Vented shelving features slotted shelves that enable air circulation, ideal for quickly drying dishes or for temperature regulation. Vented shelves can be used anywhere but are especially great in refrigerated areas, assisting products in reaching their maximum shelf life. They also weigh less, making them more mobile, and are designed for quick and easy loading/unloading of products.
Due to their slotted construction, they are more challenging to clean and maintain than their singular, solid shelf counterparts. In a hectic kitchen environment, spills happen. If something spills on the top rack of a vented shelf, it leaks down onto all the items below. There’s also more room for dust and grime to accumulate in the open spaces.
Throughout your research, you’re bound to notice that regardless of shelving type, not all units are designed the same. Here’s an overview of the common construction materials you’re likely to come across, and the environments and applications they’re ideal for.
Chrome-plated wire shelving is specifically designed to enhance ventilation and visibility. In humid environments, that are prone to rusting, so they’re ideal for dry storage like warehouses and stockrooms.
Many wire shelving units are available with an epoxy-coated finish that protects the shelf against rusting and corrosion for use in humid environments. These finishes are available in several different colors. Our popular Central Exclusive epoxy-coated wire shelving is available in blue, but black and green are also common finishes. Green epoxy is more prominent in back-of-the-house foodservice applications, whereas black epoxy is often used for retail purposes.
There are a two notably popular types of plastic shelving constructions: polymer and polypropylene. There are several benefits to opting towards a plastic construction instead of a metal one. The first being they are impervious to corrosion, making them a great option for humid environments. They’re also easy to clean and maintain, and weigh significantly less than metal shelving without restricting weight capacity. The drawback is that polymer shelving is traditionally more expensive than metal; however, many manufacturers offer longer warranties on this type of shelving.
A stainless steel shelving construction makes for a heavy-duty shelf. By and large, shelving units constructed of stainless steel are the most durable and versatile on the market. Stainless steel offers a natural resistance to corrosion and is able to withstand rougher applications in any environment, be it dry or humid. Uses for stainless steel shelving extend beyond mere foodservice, applicable in any industry, for just about any storage purpose.
Hybrid shelving is a newer type of construction that combines the best of both metal and plastic constructions. Consisting of a metal structure and a polymer exterior, users receive a high level of durability, corrosion resistance, flexibility and hassle-free cleaning. As far as price ranges go, these shelving units typically fall in the middle; traditional plastic shelving often leans on the high end and wire shelving on the lower end.
Though anti-microbial shelving can be constructed out of any of the above materials, these shelves are classified as their own category because they include an extra, built-in anti-microbial agent that shields against bacteria, mold and mildew, as well as other types of fungi that can lead to contaminated products and food safety concerns.