We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Lateral File Cabinet?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

While the most common type of filing cabinet might be a vertical filing cabinet, a lateral file cabinet has many appealing advantages. Built with volume, style and strength in mind, it can accommodate reams of paperwork without taking up lots of floor space. It is also more efficient than stacking several vertical file cabinets.

A lateral file cabinet resembles a utility cabinet, with horizontal drawers like that of a dresser. Hanging files are normally hung side-to-side rather than front-to-back, as in vertical cabinets. Some cabinets come with versatile inserts that can be used either way.

If files are hung side-to-side, the wide drawers make it easy to glance down a large number of files quickly for required paperwork. Unlike a vertical file cabinet, the lateral cabinet drawer need not be pulled out as far to search for a needed file. This is of particular importance in tight quarters where attendants are passing back and forth or working in close quarters. Because a lateral file cabinet can hold so many files, this type of unit is often used in medical offices, hospitals, law enforcement agencies, schools, and other establishments that require constant access to paperwork. This type of filing cabinet can have two, three, four or more drawers, and units can be placed side-by-side as needed.

Many models feature drawers that are counterbalanced, and some are adjustable. This prevents the cabinet from becoming unstable or toppling with a full drawer extended. Taller units are commonly made with interlocking drawers so that only one drawer at a time can be extended. A double-walled or reinforced cabinet will ensure the furniture stays square over time. Steel ball bearings on the roller mechanisms, suspension and other design features will create a difference in the ease of motion of laden drawers, and the quiet with which they open and close.

Lateral file cabinets are most commonly made of steel or wood. Some are designed with a storage cabinet or office supply pantry above, and two or more filing drawers beneath. A low, two-drawer model made of wood can double as a nice table or fax or printer stand. There are also cabinets designed for wall mounting.

Because a lateral file cabinet is made to support so much weight, construction plays into price. A two-drawer cabinet typically costs less than a four-drawer model. However, these products should perform well and stand the test of time.

These cabinets are available everywhere office furniture is sold. They are also often available from outlets that sell used office furniture. This can be a great way for a growing business to acquire quality cabinets at an affordable price.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon24685 — On Jan 16, 2009

what are the disadvantages of a lateral filing cabinet?

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.