The 8 Best File Cabinets of 2021
Keep your papers organized and easily accessible
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In any office, large or small, there's a lot going on at any given moment. One of the most important things you can do to keep your well-oiled machine humming is to stay organized and keep the clutter to a minimum — for your sanity and your productivity. When you outfitted your office, way back when, you likely focused on desks, chairs, computers, and printers as the tools you need to get the job done, but chances are you forgot all about storage. The truth is, from contracts to invoices, businesses tend to generate a lot of paper, but once they're signed and paid, where do you store it all?
Enter the humble file cabinet. While these silent office heroes have been around forever, they've changed relatively little over time simply because they really don't need to. Sure, simple design elements may have changed, casters have been added for mobility, and locks have been added for security, but the basic foundation of the design remains the same — a cabinet with large drawers you can pull out for easy access. Office storage solutions can't get any easier. So, if you're noticing that your files and documents are piling up faster than you can click "add to cart," here are 8 of the best file cabinets on the market for your consideration.
Best Overall: Lorell Two-Drawer File Cabinet
For a basic two-drawer vertical file cabinet that’s budget-friendly, you can’t go wrong with the Lorell 14341 2-Drawer File Cabinet. While it may not be the most stylish piece of furniture, this cabinet is spacious enough to house all your files and each drawer locks to keep sensitive information secure.
This simple black filing cabinet is just over 24 inches tall, 14.5 inches wide and 18 inches deep. It features two drawers that are easy to open, thanks to their glide suspension. The Lorell cabinet has a handle on each drawer, as well as a lock, and there are tracks inside so you can use hanging files to easily sort paperwork.
Reviewers have plenty of good things to say about this file cabinet, including that it’s lightweight, sturdy and efficient. Most users agree that this is a great purchase for a home office, and you can’t beat its reasonable price.
Best With A Lock: Hirsh Industries 2 Drawer Vertical Mobile File Cabinet
If you’re looking for a little extra security for sensitive documents, Hirsh’s two-drawer vertical file cabinet may be a good bet. This file cabinet is designed with two 18” high side drawers that hold letter-sized files, and it’s also outfitted with tracks for hanging file folders. Designed with high side drawers, this file cabinet can also be used for office supply storage as well. The glide suspension on the drawers ensures smooth operation and an easy open-close, and a single lock secures both drawers. With casters, this file cabinet stands 26-½” high, 14 ¼” wide, and 18” deep.
Best Lateral: Cyra 2-Drawer Lateral Filing Cabinet
This lateral file cabinet by Cyra features an X-pattern accent on the drawer panels and a post leg design, so if you’re shopping for a home office or an office where design matters, this file cabinet makes a handsome addition to any room. The Cyra file cabinet features soft close/self-close drawers with full-extension ball-bearing slides for a smooth open and close.
This file cabinet accommodates both letter and legal size documents as well as hanging files. It stands 30” high, 30“ wide, and 19” deep, and the weight capacity tops out at 200 pounds. Users may want to take note that the back is not finished, so you’ll likely want it placed up against a wall, and it does require assembly.
Related: The Best Desktop Organizers
Best for Small Spaces: Devaise 3-Drawer Slim Vertical File Cabinet
While the Devaise file cabinet maintains a slim profile, it still offers plenty of room for files and documents, and it has an interlock system that secures three drawers at once. This file cabinet accommodates both letter and legal-size folders; it's designed with full extension drawer slides allowing easy access to the contents in the back, and one drawer is equipped with a bar for hanging files.
Additionally, there are two utility drawers and one free stationary tray for small items. What's more, the Devais file cabinet comes with five casters (4 for the corners and one middle caster to prevent tipping), so you can move the file cabinet with relative ease, and once in place, the casters are lockable. This file cabinet measures 11.8 "W x 17.7" D x 23.2 "H, and the max weight tops out at 330 lbs.
Best Vertical: Cavitt 4-Drawer Vertical Filing Cabinet
When floor space is at a premium, the Cavitt 4-drawer vertical filing cabinet makes good use of vertical space and offers plenty of storage for your files and documents. This file cabinet has four drawers with ball-bearing glides, so they open and close with relative ease. The drawers are equipped with tracks to accommodate hanging file folders, and each drawer has a max capacity of 38 lbs. This file cabinet is taller than others on the list, and normally tipping would be a concern. However, the design preempts the likelihood of that as the drawers don’t extend fully. This Cavitt file cabinet is made of steel, which bodes well for its durability. It stands 46.38” H x 14.25” W x 18” D, and while there are four drawers total, only the top two are lockable.
Best Mobile: Lorell Mobile File Cabinet
Ideal for a small office or a home office setup, this two drawer file cabinet by Lorell features two locking file drawers with smooth glide suspension for a smooth open and close. The embossed drawers add a nice design element to the cabinet, and while the drawers don’t extend fully, users should find no impediment to reaching the files in the back.
The full high side drawers easily accommodate letter-sized files and hanging folders, as well as office supplies like extra copy paper, ink, etc. This mobile file cabinet comes with four casters, so it’s completely mobile, and with steel construction with a baked enamel finish, it’ll likely be durable enough for repeated cross-office trips. Lorell’s two-drawer file cabinet stands 24.5 “H x 14.3 “W x 18” D. On its own, it weighs 20 lbs, so with files, you should still be able to move it around with relative ease.
Related: The Best Office Supplies
Best With Storage: Bush Business 3-Drawer Lateral Filing Cabinet
If your office needs furniture that pulls double duty to make the most of your available space, this lateral file cabinet by Bush Business can kill two birds with one stone. The lower lateral file drawer houses letter or legal-sized files, it’s equipped with a lock, and it glides on smooth full-extension ball-bearing slides. For additional storage, this file cabinet also offers two box drawers for small items and an open storage cubby with an adjustable shelf for easy access to paperwork, books, or manuals. The thermally fused laminate surface offers exceptional durability, and the unit features polished nickel drawer pulls with brushed accents for a sleek finish. This Bush Business file cabinet measures 25.98” H x 29.72” W x 16.93” D, and the top has a maximum weight capacity of 200 lbs.
Best Value: Yitahome 3-Drawer Metal Filing Cabinet
Yitahome’s metal filing cabinet offers plenty of storage space in a small footprint, making it a great choice for offices with little real estate. As far as file cabinets go, this one checks off a lot of boxes. Featuring four casters that swivel a full 360 degrees (plus one central caster to prevent tipping), this file cabinet offers exceptional maneuverability. The fully extendable drawers of this file cabinet feature a built-in sliding rail that helps you open and close the drawer smoothly and with minimal effort, and unlike many file cabinets, it’s relatively quiet.
The top drawer contains a removable tray for pencils and other small items, and the bottom drawer features a removable hanging file track, and it accommodates letter, legal, and A4 size documents. Yitahome’s file cabinet measures 24” H x 12” W x 18” D, and it’s important to note that while your files will be in the lower drawer, only the small top drawer is lockable, so you may not want to store sensitive documents in this one.
Lorell’s two-drawer file cabinet takes home the prize for the best file cabinet simply because it offers plenty of functionality (as far as file cabinets go) at a reasonable price. It’s a good size file cabinet for light storage, and while the drawers may not extend fully, there’s no loss of access to files and documents in the back, plus the ¾ extension will likely prevent the file cabinet from tipping as well. And finally, with steel construction, you can bet it’ll be durable, and with one lock, both drawers are secure.
What to Look For
When you’re shopping for a file cabinet, the size of the cabinet should be one of your first considerations. Think about how much you need to store and the size of your documents and purchase accordingly. Most cabinets will accommodate standard 8.5 x 11 paper; however, if you work with legal-size documents, archival material, blueprints, etc., obviously, you’ll need to find a file cabinet that will accommodate these sizes.
While plastic models may be less expensive, they can’t accommodate efficient locking mechanisms, so if you’re storing sensitive documents, you may want to invest in wooden or metal file cabinets. In addition to protecting your documents from prying eyes, you should also consider protecting them from other types of accidents. To that end, steel file cabinets tend to provide the maximum amount of protection; not only are they impact-resistant, but they can keep the contents safe from water damage as well.
Even a cursory search will reveal file cabinets come in a wide range of price points. They can run as low as $40, and well into the hundreds. For light storage and home offices, a $40 file cabinet will likely suffice and serve its purpose to clear away clutter and help you keep household documents organized. For a business, however, you may want to invest in something a bit more durable. Look for something that can handle wear and tear over the years and one that offers a bit more security for sensitive information in a busy office.
Meet the Expert
This roundup was written by Sharon Brandwein, a lifestyle writer who specializes in commerce content and buying guides for The Balance SMB.