Can You Stack File Cabinets?

by Bonnie Conrad; Updated September 26, 2017

Filing cabinets are a great way to store paper files and other vital office documents, but finding room for all those file cabinets can be a real challenge. Many business owners wonder if it is a good idea to stack file cabinets, and the answer to that question will depend on a number of factors.

The Size of the Cabinets

One of the most critical considerations when deciding whether or not to stack filing cabinets on top of one another is the size of the units. Small two-door filing cabinets can often be safely stacked atop one another, but larger three-, four- and five-drawer filing cabinets should never be stacked. When stacking even the two-drawer filing cabinets, it is important to attach them to one another securely to reduce the danger of tipping. Attach a magnetic disk to each corner of the bottom filing cabinet to help secure the two cabinets together.

Weighty Considerations

When stacking two small file cabinets on top of one another, it is important to avoid placing heavy or bulky items in the top cabinet. Any large or heavy items should be stored in the bottom drawer of the lower file cabinet if at all possible. If not they can be stored in the top shelf of the bottom file cabinet, but storing them in the top file cabinet could cause it to become top-heavy or even to fall. If you feel the need to stack two small file cabinets on top of one another, it is important to think ahead of time about how files and other items will be stored.

Make Sure the Drawer Interlocks Work

Most file cabinets are equipped with an interlocking mechanism that prevents a drawer from being opened if another drawer is already ajar. This is an important safety mechanism with a single file cabinet unit, but it is even more essential if filing cabinets are to be stacked. Before you do anything with your two-drawer file cabinets, it is important to test the interlocking mechanism first. Begin by pulling the bottom drawer out slightly, then try to open the top drawer. If the top drawer opens, the interlocking mechanism has failed and the file cabinet should not be stacked. If the drawer does not open, you can stack the cabinets together, but it is a good idea to notify others that the cabinets are stacked so they can exercise additional caution when opening and closing the drawers.

About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Bonnie Conrad has been working as a professional freelance writer since 2003. Her work can be seen on Credit Factor, Constant Content and a number of other websites. Conrad also works full-time as a computer technician and loves to write about a number of technician topics. She studied computer technology and business administration at Harrisburg Area Community College.