3 Questions You Must Answer Before Buying File Cabinets

Fireproof Lateral File Cabinet
Fireproof Lateral File Cabinet

Whether you’re setting up a brand new office, or adding to an existing one, the need for filing cabinets is indisputable. Even in our online and virtual world, paper documents still have their place in our businesses and need to be properly stored – as do discs, flash drives, and more. But there are so many options – lateral, vertical, fireproof, etc – that choosing the right type of file cabinets takes quite a bit of thought. Ask yourself and your team these questions before making your purchase:

1. How many drawers do you need?

The answer to this question isn’t just how many drawers you need now, but also how many you might need later on. True, you can always add new units, but it’s best to get your filing cabinets all at once to avoid additional shipping or delivery fees, having to rearrange your office space and the chance of manufacturer discontinuation. Be sure to have a conversation with senior management about current needs and growth plans to make the best decision. Also consider whether you’ll store more paper or discs.

2. Lateral or vertical file cabinets?

Both lateral file cabinets and vertical file cabinets have their benefits. Choosing which works best for your office will depend upon on the space you have available and how you plan to use the filing cabinets.

To clarify the difference, the drawers of a vertical file cabinet extend from the short side of the cabinet and typically measure 15 inches, while those of a lateral file cabinet extend from the long side and are available in various lengths.

According to Wikipedia, the four-drawer vertical file, letter width, is the version purchased by most businesses. Yet lateral files offer employees the benefit of easy viewing since the drawers do not extend as far. If you have a long, narrow space, laterals might be your best bet (laterals are also stackable and are therefore great for space-saving). Shorter, wider spaces might do well with verticals. Again, consult with your space planners, senior management or administrative staff to ascertain how the files will be used and where they will be positioned.

3. Fireproof File Cabinets?

There is no denying that fireproof filing cabinets come at a premium cost, but the sense of security they provide may be well worth the investment. Does the government require you to keep your records for a certain number of years? Do your records tie current and past clients and business transactions together? Do you work in a building with many other businesses or at a place that has older wiring and electrical components? These are all prime examples of instances where fireproof cabinets would make great sense.

Some fireproof models are also water resistant (great for flood areas and in the event overhead sprinklers activate during a fire) and shockproof (perfect for areas susceptible to earthquakes).

If you do decide to go the with a fireproof cabinet, be sure to check the specifications to be sure that both paper and magnetic discs are protected and to what temperature your items are considered safe.

While settling on file cabinets takes more thought than one would expect, remember that whenever you have questions about any office furniture needs at all, Arnolds is here to help.