Tripp Lite
1111 W. 35th Street
Chicago, IL 60609
+1 (773) 869-1776
+1 (773) 869-1329

Rack Enclosure Cabinet Buying Guide

Protection and Organization for Servers and Network Equipment.

rack cabinet

What is a Rack?

Racks are frame structures designed for mounting standard 19" rack-mount equipment-servers, routers, UPS systems, switches, audio/video-regardless of vendor. They provide rack equipment organization, security and cable management while enabling airflow. There are two basic types: rack enclosures (also called rack cabinets) and open-frame racks.

Where are Racks used?

  • Server rooms and data centers
  • Audio/video installations
  • Closets housing telecommunications equipment
  • Industrial environments such as a factory floor

Note: Earthquake zones and locations prone to shock or vibration use specially designed racks.

What type of rack do you require?



Rack Enclosure Open Frame Rack Enclosure Open Frame
rack enclosure open frame rack wall mount rack open frame wall mount rack

If access control and equipment protection are important to you, we recommend a Rack Enclosure.

If you simply need an economical way to organize IT equipment, we suggest an Open-Frame Rack.

Wall-Mount Racks are ideal for securely housing IT equipment in classrooms or sites with limited floor space.

In small but secure locations, a wall-mount open frame rack provides excellent airflow and easy access to wiring.

What size of rack do you need?

1 rack unit example

The height of a rack, and the height of equipment in it, is expressed in "rack units" (a rack unit is 1.75 inches, or 44.45mm). The actual height of a 42U rack is therefore 42 x 1.75 = 73.5 inches. A 2U server would occupy two of the available 42 rack units.

Be sure to make an accurate assessment of the amount of rack space you currently need, and allow for future growth.

Rack Depth

Determine the maximum rack depth required to mount your equipment in a floor-standing or wall-mount rack enclosure cabinet.

Floor-Standing Rack Depth Designations

Rack Depth (in.) Ideal for...
Shallow 27 A/V equipment, limited space
Mid-depth 31 Limited space
Standard 37 Servers
Deep 42 Extra cables, improved airflow

Wall-Mount Rack Depth Designations

Rack Depth (in.) Ideal for...
Patch-depth < 16 Patch panels
Switch-depth 16 - 23.99 Switches
UPS-depth 24 - 31.99 UPS systems
Server-depth > 32 Servers

Can the rack handle the weight of your equipment?

Racks have a weight limit. Make sure that the capacity of the rack is greater than the total weight of the equipment being mounted.

Do you need any special features?


The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard requires that all companies that process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.

Shock Pallet Packaging

Shock Pallet models feature additional reinforcement and shock-absorbing material for safely re-shipping loaded racks to remote sites.


Expansion models can be bayed together easily to form rows, which is ideal for hot-aisle/cold-aisle cooling techniques.

Disassembled Shipping

Racks ship fully assembled for easy installation. However, sometimes doorways or tight spaces cannot accommodate fully assembled racks, so knockdown models ship disassembled for easier transportation.

Heat Removal

Thermal Duct Rack Enclosures directly connect to a facility's exhaust system to remove hot air not only from the rack but from the entire room.


Some data center sites host multiple users in a single Rack Cabinet. Co-location models have two separate compartments to allow secure access to the correct users.


GSA schedule purchases and other government contracts require products that comply with the Trade Agreement Act (TAA).

Extra Width

In addition to extended-depth models, extra-wide models provide extra space for cables and improved airflow.

Seismic Protection

Seismic Enclosures have a rugged welded construction and are tested to Seismic Zone 4 standards, making them ideal for sites that are earthquake-prone or are subject to regular vibration, such as an airport or factory.

Cable Management & Accessories

Shelves, mounting rails, stabilization, cooling, patch panels, hardware kits, casters, and more enable custom installations to accommodate any space limitation or expansion requirement. View our Compatibility Guide to look at the options.

Rack Cabinets and Open Frame Racks

Tripp Lite SR42UB rack enclosure

Rack Enclosures

Organize and secure networking, storage and telecom equipment in data centers, server rooms and network closets.

Tripp Lite SR42UBEXPND open frame rack

Open Rack Frames

High-performance, economical storage for rackmount equipment in secure IT environments.

Tripp Lite SRW12USG wall mount rack

Wall-Mount Racks

Keep computers and networking equipment safe and off the floor when space is limited.

Clear List



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+1 (773) 869-1776

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+1 (773) 869-1234

Tripp Lite
1111 West 35th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60609
United States

+1 (773) 869-1111 Main
1 773.869.1329 Fax

Business Hours
8 AM - 5:30 PM CST

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Need help with your purchase?
We're always available to help with questions, including product selection, sizing, installation and product customization. Call us at +1 (773) 869-1776 or email