10 Floating Shelves That Hold (A Lot!) Of Weight

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart
The latest trend on Instagram for homeowners is the concept of a floating shelf. Floating shelves require little structural support, but due to their uniqueness, many are unsure of how much weight they can hold. Follow along as we explore the best floating shelf ideas that can hold plenty of weight without worry.

Floating shelves are in, and they’re trending in a big way. They are some of the fastest ways to give your home that sleek, modern look that fits perfectly in a penthouse suite. Though they’re super popular, most floating shelves don’t hold a lot of weight. This leads to people having their collections and books fall down with a bang. If you’re worried about this happening to you, we got good news: there are good options out there that hold a lot of weight.

There are several floating shelves that are known for having high weight capacities, most of which are made of metal. The best options on the market right now include:

  • The 12 Inch Shelf Bracket by LEOPO
  • Industrial Free Floating Shelves With Wood
  • Wall-Mounted Shelf Set by Love-KANKEI
  • White Floating Shelves by Amada Home Furnishing
  • Paulownia Wood Floating Shelves by Amada Home Furnishing
  • Marble Floating Shelf Unit by Kurtvana
  • Mid-Century Modern Shelving Unit by Kate + Laurel
  • Heavy-Duty Wood Floating Shelf by Joel’s Goods
  • The Premounted Console by Altus
  • The Manufactured Metal Floating Shelf by DIY Cartel

There are a bunch of shelves on the market that claim to be sturdy, but prove themselves to be anything but. This guide will make sure that you get your money’s worth when you get that new storage you want.

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Before You Begin: The Importance Of Installation

Before you even start perusing floating shelf options, it’s time to take into account how your shelving will be installed. How your shelves are installed will change the maximum load you can expect them to handle. Here’s what you need to know if you want to max out a shelve’s weight load:

  • The first thing you need to do is figure out where to install your shelving. The best place to hang the shelving support is on a wall stud, using wall mounting brackets that are meant for heavy loads. You can use a bracket finder to get a good spot. At least one of the supports should be on a bracket.
  • Always pay attention to the brackets and hooks you use. You can actually read up on how much weight a specific type of bracket or screw can hold in a wall. We suggest that you use specialty expanding screws as supports, but the better the screw, the better off you’ll be.
  • Use a level to make sure you don’t have stuff slide off. Uneven shelving won’t support high loads as evenly, either.
  • Do not try to install heavy-duty shelves on paper-thin walls. It’s just a bad idea, nine times out of 10. On a similar note, we don’t suggest these if you live in an area close to earthquakes.

Are Floating Shelves Sturdy?

Yes and no. Floating shelves are sturdy, but the thing is, the term “sturdy” is relative. When it comes to being able to hand up shelving well, you can rest assured that a properly installed floating shelf won’t budge. In this sense of the word, you can expect your shelves to be sturdy.

But, when it comes to being able to carry weight, this isn’t exactly the best option. The truth is that floating shelves are not very good when it comes to large weights. While the ones we featured all hold upwards of 40 pounds, most floating shelves are meant to act as display cases rather than something for serious storage.

If you want hardcore storage, floating shelves are not a good idea. We suggest looking at bookcases or getting a chest of drawers. Those are designed for large amounts of weight.

How Much Weight Can A Floating Shelf Hold?

It depends on the build and the bracket. Believe it or not, most floating shelves can’t carry much weight at all. A standard floating shelf can usually only carry between 15 to 30 pounds. The ones that we’re going to be looking at will be able to support far more when installed correctly, with the bare minimum load they can handle is 40 pounds.

While 40 pounds might not be much for a typical shelving unit, it’s important to remember that floating shelves aren’t usually meant to be able to bear large loads. Keeping that in mind, you should avoid placing very bulky items on your future shelves.

Video: Strong Floating Shelves – The Strongest Option

An Important Note About The Maximum Weight Load

In each of the products that we listed, you will find a maximum weight load that was suggested by the manufacturers. It’s important to remember that these loads were tested out in labs and that most of the loads that are listed are expected to be the maximum if you hang your shelf up on at least one stud.

To get the very most out of your shelving, you need to hang up your floating shelf on at least one stud. If your shelf is over 17 inches in length, then you should consider using more than one stud in installation. This is the best way to ensure you get stability. If you try to hang shelving without a stud, you will most likely damage your drywall.

Top Floating Shelves With A High Maximum Load

Now that we’ve mentioned the importance of installing them well, it’s time to look for floating shelves that can carry all the weight you want. The ones below are our picks.

1. The 12 Inch Shelf Bracket by LEOPO

If you’re looking for a gorgeous rustic floating shelf, then you might like this one. LEOPO made theirs brackets from super-thick metal. They also come in large sets, so you can get a full shelf wall if you need them to. The brackets on these are what make them really heavy-duty. Each bracket holds up to 80 pounds, making the max load per shelf around 160.

  • CHECK THE SIZE: This J shelf brackets fit the nominal 1”x 12” and 2” x 12” (actual 0.75” x 11.25” and 1.5” x 11.25”) lumber board, measure 11.25” x 6” x 1.5”(broad is not included)
  • 160-pound max weight per shelf
  • 12 inches long by 6-inch overhang
  • Works with any lumber you get from Home Depot

2. Industrial Floating Shelf With Reclaimed Wood

Made with iron and real reclaimed wood, this kit’s structure means that it can handle way more than the typical floating shelf will. While they do not have the full specs online, we were able to ascertain that it’s far above the typical 15-pound limit you’ll find. It also comes in a kit, so you have everything you need to install it here.

  • 【Distressed Decor】:Iron pipe, real wood and baking varnish.
  • Unknown max weight capacity (estimated 60 pounds)
  • 20 inches long by 27 inches high
  • A full kit, no need for lumber

3. Wall-Mounted Floating Shelf Set by Love-KANKEI

This floating shelf looks pretty simple, because it is. Sometimes, simplicity is what works best. The heavy-duty reclaimed wood in this kit is what makes it work, along with sturdy shelving. You get a set of three, so you’ll be able to get all your storage meets met in a pinch. What’s not to love?

  • Simple Display Shelves - Simple design floating shelves constructed of solid Paulownia wood boards and powder coated metal brackets, perfect for displaying and holding collectibles, small plants, stuffed animals and more.
  • 40-pound max weight capacity
  • 17 inches long by 5 inches deep
  • Comes in full kit with all items included.

4. White Floating Shelves by Amada Home Furnishing

We’ll be honest: finding a modern-looking floating shelf that can store a high capacity isn’t easy. In fact, most of the ones we came across while searching hold up to 25 pounds, max. Some only hold 15. That’s why this pick was fairly impressive, even though it’s made of MDF board. It’s one of the only ones of its style to be capable of heavy-duty storage.

  • Unique & Exquisite Vanity Design: AMADA HOMEFURNISHING new style floating shelves adopt the concept of contemporary decorating to polish each sturdy MDF wood to be perfectly beautiful. The special triangle brackets with glossy finish add a noble and luxurious style to your home.
  • 40-pound max capacity per shelf
  • Three different sizes, 6.1 inches deep
  • All items included in kit

5. Paulownia Wood Shelf Brackets by Amada Home Furnishing

This is a really neat concept, and it uses Paulownia wood to make it happen. Paulownia is a wood that’s both exotic and known for being sturdy, which makes it a perfect match for this list. Like other kits, it comes with all the goods you need to hang up your shelving, including a free towel rack. It’s a set of two, so you should be good to go as far as bathroom shelving goes.

  • Wide Use Scenes - Our floating shelves not only can be used in the living rooms, bedrooms, but also the bathrooms and kitchens. Perfect for displaying and holding collectibles, small plants, frames, and more.
  • Max load weight of 40 pounds
  • 16.5 inches long by 5.9 inches wide
  • Full kit, no additional hardware needed

6. Marble Floating Shelf Kit by Kurtvana

Gold and marble are basically Millennial candy. Finding heavy-duty floating shelves that have this color scheme isn’t easy, though. Thankfully, we found a shelf that has that theme with a real marble-like feel. Like, we’re talking about shelving that looks like stone and even has the same shine. How can you not love this look?!

  • 40-pound maximum weight capacity
  • Three different sizes, 5.9 inches deep
  • All items needed included in kit, set of three

7. Mid-Century Modern Shelving Unit by Kate + Laurel

Looking for a shelf that can double as a fashion statement? Take a look at this number. We’re loving the gold ring accents, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The cool thing about this is that the structure of the shelving is amazing. It’s a little retro-futuristic but also works well as far as support goes.

  • AMPLE SIZE: The overall dimensions of this shelf are 31 inches high by 8 inches deep and 28 inches wide. This gives you plenty of room to create a bookshelf, display small plants, or show off your most prized keepsakes and treasures
  • Maximum weight is 45 pounds.
  • 28 inches long by 8 inches deep.
  • Comes as a full kit, so you don’t need to buy additional goods.

8. Heavy-Duty Wood Floating Shelf by Joel’s Goods

This model is one that really emphasizes the floating aspect of floating shelves. Despite the lightweight vibe it gives, this actually happens to be one of the more rugged options that you can pick. The wood used to make these shelves is a whopping two inches thick, giving it a reinforced build that won’t break under pressure.

  • HANDCRAFTED MASTERPIECE: Decorate your home using durable pieces that will age beautifully with time. Handmade from solid white pine wood to achieve an optimum and lasting quality that you'll appreciate for years!
  • 50-pound maximum weight
  • 30 inches long by 10 inches deep
  • Comes with all the supplies you need to install them.

9. The Premounted Console by Altus

Technically, this is a floating shelf. And this is also one of the most heavy-duty floating shelves we were able to find on the market. This isn’t just a shelf, though. This is a full entertainment center console, and that means it’s designed to haul a lot of stuff. (Hello? Retro DVD collections?!) The weight load on this and the size alone make this as hefty as they get.

  • Mounts easily to wall with our innovative hanging rail system
  • 150-pound maximum capacity
  • 48.5 inches long, 16 inches deep, and 16.5 inches high
  • Comes with everything you need to mount it.

10. The Manufactured Metal Floating Shelf by DIY Cartel

If you’re looking for an office or workplace shelf that still floats but offers a good, heavy-duty weight limit, this is it. This simple shelving unit is made entirely out of metal, which means it’s easy to clean and has an industrial look to it. While the metal is thin, it’s still stronger than quite a few other shelves on this list. It’s deceptively sturdy.

  • A USA PRODUCT YOU CAN TRUST: Our heavy duty floating wall shelves are proudly crafted in the USA (California) from premium quality raw metal. Industrial strength construction guarantees high durability, ensuring that our wall mounted shelf can hold upwards of 60+lbs when mounted into a stud.
  • 60+ pound weight limit, depending on stud numbers
  • 24 inches long, 4.6 inches deep
  • Comes complete with screws and anchors for easy installation.

Related Questions

Can floating shelves hold books?

Absolutely, as long as you pick a shelf that is designed to bear an above-average load. Most floating shelves do not have the load capacity or the size to be good bookshelves. However, if your shelf can handle at least 25 pounds and has at least six inches of shelf space, you can absolutely use them to store your books. So, if you want a floating bookshelf, shopping with purpose is key.

Can you put a microwave on a floating shelf?

Though some sites might suggest putting a microwave on a floating shelf, the truth is that you will need to find a particularly strong (and deep) shelf for this use. Most of the floating shelves that are on the market will not be suitable for microwaves. Even if you are able to find one, you might not be able to find a stud to attach it to.Because of the issues that can arise from having a microwave drop off of a shelf, we don’t suggest it. It’s a little too risky.

Is MDF strong enough for shelves?

While it may not be as strong as teak or other hardwoods, MDF boards can be amazing for the right project. If you’re putting together shelving for light to medium loads, there is no reason why you can’t use MDF. This material might not be ideal, and it definitely won’t be an heirloom issue, but it is great for projects where you just need something that works.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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