Which IKEA Closet System is Better? PAX or AURDAL

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When it comes to IKEA closets, there are two different kinds of storage systems that are commonly discussed: PAX and AURDAL. So, which one is better? Well, that really depends on your different needs and preferences, since different people value different specific features. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at each option and help you decide which one is the best for you and get your closet makeover started off on the right foot. Let’s get started!

Before and after of a small walk-in closet transformed with DIY IKEA Pax units
We used the PAX system in our primary bedroom walk-in closet

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IKEA PAX Wardrobes

The IKEA PAX closet system has been around for years, and it’s one of the store’s most popular closet systems. The IKEA PAX wardrobe system can be configured to look like built-in wardrobes, or you can use it without doors inside a closet. You decide it all – the size, style, doors, and interior organizers to sort your things. You can start with IKEA’s suggested combinations or design your own unique wardrobe, just like so many signature IKEA products.

See how a boring, dated living room was transformed into a coastal modern farmhouse space with a DIY shiplap fireplace and adorable office nook with storage.
To create a desk area in our lake house rental, we used two PAX wardrobes with doors in the living room

Pros of the PAX System

  • The PAX wardrobe frames come in three different widths and two different depths, which can help you use your closet space more effectively
  • The frames have a backing, so they look more finished when installed
  • It’s easy to assemble with simple tools
  • With a max depth of 22 7/8″ deep, it offers more storage depth than AURDAL
  • There’s a large selection of interior organizers to make good use of the space
  • You can add doors to the PAX system to create a stand-alone beautiful wardrobe where you don’t have a closet
  • You can make PAX look more custom by adding trim and hardware, or even painting the units

In short, the PAX system is a great way to create a traditional storage system with lots of room for clothes storage in a walk-in closet or other large space. If you have a whole sneaker collection (or other types of things that take up a large amount of space and can be awkward to store), this system with its extra-deep drawers might be exactly what you’re looking for. 

We used one PAX unit flanked with clothing rods and shelves to customize my daughter’s small closet

Cons of the PAX System

  • It can become expensive when you add lots of interior organizers
  • It doesn’t come with a mounting rod – you have to mount it safely yourself
  • Since you have to butt two frames together, it takes up more space
  • It’s been hard to source all of the parts lately

If you are looking to create a custom closet system by yourself, chances are that cost is a important factor. If so, this system might not be for you. One of my favourite IKEA hacks is to check the as-is section, where you MIGHT be able to save money by finding a ready-made PAX wardrobe. But really, this cannot be counted on in your planning stages, so you need to decide if the finished look, option to add doors, and extra depth of storage space is worth paying more for. As far as custom closets go, it is still going to be much more affordable than other options. 

I installed an AURDAL closet system in Our Little Lake House’s primary bedroom closet


The AURDAL closet organizer system is a more compact system specifically designed for closet interiors. Developed to utilize those tricky little nooks in your home, this system can be assembled and installed in smaller spaces. The Aurdal system is newer than PAX, and it’s less expensive.

Pros of the AURDAL System

  • You can buy a mounting rod that’s easy to install and hang the system from
  • It’s less expensive than the PAX wardrobe system
  • At 15 3/4″ deep, it’s a good choice for a smaller space
  • Because you only need one vertical frame piece between sections, there’s less waste of space
  • It’s easy to assemble with simple tools
The AURDAL system was a great addition to my friend’s basement bedroom closet

Cons of the AURDAL System

  • At 15 3/4″ deep, it offers less storage depth than PAX
  • It doesn’t look as finished as PAX because it doesn’t have a backing and you can see the mounting rod
  • There’s only one width & depth of interior organizers, so it’s not as customizable in size
  • There are no doors, so you can’t create a closed wardrobe unit
  • It’s been hard to source all of the parts lately

The AURDAL closet system feels like it really gets back to IKEA’s roots! It isn’t the sexiest closet system available, but I think it’s a really easy way to add functional storage to tight spaces. It’s also a great way to add extra storage to a space where you might already have a closet system, like a back corner in your hallway closet. And for a kids’ closet that doesn’t need doors or that you might want to change up in a few years anyway, this system is a great choice.  After all, kids don’t care if other people can see into their messy sock drawer! If you decide to put it in as your main closet system, it might help you keep an organized wardrobe since adults generally DO care about other people seeing their mess.

The Cost of an IKEA PAX Closet vs. an IKEA AURDAL Closet

To do a cost comparison of the two closet systems, I used IKEA’s online planners to design both a PAX and an AURDAL closet in a 5 foot wide space. I made the closet designs similar in function with two vertical units, a shelf on top of each, a clothing rod, and four drawers on the bottom.

How much does a PAX IKEA closet cost?

The closet designed with the PAX wardrobe system in a 5 foot wide space would cost me $850.00 CAD. (This price may differ depending on where you live and when you purchase the system!) This price includes the frames and the interior organizers. You can see that I can fill the width of the 5 foot space quite well with the PAX system when I used two 75 cm wide frames.

How much does an AURDAL IKEA closet cost?

The closet designed with the AURDAL closet system in a 5 foot wide space would cost me $580.00 CAD. (This price may differ depending on where you live and when you purchase the system!) This price includes the vertical frame pieces and the interior organizers. You can see there’s quite a bit of wasted space in this design because there is only one width of AURDAL interior organizers (56cm). This space could be filled with narrow clothing rods or custom shelving, but that would of course add to the cost of the closet installation.

Is the PAX easy to assemble and install? The AURDAL?

I’ve assembled and installed a few PAX closets and AURDAL closets myself, and I find them both easy to work with. Both require only a few simple tools (a drill, a hammer, a level, and some screws), and the assembly instructions are easy to follow. Both the PAX and AURDAL systems come with an instruction booklet that walks you through the installation, and you can find a lot of installation videos online.

Before and after of a small walk-in closet transformed with DIY IKEA Pax units
The PAX in our primary bedroom small walk-in closet

How to make the most out of an IKEA closet, regardless of which system you choose

Whether you go with PAX or AURDAL, it’s important to think of the following when planning your DIY closet:

  • Measure your closet’s width and depth and use IKEA’s online planning tools to design a closet that makes the most of your space
  • Don’t place a rod higher than 84″ from the ground as that’s hard for most people to reach
  • Make sure you include a combination of shelves, rods and drawers for a variety of storage options
  • Ensure there’s enough space to open any drawers completely
  • Consider a spot for seasonal storage whether it’s a high shelf for boxes or an empty floor area for baskets
The AURDAL in our Little Lake House main bedroom closet

So, which closet system is better – PAX or AURDAL?

There’s really no wrong way or right way to make over your closet space! Once you decide what your needs are and what kind of space you’re dealing with, it will be easier to choose. Both the PAX and AURDAL closet systems are great choices for people looking to get organized. Comparing price, features, and design should help you make a more informed decision about which IKEA closet system will work best for your needs. You can also use the online PAX planning tool and the one for AURDAL. Personally, I think the AURDAL is a great choice if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option that takes up less space. However, if you need a bit more storage space and prefer a more finished look, then the IKEA PAX units might be a better option. Regardless of which IKEA closet system you choose, following these tips will help you make the most out of your new storage solution!

Kids Closet Organization Ideas with free Cricut file for dresser labels

Happy organizing, everyone!

Want more closet ideas?

Check out this roundup post where I’ve collected ideas for radical closet reconstruction, some simple organization tips and hacks, and even some ideas for how to create closet space out of nothing.

Watch my video to see which IKEA closet system is best for you:


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