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Which bookcase is best?

There never seems to be enough storage space in our homes. Bookcases are the perfect solution. It doesn’t matter if you’re organizing your collections, wanting to spice up your display style or just trying to keep things off the floor. 

Before you buy the same old type of bookcase you’ve always bought, consider one of the more specialized options, such as the Mainstay Home Bookcase. Its thoroughly modern design uses irregular-shaped shelving for extra visual flair and to help accentuate any item you may place in it.

What to know before you buy a bookcase

Bookcase types

There are many types of bookcases.

  • Regular bookcases are what you picture when you think “bookcase.” They are enclosed on the back and sides and stand on the ground.
  • Backless bookcases are not enclosed on the back. This gives them the appearance of taking up less space, making them good choices for smaller rooms. It also makes the items on the shelves pop more.
  • Ladder bookcases have no sides or backs and fit flat against the wall. They also have arms that extend out at an angle. This makes the bottom shelf extra deep, with each shelf above becoming progressively less deep. It resembles a ladder, hence its name.
  • Divider bookcases are essentially massive backless bookcases that typically go from floor to ceiling to divide a room.
  • Corner bookcases are designed to fit snugly in the corner of a room by having 90-degree angle backs.
  • Folding bookcases are lighter weight and fold away for storage. They do so to make rearranging, traveling and space-saving as easy as possible.

Size and capacity

Consider the space you have in your home as well as how much storage you truly need before buying a bookcase. Outside of general size, the most important dimensions to consider are the depth and shelving height, as these dimensions can prevent larger books and items from fitting.

What to look for in a quality bookcase


Bookcases are typically made of particle board or solid wood, but metal is also common.

  • Particle board is the cheapest material, made of wood shavings that have been pressed into a solid and usually painted. It’s structurally weak, especially the shelves — each one has a maximum weight that should never be exceeded.
  • Wood is durable, steady and naturally attractive. Its shelves have weight limits too, but the limits are high enough that concern is rarely warranted. However, it’s usually the most expensive.
  • Metal is the most modern and has the same structural integrity as wood without the higher cost.

Adjustable shelving

The best bookcases have adjustable shelving. This lets you pick the precise height of each shelf or remove shelves entirely to best fit the kinds of books or items you want to store or display.

How much you can expect to spend on a bookcase

Bookcases can be as cheap as $20 or cost thousands. Basic bookcases shouldn’t cost more than $200, while better bookcases can cost up to $500. The largest, most stylish and well-built cases start around $500 and rapidly increase in cost.

Bookcase FAQ

What’s the difference between a bookcase and a bookshelf?

A. Most people and manufacturers use the terms interchangeably to the point there’s no practical difference. However, minor technical differences remain — bookcases are placed on the floor and are close-sided, while bookshelves are hung on a wall and are usually open-sided.

What precautions should I take with a bookcase meant for a child’s room?

A. There are two you can take to ensure maximum safety for your child. The biggest precaution is buying a short and wide bookcase. Go for one no taller than 3 feet and at least that wide, making it harder to topple and easier for your child to reach their things. The second precaution is bolting your bookcase to the wall. A few bookcases come with anchors, but it’s more likely that you’ll need to buy a set separately and provide your own tools, such as a screwdriver or power drill.

What’s the best bookcase to buy?

Top bookcase 

Mainstay Home Bookcase

Mainstay Home Bookcase

What you need to know: It’s sturdy, spacious and has a lovely modern design.

What you’ll love: The irregular shapes of the shelves lend themselves to displaying anything, not just books. If you’re worried about it being knocked over, you can easily secure it to the wall. It comes in white and espresso and with eight or 12 shelves in single or double packs.

What you should consider: The shelves can’t hold high weights, so be careful filling them. A few consumers reported it to wobble a little. Assembly is required.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top bookcase for the money

Furinno Luder Bookcase

Furinno Luder Bookcase

What you need to know: These are small, simple bookcases for those who just need some extra storage.

What you’ll love: It comes in 13 shapes with varying sizes and storage capacities, all of which can be sat next to each other for a cohesive look. Assembly is required, but all the tools needed to build it are included — expert assembly is also offered for a reasonable fee. 

What you should consider: A few customers had issues with paint chipping and revealing the particle board underneath. Others were unhappy with screws that poke out from the side.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Casual Home Three-Shelf Folding Bookcase

Casual Home Three-Shelf Folding Bookcase

What you need to know: This folding bookcase is great for those who like to rearrange.

What you’ll love: It weighs only 22 pounds and folds completely flat for easy transport or rearranging. You can buy a second bookcase and stack both to increase your storage without taking up more floor space. It comes in 14 colors and is made of solid pine. 

What you should consider: Each shelf can only hold up to 25 pounds. A few purchasers reported that the unit might sway side to side rather than stay perfectly upright.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s


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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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