What is a Lateral File Cabinet? Sizes, Types, Materials, and Benefits


    Are you in need of more storage space in your home or office? Have you considered purchasing a lateral file cabinet? What is a lateral file cabinet, you may ask? Well, it is a type of filing cabinet that is wider than it is deep and typically has two to five drawers that open from the side. They are typically used for storing and organizing files or documents horizontally, making it easier to access them quickly. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what a lateral file cabinet is and some of the benefits it can offer.

    A lateral file cabinet is a type of filing cabinet that is wider than it is deep. It typically has two or more drawers that are designed to hold and organize files horizontally. This type of cabinet is often used in offices and other workplaces to store and manage large quantities of documents.

    Lateral file cabinets come in a range of sizes and styles, allowing them to be customized to fit different storage needs. They can be made from a variety of materials, such as wood, metal, or plastic, and may feature different locking mechanisms to ensure the security of the files inside. Some lateral file cabinets also come with additional features, such as adjustable shelves or built-in dividers, to further aid in file organization.

    Overall, lateral file cabinets are an effective way to keep important documents organized and easily accessible. They provide a spacious and efficient storage solution for busy workplaces and can help increase productivity and streamline business operations.

    Size and Orientation of a Lateral File Cabinet

    When it comes to organizing documents in an office, lateral file cabinets are a popular choice due to their size and orientation. These cabinets are generally wider than vertical file cabinets, allowing for more storage space while still maintaining a compact footprint. In addition, lateral file cabinets provide easy access to files, making them an efficient choice for any workspace. However, when it comes to choosing a lateral file cabinet, it’s important to consider the dimensions and orientation that will work best for your particular needs. Let’s take a closer look at the size and orientation of a lateral file cabinet to help you make an informed decision.

    Dimensions of a Lateral File Cabinet

    When choosing a lateral file cabinet, it is important to consider the dimensions of the cabinet. Lateral file cabinets typically come in standard sizes, ranging from 30 to 42 inches wide. The height of a lateral file cabinet is usually between 28 and 56 inches, depending on the number of drawers it has. It is essential to measure the space where the cabinet will be placed to ensure that the cabinet will fit properly.

    The depth of a lateral file cabinet ranges from 18 to 24 inches, with the standard being 18 inches. The depth of the cabinet will determine the size of the files that can be stored inside. Most lateral file cabinets are designed to store letter-size or legal-size files. Cabinets that are 30 inches or wider can store both letter and legal size files.

    Some common dimensions of lateral file cabinets include:

    • Two-drawer lateral file cabinet: 30 inches wide by 18 inches deep by 28 inches high.
    • Three-drawer lateral file cabinet: 36 inches wide by 18 inches deep by 41 inches high.
    • Four-drawer lateral file cabinet: 42 inches wide by 18 inches deep by 52 inches high.

    It is important to note that some lateral file cabinets come with adjustable shelves, which can add more flexibility to the storage options.

    Horizontal vs Vertical File Cabinets

    When choosing a file cabinet, it is important to consider the orientation. There are two main types of file cabinets: horizontal and vertical. Vertical file cabinets are taller and store files front to back. They are typically more compact and take up less floor space. However, they are not as wide as lateral cabinets and have less storage capacity.

    Lateral file cabinets, on the other hand, are wider and store files side to side. They are designed to fit more documents and have larger drawers. They are also more accessible, as users do not have to dig through a pile of files to reach the one they need. In addition, lateral cabinets can be used as a space divider, making them ideal for open office plans.

    In terms of durability, lateral file cabinets are sturdier than vertical file cabinets because they have a wider base. They can also double as a workspace, allowing users to spread out their work materials on top of the cabinet. Lateral file cabinets are perfect for offices that need additional storage while still maintaining a minimalist look.

    Types of Lateral File Cabinet

    Lateral file cabinets come in different shapes and sizes, designed to cater to varying office needs. They are available in two, three, and four-drawer sizes, with an option to add locks for increased security. The materials used to construct the cabinet also affect its durability, sturdiness, and aesthetic appeal. In this section, we’ll dive deeper into the different types of lateral file cabinets and the features that make them unique.

    Two-Drawer Lateral File Cabinet

    A two-drawer lateral file cabinet is a great option for a smaller office or a home office. With two drawers, it can still store a substantial amount of files while taking up less space. It is also a great option for those who want to maintain a minimalist aesthetic, as it won’t take up much visual space in the room.

    Some key features of a two-drawer lateral file cabinet include:


    • Dimensions typically range from 30 to 36 inches in width and 28 to 30 inches in height
    • Depth ranges from 18 to 24 inches, with most cabinets built to store letter or legal size files
    • Some cabinets may have adjustable shelves for added flexibility
    • Lock options for added security
    • Materials vary, but common options include metal and wood

    Overall, a two-drawer lateral file cabinet is a practical and space-efficient option for those with moderate filing needs. Its compact size and practical features make it a popular option for home offices or small workspaces.

    Three-Drawer Lateral File Cabinet

    A three-drawer lateral file cabinet is a popular choice in small to medium-sized workplaces. It offers more storage space than a two-drawer cabinet and can accommodate letter or legal-sized files. Some models have adjustable shelves for added convenience. Here are some benefits of using a three-drawer lateral file cabinet:


    • Easy organization of files and documents
    • Greater storage than a two-drawer cabinet
    • Perfect for small spaces and open office plans
    • Rugged construction for durability

    Using a three-drawer lateral file cabinet can lead to improved work efficiency and a more organized workspace. It is versatile and can be used to store a variety of files, from letter-sized documents to larger legal-sized folders. Its horizontal orientation allows for superior accessibility and ease of use.

    Four-Drawer Lateral File Cabinet

    A four-drawer lateral file cabinet is perfect for larger offices where a larger volume of files is being handled. It is usually wider and taller than the other options and can store more files. With four large drawers, it offers plenty of storage space and can accommodate files of different sizes, including letter or legal-sized documents. It also allows for effective document sorting and management, making it ideal for busy offices. Just like other lateral file cabinets, it has a wider base that makes it more stable and sturdy.

    In addition, this type of cabinet comes in different materials, including metal, wood or a combination of both, and can be found in a variety of colors and designs to suit different office decor styles. It is important to consider the available space and the amount of storage needed before choosing a four-drawer lateral file cabinet, as it can take up significant room. Overall, this option provides ample storage and is a great investment for offices that need to archive a large number of files.

    Lateral File Cabinet with Locks

    Lateral file cabinets with locks add an extra layer of security to important documents and files. Locking mechanisms can prevent unauthorized access and theft, making them an ideal choice for sensitive files. Here are some types of locks that can be found on lateral file cabinets:


    • Key locks: the most common type of lock that can be opened with a key
    • Combination locks: use a dial or keypad to enter a code to unlock the cabinet
    • Electronic locks: use a digital code to open the lock, often with a backup key option
    • Smart locks: can be locked and unlocked using a smartphone app or remote control

    Lateral file cabinets with locks are made from different materials, including metal and wood, and come in different sizes and shapes. When choosing a lateral file cabinet with a lock, consider the level of security needed and the type of lock that fits your preference and budget.

    Materials Used for Lateral File Cabinets

    When it comes to selecting the right lateral file cabinet, materials play a significant role in its overall aesthetic, durability, and functionality. The two primary materials used for lateral file cabinets are metal and wood. Each material has its unique characteristics and can be customized to suit various office styles and requirements. In this section, we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of each material and help you make an informed decision based on your needs.

    Metal Lateral File Cabinets

    Metal lateral file cabinets are popular choices for workplaces due to their durability, sturdiness, and sleek appearance. They are typically made from steel, aluminum, or a combination of metals, and offer several benefits for offices such as:

    • Fireproof: Some metal lateral file cabinets come with a fireproof option, which is important in case of unexpected situations.
    • Security: Metal cabinets provide extra security as they are difficult to tamper without the use of tools. They also come with various lock options to protect sensitive documents.
    • Easy Maintenance: Unlike wooden cabinets that may get scratched or stained, metal cabinets are easy to clean and rust-resistant.
    • Variety of Designs: Metal cabinets come in various designs and colors which can effortlessly blend into any office space.

    However, there are some downsides to metal lateral file cabinets such as:

    • Heavyweight: As metal lateral file cabinets are denser than their wooden counterparts, they may be challenging to move around the office once they are set in place.
    • Cost: Metal lateral file cabinets are usually more expensive than wooden cabinets, although this is dependent on the brand, design, and lock option.

    Despite these cons, metal lateral file cabinets are still a great investment for offices because they offer a high level of security, durability and a sleek appearance that can elevate any office space.

    Wooden Lateral File Cabinets

    Wooden lateral file cabinets are a popular choice for those who want an elegant and warm feel in their workspace. Made from a variety of hardwoods such as oak, cherry, or mahogany, these cabinets can be customized in terms of style, size, and color. Here are some benefits of using a wooden lateral file cabinet:


    • Wooden cabinets are environmentally friendly since they are made from renewable resources.
    • They provide a classic and timeless appearance that can complement any office d├ęcor.
    • Wooden cabinets are solid and durable, making them long-lasting.
    • They come in different finishes such as stained or painted, and can be polished or treated to match any design taste.
    • Wooden cabinets are versatile, fitting into different work environments such as home offices or traditional workplaces.

    In conclusion, wooden lateral file cabinets are a great option for those who want a stylish and functional storage space. They are durable, customizable, and suitable for different office needs.

    Benefits of Using a Lateral File Cabinet

    Lateral file cabinets are a popular choice for storing files and documents in an office setting due to their space efficiency and easy accessibility. They come in varying sizes, materials, and lock options, making them adaptable to different office needs. But what are the benefits of using a lateral file cabinet? In this section, we will explore the advantages of using a lateral file cabinet over other types of file storage and how they can improve work efficiency and organization.

    Space-Efficient Storage

    Lateral file cabinets are an excellent option for maximizing storage space while minimizing floor and wall space. They are wider than vertical cabinets, so they can store files side to side while still being efficient for workspaces. Lateral file cabinets have a greater storage capacity than vertical cabinets, making them more practical for offices with large amounts of files.

    Additionally, lateral file cabinets have larger drawers and adjustable shelves, enabling them to store various sizes of files, from letter size to legal size. The shelves can also be adjusted to accommodate storage boxes or binders, adding more versatility to the units.

    Overall, the space-efficient storage of lateral file cabinets is a great advantage in most offices or homes. It allows for easy organization and access to these important files, making them an excellent choice for those who value function over form.

    Ease of Use and Accessibility

    Lateral file cabinets are designed for easy use and accessibility. Unlike vertical file cabinets, lateral cabinets provide a wide top surface area that can be used as a workspace. This feature makes the cabinets suitable for open office plans, where employees can work collaboratively.

    The cabinets’ lateral design allows for easy access to the files stored inside. The files are arranged side by side, making it easy to flip through the files and locate the needed documents. The larger drawers also provide increased visibility, making it easier to track the filing system.

    The cabinets are constructed with sturdy ball-bearing runners that enable effortless drawer access. This feature ensures that the drawers roll smoothly, even when they’re filled to capacity. Additionally, the wider base of the cabinets provides excellent stability, ensuring that the cabinets do not tip over easily.

    The lateral file cabinets come with varied features such as lock options, adjustable shelves or vertical partitions, and even an interlock system that prevents multiple drawers from opening simultaneously, thereby increasing the cabinets’ security. The lock options range from keyed locks to electronic or smart locks, providing options that fit any security requirements.

    Improved Organization

    Lateral file cabinets offer exceptional benefits for improved organization in the workplace. They provide ample storage space, which helps prevent cluttered desks, drawers, and shelves. Since lateral cabinets are wider, they can accommodate more files and documents, improving office efficiency.

    Lateral file cabinets come with a side-to-side arrangement of files, making it easy to locate documents in a matter of seconds. This organization minimizes time spent searching for files, allowing individuals to focus on more essential tasks. Furthermore, some lateral cabinets come with the option of adjustable shelves, making it easier to organize files according to their sizes and categories.

    The cabinets are also constructed with sturdy ball-bearing runners, meaning that the drawers are easy to open and close. This easy accessibility helps improve office efficiency by reducing the time spent maneuvering through difficult drawers. Additionally, lateral cabinets are equipped with a wider base, which offers more stability, and ensures that the cabinets remain upright and secure.

    Lastly, lateral file cabinets come with different locking options, which can add an extra layer of security to your important files. Locking up sensitive information may help prevent theft or unauthorized access, further keeping the office space organized and secure. Overall, lateral file cabinets offer a practical and convenient solution to organizing and storing files and documents in one place.


    What is the difference between a vertical and lateral file cabinet?

    A vertical file cabinet has drawers that extend from the shorter side of the cabinet and can only hold letter or legal-sized documents, while a lateral file cabinet has drawers that extend from the longer side of the cabinet and can accommodate larger documents such as blueprints, maps, and artwork. Lateral file cabinets are also wider and may have more drawers than vertical cabinets.###

    What does a lateral file look like?

    A lateral file usually has two or more drawers that are wider than they are deep. They are typically rectangular in shape and can come in various materials such as metal or wood. They also usually have handles or knobs on the front of the drawers to make them easy to access.

    What are the different types of file cabinets?

    The different types of file cabinets include vertical file cabinets, lateral file cabinets, mobile file cabinets, flat file cabinets, and fireproof file cabinets.

    What are the advantages of lateral filing cabinets?

    Lateral filing cabinets have several advantages over other types of filing cabinets. One of the advantages is that they provide a larger amount of storage space for files. This is because lateral cabinets hold files horizontally, rather than vertically, allowing for more files to be stored in a given amount of space. Additionally, lateral cabinets are often wider than vertical cabinets, which means that they can accommodate larger files or folders without having to fold or bend them. Finally, lateral cabinets are typically easier to access than vertical cabinets, as they offer a wider opening and do not require users to reach as high to access files stored at the top of the cabinet.


    In conclusion, a lateral file cabinet is a practical and indispensable storage solution for any office. Its wider dimensions, adjustable shelves, and side-to-side filing system make it an ideal option for workspaces with large amounts of files. The variety of sizes, locking options, and materials make it customizable to fit office needs and add an extra layer of security. When choosing a lateral file cabinet, it’s essential to consider the dimensions, orientation, and material that will suit the office’s space, aesthetics, and functionality.

    Furthermore, a lateral file cabinet also improves office efficiency and organization. Its space-efficient storage, ease of access, and improved organization capabilities make it an investment that pays off in the long run. Additionally, it provides versatility and support for collaborative workspaces, with ample storage space and a sturdy construction. In summary, a lateral file cabinet is a must-have for any workplace seeking to improve file storage, increase work efficiency, and boost organization.