Plastic vs steel guards

We are often asked how plastic guards compare with traditional steel guards. So we have put together a table outlining the benefits of Protect-it™ rack guards.


Protect-it guards

Traditional steel guards


Injection moulded ultra high impact polyethylene (HDPE)

Fabricated steel

Protection from everyday knocks and bumps

Absorbs energy from everyday knocks and bumps using integrally moulded, curved energy absorbers which spring back to their original shape

Transfers energy from everyday knocks and bumps to the concrete floor, placing stress on floor anchors

Performance in severe impacts

Flexible crumple zones absorb energy from high impact collisions, reducing damage to rack uprights (read more about our testing here)

Rigid steel provides limited crumple capabilities, usually resulting in floor damage (where anchors have been pulled out) and serious damage to the rack upright (where the impact of the guard against the upright creates a ‘kink’)

Why use crumple zones?

Crumple zones are designed to absorb energy and reduce the forces generated during a collision. They also spread these forces over a large area on the rack upright. Protect-it rack guards work just like the bumpers on modern cars

Steel guards work like the rigid bumpers on old-fashioned cars. Without a crumple zone these guards create high impact forces that are transmitted to the floor and racking (following failure of the floor anchors)


Quick, easy installation with no extra fasteners

Time consuming installation requiring messy drilling and bolting to the floor


Easy modular replacement - only damaged guard modules need to be replaced

The entire guard needs to be replaced. Extra costs may be incurred for repairs to the floor and rack upright

Rack inspections

Protect-it guards are easy to unclip (or slide out of the way) to facilitate rack inspections

Steel guards cannot be easily removed and this makes rack inspections difficult