supply both new and used racking to suit most requirements and often at far better prices than are available when buying through traditional retailers.

The Principal Different Types of Racking

When buying racking the most important things to consider are the weight of the items you plan to store, how often they need to be accessed, and using which method. The answers to these questions determine whether you are looking for a small shelf system or a vast pallet rack. In most cases the right type of racking is obvious from the context.

Specialised Racking

Over the last few decades, racking has moved on from the once universal meccano-like Dexion, and products can now be found to suit many different specialised niches. Racking is used both for longer term storage of goods, such as document archives, and shorter term storage of items like safety equipment, which is needed for regular daily use. A third type of racking usage is for warehouses where stock is rotated, and a particular item may be in place for days or weeks but not for the long term. Each of these uses requires a different degree of ease of accessibility, helping to ensure that the racking solutions available are very diverse.

That said, the main divisions between racking types include whether the racks are to be stacked and unstacked manually or by forklift, and the weight range of the products that are to be placed on them. The pallet racks used by mechanised warehouses are a world apart from most retail racks, both in size and cost. eBay sells racking that is ideally suited to both of these types of use and also carries a good selection of both the common and less common uses listed below.

Retail and Warehouse Racking

This represents probably the largest category of the racking available. It includes racking suitable for general purposes and specific uses, and it can range in size from a few shelves in a corner shop to a multi-acre mechanised warehouse. The category can be usefully broken down into shop front, other retail applications, and behind the scenes racking for use in storerooms and warehouses.

Retail Racking

Front of counter racking is used in shops and other retail outlets to display products for sale. Such racking units need to be safe and stable but do not generally need to be capable of supporting the heavy loads required in many warehousing applications. This tends to make retail racking less sturdy, compared with some of the heavy duty warehouse units that can support enormous weights. On the other hand, retail racking tends to have a greater focus on appearance and attractiveness, compared with the grim, raw steel warehouse racking products.

eBay sells both general purpose retail racking in its racking listings, which also covers more specialist retail racking products, including both new and used units suitable for applications, such as shop display, general storage, and garage storage. These include units made from both steel and plastic, reflecting the varying needs of this diverse sector.

Some of the more specialist uses within this category include wire basket racking for displaying fresh produce and slotted racks for stationery products display, as well as attractive chrome shelving for use in shops.

Warehouse Racking

This tends to be heavier duty racking. Large warehouses are likely to use pallets, which are moved around and manoeuvred on and off the racking shelves using a fork lift truck. These are referred to as "pallet racks". For these applications it is important to be sure when buying racking that the specifications of the truck and the racking are compatible.

Warehouse racking frequently consists of a plain steel framework, which is often covered with steel or other heavy duty shelving. The shelves may extend from floor to ceiling and be capable of bearing enormous weights, some as much as 500 kg or more.

Industrial Racking

This includes racking for use in industrial processes and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) workshops. It is another heavy duty form of racking, with the emphasis on strength rather than looks. Industrial and MRO racking often needs to be capable of holding extreme weights safely. It may be used in car workshops for storing engine components, tyres or wheels, and for use in material handling, such as components, or for storing protective equipment when not in use.

eBay has industrial and MRO racking in its industrial supply listings, where it is possible to find everything from large-scale Dexion floor-to-ceiling racks, pallet racks, and smaller units for less extreme weights.

Office and Document Storage Racking

Racking does not only come in industrial strengths and finishes. Offices use racking for document storage and related purposes, and a wide choice of smart and stylish office racking is available on eBay in the listings of office supplies. This includes both utilitarian racking for backroom use, such as document archiving, and smarter racking for front end use.

Restaurant and Catering Racking

A specialist use for some racking is in the catering industry, where it is needed for storing kitchen and serving equipment, as well as some prepared food items either during processing or before and after cooking. This includes racks for washing plates and shelving for use in restaurant kitchens, bakeries, and related premises. eBay has numerous listings for catering racking.

Useful Terms Relating to Racking

Racking is like many specialised industries, in that over time it has developed its own particular terms, the meaning of which may not always be immediately apparent to those not used to using them in this context.




Refers to the number of compartments across


Refers to the number of layers of shelves


Constructed without bolts; held together by slotting into place; quick and convenient to put up; not suitable for the heaviest weights.


Normally wooden; the base on which large pre-packaged groups of items are lifted onto racks by a forklift

There are also special terms for some types of rack, such as a bar rack, which is used for storing bars or sheets horizontally, whereas a vertical sheet rack stores panels or boards upright. In each case, the racks are designed to allow the items stored to be maintained in perfect condition.

How to Buy Racking on eBay

It is easy to find racking on eBay. From the eBay home page, type a phrase describing your requirement into the search bar. For most normal racks, "racking" is all you need to type. This brings up many listings for racks, from heavy industrial racks to lighter office racking. It also includes new and used racks. A good tip when searching is to stipulate the maximum distance you are willing to travel to collect the rack if you are not keen on paying for carriage.

You can browse these listings at your leisure or narrow them down by specifying required characteristics. If you want a used rack, specify that. If you want a pallet rack, you can specify that. In this way you can quickly filter the listings to include only those that interest you. Study the photos and read the descriptions thoroughly, to be sure that the item you are looking at meets your needs.

When you find a rack that you like, consider whether you need more information. Are you clear about its weight bearing capacity? Its dimensions? And whether carriage is included? If you need to contact the seller, do so through their profile page. This page also shows feedback from previous buyers. Sellers with the best feedback are called "Top Sellers".


Racking encompasses a diverse group of solutions that include both light office and shop racks for stacking by hand, as well as heavy industrial and warehousing racks, which are filled using mechanised lifters like a forklift. Warehouse and industrial racking can be extremely sturdy, built of steel, and capable of supporting very large weights. For lighter applications, boltless racking is quick and convenient to install, while there are also much more specialised racks for catering, office, and other niche uses, such as document archiving. Another category of racks is for shop display. These tend to place more emphasis on attractiveness and may be made of chrome rather than steel.

eBay sells racks for all these uses and has a very wide selection that includes new and used items. When searching on eBay it is easy to quickly find the product you need and obtain further information about it from the seller. eBay also offers competitive pricing. The breadth of range, ease of searching and ability to save buyers money all combine to make eBay a good place to buy racking.

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