Saturday, April 27, 2013

IKEA BENNO Shelf Review

Who even uses these things anymore? A CD/DVD? Do you play Frisbee with it, huh?

Okay, we're not THAT far ahead in the future, but we're getting there. I barely use the CD/DVD Rom in my computer anymore. I do NOT have a DVD player for my TV and I sold my Blu-ray player (i.e. PS3) last year. The only time I buy CDs or DVD are... once a year? Unless you're a kiddy, you probably have some sort of legacy collection though. For us dinosaurs, there is the BENNO CD tower from Ikea.

I must admit that this is one of my first ever Ikea purchases from a decade or so ago. It was bought at the same time as my first BILLY bookcase -- the weird blue/grey foil one. This sucks to admit, but I regret buying my BENNO shelf...

Let's start on a happier, or more neutral, tone first. Okay, you don't have much space and want to make use of some vertical storage potential. At 17 cm x 20 cm x 202 cm (website), the BENNO tower is a very compact storage system, especially made for disc storage or other small items you may have. The shelf is constructed mainly of particleboard and foil or veneer. According to the Ikea website, it can store 180 CDs, 88 DVDs, or 40 video cassettes (shudder). Long story short, it comes with a ton of shelves. At $40 (foil) to $50 (veneer), it is a pretty cheap system too that you can haul home with a long enough car. Weighing in at 31 lb (Ikea website), it isn't the heaviest item to carry too.

Ikea BENNO Top half

1 Black-brown BENNO CD/DVD Tower ($49.99)


The BENNO system is really like a miniature BILLY bookcase system except a lot more slender and unstable. It has three support shelves (bottom, middle, top) that are joined together more sturdily, while all other shelves are just placed on top of metal cylinders. Essentially, these other shelves will come out very easily -- good and bad. And like the BILLY and most other larger pieces of furniture, it uses a fiberboard back that you nail on. This was one of those items that I put together on my own due to its relatively narrow size.


Unstable. Not stable. Tipsy topsy. Flippety flop. Timber!

This is a very unstable piece of furniture that WILL fall over in any direction it feels like unless you secure it to the wall or something else. For some reason, this tower actually wanted to fall forward when it was empty. I didn't even need to touch it for it to want to do that. Damn you center of gravity. Luckily (?), this tower comes with two separate "stabilizer" systems. I could have either used included U-brackets to attach the tower to adjacent bookshelves or used a standard L-bracket and attached it against a wall.

Being a genius, I chose to sandwich it between two BILLY bookshelves without a bracket. Instead, I put a sort of heavy box on top of the tower that sits on both adjacent bookshelves, which are the exact same height as the tower. This is dangerous, but it works because when the tower tips, it must rotate upwards. The box stops it from being able to make that movement, so if the box moves... Ya, I also put an angle at the bottom so it "naturally" wants to tip backwards towards the wall normally. Just put the damn wall bracket on to be safe...

Expandability / Customizability

No dice. You can buy another BENNO tower and put it beside your current one. Otherwise, this system comes with the maximum number of shelves that one could fit into the unit if you were to put CDs in every hole.

Everyday Use

Every day use. Hmmmm... If you have it securely mounted, I guess you could use it to store CDs and DVDs and nothing else. Toys maybe? I threw a spool of speaker cable into one hole. This shelf appears to suffer from the case of being too specialized. It can fit CDs, DVDs, and not much else. For $50, I may as well just get a BILLY bookcase for around twice the price, but something like five or more times the storage capacity. And I can get additional shelves to expand my storage space if I must. Oh, and my BILLY bookcases actually stand up on their own without a wall bracket. I was supposed to put one on for them too, but still.

With CDs, DVDs, and even Blu-rays becoming less popular with the growing use of streaming and digital storage, this might be a product slated for retirement. A bookcase can store oh so many things. This CD/DVD tower is not that. I would "futureproof" myself and get a BILLY instead. But if you are short on space, this super slender tower does have a lot of storage capacity for narrow items.


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