Consumer Reports: How to properly anchor furniture

Anchoring your furniture
Anchoring your furniture

The numbers are frightening: Every 17 minutes someone is injured by furniture, a TV or an appliance tipping on them, and about every ten days a child dies from a tip-over incident.

Parents might be surprised to learn that furniture, including dressers, are not required to be tested before they are sold. As exclusive new Consumer Reports testing reveals, there are big differences when it comes to dresser stability.

Consumer Reports bought 24 models from different furniture manufacturers, then evaluated them based on three different tests. Thirteen dressers passed all the tests, while 11 failed at least one test. Dressers from Pottery Barn, Epoch and Sauder, among others, passed CR’s 60-pound test, while models from South Shore and Ameriwood failed a 50-test. Both South Shore and Ameriwood say their products meet voluntary safety standards.

How to tell if your dresser is secure

You can’t tell if a dresser is going to tip-over just by looking at it. Which is why Consumer Reports is pushing for mandatory safety standards, and says all furniture should be properly anchored to a wall.

It could prevent tip-over injuries and even save lives. Plus, it’s inexpensive and takes just a few minutes.

How to anchor a dresser

Many new dressers come with anchor kits, but you can also purchase aftermarket kits, especially for furniture you already have in your home. 

CR likes restraints with metal brackets and nylon straps or wire cable. It’s important to always follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.

Anchor kits usually include screws, but they may not be appropriate for the type of wall you have. If you have wooden studs, CR suggests screws at least two inches long - to extend well into the studs.  If you have metal studs, you will need to use fine threaded drywall screws.

Next locate the studs in your wall.

Next, measure the height of the furniture. Follow manufacturer’s instructions regarding placement of the brackets on the wall.

Predrill a hole in wood studs. Then screw the brackets to the wall. Then predrill a hole into the solid wood frame of the dresser, not the thin wood backing, and attach the brackets. Following manufacturer's instructions, secure the straps and adjust the dresser against the wall.

For more on how to anchor furniture, and CR’s full tip-over ratings, go to CR.org/tipover.