IRIS USA Review
There are numerous "review" sites on the web that claim to review the different hardware or craft bins on the market. These sites are nothing but automated pages that have gathered listings from Amazon, copied their content, and then published the star reviews. None of these review sites actually claim to have used them. We have used hundreds of storage bins over the years, from many different manufactures, for different storage types, and across thousands of small and large parts alike. Currently, most of our hardware cabinets store all of our electronic components (resistors, capacitors, integrated circuits, ...) and mechanical hardware (nuts, bolts, screws, standoffs). So, if you are in a different industry your experience may vary but we want to hear about it. These reviews are only focused on current manufacturers that you can currently buy on the market.
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IRIS USA is currently the second largest manufacturer of craft hardware cabinets in the United States. According to Amazon sales, they sell approximately 1/10 the number of units as Akro-Mils, but substantially more than any most other manufacturers combined. While IRIS USA has only been around for a few years and does not have the history that Akro-Mils has, they still have thousands of customer reviews to compare against. Lets let's look at the specifics:
IRIS USA offers five primary cabinet options (in both black and white): a 64 small drawer unit (DPC-64), a 24 large drawer unit (DPC-24), a 12 large drawer plus 32 small drawer unit (DPC-44) , a 6 large drawer plus 20 small drawer unit (DPC-26), and then a small unit with 16 small drawers (DPC-16).
They offer two different bin sizes between their different cabinets. The small sized bins have inside dimensions of 1.8" wide and 6.15" long. The large bins measure 4.05" wide and 6.15" long on the inside. Neither bin type has any slots to support dividers. Also, neither of the bin sizes have the small holes in the bottom of the bins that most of the other manufacturers have, meaning you don't have to tape over them for small components. The front grabs on the bins are well sized so as to easily pull the drawers out. One nice feature is they both have a large flat area on the front of the bins that make them easy to label, other manufacturers don't make it so easy.
The biggest complaint about the IRIS USA bins is the lack of dividers. Not only don't they provide them like Akro-Mils, their bins don't even provide a single slot to support them. Luckily, Bin Better now provides configurable dividers for the IRIS brand, but because there are no slots to hold them in place, we recommend that at least two width dividers be used to better secure them.
The second biggest complaint against IRIS USA is the mounting holes. Most other manufacturers provide keyholed slots that make it easy to install the screws in the wall, then slide the cabinet down and over them to secure it. The IRIS units however only have small holes just large enough for the screws themselves. Therefore, the screws have to be installed with the cabinet held in place, making it much more difficult mount and remove from the wall.
The last thing to discuss are the costs. Prices vary day by day but in general, IRIS USA is usually slightly cheaper than the market leader Akro-Mils.
- Higher Quality - Better overall quality for the price compared to Akro-Mils.
- More Stylish - They come in two colors and have a more stylish design than the others brands on the market.
- Longer Bins - Works better for some crafts and teacher supplies like pens, markers, and colored pencils. (Full length pencils still will not fit)
- No Holes - There are no holes in the bins that have to be covered over.
- Second Largest Manufacturer - Found mainly online, but available in numerous e-commerce stores.
- Made in the USA - Good to support made in America products if you can.
- Lack of Divider Slots - Does not support any dividers.
- Non-Keyed Mounting Holes - Makes wall mounting more difficult.
- No Mounting Hardware - Does not come with mounting hardware.
- Narrower Bins - The bins are longer but narrower, so may not be as ideal for some applications.
- Light Weight Plastic Frame - Can sag and cause drawers to get stuck when loaded with heavy items.
IRIS USA Final Opinion:
Most of what we use are Akro-Mils bins, but only because there were few options when we purchased them. Any new cabinets we purchase are now IRIS USA. They are cheaper, they don't have holes in the bins we have to cover up, they are easier to label, and honestly - we just like the looks a lot better. They do suffer some of the same issues as Akro-Mils though, such as having a frame that is lightweight and not well suited for storing items of significant weight. Overall though, IRIS USA are our current favorites.