Wood Pallets For Sale
Find used containers near you
Wood pallets are transport structures that typically consist of three or four stringers and deck boards on top. By simply lifting pallets with pallet jacks, forklifts, front loaders, and other jacking devices, commercial goods can be delivered and transported efficiently. Pallets became a way to move heavy stacks of goods when containers became a popular way to transport goods. As a result of standard wood pallets, goods and supplies can be moved more quickly and at a lower cost.
When referring to pallet specifications, the first number is the stringer length and the second number is the length of the deck boards. Some industries have standardized pallet sizes, such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association. However, there is no universal standard, which makes it important for you to check the measurements before you order pallets. There are several sizes that are frequently used.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) creates standards to help businesses minimize waste and errors and increase productivity. They have published specifications for six pallet sizes, including:
- 40 x 48 inches (1016 x 1219 mm) – GMA pallet
- 39.37 × 47.24 inches (1000 x 1200 mm)
- 45.9 × 45.9 inches (1165 x 1165 mm)
- 42 x 42 inches (1067 x 1067 mm)
- 43 x 43 inches (1100 x 1100 mm)
- 31.50 × 47.24 (800 x 1200 mm)
North American Pallets
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) pallet, which is now known as the Consumer Brands Association (CBA), is the most frequently used pallet in North America, with a dimension of 40 x 48 inches. It’s also recognized by the ISO. There are a variety of other sizes used in North America in addition to the ISO sizes, such as:
- 48 x 48 inches (1219 x 1219 mm)
- 48 x 42 inches (1219 × 1067 mm)
- 40 x 40 inches (1016 x 1016 mm)
- 48 x 45 inches (1219 x 1143 mm)
- 44 x 44 inches (1118 x 1118 mm)
- 36 x 36 inches (914 x 914 mm)
- 48 x 36 inches (1219 x 914 mm)
The European Pallet Association (EPAL) has set the standard for the EUR-pallet. In addition to providing a standard size for ease of use, pallets that conform to these dimensions are eligible for trade in the European Pallet Pool. EUR-pallets must be 31.50 × 47.24 inches (800 x 1200 mm) and must conform to other manufacturing specifications. This size is also one of the sizes approved by the ISO. EUR-pallets are designed to be reused and you may want to consider using them if you’re shipping to Europe.
Australian Standard Pallets
The most common size pallet used in Australia is 45.87 × 45.87 inches (1165 x 1165 mm). This size conforms to ISO guidelines as well. It was designed to work with the containers used in the Australian railway system.
There are two common pallet sizes used in Asia and both are ISO approved.
- 43.30 × 43.30 inches (1100 x 1100 mm)
- 39.37 × 47.24 inches (1200 x 1000 mm)
History of Pallets
Pallets are so ubiquitous now that they’re often overlooked, but they are a significant part of the supply chain that provides the products that our society needs to function. Before pallets were invented, a variety of containers were used to ship and store commercial goods, including boxes, barrels, and kegs. Skids, which are similar to pallets but lack a stabilizing bottom board, were used as well.
The invention of the forklift in 1917 called for a more stable design that could accommodate the prongs of the forklift and hold heavy loads. Around 1925, bottom boards were added to skids and allowed pallets to be stacked and hold more weight. Very shortly, pallets were used to stack and store products in almost every warehouse in the world.
Wooden Pallets Today
Even today wood pallets offer a great combination of weight, stiffness, durability, and cost. From the European Pallet Pool to independent brokers in the US and other countries, there is an extensive recycling infrastructure dedicated to the reuse and refurbishment of wooden pallets. The pallet’s simple design allows custom sizes to be easily built from readily available timber components.
Wood for Pallets
The three main factors that pallet manufacturers are looking for in materials are strength, supply, and cost. Pallets have to be strong enough to do their job, but cheap enough not to drastically increase the cost of business. Since so many pallets are needed in almost every industry, the materials to make them also need to be readily available. Although pallets can be made from any type of wood, in the US pine and oak are the most common.
Pine is popular because it’s a clean wood that can be kiln-dried without causing damage. Oak is much stronger, so thinner cuts can be used to achieve the same strength. However, the production costs of oak just to make pallets would be prohibitively expensive, so oak pallets are usually made with waste cuts from other products such as furniture.
Wood Pallet Options
All pallets are made from the core of a tree. They are made from a mix of hardwoods and softwoods. As stated above, pine and oak are the most common types of wood used. At the sawmill, the wood is cut to the appropriate length, ripped into boards, and cut to the specified size for deck boards or stringers. Notches may then be cut into the stringers to allow for four-way if that’s the pallet design. If the wood is going to be treated, it’s done prior to assembly. Finally, the pallets are assembled with staples or nails.
New vs Recycled Wood Pallets
Pallets can be bought new or used. There are pros and cons to both. Which option is best for you will depend on your particular use case and circumstances.
New pallets are made from fresh lumber and generally look nicer. They’re much more expensive, but offer you custom options that may not be available with used or recycled pallets. If you need extremely accurate dimensions or custom dimensions, you may be better off with new pallets. Manufacturers who plan to use pallets with a specific product that doesn’t conform to existing pallet sizes often need to have new pallets custom made. Additionally, you will need to have a wide lead time to purchase custom-made new pallets.
The advantages of new pallets include:
- Very accurate dimensions
- Can be custom made
- Last for multiple uses
- Cleaner, newer look
- Guaranteed weight capacity
- Typically higher quality
The disadvantages of new pallets include:
- More expensive
- Longer lead time
Recycled pallets are usually significantly cheaper and perform as well as new pallets, depending on the condition they’re in when you buy them. Used pallet suppliers often list quality grades on their pallets as a guide for their condition. There is no standard quality assurance process; however, the grades can serve as a guide. Recycled pallets often perform as well as new with regards to weight capacity. They may not be as precise as new in their dimensions, but they are usually fairly accurate. If you need a standard-sized pallet, and you aren’t worried about the aesthetics, recycled or used pallets are probably a good option.
The advantages of recycled wood pallets include:
- Cost savings of up to 60 percent
- Weight capacity unaffected
- Can be bought in different quality grades
- Offered in standard dimensions
- Shorter lead time
The disadvantage of recycled wood pallets include:
- May not last as long
- Dimensions may not be as accurate
- Used appearance
- Limited custom options
Types of Wood Pallets
Pallets are made with either stringers or blocks for support between the deck boards and the bottom boards. Stringer pallets are more common and cheaper to make. Block pallets are more durable and last longer. Depending on what you’re using it for, either may be the best option for you.
Block pallets are made with nine, 4 x 4 inch wood blocks placed between the top and bottom boards for support. Because more wood is used in making them, they are sturdier and more expensive. They typically feature more and sturdier nails as well. Block pallets are significantly heavier than stringer pallets. Block pallets are a good choice if you’re shipping heavy goods. They are more capable of handling heavier weight. They’re also a good choice if there are multiple steps in your supply chain. Block pallets hold up better under repeated handling. If you have a method of bringing your pallets back to the production site, reusing block pallets can save money over repeatedly buying cheaper pallets.
Some of the advantages of block pallets are:
- Fewer rejected loads
- Greater durability
- Can be reused more times
- More flexibility with four-way entry
Some disadvantages of block pallets are:
- Heavier weight, which can increase shipping costs
- More expensive
- Blocks can’t be repaired
Stringer pallets are made with three, 2 x 4 boards, one running down each side and one in the middle between the deck boards and bottom support boards. These are the stringers. They can be notched to allow for partial four-way entry. Stringer pallets are lightweight and usually designed to only be used once, necessitating a continuous supply. Stringer pallets are common and are often used because they are the cheaper option. If you’re shipping products that don’t need the extra support, stringer pallets may be the better option, particularly if you have no way to return them to the production site after use.
The advantages of stringer pallets are:
- Lower purchase price
- Lower cost to ship
- Lighter weight
The disadvantages of stringer pallets are:
- Not as durable
- Greater chance of rejected loads due to damaged pallets
- Many don’t have four-way entry
- Increases waste in the supply chain
Wood Pallet Entry Options
The difference between a two-way and a four-way pallet is that a forklift can only lift a two-way pallet from two sides, while a four-way can be lifted from any side. Additionally, a partial four-way can be accessed on all four sides by forklifts but not by a pallet jack. True four-way pallets are almost always block pallets.
Two-way pallets are more durable than partial four-way pallets. Their stringers are solid instead of notched so they’re less prone to breakage. They’re also cheaper and easier to manufacture than either partial or total four-way pallets. Because they limit access to two sides, two-way pallets have to be stored in a way that will allow access. This can decrease warehouse and transport efficiency and increase labor time and costs. If your main concern is price or you need more durability than a partial four-way can provide and warehouse space isn’t at a premium, a two-way pallet can be a good option.
The advantages of two-way pallets include:
- More durable than partial four-way
- Lower cost
- Greater weight capacity than partial four-way
The disadvantages of two-way pallets include:
- Requires more storage space due to limited entry access
- Reduced load efficiency due to position requirements for transport
- Increased labor cost due to additional time required to maneuver
Four-way pallets can be either true or partial. Both types allow forklifts to access them from all four sides. Partial four-way pallets can be accessed on all sides by a forklift but not a pallet jack. True four-way pallets can be accessed on all sides by either a pallet jack or a forklift. True four-way pallets are block pallets, while partial four-way pallets are stringer pallets that have been notched to allow forklift access. Partial four-way pallets are used when cost is more of a concern than durability and flexibility. As long as a forklift is being used to maneuver them, partial four-way pallets offer as much flexibility as true four-way for positioning. True four-way pallets are used when greater durability and flexibility in handling are needed.
The advantages of true four-way pallets include:
- Increased durability
- Greater flexibility in access, which can decrease labor, transport, and storage costs
- Highest weight capacity
The disadvantages of true four-way pallets include:
- Increased purchase price
- Heavier weight, which can increase transport costs
- Wasteful, since they’re made from slow-growing hardwoods that are difficult to replenish
Wood Pallet Styles
Pallets are available in a variety of styles that serve different purposes. Understanding the styles available and their uses can help you decide which is best for you.
Reversible pallets are versatile and general purpose. They have the same arrangement of deck boards on the top and bottom, so they can be used with either side up. These are the most common types of pallets. They’re sturdy and stable when stacked. Reversible pallets are a great option for many uses. If you’re shipping different products and need a good all-purpose solution, reversible pallets can give you that flexibility.
The advantages of reversible pallets are:
- General purpose
- Stable when stacked
- Can be loaded from top or bottom
The disadvantages of reversible pallets are:
- Can’t be used with a pallet jack
- May not be suitable for specific uses
Close Boarded, No Baseboard
Close boarded, no baseboard pallets are made with the deck boards spaced close together. This allows the pallet to carry a greater weight. It also stops small products from falling through the spaces in the deck boards. These pallets have no baseboard, only three stringer boards, one on each side and one in the middle. Close boarded, no baseboard pallets are used in situations where fragile or small products may fall through the deck boards or where a greater weight capacity is needed.
The advantages to close boarded, no baseboard pallets include:
- Greater stability
- Greater weight capacity
- Protection for delicate or small products
- Less expensive than other close board pallets
The disadvantages to close board, no baseboard pallets include:
- Greater weight, which can increase shipping costs
- Limited to two-way entry
- More expensive than some open board options
- Only cost-efficient for limited uses
A wing pallet is made so that the length of the deck boards is longer than the width of the pallet. This creates an overhang on each side, called wings. A winged pallet can be either single-winged or double-winged. Pallets with wings on only one face are single-winged, while pallets with wings on both faces are double-winged. Winged pallets are used by those who want a larger unit-load area. Companies who are working with specific automated systems that handle pallets by the wings also use them.
The advantages of winged pallets are:
- Higher weight capacity
- Deck boards are less likely to split or crack
- May be necessary with some automated machinery
The disadvantages of winged pallets are:
- More expensive to purchase
- Not necessary for many applications
Close Boarded, 3 Base
A close boarded, 3 base pallet has decking boards that are close together, and it has a base board along three sides with one side left open. As with other types of close board pallets, the spacing can serve several functions. Close boards allow a pallet to support more weight. They’re also good for products that may be small and easily fall into the space between boards.
The advantages to a close boarded, 3 base pallet are:
- Able to support more weight
- Increased stability
- Versatility with regards to handling
- Products can’t fall in between deck boards
The disadvantages to a close boarded, 3 base pallet are:
- Increased cost
- Increased weight
- Only good for specific use cases
The Euro pallet is standardized for use in Europe. Its dimensions are 31.50 × 47.24 inches (800 x 1200 mm). The Euro pallet also conforms to other manufacturing specifications. The moisture content can’t exceed 22%. All boards must come from a single piece of wood and meet quality standards regarding knots, decay, splits, and rot. No protruding nails are permitted in Euro pallets. Euro pallets are high-quality pallets and are eligible for exchange via the European Pallet Pool. They are mainly used in Europe.
The advantages of the Euro pallet include:
- Guaranteed quality
- Can easily cross borders
- Eligibile for exchange in the European Pallet Pool
- Designed and manufactured for maximum occupational safety
The disadvantages of the Euro pallet include:
- Higher cost
- Not as widely used outside of Europe
- Dimensions may not be suitable for all uses
A perimeter base pallet has bottom boards that are oriented in both directions. The boards run all along the perimeter of the pallet. This allows automated machines to handle the pallets more efficiently, reducing costs. Perimeter pallets offer easy stacking in all directions. They are used in cases where versatility in stacking is important, such as when it will increase the productivity of automated equipment.
The advantages of perimeter base pallets are:
- Increased stability
- Can be handled and stacked in either direction
- Supports heavier loads
The disadvantage of perimeter base pallets are:
- More expensive
- Increased waste if they can’t be reused
Open Boarded, 3 Base
Open boarded, 3 base pallets have deck boards that are spaced further apart and boards on three of the bottom edges. These pallets are used for lighter products and products that have a larger footprint. The base gives these pallets versatility in handling and transport, while the open deck boards make them cheaper to manufacture.
The advantages of open boarded, 3 base pallets are:
- Cheaper than close board options
- Four-way entry allows for ease of handling and transport
- Lighter weight, so reduced shipping costs
The disadvantages of open boarded, 3 base pallets are:
- Less weight capacity
- Limited to lightweight products with a large footprint
Close Boarded, Perimeter Base
Close boarded, perimeter base pallets have deck boards that are placed close together, and they have boards in all directions along the perimeter. These pallets are stable, versatile, and can carry more weight than many other options. These are best for heavy products or products with a small footprint that may fall between the deck boards of open boarded pallets. These are also good pallets to use if versatility in handling during storage and transport is important.
The advantages of close boarded, perimeter base pallets include:
- Greater weight capacity
- Sturdy construction
- Protects small products from falling in between deck boards
- Four-way entry allows forklifts and pallet jacks easy access
- Easy handling by automated systems
The disadvantages of close boarded, perimeter base ballets include:
- Increased cost to purchase
- Heavier weight, which can increase shipping costs
- Not cost-effective for general uses
Heat Treated Pallets
Heat treating is a sanitizing process that’s required for all wooden pallets that will be used to ship products internationally. The purpose of heat treatment is to prevent the spread of diseases and pests through plant products. Because pallets are made from wood, they can contain pests that were originally in the trees. If these pests are shipped out of their natural environment, they can become invasive and cause environmental damage. The process of heat treatment involves heating the pallets to a core temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 minutes. This ensures that any pests in the pallets are killed before they’re used for transport. Heat-treated pallets are used by anyone who is exporting products out of their country of origin.
Pallets can be ordered in any dimension, but unless you need them for a custom product, you’re probably better off buying them in the standard sizes, as it’s much cheaper. Different dimensions are popular for different industries, but many industries use more than one size. Some popular dimensions and their uses are listed below:
- 40 x 48 inches (1016 x 1219 mm): The most popular pallet size in the US. This is the standardized Grocery Manufacturers Association pallet and accounts for 30% of the pallets produced in the US. It’s a very versatile size that’s good for many uses. It’s obviously used in the grocery industry as well as many other industries.
- 42 x 42 inches (1067 x 1067 mm): These pallets are the second most popular size in the US. They’re used in the telecommunications and paint industry primarily.
- 48 x 48 inches (1219 x 1219 mm): This pallet size is used for shipping drums that generally contain liquid or powder ingredients. Square pallets are very stable, so this size is good for the weight of drums.
- 48 x 42 inches (1219 × 1067 mm): Pallets of this size are often used in the chemical and beverage industry.
- 40 x 40 inches (1016 x 1016 mm): These square pallets are often used in the dairy industry.
- 48 x 45 inches (1219 x 1143 mm): These pallets are commonly found in automotive warehouses.
- 44 x 44 inches (1118 x 1118 mm): This is another size of square pallet that’s used in the chemical industry and for shipping drums.
- 36 x 36 inches (914 x 914 mm): These smaller square pallets are often used to ship beverages.
- 48 x 36 inches (1219 x 914 mm): These pallets are less square than many others. They’re used in the construction industry to ship shingles. They are also used to ship beverages and packaged paper products.
While there are no set standards other than the GMA pallets, using pallets of the dimensions commonly used in your industry will make for a smoother, faster supply chain. Additionally, when you design your warehouse space in your production facility, you should account for the pallet dimensions and styles you’ll be using. You may be able to use less space if your pallets are designed for efficient access and storage.
Wood Pallet Construction
Wood pallets are made from core trees. Manufacturers use a combination of hard and soft wood, usually oak and pine in the US. The individual components of the pallet are cut and shaped at the sawmill. If they’re being heat-treated, it will be done before assembly. The final step in the manufacturing process is assembling the pallets before they are shipped.
Depending on their type, pallets consist of some of the following components:
- Stringer boards are the three support boards that run the length of the pallet sandwiched between the top and bottom faces of the pallet.
- Deck boards are the components of the top and bottom of the faces of the pallet that run perpendicular to the stringers.
- Base boards are the pallet boards on the bottom of a pallet.
- Blocks are the rectangular supports placed between the top and bottom of a block pallet.
- Notches are the openings in the side stringers that allow forklift access in partial four-way entry pallets.
- Top lead boards are the two deck boards at either end of the top face. They may be wider than the other deck boards.
- Bottom lead boards are the two deck boards at either end of the bottom face. They may also be wider than the other deck boards.
- Inner deck boards are the deck boards other than the lead boards.
- The chamfer is the entry way on the edges of the pallet between the stringers or blocks.
Wood Pallet Dimensions and Weight-Bearing Capacity
The amount of weight a pallet can support depends on several factors, including the style of the pallet. Some pallet types can hold more weight than other types of the same design. However, the dimensions of a pallet are associated with how much weight the pallet can support. Some popular dimensions and the associated weight-bearing capacity are:
- 48 x 40 inch GMA pallet: These general-use pallets can support up to 4600 pounds and weigh about 30 pounds.
- 48 x 48 inch pallet: These pallets can support up to 3700 pounds and weigh about 40 pounds. They often have a double stringer in the middle for extra support since they’re so large.
- 42 x 42 inch pallet: These square pallets can support up to 3700 pounds and weigh about 37 pounds.
- 36 x 36 inch pallet: These smaller pallets can still support up to 4700 pounds and weigh about 30 pounds. These pallets are designed to be sturdy because they’re primarily used to transport beverages, which are heavy.
Wood Pallet Applications
Pallets are integral to our supply chain logistics. They provide support and act as a base for shipments during transportation. Pallets protect your products by absorbing the stress, holding the weight, and cushioning impacts as they’re traveling to their ultimate destination. Pallets allow you to ship a larger volume and help prevent damage and contamination. Pallets are used at all steps along the supply chain from manufacturing to transporting to distributing and even displaying in some cases.
Wood Pallet Advantages
Wood pallets are the most widely used type of pallet. Pallets are available in other materials but wood pallets have significant advantages over other types of materials.
Wooden pallets are much cheaper than plastic pallets. They are also stronger since plastic pallets generally top out at loads of about 1500 pounds while wood pallets can support loads in excess of 4000 pounds. Wood pallets are also more environmentally friendly than plastic pallets. They can be reused and recycled and ultimately break down much faster than plastic.
While cardboard may seem like an eco-conscious choice, it actually takes more chemicals to produce cardboard pallets than it does to produce wood pallets. Wood pallets are much stronger than cardboard and can be stacked and racked while many cardboard pallets can’t. Wood pallets are more versatile than cardboard and can stand up to environmental conditions that would destroy cardboard.
Metal pallets are much more expensive than wood pallets, not only in upfront costs but also in shipping and handling costs. Metal pallets are heavier, so they’re more expensive to ship. Wood pallets are ideal for stacking and the equipment used throughout supply chain logistics is already optimized for handling wooden pallets. Wood is also more environmentally friendly than metal. When they’ve been reused, recycled, and repurposed repeatedly, wood pallets will break down and decompose faster than metal.
Wooden pallets are an essential part of our everyday lives. They are integral to the supply chain logistics that bring us all of the products we use on a daily basis. They come in a wide array of different styles and dimensions, and if you can’t find one that suits your needs, they can be custom-built for you. Although they are often overlooked, our society wouldn’t function nearly as smoothly without them.