Metal pegboard sheets or MDF pegboard... What should you get? | Madd Tools

Metal pegboard sheets or MDF pegboard... What should you get?

December 23, 2019

Recently, many people are switching over from MDF pegboard to metal pegboard.

As you know, classic pegboard is made out of medium- or high density fibreboard. Up to a few years ago, that's all you saw in garages and work shops. 

I've had both. I just love the old fashioned wooden texture of classic pegboard. It has a certain charm to it. However, there's applications that I can trust my metal pegboard for that I'd never consider using a classic pegboard for. My metal pegboard, for example, hangs outside in the garden and deals with whatever weather elements nature throws at it.

*In this article we refer to complimentary products on Amazon that are not part of the Madd Tools brand. maddtools.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn small advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. The product price for you as consumer remains the same. We only include products on our blog that we feel will benefit you as a consumer.

In order to pick one over the other you have to take a few factors into consideration.

pegboard

In this article, we'll investigate the following factors:

  1. Loading capacity
  2. Durability
  3. Installation
  4. Usability
  5. Price

1. Loading capacity

Loading capacity reflects on the amount of weight that you're able to hang from the board before that board eventually breaks down or majorly deforms under said weight. MDF board that's overloaded would rip open from the holes. Metal pegboard sheet would 'bulge'. Different brands have different makes and board specifications, so I researched a few boards with similar dimensions to get a general understanding. 

MDF pegboard loading capacity

mdf pegboard

Source: Grainger.com

Grainger is the only brand I found that actually states a loading capacity. You should be able to hang 50Lbs on this single panel.

Metal pegboard sheet capacity

wall control pegboard

Source: Wall Control on Amazon.com

The best selling metal pegboard is the pegboard sold by Wall Control. According to their Amazon product page, their board has the exact same dimensions as the wooden board. Instead of a 50Lbs loading capacity, this board has a 200LBS loading capacity. That's 4 times as much. This isn't much of a surprise.

loading capacity pegboard

I should mention that in most setups, the pegboard hook will bend before the panel will give out. That's because most traditional pegboard hooks are quite thin. If you're looking for some badass heavy duty hooks, check out Madd Tools.

Winner: Metal pegboard


 2. Durability

MDF reacts terribly to moisture. If you're planning on installing a pegboard outside or in a humid area/workplace, you're much safer with a metal setup. Another fact that is often overlooked is that pegboard hooks will deform the holes in your board through rigorous use. Especially if you

  • Move the hooks around in the board often
  • Hang heavier items from the hook

That being said - for moderate, average use, such as storage of your drill, tape measure, screwdrivers etc., in a non humid area, classic MDF board does the trick.

It's worth mentioning that MDF pegboard comes in different sizes, From 1/8" to 3/16" all the way up to 1/4". The thickness of the panel will greatly affect the durability. (and loading capacity)

Metal board on the other hand is not as sensitive to moisture as MDF is. If we look at the most popular metal pegboard - that of Wall Control - we'll see that it's made of galvanised steel. That means the steel has been coated in zinc to provide corrosion resistance.

There also won't be any major 'wear and tear' as the holes won't broaden and the panel won't rip.

Winner: Metal pegboard


3. Installation

Pegboard hooks and attachments need around 3/4" space behind the pegboard when they're 'hooked in'. MDF board is just a strip of hardboard, so when installing you'll need to first attach a frame to the wall and then attach the perforated hardboard against the frame. It's not hard to do - but there's some extra work involved there. 

pegboard frame

Most metal pegboards on the other hand, have this depth already built in the panel. As a result, you don't need to build that frame anymore. 

Metal pegboard does a great job when installed in small strips, opposed to large sheets. It's then able to hold more weight. This can make the installation process a bit more tedious. (Not considering the frame that needs to be built for the classic MDF board)


Depth on metal pegboard

Winner: Metal pegboard

 

4. Usability

Not all metal pegboard is the same. However, the majority of sold metal pegboards in USA follows a similar design: that of a flat, perforated sheet of metal. Without hole extrusions or any kind of hole offsetting. 

This is a big design flaw for two reasons.

1. The absent panel thickness makes the hooks fit less snugly. 

That issue with hooks falling out of your board? That's way more likely to happen when you're rocking metal board. The thickness of the metal sheet is often 22 gauge rather than 1/4". That means your hooks have less 'guidance' and will fit much more loosely in the holes. 

2. Classic pegboard hooks and accessories will slant downwards

Traditional hooks are designed with thick 1/4" pegboard in mind. Because the metal board is so much thinner than the MDF board, those hooks will hang at a 20° angle. This isn't much of a problem for smaller hooks such as J hooks. If you're planning to use longer hooks such as straight 6" hooks, the slant can get quite annoying as items can slide of the hook.

It's not a huge deal breaker for most - but it's far from perfect. 

If you experience that problem, I suggest cutting a little spacer, just under 1/4" and fitting it on the back of your metal board where you're hooking in the accessory. You'll have to do that before securing the panel though.

madd tools
Pegboard hooks slanting downwards on perforated metal pegboard

Another issue with metal board is customisability. Metal board has a certain dimension - usually 32" by 16". This conforms to the usual stud spacing in a house, so it's easy to attach the holes to your wall with the corner anchors in the panel. The annoying aspect of this is that your pegboard organization surface will always be a multiple of those dimensions. Metal pegboard just isn't meant to be cut in half.

MDF board is obviously much easier to customise, as you can cut it to size any way you wish. It's also pretty easy to decorate

Winner: MDF pegboard


5. Price

So far it seems metal pegboard is beating MDF by 3-1. This last factor though is probably the most important one.

It doesn't take much research to find out that metal pegboard is by far way more expensive than MDF pegboard. 

mdf board 

Home Depot sells a 48" x 24" MDF sheet for under $9,5. 

wall control board

Metal Wall Control pegboard sells for $30 - $45. That's about twice as expensive for a similar surface as the MDF board in home depot. Still, personally, I consider that pretty good value for money - especially at the discounted price at this time of writing.

Winner: MDF pegboard


 

 

Loading capacity

Durability

Installation

Usability

Price

Metal Pegboard

V

V
V

 

 

MDF Pegboard

 

 

 

V

V

 

There isn't a definite answer to which pegboard is the best. The right solution greatly depends on your budget, where you intend to use the board and what you intend to hang from it.

I'd go for metal pegboard if:

  • You're planning on hanging heavier equipment
  • Your workspace has a higher humidity level
  • You've got a higher budget to spend on your garage organisation

 Hope this helps!

Oh, by the way... Have you downloaded our free eBook yet? It's full of handy, space-saving pegboard tips. And it's free to download for our readers. 

Cheers,

James from MADD TOOLS

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