Office spaces tend to get crowded by furniture and fixtures over time, but when you stick to the essentials, there are pieces in your workspace that you just can’t do without – your desk, your ergonomic office chair, and your file storage space. Everything else are just frills – although they have now become necessary. We have also written a complete guide about best drawer organizer carts.
But if you want to go back to the basics and start building a new workspace, one of the first things you need to look for is a durable and secure filing cabinet. Check out our complete guide about best desk organizers.
These days, space is a commodity. Aside from high productivity, efficiency now also entails creating maximum output with the least amount of space used up. That is where file drawer cabinet come in. File drawers are designed to provide optimal storage solutions in a minimal amount of floor space.
Drawer file cabinets usually have 2 to 4 tiers of drawers for storing different types of documents. This design helps you to segregate your files effectively. First, the compartmentalized storage area helps you deal with a smaller stack of files at a time. Second, you use up less floor space with each drawer stacked conveniently on top of the other. Third, file drawers keep your files better organized, which means you get to use your space more efficiently for more productive activities.
STABLE AND SECURE
When you are dealing with important documents, the first thing you want to make sure is they don’t get lost or misplaced under that murderous pile of what-nots growing on your desk. You need a place where you can store these files securely and get to access easily later if you need to.
The second is to ensure that no unauthorized persons get access to these files. You probably don’t work for the FBI but some documents in your possession nonetheless are better kept out of other people’s reach.
Most file cabinets solve these security dilemmas with a built-in security system that stores your files in a secure space away from dust, too much sunlight, and the wrong pair of hands.
Aside from being excellent storage spaces for your files and supplies, file cabinets can also serve as space dividers for expansive non-partitioned offices, display counters and storage bays for portable printers, scanners and other lightweight office equipment.
Some file cabinets are ornately or classically designed and are excellent space fillers for both homes and offices with matching themes.
KEY DRAWER FILE CABINET FEATURES TO CHECK OUT
Your primary concern for your important and maybe confidential files is keeping them intact and safe from unauthorized access. So one of the things you really have to look for first when looking for a good drawer file cabinet is its built-in security features. At least one drawer should have an effective lock mechanism to give you space for storing important confidential files.
Most file cabinets have lock and key mechanisms that provide sufficient security. However, the kind of material used for building the cabinet’s body itself also plays a vital role in keeping files secure, so you should also check this when trying out options.
The size of the cabinet is also important to note. The most suitable dimensions depend on how much files you expect to store and for how long. If your job tends to involve a huge volume of paper works daily, drawer cabinets with more and larger compartments are perfect for your needs. Most drawer cabinets are targeted towards this type of set-up. However, there are also a lot of smaller sized cabinets for offices or homes with restricted work spaces.
To further maximize space, you may also look for cabinets that serve other purposes, such as doubling as dividers or printer and scanner bays. Most drawers are good for these purposes though there are some which have restrictions due to slim profiles or dimensions.
Of course, you could not miss to factor in the design of the unit that you are eyeing to buy. This depends mainly on your personal preferences, though your storage needs also comes into play. If all you want is a lot of secure storage space, then go for the all-drawer industrial type models, since these are more secure and handle storage essentially well.
If you like to have a little style incorporated into your cabinet so that it goes well with your office theme, there are also more ornate choices to choose from like the White Sauder Harbor View Lateral File cabinet.
There are also options that hover in-between – simplistic in design with a dash of style in the color department or material used. This product guide helps you check out the best options when it comes to different styles and designs.
QUALITY AND BUILD
File drawer cabinets are usually constructed from either metal or wooden materials, both durable and well-built in different ways.
Metal drawers are strong, long-lasting, and secure. Metal is more compact and solid than wood, so metal filers offer more storage space than wooden cabinets that occupy the same amount of floor area. Metal cabinets are also more difficult to break open than wooden ones, so these are safer for storing important files that need greater security measures.
On the other hand, wooden cabinets are more versatile and could double as office or home furniture so they blend more easily with your home or office design. They are also more stylish and less rigid than metal drawers, so they are often better choices for the chic and savvy professionals who like balance between functionality and form.
BEST DRAWER FILE CABINETS IN 2021 – TOP 10 CHART
|1. ALERA LA523029BL 30 BY 19-1/4 BY 29-INCH 2-DRAWER LATERAL FILE CABINET||Metal||$$$||4.4|
|2. CALICO DESIGNS FILE CABINET||Metal||$$||3.9|
|3. COMFORT PRODUCTS 60-COUB1028 COUBLO COLLECTION FILE CABINET||Wood||$$||3.5|
|4. Z-LINE DESIGNS 2-DRAWER LATERAL FILE ESPRESSO CABINET WITH BLACK ACCENTS||Wood||$$$||4.1|
|5. LORELL 17427 3-DRAWER MOBILE FILE CABINET||Metal||$$||4.2|
|6. SAUDER HARBOR VIEW LATERAL FILE, ANTIQUED WHITE||Wood||$$$||3.6|
|7. LORELL 16872 2-DRAWER MOBILE FILE CABINET||Metal||$$||4.0|
|8. OFFICE DESIGNS 3-DRAWER VERTICAL FILE CABINET||Metal||$$||4.1|
|9. MONARCH SPECIALTIES WHITE HOLLOW-CORE 3 DRAWER FILE CABINET ON CASTORS||Wood||$$$||3.7|
|10. WINSOME HALIFAX CABINET FOR CLOSET/OFFICE, 5 DRAWERS||Composite wood||$$||3.5|
No-fuss, classy and spacious, this Alera drawer file cabinet is an essential in every office space. Despite the advent of the paperless campaign and the mainstreaming of online transactions for everything, a considerable volume of paper trail remains part of the regular office job. The LA523029BL Drawer Lateral File Cabinet by Alera is designed to manage this voluminous trail.
This file cabinet has a built-in security feature for keeping your files secure. It has a lock-and-key mechanism with a keyhole nestled conveniently on the top drawer. The lock mechanism secures both the top and lower drawers simultaneously, so you don’t have to strain yourself from bending down to secure the bottom drawer manually. In addition, you spend less time and effort by getting all your files secure in one full sweep.
In addition to its built-in lock, the Alera drawers are double-walled to provide additional protection from intentional tampering and break-ins. While this may seem like an extreme scenario, there are real risks and possibilities for information theft. Secure file cabinets are designed to counter the dangers of exactly that.
With a dimension of 30 x 19.25 x 29 inches, the file drawer is spacious without being bulky. The file cabinet has two sturdy-front drawers that are 27 inches wide, 18 inches deep and roughly 12 inches high. The file cabinet takes up considerable floor space, although quite tolerable for a furniture that provides so much storage. The height is just high enough though to let you use the cabinet top as extra storage, bedside table, desk extension or space divider for your office or home workstation.
The drawers are designed to accommodate all types of documents, whether in the legal or letter format. Inside the shelves are adjustable compartments that could be regulated to fit letter-sized or legal-sized files. Legal or letter sized files can then be stored as hanging files to provide additional protection and safekeeping. This additional feature ensures that the files are kept snugly in place inside and are not thrown about haphazardly in the drawers.
This cabinet is designed to store files laterally, which means that more files could be accommodated in each drawer and that they are all equally easy to access for future use. This is more convenient for large amount of files that need to be visited and pulled out constantly.
QUALITY AND BUILD
The cabinet is made of durable metal coated with scratchproof finishing in different earth-tone shades, including light gray, putty, white and the most popular black. The metal build is more secure and long-lasting than most wooden built cabinets. It also has a leveling glide base that lets the cabinet stay stable and solid even on uneven surfaces. The reinforced double-wall fronts provide extra stability to the pull-out drawer structure. With a weight of 131 lbs, the cabinet is solid enough yet lighter and more movable for its size.
- Secure single-lock system
- Spacious with multi-purpose top
- Reinforced double wall front
- Durable metal build
- Streamlined lateral hanging file design
- Accommodates only one size of hanging file per drawer, which is easily mitigated by segregating files per drawer by document size
- No casters on base
For offices or workstations that have limited floor space, you may need an alternative file cabinet that has a smaller footprint, such as Calico Designs’ black 23-inch high filing cabinet.
Like the Alera cabinet, this Calico file cabinet has a single lock system that secures all three different drawers with just one key. The keyhole is conveniently located on the face of the topmost drawer, making it easy to lock and unlock the drawers while standing up or seated comfortably in your office chair.
The cabinet is also constructed from durable metal, which keeps it from getting chipped unlike wooden or laminated cabinets. The metal build helps ensure that your files are kept safe and away from unauthorized access, dust, insects and other destructive elements.
The dimensions for this cabinet are 22 inches wide, 15.8 inches deep, and 23 inches high. Apparently, this is not as spacious as most file cabinets but that fact has its own advantages. For one, it has a smaller footprint so that it takes up less space in a narrow workstation or crowded office. For another, it can work as a desk drawer file cabinet which you can place beside your desk or slide beneath it if it has the standard height for desktops.
This Calico Designs cabinet has 3 drawers, two narrow top drawers that are 2 inches high and a deep bottom shelf that is approximately 1 ft high. The topmost drawer has a plastic organizer and is great for storing stationery and writing tools. The lower shelf stores hanging folders that are either legal-sized or letter-sized and comes with an adjuster bar for the hanging folders.
The design of this filing cabinet is highly ergonomic, with all drawers fitted comfortable handles for easy management from an upright or sitting position. The 3 drawers could not handle large volumes of files but are sufficient for handling personal office supplies and files.
One of the drawbacks of a smaller-sized filing cabinet is the tendency to tip over especially when the bottom shelf is left frontloaded. To address this issue, Calico Designs fitted this filing cabinet with an additional front center caster aside from the usual 4 corner casters to keep the cabinet stable and secure. The casters also help you move the cabinet around where it is more convenient or accessible.
QUALITY AND BUILD
The cabinet is constructed from durable metal and finished with a pewter-like matte finish. The drawers are built of solid metal, with smooth metal sliders and finished plastic handles. The casters are also made of sturdy plastic and move multi-directionally for easy movement. Overall, the cabinet is sturdy and reliable for varied filing needs.
- Secure single lock key system
- slim profile and smaller footprint
- 3 drawers with comfortable handles
- Hanging folder for legal or letter-sized files
- Metal build
- With multi-directional casters for greater mobility
- central front caster to avoid tipping over
- Smaller storage space
The Coublo Collection File Cabinet by Comfort Products is a tasteful combination of functionality and form, with its stylish wooden build and spacious bottom drawer for storing your most important files.
This filing cabinet offers something slightly different from the previous two filing cabinets on this list. While the previous two focus on security and functionality, the Coublo File Cabinet focuses on providing aesthetics and storage space in one compact furniture.
The Coublo cabinet has a deep bottom drawer that provides a secure place for hanging letter and legal sized files. While the drawer itself is solid and excellently built, there is no built-in locking system to prevent unauthorized access. Needless to say, security is not this cabinet’s best features. If you need a decent place to store important non-confidential files, however, this is one of the more modish options.
In terms of size, this cabinet is pretty close to the slim range, with dimensions of 25.25 inches in width, 15.25 inches in depth, and 30 inches in height. While this is too high for sliding underneath a standard desk, it does make a convenient and stylish desk-side furniture. Its open-style top drawers are excellent for storing books, files, decoratives, photos and other office or workstation knick-knacks. The bottom drawer is 9.5 inches high, and can store large items as well as paper files.
The top portion of the cabinet is an open type shelf space that is compartmentalized into four open shelves. The shelf dimensions are adjustable for a more personalized storage space for whatever you plan to store or display on your cabinet.
The large drawer has a removable rail that allows you to fit letter-sized hanging folders in lateral position, which is awesome for organizing your files and keeping ready access to all of them anytime you need to. The pull-out drawer is fitted with an excellent glide mechanism and a pair of carved wood handles that let you pull out the drawer smoothly and easily even when it is fully loaded with documents.
The top space has a smooth dark wood finish and stylish bezel. It can double as a storage space for printers and scanners or additional books and files.
QUALITY AND BUILD
The cabinet is crafted from engineered wood and thick PU laminate, finished in dark wood and measured to precision for superb fit and easy assembly. The boards are thick and solid yet lightweight enough for easy mobility. The pieces are expertly crafted and finished as well, making assembly time fast and sweat-free. It’s an easy task to put together even for ladies and adolescents with a minimum amount of supervision required.
- Stylish design and dark wood finish
- Slim profile and small footprint
- Versatile upper shelf space for storage and display
- Multi-purpose top rack
- Hanging letter-sized folders
- Carved wood handles
- Sturdy build
- No built-in locking system
- Smaller drawer space for documents
- Laminated wood material not as durable as hardwood or metal
If you like the aesthetic points of the Coublo File Cabinet but are more concerned on having enough storage space for your files, you should check out this 2-Drawer Lateral File Espresso Cabinet with Black Accents by Z-Line Designs.
Unlike the Coublo File Cabinet, this beautifully finished cabinet has a secure locking mechanism for its top drawer. While this is not as secure as the Alera file cabinet, it is a much better option than the Coublo if you need a safe and restricted storage for your confidential files. The solid build is not easily undone but could get chipped away eventually if they are really intent on getting into the content. In that case, the content is probably more suited in a vault. For less crucial contents like original documents and items, this Z-line file cabinet is a moderately secure choice.
This Z-Line cabinet is 29 inches wide, 16.4 inches deep and 25.2 inches high. While it is a few inches wider than the Calico File Cabinet, it is quite low and can easily fit under a long or L-shaped desk. This is awesome for narrow workspaces that need to fit as much storage and working room into the least floor space possible.
The cabinet has 2 uniformly sized drawers, both at least 12 inches high and can easily accommodate hanging folders. The drawers can also be used to store other larger items in the office or home.
Like the Coublo, this file cabinet has a high grade when it comes to design. Its dark wooden espresso finish is cool and sophisticated, while the understated design provides a relaxing and neat ambiance. If you need a classic piece of furniture for your office or home, then this storage cabinet is perfect suited for you.
The two drawers are fitted with metal sliders, so the drawers pull out easily even when fully loaded. The squat dimensions also offers stability so there is no fear of the cabinet toppling over while you are accessing your documents. In addition, the top portion is excellent for more storage or display. As long as you have available floor space, you can deck out your favorite reference books or use it as a gadget bay for the tools you need for your daily functions whether you are a worker, home-based freelancer or business owner.
QUALITY AND BUILD
The cabinet is made of real hardwood so it is inevitably heavier at 71 lbs. This makes it a little difficult to move around and a little harder to assemble. This is not a big deal though as long as you have an extra pair of hands to help you heave the components and move the whole thing into position.
In terms of durability, however, hardwood furniture like this one can be trusted to last for a long time, which makes it a worthwhile investment if you are seeking long term satisfaction.
- Secured top drawer with lock and key
- Wide storage for hanging folders
- Stylish design and finish
- Durable hardwood
- Heavy for its size
- No casters for better mobility
This 3-Drawer Mobile File Cabinet was designed by Lorell especially for workstations that need a more mobile and slim storage space.
The cabinet has a lock and key mechanism with a keyhole on the second drawer that single-handedly secures the top 2 drawers. The metal body and drawers are solid enough and are not easy to pry open so your files are safe from falling into the wrong hands. The lowest drawer, however, does not lock so be sure not to keep your documents in that space if you want to keep them secured.
The cabinet has a slim profile, with only 18 inches width and 14.2 inches depth. It is however taller than most desk-side file cabinets, with 29.3 inches height. This is a convenient size for keeping files near your desk without taking up too much space. One thing you might want to look out though is toppling the whole thing over when you are pulling out a loaded 2nd drawer, since there is no central caster for this one to break the fall. This is not too much of a big deal though as long as you remember to handle the cabinet with care.
As the name suggests, the cabinet has 3 drawers, 2 deep ones that accommodate hanging folders and 1 narrow top drawer for accessories, writing tools and stationeries. As with other low filing cabinets, you can use the top rack for smaller office instruments like printers and scanners. This can also prevent the cabinet from losing balance.
What makes the Lorell file cabinet remarkable is its highly mobile design, with nylon casters that glide fluidly over any floor surface so you can move it around easily for a more ergonomic workspace.
QUALITY AND BUILD
The whole cabinet is constructed from metal components, making it durable, lightweight and space-optimizing. The handles are made of smooth hard plastic, as are the four multi-directional casters. It is finished with a nice shade of matte black so that it looks professional and classy.
- Top 2 drawers secured with lock and key system
- 2 deep drawers for hanging files and 1 top drawer for accessories and supplies
- Highly mobile with easy roll casters
- Sturdy metal build
- Professional and classy matte black finish
- Slim profile may topple over when front loaded
- Lowest drawer does not lock up
This antiquated white lateral file cabinet is Sauder Harbor View’s version of stylish storage. Like the Coublo Collection of Comfort Products, this file cabinet blends a balance of functionality and aesthetics.
The Sauder cabinet has 2 sections of storage. The lower section is a pull-out storage drawer that is secured with a patented T-lock system, which gives you more protection for your files than the similar Coublo Collection file cabinet. Aside from that, the rest of the cabinet is unsecured but should not be a big deal unless you have too many confidential items to store.
The cabinet in general is 32 inches wide, 21.2 inches deep and 31 inches high. It has a compact build that fits into small spaces and corners in your home, office or workstations. Since it is made of hardwood, the cabinet has a weight of 101 lbs even though it takes up a rather small floor space.
The white finished hardwood cabinet has a rather classic design, which may make it difficult to fit into more modern-themed offices and steel and leather ensembles. Given the right mix of office or home furniture, this file cabinet provides a spacious and elegant feel to your workspace.
The top section is a cubbyhole storage that doubles as a display space. You can personalize the cubby hole dimensions to suit your items for display or storage. The top shelf is also an excellent space to put up photos, memorabilia and conversation pieces. Or you can keep it more functional as a printer, monitor or gadget bay.
The lower shelf is an easy pull-out drawer that has 2 carved handles for easy access. It can support either legal, letter as well as European sized documents in hanging folders.
QUALITY AND BUILD
The quality of the hardwood material is unquestioned, as well as the finish, design and painting. The cuts are crisp yet fluid, giving that stable yet relaxed effect. Assembly may require considerable time without a helper due to weight of components.
- Elegant classic design
- Versatile cubby hole storage space
- File drawer secured with patented lock system
- Made of hardwood and sturdy metal components
- Heavy for its size
- No casters, low mobility
Another excellent functional file cabinets for small workspaces is Lorell’s 2-Drawer File Cabinet, which is mobile, compact and efficient in keeping your files organized.
The 2 drawers are protected by a single lock system that secures both drawers from a keyhole on the bottom drawer. The drawers and body are constructed from strong metal that effectively keep out busybodies with not so good intentions. The lock is a little on the flimsy side, but its sturdy enough to keep out most intruders. If you just want to keep things personal and out of people’s reach, this file cabinet does quite well enough.
This compact cabinet is 18 inches wide and 14.2 inches deep and 26.5 inches deep, and can be easily stored underneath your desk without eating up too much of your leg room. Otherwise, you can park it beside your desk and still have easy and convenient access to your important files without having to leave the comfort of your office chair.
The drawers are more than a foot deep and both easy to pull out. The 2 can accommodate letter and legal sized hanging folders or files.
The compact design of this cabinet is really its biggest advantage. It is built for serious storage needs within a crowded or narrow workspace. Without all the unnecessary frills of larger cabinets, this Lorell drawer file cabinet delivers the most essential and probably only real crucial function of a file cabinet in half the size and weight of its counterpart. Talk about minimalist functionality.
Minimalist as it may, the cabinet still comes off with a professional and even fashionable look, with its high-gloss black metal finish, sleek cube structure, embossed drawer front and slim metal handles.
It is also fitted with four casters that support the body and provide easy mobility.
QUALITY AND BUILD
The steel sheets are quite thin though sturdy, but are constructed expertly using high quality components. The finished product is a sturdy, stable, mobile and lightweight file cabinet that you can adjust and move around to suit your working style and flow.
- Compact build
- Secure drawers with lock and key mechanism
- Highly mobile with multi-directional casters
- Smaller storage space
- No drawers for smaller supplies and tools
If you are looking for portable drawer file cabinets that are highly mobile but have extra room for supplies and smaller work items, Office Design’s 3-Drawer Vertical File Cabinet is another excellent choice.
Like the Lorell mobile file cabinet, this vertical file cabinet by Office Design has a locking system that secures the top 2 drawers with a lock and key. The lowest drawer is a free-access section although it provides ample protection from dust, sunlight and daily wear and tear to make sure your files are kept in their best shape for future use.
The metal body is slim like most of the steel cabinets that have been reviewed, but is strong enough to keep unauthorized people out.
This is also a slim cabinet, with the standard slim size width of 18 inches across and 14.2 inches deep. The 3-drawer cabinet stands up to 27.3 inches tall with the 4 casters installed. This may be too tall to slide under the standard desk, but is easy to keep beside your desk so that you have easy access to your files well within your reach.
The topmost drawer is a narrow pencil and other supplies storage roughly 2 inches. The lower 2 drawers are roughly 12 inches high and easily accommodate lateral legal or letter sized hanging files.
The cabinet is so designed to provide ample storage space for your various files while also providing a place to organized your office supplies and keep your desktop free from cluttered knick-knacks. The deep drawers support hanging folders or large files and items.
Like the similar Lorell 3-Drawer File Cabinet, this one also has the tendency to tip over when front loaded. This is especially true when you try to open the deep drawers that are loaded to capacity. Since there is no central caster to support the structure, weighting the cabinet down with a printer, books or something compact and heavy enough could keep you safe from unexpected incidents caused by front loading.
QUALITY AND BUILD
The quality and build is pretty decent and reliable, even given its lower price range. The whole item is very light and easy to assemble, you will have no trouble putting it together.
- Compact size
- Lightweight build
- Top 2 drawers secured with lock and key
- Highly mobile with multi-directional casters
- May tip over due to front loading
- Bottom drawer no lock mechanism
Less is more and white is the new black. Monarch Specialties offers its own version of modern class in its Hollow Core 3-Drawer File Cabinet on Castors.
Stylish, spacious, and modern, this filing cabinet would have been one of the most awesome picks. Unfortunately it has no built-in lock mechanisms, which makes it less attractive if you are looking for a secure storage for your important files. basically, this is for safekeeping of files to keep them in their best shape and to keep you from going crazy trying to dig under your growing pile of unsorted documents under your desk – admit it, you have that. Unless you have a highly crucial job involving highly classified files, this cabinet is a pretty decent way to organize your files, not to mention ultra chic.
Its slim build is 18 inches wide, 19 inches deep and 26 inches high, perfect for a desk-side storage or corner storage in your office or home workstation. The top 2 drawers are roughly 3 and a half inches deep and good for storing smaller supplies, forms, and writing tools. The bottom is a rather deep pull-out drawer that can store large items or large volume files in lateral or horizontal position.
The bottom drawer accommodates hanging folders but you must use legal sized ones since there is no adjustment bar for hanging letter sized folders. Nonetheless, you can stack up your letter sized files and get satisfactory results.
The casters are made of hard plastic and are the only non-white portion of the exterior. This could erk some people, but it mostly is not a bothersome disconnect and just makes the cabinet seem to be afloat. Other than that, it is a beautifully made piece of furniture.
QUALITY AND BUILD
As to the quality, the cabinet is made of high-grade steel and finished with elegant white coating to give off that spacious and tidy feel. With 44 lbs, it is a moderately heavy piece but is equally solid and stable.
- Slim build
- High mobility
- Elegant white design
- Neat build
- Multi-directional casters
- No built-in security system
We are down to the last item on the list, but if you are still looking for that one drawer file cabinet that helps you sort through your files easily and access each different category readily, you might be waiting for Winsome Halifax’ 5-Drawer Office Cabinet.
The cabinet has an excellent build and strong finish but unfortunately lacks a built-in security feature, so this is something you have to consider before you check out the rest of the features unless confidentiality and privacy is not a big issue.
What is great about this cabinet though is that at 26.3 inches high, you get 5 separate drawers for storing and segregating your files. The drawers are equally sized – 16 inches wide, 12 inches deep and 3 inches high.
The design is classic and somewhat rustic, with black rough wood finish with smooth interiors and easy glide metal sliders attached. The drawer fronts are carved to provide convenient and stylish handles and 4 multi-directional casters are attached to the corners for better mobility. The table top is a multi-functional space of printers, gadgets, books and extra files.
QUALITY AND BUILD
The whole cabinet is 46 lbs, which is considerably lightweight given the 5 drawers that the weight includes. The body and drawers are made of laminated wood, and is much lighter than real hardwood cabinets. It is also easier to assemble, on average taking about an hour or less with no helpers involved.
- 5 drawers for segregating files
- Beautiful and lightweight laminated wood material
- With 4 multi-directional casters
- Easy-roll metal sliders
- No built-in security features
- Laminated wood less durable than hardwood or steel