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What is the Standard Weight of a Filing Cabinet?

File cabinets are among the heaviest pieces of furniture among different hefty pieces of equipment in your home office.

Personally, dealing with the traditional bulky file cabinets was one of the most challenging elements of setting up my home office.

File cabinets are available in various sizes, some even heavier than humans.

After dealing with many difficulties, I learned how hefty a file cabinet should be. In addition, I decide what kind of file cabinets I’ll need.

A small two-drawer filing cabinet can weigh up to 40 pounds when empty, while a large four-drawer filing cabinet can weigh up to 200 pounds. When empty, the heaviest file cabinets weigh 400 pounds; when full, they weigh 600 pounds. The weight varies depending on the number of drawers and the material used.

Let me walk you through each aspect, kind, and size of file cabinets based on my personal experience so that you can choose the ideal one.

Standard Weight of Lateral File Cabinets

Lateral file cabinets are mostly longer and hold more paperwork compared to their vertical counterpart. As it is longer and even sustains more paperwork, it is designed to be heavy.

Many home offices rely heavily on lateral file cabinets.

Each drawer in a lateral file cabinet weighs between 20 and 30 pounds.

Three drawer lateral file cabinets
Three-drawer lateral file cabinets (Source: Amazon)

The weight of a drawer in a lateral file cabinet is often greater than that of its vertical equivalents. The following table clarifies the weight of lateral filing cabinets based on size and materials.

File cabinets are divided into three categories based on the number of drawers: small, medium, and large.

1. Weight of Small Lateral File Cabinet (2 Drawers)

Cabinets with two drawers are referred to as small file cabinets. Single-drawer file cabinets weighing between 20 and 30 pounds are also considered small.

This is the typical weight of two-drawer lateral file cabinets based on materials.

Material usedWeight when emptyWeight when full
1. Metal70-80 pounds110-120
2. Steel50-60 pounds90-100 pounds
3. Wood40-60 pounds90-110 pounds

2. Weight of Medium Lateral File Cabinets (3 Drawers)

Medium file cabinets normally have three drawers, each containing around 45 pounds.

When empty, medium file cabinets weigh 75 pounds, and when filled, they weigh around 90 pounds.

Based on materials, this is the typical weight for three-drawer lateral file cabinets.

Material usedWeight when emptyWeight when full
1. Metal80-90 pounds120-130 pounds
2. Wood60-80 pounds100-120 pounds
3. Steel50-70 pounds90-110 pounds

3. Weight of Large Lateral File Cabinets (4 to 5 Drawers)

Large file cabinets normally have four drawers, each containing about 52 pounds.

When empty, medium file cabinets weigh 175.5 pounds, and when filled, they weigh around 400 pounds.

The following table shows the average weight of 4 and 5-drawer lateral file cabinets based on materials.

MaterialWeight (4 drawers)Weight (5 drawers)
MetalEmpty: 180 pounds
Full: 500 pounds
Empty: 200 pounds
Full: 530 pounds
SteelEmpty: 150 pounds
Full: 480-490 pounds
Empty: 170 pounds
Full: 500+ pounds
WoodEmpty: 140 pounds
Full: 480 pounds
Empty: 160 pounds
Full: 500 pounds

The material you keep in your cabinets significantly impacts the cabinets. The filing cabinets’ primary duty is to keep your files safe.

Therefore, in comparison to conventional file cabinets, lateral file cabinets carry more material.

As a result, lateral file cabinets containing many files and materials weigh significantly more than file cabinets containing fewer empty file cabinets.

The empty lateral file cabinets weigh around 180 pounds, whereas full lateral file cabinets weigh about 450 pounds for a standard 4-Drawer file cabinet.

Also, Read: A Complete Guide About Lateral Filing Cabinets Sizes

Standard Weight of Vertical File Cabinets

In comparison to lateral file cabinets, vertical file cabinets have more depth. In addition, because the cabinets hold less paperwork, they are intended to be lighter.

Vertical file cabinets with wheels
Vertical file cabinets with wheels(Source: Amazon)

Vertical file cabinets also come in a variety of sizes. It includes small, medium, and large with respective drawer sizes.

Each drawer in vertical file cabinets weighs between 10 and 20 pounds.

The weight of a drawer in a vertical file cabinet is often lesser than that of its lateral equivalents. The following table clarifies the weight of vertical filing cabinets based on size and materials.

1. Weight of the Small Vertical File Cabinets (2 Drawers)

Vertical file cabinets with single drawers that weigh 10-20 pounds are also available and are classified as tiny file cabinets.

The typical weight of two-drawer vertical file cabinets is shown below, based on materials.

Material useWeight when emptyWeight when full
1. Metal60 pounds100 pounds
2. Steel50 pounds90 pounds
3. Wood 40 pounds80 pounds

2. Weight of the Medium Vertical file cabinets (3 Drawers)

Three-drawer vertical file cabinets are medium vertical file cabinets.

Based on materials, the average weight of three-drawer vertical file cabinets is indicated below.

Material usedWeight when emptyWeight when full
1. Metal80-100 pounds120-140 pounds
2. Steel60-80 pounds120 pounds
3. Wood60 pounds90-110 pounds

3. Weight of the Large Vertical file cabinets (4 to 5 Drawers)

Vertical file cabinets with four or five drawers are large vertical file cabinets.

Based on materials, the average weight of four or five-drawer vertical file cabinets is indicated below.

Material usedWeight (4 drawers)Weight (5 drawers)
MetalEmpty: 120-130 pounds
Full: 300-350 pounds
Empty: 150 pounds
Full: 350-400 pounds
SteelEmpty: 120 pounds
Full: 250-300 pounds
Empty: 130-140 pounds
Full: 300-340 pounds
WoodEmpty: 100-120 pounds
Full: 250-300 pounds
Empty: 130-140 pounds
Full: 300+ pounds

Vertical file cabinets have a smaller capacity. However, when compared to its lateral equivalents, it is more flexible. It holds fewer items in comparison to lateral cabinets.

Vertical file cabinets can weigh anywhere from 200 to 300 pounds when fully loaded, depending on the drawers and materials utilized.

The Standard Weight of the Fireproof File Cabinet

Fireproof file cabinets are heaviest than lateral and vertical file cabinets. This is because fireproof file cabinets contain exterior clay material to protect them from fire.

Furthermore, many file cabinets are constructed with non-flammable insulators.

In general, non-flammable insulators are thick. As a result, the fireproof file cabinets are heavier.

When empty, 4-Drawer fireproof file cabinets weigh approximately 400 pounds; when filled, they weigh around 500 pounds.

Fireking file cabinets
Fireking file cabinets(Source: Amazon)

Fireproof file cabinets are generally made up of metal or steel. Hence, there is no significant variance between the weight based on the materials.

However, the fireproof file cabinets’ weight differs drastically based on the drawer. The table below shows the weight of the item depending on the size.

Number of drawer of fireproof file cabinetsWeight when emptyWeight when full
1. Two drawers140 pounds200 pounds
2. Three drawers200-300 pounds300+ pounds
3. Four or more drawers400 pounds500+ pounds

Related Article : Are File Cabinets Fireproof?

Why are Filing Cabinets so Heavy?

One of the heaviest pieces of equipment in your home office seems likely to be file cabinets. There are a variety of reasons why your file cabinets are so heavy.

The following are the major reasons:

  • A standard file cabinet is constructed from a case with 18-gauge steel components. The use of such components adds to the weight of the file cabinets.
  • One of the main reasons file cabinets are so hefty is that they are often one-time purchases in most home offices. Because of the lower demand, the manufacturers design it to be tough and long-lasting.
  • File cabinets are designed bulky to hold other office accessories as well. So it holds different hefty gadgets as well.
  • Different file cabinets are also built to withstand fire, dust, water, and other hazards. As a result of the usage of hard metals, wood is utilized, which adds to their weight.
Lateral File Cabinet for Home Office
Lateral File Cabinet for Home Office (Source: Amazon)

Disadvantages of Heavy File Cabinets

Despite the benefits of hefty file cabinets, they have several drawbacks. The following are some of the primary disadvantages of bulky file cabinets:

1. Occupies Most of your Room

One of the major drawbacks of file cabinets is it covers the entire space of your home office.

Home offices are generally small. Therefore, keeping that equipment that consumes minimal space is always a great idea. Moreover, keeping every piece of equipment one may need is always great.

File cabinets, on the other hand, are big and bulky. As a result, it takes up the full area of your room.

In addition, you may have to get rid of some other crucial workplace equipment due to its bulkiness.

If you are over-concerned about the space of your file cabinets, it is better to invest in light and small cabinets. You can also purchase a desk drawer to keep files rather than file cabinets.

2. Difficult to Set Up

It might not be easy to set up heavy filing cabinets. It takes many people to set up big file cabinets correctly.

Setting up file cabinets requires a significant amount of time and work.

Furthermore, the installation method may cause harm to other home office equipment.

3. Heavy File Cabinets are Expensive

Heavier file cabinets are typically more expensive than lighter ones because of durable materials, which are costly and scarce.

Therefore, heavier file cabinets are far more expensive than lightweight ones.

When working on a budget, it’s usually advisable to use a lighter file cabinet while setting up a home office.

4. Difficult to Move

One of the biggest disadvantages of using a heavier file cabinet is they are not portable. It isn’t easy to transfer from one corner of your room to another.

It is usually placed in a certain location and moved less frequently due to its hefty nature.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Heavy File Cabinet for your Home Office

A bulky file cabinet might create a different problem. So, choose the right file cabinets that fit perfectly well in your home office.

Here are some of the tips for choosing an ideal file cabinet for your home office:

1.  Invest in Medium-Priced File Cabinets

The file cabinets with the highest price tags are usually the heaviest. Therefore, always search for a pricing range that is neither too expensive nor too cheap.

Cheaper file cabinets are small and light but of poor quality.

File cabinets in the medium price category also have medium weight, allowing them to fit in almost any size home office.

2. Consider the Location of your Home Office

One should use heavy cabinets in rooms on the ground floor and lighter cabinets on the upper floors. It is a known truth.

In the upstairs, lighter cabinets are simple to install. On the other hand, the hefty file cabinets are usually difficult to transport or put up.

Therefore, only pick hefty file cabinets if your home office is downstairs.

3. Measure the Space of your Room

The majority of us have a habit of buying file cabinets first and then arranging the space.

Unfortunately, these approaches have the potential to fail since they may result in file cabinets that are too large for your area.

In every home office, file cabinets are the heaviest and not-so-essential equipment.

Hence, always keep your desk, chair, and devices organized first, and buy cabinets based on the amount of space.

A standard four-drawer filing cabinet can consume up to 17 square feet of workplace space, including the unit’s dimensions and the space needed to retrieve the files inside.

Lateral File Cabinet for Home Office in White Color
Lateral File Cabinet for Home Office in White Color (Source: Amazon)

The average size of a home office is between 100 and 150 square feet. As a result, your file cabinet takes up over 20% of your room, which is a significant amount of space.

For more detail on average room size for home office. Do check What is the Average Size for a Home Office?

4. Determine its Use

Although the sole purpose of file cabinets is to keep files, most of us have a habit of keeping laptops, desktops, and gadgets inside heft file cabinets.

So, it’s always a better idea to buy small file cabinets of less weight if you are only storing files inside cabinets.

However, heavier filing cabinets will be perfect for you if you also wish to store some larger gadgets.

Some Top Brand File Cabinets and Their Weight

Manufacturers are one of the primary contributors to the file cabinet’s weight. The weight of file cabinets hugely depends on how the manufacturer designs the cabinets.

The designing process depends on the trends, customers’ response, and what type of cabinets makes people comfortable.

Here is the table of some of the file cabinets of top brands which are lately popular, along with their features and weight.

File CabinetsSpecificationsWeight (Pounds)Image
Fireking Turtle Fireproof File CabinetFour drawers
405 poundsFireproof file cabinets
HON Brigade 600 Series File CabinetLateral file cabinet
Three drawers
100 poundsThree drawer lateral file cabinet
Lorell 4-Drawer Lateral File, CharcoalFour drawers
Alloy steel
‎97.5 pounds4 drawer lateral file cabinets
Lorell 4-Drawer Vertical FileFour drawers
72 pounds4 drawer vertical file cabinets
Fireking file cabinetsTwo drawers
Alloy steel
‎140.7 pounds2 drawer fireproof file cabinets
Lorell 2-Drawer Vertical FileTwo drawers
Alloy steel
‎39.5 pounds2 drawer vertical cabinets
Rolanstar File CabinetVertical File Cabinet
Three Drawers
Engineered wood
36.7 pounds3 drawers wooden file cabinets
Winsome Wood Honey Pine Filing CabinetVertical file cabinet
Four drawers
54 pounds4 drawer wooden file cabinets
Lorell Lateral File CabinetsFive drawers
231 pounds5 drawer metal file cabinets
EDGEWOOD Mobile Filing Storage File Vertical Wood CabinetFive drawers
30.8 pounds5 drawer vertical file cabinets

Frequently Asked Questions About File Cabinets

What Items in File Cabinets Take the Most Weight?

File cabinets are used to keep files and other workplace items organized. File cabinets, for example, can be used to store day-to-day presentation files or financial information.

Files and financial documents are the items that take up the most space in file cabinets and bear the most weight.

Various office workers use file cabinets as shelves to store hardware or storage devices.

A full four-drawer filing cabinet can weigh up to 242 pounds.

Is it True that File Cabinets with More Drawers are Heavier? 

Because they have a larger surface area, file cabinets with more drawers will weigh more.

The materials are the primary contributors to the overall weight of file cabinets. Office materials are built of various materials such as wood, steel, and metal. As a result, each material has a distinct weight.

Final Verdict

Heavy file cabinets provide individuals with the assurance of durability and long-lasting file cabinets. Due to the widespread usage of larger file cabinets, most individuals choose heavy file cabinets.

However, as with any beneficial effects, there is a drawback, which is the case with hefty file cabinets. Heavy file cabinets have various effects, like occupying your area, making it tough to set up, and much more.

To summarize, it is usually preferable to have medium-sized filing cabinets that complement your office’s size.

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