Top 8 Best Shelf Brackets (Reviews and Buying Guide)

There are a lot of reasons as to why floating shelves have become preferred choices for storage nowadays. Aside from its contemporary look, it is also a space-saving solution compared to the bulky look of traditional shelves. But what holds a floating shelf together or what determines its weight capacity would be the shelf bracket used to mount it. 

As simple as they may seem, there are different types of shelf brackets and in this post, we shall not just look at their differences but shall also take into account the best shelf brackets out there if you are looking for one. If you are shelf bracket shopping right now, read on. 

Types of shelf brackets

As have been mentioned, there are different types of shelf brackets. We might be accustomed with just the L-bracket but you will find in this list that there is a shelf bracket for your different mounting needs. 

1. Angle brackets

This one is also called the angle cleat or the angle brace. It is basically an L-shaped fastener angled at 90-degrees, hence, the name.

Its usual use is to join two furniture parts together. While it is typically made of metal, plastic and wood angle brackets are also available. 

2. Heavy-duty brackets

Also called the high weight capacity industrial brackets, this one is specifically made to support greater furniture weight.

It comes with additional mounting hardware and is considered as one of the strongest types of brackets out there, being drilled into the wall stud with six bolts. 

3. Floating brackets

As the name suggests, floating brackets become virtually invisible when they are installed. They are also called the hidden shelving brackets because, well, they are hidden at the back of the shelves to give it its modern, floating look.

While they are one of the easiest brackets to install, they do not hold much weight so make sure that you do not use them for heavier furniture or it will collapse. 

4. Lip brackets

This one is a very versatile shelving bracket type. As the term suggests, it is different from the other types because it features curled lips at the end of the bracket.

The function of this one is to prevent slipping on the end of the furniture and also acts as an added design element for the setup to look more decorative. It is perfect for distressed shelves as it imbibes the ultimate rustic look. 

5. Decorative shelf brackets

They are called decorative because the vast range of designs and styles that come with this type of shelf bracket spruces up your interior. They can come in wood, vinyl, rubber, plastic, fiberglass, and metal materials.

They can be customized for added effect too. If you are looking for shelf brackets which add to greater display space with an upscale look, this is the best choice for you. 

6. Brass shelf brackets

When eyeing for modern or rustic design shelving, the use of brass shelf brackets would be a fine choice. They can come in uncoated or coated, low gloss and high gloss types. They are usually used in heavy shelving and in toilet shelves, among others. 

7. Pipe shelf brackets

This one is a heavy-duty bracket. It is said that it could withstand and support a weight of 70kgs. They are usually used for both outdoor and indoor fixtures functioning as restraint, or a security tubing for plumbing, electrical, and heating purposes. 

8. Wood shelf brackets

If you want the full farmhouse or rustic effect, the organic look of wood shelf brackets never goes out of style. They can be L-shaped, angled, and more. They can also be stained, painted, or rough, depending on your home’s interior.

They can also be carved and customized. There is no question as to the versatility and durability of wood so when it comes to shelf bracketing, it still remains a prime choice. 

9. Folding shelf brackets

This one is a contemporary way to save space even for wall-mounted furniture. This type of shelf bracket allows tabletops, workspaces, and shelves to be folded away after use. All you have to do is to dismount the easy clip folding shelf brackets and you are good to go. 

10. Adjustable shelf brackets

This one can be too long or too short depending on your need and preference. Since it is made of connected metal clips, you can detach or attach more or less depending on the weight of the furniture that you are mounting.

Just note that each metal clip could hold at least 25lbs. If you are buying a plastic adjustable shelf bracket, each clip can hold 10lbs only. 

11. Invisible shelf brackets

As the name suggests, this one is completely hidden behind the furniture. Because they are easy to conceal, this shelf bracket type is very popular among bedroom, office, living room, study, and corridor furniture. 

7 Best Shelf Brackets 

Without much ado, let us dive right into the best shelf brackets in the market today. Also listed here are their pros and cons to help you in weighing out the shelf bracket that is most suitable for your needs and preferences. 

1. Foliv Metal Floating Shelf Brackets

What we love about itProsCons
Super value shelf brackets set. Affordable.Questionable capacity. 
Sleek and slim profile. Comes as a complete set.Questionable durability. 
High weight capacity. Lightweight.
Excellent after sale service. Easy to install. 
Premium steel build. 

This one is a good run for your money not only because it is a 20pcs set of 12-inch metal shelf brackets but also because of its known functionality. Its main upside would be its very complete set. Aside from the brackets, it also comes with a pair of installation gloves, screwdriver and 240pcs screws. 

Since it is an L-shaped bracket, it is perfect in reinforcing or installing floating shelves, tabletops, toy and kitchen shelves. As for the warranty, a 90-day replacement and refund are guaranteed if any of the piece malfunctions. 

You can find more information on their website at http://folivscrew.com/ (The Future of Electrical Tools and Accessories)

2. Home Master Hardware L Brackets

What we love about itProsCons
Superb weight capacity. Comes as a complete set. Relatively expensive. 
Affordable.Can withstand 1200lbs. Not for typical shelving. 
Sturdy and very durable. Versatile usage. 
Durable build.

This one is an L-shaped, heavy duty shelf bracket. Each pack of this one contains 10pcs 12-inch brackets constructed with high grade, brushed and coated steel. As such, it is known for its sturdiness and durability. It also comes with free mounting hardware so this is a good value for money. 

The main upside of this shelving bracket is that it is the most heavy duty pick in this list. It can hold a weight capacity of up to 1200lbs. Hence, it is used as shelf brackets for large bookshelves, exhibition stands, as garden shelves or in the greenery, and more. 

3. MHMYDZ Industrial Shelf Brackets

What we love about itProsCons
For lightweight shelves. Versatile and affordable. Durability is questionable. 
Comes with mounting hardware. 140lbs weight capacity. 
Decent weight capacity. Easy to install. 

This one is another heavy duty shelf bracket which you can use for garage, bathroom, office, and bedroom shelving. It is an L-shaped bracket with a weight capacity of up to 140lbs. It comes with pre-holed screws making it very easy to install. 

Its main upside is its versatility. It can be easily installed in either wood or drywalls. When attached to concrete, it might need an anchor. It is also fairly durable plus it is an affordable set pick so you should really consider this one if you are within a specified budget. 

4. Claimed Corner Industrial Farmhouse Shelf Brackets

What we love about itProsCons
Durable and reasonable price. Comes as a complete set.None. 
Made for farmhouse interiors. 500lbs weight capacity. 
Space-saving. Durable and versatile.
Visually pleasing. 

This one is a lip shelf bracket made of steel metal and has a weight capacity of 500lbs. With its angled lip curve, it is perfect for rustic design shelves.

It is also specifically designed to be attached easily to lumber boards. It comes as a complete set, containing screws and anchors. 

With their length and width, these farmhouse shelf brackets are perfect for kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms and living rooms with rustic themes. They are very space-saving and they look aesthetically upscale with wooden shelves. 

5. TLBTEK Industrial Shelf Brackets

What we love about itProsCons
High grade build.600lbs weight capacity. None. 
High aesthetic appeal. Durable and affordable.
Sturdy. Comes with product warranty. 
Rust and corrosion free. 

This one is a pipe style bracket. It is made of wrought iron so from here alone, it already speaks of durability. Aesthetics wise, it has that very retro, vintage look so it would be perfect for classic style homes especially in bathroom, kitchen and bedroom furniture.  

Overall, it has a weight capacity of 600lbs. With its coating, it is known to be rust, corrosion and fade free.

It is also used for both indoor and outdoor furniture because of its durability and sturdiness. It comes with a 2-6-month product replacement and refund too so at best, it is a good run for money. 

6. Luckin Rustic Floating Bracket

What we love about itProsCons
For heavy duty items. Straightforward installation. Requires thick boards for installation. 
Can also be installed outdoors.  Weight capacity of 160kgs. 
Durable and rust proof. Rated as the strongest floating shelf bracket. 
Comes as a complete set. 

As flexible as they may seem, this 8-bracket set is made of heavy-duty steel allowing them to support a weight capacity of 180kgs.

They can be installed at a standard size board of 8×2-inches. They already come with the needed hardware so they are very easy to install too. 

Perhaps, the main upside of this shelving bracket would be its versatility. It can be installed in almost all types of surfaces including drywalls, wood, and concrete. It is also sturdy and not sensitive to moisture and elements so you can see it safely intact in bathroom, kitchen, and living room furniture. 

7. YUMORE Heavy Duty Shelf Brackets

What we love about itProsCons
Can hold heavy items at 150kgs capacity. Foldable, sturdy and easy to install. None. 
Comes as a complete set. Rust, corrosion and fade proof. 
Durable.Made for heavy duty items. 
Comes with hardware and pre-holed screws. 

This one is a heavy duty, folding shelf bracket made of premium grade, brushed stainless steel. From this alone, one can already infer its well-prized durability.

Some of its major upsides is that it is rust, corrosion, and fade free. It does not also get dented or scratched easily, hence, preferred for high-traffic rooms. 

Since it is foldable, you can depend on it for space-saving. They are also very easy to install and it already comes with all the needed hardware and mounting accessories. Its screws and anchors are already pre-screwed too. It can hold up to 150kgs. 

8. NACH Half Round Wall Shelf Bracket

What we love about itProsCons
High weight capacity. 600lbs weight capacity. Does not come with screws. 
Durable build.Comes with pre-drilled holes. 
Decorative. Rust, corrosion, and fade proof. 
Durable.

This has been a consistent top ranking wall shelf bracket in the last years. Its construction screams durability as it is made of weighted cast iron.

It is also rust-proof and can withstand outdoor elements without color fading and corrosion. Its design is also very decorative, matching rustic and modern themes. 

While they are very easy to install because of their pre-drilled holes, they do not come with screws and you have to buy them separately. Nonetheless, it has a weight capacity of 600lbs so it still does not disappoint.

Things to consider when buying a shelf bracket

Just because they are default parts of floating furniture installation would not mean that you should buy shelf brackets on whim. There are still factors to consider and if you want to know some important buying tips when it comes to shelf brackets, you should be aware of the following: 

1. Weight capacity

The most important buying tip to consider would be the weight capacity of the shelf bracket. This is the main reason why you are even looking for one so do not miss this out.

A good shelf bracket should be able to withstand 2-3 times the weight of the heaviest book or item that you shall be putting in it. 

2. Installation

Of course, we should still go for shelf brackets that are easy to install. It should come with a comprehensive, step-by-step process and should be completed in not more than an hour. If you find it too complicated to install, ditch it at an instant. 

3. Durability

Anent to weight capacity would be the durability. You need a shelf bracket that is dependable and would not give up in just a few months. We are not talking about simply being able to stick to a drywall for long.

We are also looking for shelf brackets which can outlive the furniture itself. For this matter, the material used for the shelf bracket also becomes an important determinant. 

4. Affordable

It should always be a balance between good quality and affordability and with the different types of shelf brackets, you will surely find one that fits the call sheet.

Always search for the most reputable brands first and look for their most affordable models. When it comes to these fixtures, you do not need to spend more than you need to. 

5. Safety

You need a shelf bracket that would not wiggle and give up at the slightest movement or during earthquakes. For this, consider a shelf bracket with durable looking screws or those with heavy duty bolts. This way, you can ensure that everything is tucked in safely in those walls. 

6. Clearance space

Be wary about the size and arrangement of the shelf brackets too. Always make sure that there is enough clearance for wires of electronics or gadgets to free-fall from the sides.

This is where brackets become yet again functional as it lessens chances of tripping when the cords all-out fall on the floor. 

7. Bracket width

This is also another important consideration because the width of the bracket should be sufficient enough to hold the weight of the furniture. Just bear in mind that a too wide bracket would not be efficient in supporting greater weight. 

8. Color, material and design

Note that you should not pass on the decorative value of your shelf brackets too. Fortunately, they come in different colors, built using different materials and designed with great customization that you have virtually thousands of shelf brackets to choose from depending on your interior. 

FAQs

Aside from covering the best shelf brackets out there, it would also be valuable to look at some of the FAQs relating to shelf brackets. These relate to installation essentials and other important information that one should be aware of when it comes to shelf brackets. 

How far apart should shelf brackets be?

This one depends on the projected load that the shelf is expected to support. As per rule of thumb, light to medium loads require not more than 24-inches apart.

If you have longer shelves, shelf brackets should be attached every 48-inches of length. If you intend to use the shelf for heavier loads, choose larger brackets but lessen the spacing between them. 

How much weight can shelf brackets hold?

Shelf brackets can hold weight from as measly as 100lbs to 500lbs but it depends on their size. For instance, 8-inch brackets with 0.5-inch thickness could hold a weight of 450-500lbs while 12-inch brackets with 3/8-inch thickness could only hold 175lbs. 12-inch brackets at 0.5-inch thickness can hold a maximum weight of 310lbs. 

How to hang a shelf with brackets?

At the end of the day, this is the one that you should master. True enough, there are a lot of tutorials out there to teach you this task but for the sake of completing this comprehensive guide, here are the steps in hanging a shelf with brackets. 

  • Measure your space: Just as in any installment, the first step is to always measure the space. Measure first the wall coverage of the furniture. After this, project its length and how many partitions you shall need. 
  • Determine the type of shelf to be installed: Remember that the type of shelf you shall mount also determines the type of bracket that you shall use. Refer to the types of brackets on the list and choose the most applicable type to use for different shelf types. 
  • Tape your layout: To attach the brackets well, you need to go the old-fashioned route and tape the space that shall be covered and the drill/bolt points. For this, use a straight edge, a pencil to mark the spaces, and a level to keep it all in place. 
  • Attach the brackets and then the shelf: Now that you have laid down the marks, it is time to screw the brackets on the wall. After screwing the brackets in, carefully slide the shelves to be attached. Note however, that some shelves are installed by laying them atop the brackets. For these types of shelves, you will need an additional adhesive to keep them intact. 

How do you support shelf brackets? 

Some shelf brackets are standalone but some need further support. In this case, you would also have to purchase a separate set of anchors for them to become intact in their places.

Mostly, anchors are needed by the lightweight and decorative bracket types. This is the exact reason why you need to know the different types of brackets along with their weight capacities. 

Do shelf brackets need to be in studs?

Ideally and as a general rule, yes, shelf brackets need to always be in studs. However, installing them directly in studs has always proved to be challenging. Hence, it is more recommended that one just uses anchors instead of having the brackets stalled in studs for more convenience and to save time and effort. 

Where do you put brackets on a shelf? 

It is said that the best position for a shelf bracket to be installed would be on top of the wall stud. As per rule of thumb, there should be one stud per bracket. This means that you are required to install more studs when you are working on a larger shelf. 

Is there a proper height to hang a shelf? 

Interestingly, there is. The standard height for hanging shelves from the floor would be at 4-5ft. It is also said that when hanging a shelf on top of a piece of furniture, one must follow the 10-inch rule. This means that the shelf must be hung 10-inches above the desk, a couch, or virtually any furniture. 

Which side of the L-bracket goes on the wall?

Logically, the long legs of the L-bracket go against the wall. Sure, you can do the reverse, but note that it would not be as strong. Going for the long legs against the wall offers you more vertical space which is good if you want to save more shelf height. 

Are there shelf bracket alternatives? 

If you are not a mechanical person and you cannot see yourself assembling a shelf with brackets, it would be best to search for shelf bracket alternatives. For this one, you can choose among these three: 

  • Chains
  • Go for floating shelves instead
  • You can always opt for the traditional, freestanding ones. 

What are the best woods used for open shelving? 

Open shelving calls for the use of shelf brackets to keep them in place. When it comes to the best types of woods for open shelving, however, your choice should revolve on the following: 

  • Oak wood
  • Maple wood
  • Cherry wood
  • Plywood

Aside from their durability, expect these woods to be workable especially in easy installation of brackets and anchors. 

How long should screw brackets be? 

Some shelf brackets do not come in a complete set. This means that there are some brands which will require you to buy screws and other mounting hardware separately. For this, knowing how long screw brackets should be is essential. 

For heavy duty brackets, 38-50mm screws are recommended. These screws must have the heaviest gauge. Basically, a 4-5.5.mm gauge is needed to bolt in heavy duty shelf brackets. As for the lightweight ones, there is no fixed length. In this case, always check the installation manual on the box or ask ahead if they do not come with hardware. 

Final verdict

In this post, we have covered that there are different types of shelf brackets and each have strengths and weaknesses depending on where they are installed and the type of shelf that they can hold. As such, it would be very impartial to just choose one to declare as winner. 

With all things considered, you have to note that shelf brackets are only as good as their weight capacity. Their inherent function is to support weight on mounted shelves and more so we have to always consider the ones which could offer the highest weight capacity if needed. But if this is not the priority, there are always more lightweight choices out there.