While the world of material handling may seem straightforward, you might be surprised at how much variation and specificity there is when it comes to the ins and outs of moving and storing products. A prime example of this is the variety of pallet types that are available for warehouse operators to choose from. When someone says “pallet,” there is a certain image that likely comes to their mind: the flat, wooden structure made with a series of nailed-together boards and planks with slots where the “fork” part of the forklift go. In reality, there’s a wide range of different pallet types that help us move and store our products more safely and efficiently.

Stringer Pallet

It’s important to identify and become familiarized with different types so you’ll be armed with the necessary information when it comes time to choose the best pallets for your operation. Below, we’ll cover several of the common types of pallets found in warehouses today.

To begin, most pallets can be classified in to two main categories:

– Stringer Pallets

– Block Pallets

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Stringer pallets are constructed by fastening three long boards, or “stringers” to the pallet’s bottom boards, and then fastening the top boards onto the stringers. Put simply, a stringer pallet is one that uses three continuous boards laid on their edges to connect the top and bottom boards, which are laid flat.

Instead of using boards, block pallets separate the top and bottom pallet boards with individual block placed at the corners and halfway between each corner along the sides.

Block pallets typically have a greater capacity than stringer pallets, and are accessible from all four angles (as opposed to only two for stringer pallets). Because of their added strength, block pallets should be used when handling and shipping heavy loads that demand greater strength and rigidity.

Block Pallets

Pallet Rack Sub-Categories

Within these two categories, there are different materials used to build pallets, and they vary greatly in terms of strength, durability, ease of use, and cost.

Soft Wood Pallets:

These are the cheapest pallet option. These pallets are typically used to ship items, and are often thrown away upon being received. Stringer pallets are usually soft wood pallets.

Paper Pallets:

Also known as “eco-pallets”, paper pallets are increasing in their popularity due to their environmental benefits. They can easily be recycled, and can hold loads comparable to soft wood pallets. Companies touting environmentally-friendly operations may use paper pallets as part of their sustainability initiatives.

Plastic Pallets:

What plastic lack in affordability (they are vastly more expensive than wood), they make up for in strength, durability, and stacking ability.

Hard Wood Pallets:

These pallets are sturdier than their soft wood counterparts, and are put to long-term use by warehouse operators. Unlike stringer pallets, they can typically be lifted by four sides rather than two, and are more expensive.

Metal Pallets:

Metal pallets are the strongest, most durable, and yes, most expensive pallets on the market. However, as they become more popular, their prices are steadily dropping, while their functionality is improving. When used for day-to-day operations within a company, their cost can actually be lower than wood pallets over the long term.

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When deciding which pallet best fits your warehouse needs, there are a variety of factors to consider, such as short-term versus long-term costs, load weight, and ease of use. Before making a decision regarding the type of pallet to invest in, be sure to research your needs in depth.

Don’t forget to evaluate your pallet rack system as well. If you’re in need of a storage rack system for your pallets, look no further than Pallet Rack Now. Our Pallet Rack online catalog contains an inventory featuring industry-leading brands, such as Steel King, Ridg-U-Rak, and Interlake Mecalux. To get in touch with Pallet Rack Now, email us at [email protected], or give us a call at 888-578-1578. We’d love to hear from you!

Plastic Pallet
Paper Pallet
Steel Pallet

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