Easy Garage Wall Cabinet Height & Shelf Spacing [Guide]

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If you’re like me, your garage is more than just a place to park your car. It’s a sanctuary, a workshop, a storage hub, and even a showroom. But to make it truly shine, you need a place for everything and everything in its place.

That’s where shelving and cabinets come in!

Have you ever wondered about the best height for your wall cabinets or the best depth for your shelves?

Maybe you’ve debated whether to mount your garage cabinets on the wall or keep them on the floor.

Or perhaps you’re just trying to figure out how to bolt down a heavy-duty storage rack without calling in professional help.

Well, you’re in the right place. I’ve mounted my Gladiator storage cabinets on my garage walls, so I’ve been able to answer these questions.

In this article, we will walk you through some quick tips and guidelines to help you master these questions and more.

Let’s dive in!


What’s the Standard Mounting Garage Wall Cabinet Height?

When we say “standard height,” we’re talking about the distance between the top of your wall cabinets and the ceiling. Most garage ceilings in the United States and Canada are between 8 and 10 feet high, so there’s some variability in the ‘standard height’ for garage cabinets. 

Your garage cabinet height impacts how easy your cabinets are to reach, how much stuff you can stash in your garage, and how your garage looks.

Generally speaking, most people like to hang their garage wall cabinets somewhere between 18 to 24 inches from the ceiling. If you have a 10′ high garage ceiling, mount your wall cabinets 24″ from the top. Homes with lower garage ceilings can mount wall cabinets higher, at 18″ or less. 

However, there are situations when you might want to buck the trend and mount your wall cabinets higher or lower than normal

Let’s dig into why. 

Mounting Garage Wall Cabinets High (18 inches or closer from the ceiling):

  • Room for more stuff: The higher you go, the more space you’ve got under the cabinets for your workbench or bulky tools. You’ll be making the most of that wall space.
  • Appears more open: Hanging wall cabinets high up can make your garage feel more open and organized.
  • Tough to reach: The downside of going high is that the cabinets might be a bit of a stretch, which is especially important for shorter homeowners. 

Going Low (24 inches or more from the ceiling):

  • Easy to reach: Hanging wall cabinets lower makes it a breeze to grab your tools and gear.
  • Less space underneath: The catch is that you might cramp the space underneath. This could be a bummer if you need that room for storage.

Remember, these are just ballpark figures. The ‘standard’ should be what works for your garage.


How Much Space to Leave Between Base and Wall Cabinets?

Let’s tackle another common question: How much space should you leave between your base and wall cabinets?

This time, the ‘minimum garage wall cabinet height’ we’re talking about is the space between the top of your base cabinet (or workbench) and the bottom of your wall cabinets. Generally, the standard gap here is between 18 and 20 inches. 

This is all about hitting the sweet spot between convenience, safety, and functionality.

Leaving space between a workbench and wall cabinets

But, like before, there are some pros and cons to consider:

Larger Gaps (20 inches or more):

  • Easier to use: A bigger gap means more headroom and visibility. This is useful if you’re working on a bench underneath.
  • Safety: More space minimizes the risk of bumping your head on the wall cabinets. Trust me. We’ve all done it!
  • Easier to Reach: If you’ve got shorter arms (or don’t enjoy tiptoe stretches), reaching the wall cabinets might be a workout.

Smaller Gap (18 inches or less):

  • Accessibility: Keeping things closer makes for easy grabbing without stretching.
  • Limited headroom: A smaller gap might feel restrictive, particularly if you’ve got a workbench underneath.

Remember, it’s your garage, and the ‘minimum’ should be what’s most convenient for you.


Should You Wall-Mount Garage Cabinets?

When we talk about cabinets being off the floor, we’re deciding whether to mount them on the wall or place them on feet or casters. Typically, this ‘lift’ is around 4 to 6 inches, but like anything else, it can vary.

First, lifting your cabinets off the ground keeps them away from any water in your garage. Whether it’s from rain, snow, or that one time you dropped the garden hose (hey, we’ve all been there), water and cabinetry aren’t a great mix.

Secondly, cleaning is much easier when you wall-mount garage cabinets. Instead of struggling to sweep or mop around cabinet feet, you can clean right under them.

Additionally, if your garage floor is uneven (and, let’s face it, many are), hanging cabinets on the wall are more stable. 

Finally, elevated cabinets can add a sleek, modern touch to your garage. This is your space, after all, so why not make it look good?

Casters and feet add flexibility instead of mounting cabinets on the wall

On the flip side, not every home can wall-mount garage cabinets or place them on casters. 

First, cleaning under the cabinets might seem like a breeze on paper, but in reality? Not so much. Raised cabinets are easy to navigate with a broom or mop. 

Typically, cabinets on feet or casters have just enough ground clearance for a thriving dust bunny colony underneath. Unfortunately, that tight space also makes a perfect home for wandering rodents or crafty insects. 

Finally, most cabinets still need to be secured to the wall to prevent tipping. 


What is the Average Size of Garage Cabinets?

Understanding the average sizes can help you choose cabinets that will fit your garage while still holding all your stuff too.

Most garage cabinets range between 72 to 96 inches in height, 18 to 24 inches in depth, and 24 to 36 inches in width. They’re designed to give you enough space to store your stuff and enough room to move around.

The weight capacity largely depends on the material and construction of the cabinet. On average, each shelf in a garage cabinet can typically hold about 100 to 200 pounds. Some heavy-duty cabinets can even handle up to 500 pounds per shelf. 

But remember, always check the manufacturer’s specifications to be safe.


What is the Best Height for Garage Shelves?

Here, the ‘best height’ refers to the most comfortable and practical position to place your shelves. It’s critical to consider so you can easily access, see, and safely use your garage shelves.

Typically, homeowners mount their garage shelves 48 to 60 inches from the floor. As with everything else, there are pros and cons at different heights. 

Higher shelves make it easier to see what’s on display, especially if they’re behind a workbench or other gear. It also means less chance of accidental bumps or knocks.

Lower shelves might be harder to see behind taller items, and there’s a higher risk of bumping into them. 

That said, the higher you mount your garage shelf on the wall, the harder it will be to reach. 

Again, the ‘best’ garage shelf height is what works for you. 

Consider what you’ll store on the shelves and who’ll be using them. The goal is to make your garage as functional and comfortable as possible. 


What is the Best Depth for Garage Shelves?

Alright, let’s cut to the chase about shelf depth. It might sound trivial, but it’s crucial for your garage organization.

Most garage shelves come in between 12 to 16 inches deep. But remember, there’s no universal answer here. The right garage shelf depth depends on what you’re planning to store.

If your items are on the smaller side, like hand tools, paint cans, or gardening supplies, then a 12-inch deep shelf could be your go-to. These shelves are ideal for keeping things in view and easy to grab, which is super handy when you’re in the middle of a project.

On the other hand, if you’re planning to store larger items like power tools, bulk storage bins, or even sporting equipment, a 16-inch deep shelf might work better. It’s a little more robust, offering additional storage capacity and stability for heavier items.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box if you have oddly shaped or extra-large items. Consider custom shelving or specialty racks. 

Kayaks, bicycles, and larger lawn equipment often need special storage solutions, so don’t limit yourself to standard shelf sizes if they won’t meet your needs.


What Height Should Be Between Shelves?

When it comes to the distance between your garage shelves, size really does matter. And by size, I mean the height of the stuff you’re stashing on those shelves. 

Things get personal here because the ideal shelf spacing depends on your unique collection of tools, cleaners, supplies, and whatever else you’re storing in your garage.

The most common range for shelf spacing in garages is 12 to 18 inches. But let’s get specific. Here’s a little table to help visualize how different items might dictate your garage shelf height:

ItemApproximate Height
Aerosol Spray Cleaner9 to 13 inches
Silicone Caulk (10 oz.)10 inches
Quart of Motor Oil8.8 to 9.4 inches
Gallon of Antifreeze11 to 12 inches
Griot’s Garage Spray Bottle
14.5 inches
Laundry Detergent (170 oz.)
11 inches
5-Gallon Bucket
12 to 15 inches
30 Gallon Storage Tote
15.25 to 17.25 inches

Don’t be afraid to adjust shelf height based on what you’re storing. It might be wise to have a taller shelf space if you have a collection of tall garden tools. Have you got a thing for small hand tools? Smaller spacing could work better. Adjustable shelves can be a perfect compromise, allowing you to tweak your setup as your storage needs change.

At the end of the day, the goal is a garage that works for you. So look at your stuff, measure it up, and start customizing those shelves to create an organized, efficient garage.


How Far Apart Should Garage Shelf Brackets Be Spaced?

Bracket spacing on shelves is one of those details that can seem minor until your fully-loaded shelf goes sagging in the middle. Not exactly the sturdy, reliable setup you had in mind, right?

You’ll want to space your brackets about 16 to 24 inches apart for typical garage shelves. This range offers a good blend of strength and support and works well with standard wall stud spacing.

  1. Strength: Shelves are only as strong as their weakest point. If your brackets are too far apart, your shelves might sag under the weight of heavier items. Keeping them closer together helps distribute the load evenly across the entire shelf.
  2. Support: The more brackets you have, the better the support. This is particularly important if you’re storing heavier items. Your shelves will thank you for the extra helping hands (or, in this case, helping brackets).
  3. Durability: Properly spaced brackets will prolong the life of your shelves.

Spacing your brackets correctly from the get-go is one of the easiest ways to ensure you have durable, well-supported garage shelves. 


Do Storage Racks Ned to be Bolted to the Floor?

This is one of those questions with a big, flashing neon sign reading, “It Depends.” 

I know, I know, not the definitive answer you were hoping for. But let’s dig into this a bit more.

Gladiator shelves and gear locker

In many cases, bolting your storage racks to the floor is a good idea. It increases the rack’s stability and safety, which is a good thing, especially if you plan to load it up with heavier items. It’s like adding a seatbelt to your storage. It’s there to prevent any unexpected tumbles or shifts.

But, like every rule, there are exceptions. If you’ve got lighter items or plan on moving your storage rack around often, bolting might be more of a hassle than a help. After all, who wants to unfasten and refasten bolts every time you want a little layout change?

And now, for the pros and cons:

Pros of Bolting

  1. Stability: Bolting your storage racks to the floor significantly increases their stability, reducing the risk of tipping.
  2. Security: If you live in an earthquake-prone area or have kids who use the garage as their playground, bolting adds safety and peace of mind.

Cons of Bolting

  1. Mobility: Once bolted, your storage rack isn’t going anywhere without some unscrewing. This could be a drawback if you love rearranging your garage layout often.
  2. Floor Damage: Bolting means drilling into your garage floor. If you’re worried about damage or if you rent your place, this could be a big no-no.

So, to bolt or not to bolt? Ultimately, the decision is yours. Consider your needs, your garage setup, and what you’ll be storing. Make the choice that works best for you and your garage. After all, it’s your space!


Wrapping It Up

In this article, we’ve delved into garage wall cabinet height, shelf depth, and whether to bolt or not to bolt your storage racks. 

Here’s a quick recap:

  • A standard garage wall cabinet height will help make your garage look good and work well. Generally, you want those cabinets 18 to 24 inches from the ceiling.
  • Aim for a minimum height of 18 to 20 inches between the base and wall cabinets. 
  • Get those cabinets off the floor! A lift of 4 to 6 inches should do the trick.
  • The “average” size for garage cabinets falls between 24 to 36 inches wide and 12 to 24 inches deep.
  • Garage shelves should ideally be 48 to 60 inches from the floor to make them accessible, visible, and safe.
  • Garage shelf depth matters. A range of 12 to 16 inches is a good target.
  • Leave about 12 to 18 inches between shelves for maximum adjustability.
  • Spacing your garage shelf brackets between 16 to 24 inches apart ensures they’re solid and supportive.
  • And finally, when it comes to floor bolting storage racks, most times, it’s a good idea, but not always mandatory. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Remember, these are all guidelines, not hard and fast rules. You’ve got the info. Now it’s time to make your garage work for you! So, pull on those work gloves, rev up that drill, and transform your garage into the efficient, organized space you’ve always wanted.

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Tim Wells

Tim Wells, the founder of Garage Transformed, has been featured in dozens of home renovation publications, including BobVila.com, Home Stratosphere, House Digest, Livingetc, and SFGate. Since 2018, he has helped over two million people transform their everyday garages into something they can be proud of. He lives in Central Florida with his wife and bulldog.