Carts 101

Not all wire shelving is created equally


If you’ve been into any big box store you’ve likely seen wire shelf units for sale. Frequently we will get asked why they can be so cheap in a store like that but something designed for clinical use costs so much more? There are a some fundamental differences in manufacturing: not all shelves are created equally.

Construction – Gauge and Density

  1. Retail shelving units use higher gauge (thinner) wire components. The weight capacity of a shelf is reduced with thinner wire construction.
  2. Clinical shelving is made using not only thicker wire but more of it. If you compare a retail shelf unit with a clinical one you will see the spaces between the wires are bigger on the retail shelf. 

Both of these translate to increased weight capacity and durability.

Finish types

  1. Zinc chromate & nickel chrome are the standard finish types for most wire shelf units used in healthcare settings. Chromate is more cost-effective than nickel chrome but the thick plating of the nickel chrome finish is more durable against cleaning agents. Neither finish should be cleaned using a cart wash.
  2. Epoxy coated wire can offer corrosion resistance for wet or high humidity environments and even anti-microbial protection.
  3. Stainless steel addresses the most aggressive applications including regular hospital cart washing and autoclave applications. It has a substantially higher price tag though.

Quality & workmanship

Overall quality and workmanship can vary greatly from one manufacturer to another. Look for wire manufactured in ISO 9001 certified plants to ensure the best possible quality.

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