How Much Weight Can Glass Shelves Hold

Image3Whether for your home or your business, glass shelves add an elegant look. However, since glass can break, you are likely wondering how much weight shelves made from this material can hold.

Glass for shelves isn’t unbreakable, but it is much harder than you may think. The amount of weight glass shelves can hold ultimately depends on the type of glass used to make the shelves. For regular glass, it tends to break at 6,000 pounds per square inch (psi). Tempered glass is stronger, though, allowing for up to 24,000 psi before it breaks.

Which Type of Glass Is Best for Shelving?

The right glass for your shelving will depend on how you intend to use it. You should think about the weight of the items you’ll display on these shelves and consider the thickness of the glass.

At home, you generally won’t need tempered glass, which is best for restaurants, stores, and other commercial settings. Glass shelves at home or in a business allow a beautiful way to display items to be seen from a wide array of angles. When you overload them, you will damage the shelving and the items that you display.

The maximum weight load will depend on the type of glass, the thickness, and the distance between the supporting brackets for each shelf. Take a look at the most important considerations for choosing glass shelves based on the weight they can hold.

Type of Glass

The first consideration when choosing glass shelving to hold your items is the type of glass. Manufacturers tend to only use toughened glass for shelving purposes as other types aren’t strong enough to support additional weight.

You may want to consider annealed glass, which is also called float glass. It is quite durable since it undergoes a heating and slow cooling process, which strengthens the surface.


If you are considering displaying something heavier on glass shelving, you should think about using heat-treated glass. It undergoes a rapid cooling process, which partially tempers the material. There is tempered glass, which is rapidly cooled after heating like heat-treated glass, though it is even stronger.

Thickness of the Glass

The type of glass for your shelving is important, though the thickness is another factor. The thicker the glass, the better it will be able to hold heavier objects without shattering.

Choosing annealed glass shelving that is ¼-inch thick can work for items that weigh less than 70 pounds. Even with strong support, you would not want to burden it with anything above that amount.

Tempered glass is capable of holding more weight, though these shelves tend to be thinner, making them a bit better for those smaller decorative items. Commercial glass shelves are usually 3/8-inch to 5/8-inch in thickness, which can accommodate heavier items like books.

Support Bracket Distance

When you have thicker glass for your shelving, it can safely support heavier weight on top. It’s even better if you have short distances between your support brackets, which will allow the shelves to hold more. If you have a glass shelf made of tempered glass that is 1 inch thick, it can hold nearly 200 pounds if the supports are placed 5 feet apart.

What to Consider When Installing Glass Shelving

When you choose thicker glass that is heat-treated, it is far more supportive of heavier objects. However, it is not impervious to breakage, especially if you don’t properly install the bracketing.


The best way to avoid issues is to weigh your shelves before installing them. You should then include the weight of your shelves with the weight of the load they will be carrying when preparing your installation hardware. Make sure you don’t overload the shelving, and you should be able to enjoy this beautiful display area for years to come.

My Interior Palace