Stringer Pallets For Sale

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Stringer pallets get their name from the boards, called stringers, that are used to provide support for the unit load. These stringers are placed on either side and down the middle of the pallet. Stringer pallets are the most commonly used pallets in the United States and will be the topic of this white paper.

About Stringer Pallets

Because pallets are so widely used in all aspects of manufacturing and delivering goods to market, you have many options regarding style, size, material, and sourcing. The most common size for a stringer pallet is 48 inches x 40 inches. This size is the standard size for the Consumer Brand Association (formerly the Grocery Manufacturers Association) and is one of the standard sizes outlined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). However, stringer pallets come in a wide variety of sizes and can be custom built to any specification. Other than the CBA, which covers packaged foods that will be sold in grocery stores, there are no set standards regarding pallet sizes. Many industries have traditional sizes and preferences, though, so using a preferred size may result in better integration of your inventory with other stops along the supply chain. 

Used Wood Pallet Options

While the CBA standard size is the most common, accounting for 30% of pallets produced in North America, it’s not the only widely-used size for stringer pallets. Some other commonly used sizes in North America include: 

  • 48 x 48 inches
  • 48 x 42 inches
  • 40 x 40 inches
  • 48 x 45 inches 
  • 44 x 44 inches
  • 36 x 36 inches
  • 48 x 36 inches

Sourcing

When it comes to purchasing pallets, you can buy them new or recycled. There isn’t one universal best option, but there are advantages and disadvantages to both. 

New: When you buy new pallets, you can get exactly what you need. You don’t have to worry about what type of condition they’re in or how much life they have left in them. If you need an unusual size, you can have new pallets built to your specifications. They haven’t had to bear a load or been jostled around in a shipping container or warehouse, so the dimensions of a new pallet are very accurate. New pallets look nicer, at least when you first purchase them. Once they’ve been through the supply chain once, of course, they’re subject to the same issues as recycled pallets. Unsurprisingly, new pallets are also the most expensive option, with prices dependent on the price of wood. They also typically take longer to produce, especially if you’re ordering a custom size.

Recycled: Recycled pallets can be purchased repaired, remanufactured, or used. All recycled pallets will present a significant cost saving, often up to 60 percent. They are also more environmentally friendly since you’re reusing something that may otherwise go to waste and reducing the need to cut down trees to manufacture new pallets. Recycled pallets can perform as well as new ones in most cases, although you may need to do some additional investigative work to determine the best type to suit your needs. 

Repaired: As the name states, repaired pallets are ones that have had some type of repairs. This often involves repairing a damaged stringer with a corrugated metal plate and staples. A stringer that has been damaged more extensively may be repaired with another stringer braced beside it. Other common stringer pallet repairs include:

  • Replacing damaged or missing boards
  • Repairing warped or misaligned pallets
  • Replacing missing or damaged nails
  • Tightening any loose connections 

Remanufactured: Pallets that are remanufactured are built from wood that’s salvaged from other pallets. Even the most destroyed pallet usually has a few good boards left. These boards are removed from the broken pallets and used to build new ones. These pallets are more expensive than used pallets but still 20 to 40 percent cheaper than new pallets. They also have the advantage of being an environmentally-conscious option. Remanufactured pallets, like new ones, can be custom-built to any size. They can even be reconditioned if you’re concerned about their appearance. 

Used: Used pallets have been through the supply chain at least once. They’re still in good enough condition not to need repairs, but they’re not brand new. Most suppliers of used pallets have a grading system for used pallets that sorts them based on condition. The highest graded pallets are in almost-new condition. The top A-grade pallets haven’t needed any repairs and only have minor cosmetic wear. The grading classification includes repaired pallets, but they are not rated as highly as pallets that haven’t been repaired.  

Wood Stringer Pallet Construction and Assembly

Wood stringer pallets are usually made from pine and oak, although they can be constructed from any type of wood. Pine and oak are readily available and relatively inexpensive. They provide a good balance of strength and economy. While pine trees may be harvested and produced solely for pallet production, oak wood that’s used in pallets is normally obtained second-hand from scraps used in furniture making. 

Wood stringer pallet construction

Although there are variations of the traditional design, wood stringer pallets are normally constructed with top deck boards that run the width of the pallet, evenly spaced. These deck boards are secured to stringers that run the length of the pallet. There are three stringers that run on either side and along the middle of the deck boards. Finally, bottom deck boards are placed along the width of the pallet.  

The stringer boards at the sides of the pallet block a forklift from lifting a stringer pallet from the end. Because a forklift can only access a stringer pallet from the ends, they are often referred to as two-way pallets. However, it is possible for notches to be cut into the side stringers so that a forklift or pallet jack can be used to lift it from the side as well. 

Parts of a stringer

Despite their simple construction, there is a lot that goes into pallet design and specific terminology used in the industry. Common parts of a wood stringer pallet include: 

Annular ring nails (ring shank): A commonly used fastener in pallet construction, this is a nail with circular ring threads on the shank. 

Bottom deck: The deck boards on the bottom of the pallet that are intended to come into contact with the floor. 

Chamfer: An area on the deck board that has been cut away to make a sloping edge. This is done to allow a pallet jack to access the sides of a stringer pallet. 

Deck: The boards that make up the top and bottom surface of a stringer pallet. 

Deck boards: The individual boards that are used to make the top and bottom decks. 

Deck board spacing: The distance between the deck boards. 

Lead board: Boards at either end of the deck, usually referring to boards that are wider than the other deck boards.  

Length: The stringer length, usually the first dimension listed in a pallet measurement.  

Notch: An area of a stringer that’s cut away to allow a forklift to access the pallet from the sides. 

Opening height: The vertical height between the decks on a pallet. It can be measured from the floor to the top of the stringer notch or the underside of the top deck. 

Overall height: The distance between the bottom of the bottom deck and the top of the top deck. 

Width: The length of the deck board, which is the width of the pallet, usually the second dimension listed in a pallet measurement. 

Stringer Specifications

Dimensions: There are no universal specifications for wood stringer pallets. Different sizes of pallets are used in various industries, depending on the types of goods being transported. Some common dimensions include: 

  •  40 x 48 inches: Used by the grocery stores and the organizations that supply them as well as many other industries
  • 42 x 42 inches: Commonly found in the telecommunication and paint industries
  • 48 x 48 inches: Often used for shipping drums
  • 48 x 42 inches: Used by the chemical and beverage industries
  • 40 x 40 inches: Frequently used in the dairy industry. 
  • 48 x 45 inches: Found in automotive warehouses
  • 44 x 44 inches: Smaller size used for shipping drums and chemicals
  • 36 x 36 inches: Often used to ship beverages
  • 48 x 36 inches: Used to ship shingles in the construction industry as well as to ship beverages and packaged paper products

Tare weight. The tare weight of a stringer wood pallet will obviously depend on its size. Other factors that affect tare weight include the types of materials used, the age of the pallet, the moisture content of the wood, and the pallet’s design. Some of the most common sizes and related approximate tare weights include: 

  • 48 x 40 inches: 30 pounds
  • 48 x 48 inches: 40 pounds 
  • 42 x 42 inches: 37 pounds
  • 36 x 36 inches: 30 pounds 

Edge rackable load rating. This refers to how much weight a pallet can bear while it’s stored on a pallet rack in a warehouse. Load distribution has a significant impact on the amount of weight a pallet can support. The racks used in warehouses usually support pallets by two edges, so the edge rackable load rating is less than the amount of weight a pallet can support when it’s resting on the ground. Many times the edge rackable load is limited by the warehouse racking system rather than the pallet. 

Because of the limited support, the edge rackable load rating is significantly less than a pallet’s static load rating, which is the amount of weight it can support when it’s not moving, or its dynamic load rating, which is the amount of weight it can support when it’s being moved. While the edge rackable load rating can vary depending on the design and size of a stringer pallet, many have an edge rackable load rating of 2500 pounds. 

Lifetime trips. The number of lifetime trips a wood stringer pallet can make through the supply chain will depend on factors such as the wood it’s made of, the weight of the load it’s carrying, the environmental conditions it’s subjected to, and the distance it has to travel. The average wood stringer pallet can go through the supply chain 7 to 9 times. This number can be increased by repairing and remanufacturing pallets. 

Materials. Stringer wood pallets can be made from hard or softwoods or a combination of the two. The most common type of softwood used to make pallets is southern yellow pine. Pine has several advantages that make it a popular choice for pallets. It’s abundant and inexpensive. Pine is easy to dry in a kiln, which can help prevent an infestation of pests, mold, and fungi. Softwoods are also lighter, which can make a big difference when it comes to shipping costs. However, they generally aren’t as strong as hardwood pallets. 

Oak is the most common hardwood used to make pallets. Because oak is expensive to harvest, it’s not feasible to cut oak trees just for pallets. Oak is frequently used in many types of construction, flooring, and furniture building, so it can be sourced from waste cuts in those industries. Hardwood pallets are heavier and sturdier. They can often hold a heavier load, but they are more expensive. 

Forklift entry. Wood stringer pallets are classified as either four-way or two-way. Pallets that are built with solid stringers are two-way pallets. A forklift or pallet jack can only access these pallets from the ends. This limits the versatility of the pallet since they have to be stored and accessed in a specific manner. Two-way pallets limit how pallets are placed in containers, transported, and stored in warehouses. 

A four-way wood stringer pallet has notched stringers that allow a forklift to access it from all four sides. Because the stringer has areas cut away, the forklift can slide up under either side of the pallet. This offers more versatility as far as transport and storage. Four-way pallets can be used in smaller warehouses since the forklift has more maneuverability. However, they are more expensive to manufacture since they require additional cuts. There can also be a slight decrease in strength with four-way stringer pallets. 

Advantages and Characteristics of Stringer Pallets

Wood stringer pallets are the most popular type of pallets because of the advantages they offer. Their balance of cost and performance make them an ideal general-purpose pallet that can be used to transport and store a wide variety of consumer goods. 

Lifetime use

Wooden pallets can be reused until they sustain significant damage. Once they’re damaged, they can often be repaired to make additional trips through the supply chain. When they can no longer be repaired, wood stringer pallets can be disassembled and the wood that’s still in good shape can be used to remanufacture pallets. Ultimately, when the wood in a pallet is too damaged to reuse, it can be ground down for fiber products or shredded for mulch. Wood pallets are remarkably eco-friendly, comprising less than 2% of all wood in municipal solid waste landfills. 

Advantages of wood stringer pallets over other types of pallets

Wood block pallets

Wood stringer pallets are lighter and less expensive than wood block pallets. They’re not only less expensive to purchase, their lighter weight means they’re cheaper to ship as well. This can add up to significant savings. While wood block pallets are generally considered to be stronger than wood stringer pallets, the load capacity of a pallet is often limited by external factors such as the warehouse racking system rather than the inherent strength of the pallet. Because of this, you may be paying more for a “stronger” block pallet but be unable to load it to full capacity. 

Plastic pallets

Plastic pallet manufacturers tout their long lifespan, but plastic pallets are markedly more expensive than wood stringer pallets. Additionally, plastic pallets are harmful to the environment. Plastic pallets can’t be repaired or effectively recycled. Wood stringer pallets are also stronger than plastic pallets, allowing you to use fewer pallets to ship the same amount of goods.  

Cardboard pallets

While cardboard pallets are biodegradable and cheaper than wood stringer pallets, cardboard simple isn’t strong enough for many uses. Cardboard is also easily damaged by exposure to the weather and water, making them impractical for repeated use. Wood stringer pallets are much sturdier and can be reused multiple times. 

Stringer Applications

As the most commonly used type of pallet, wood stringer pallets can be used in almost all pallet applications. They are widely used in the grocery industry, with all manner of packaged food, drinks, and paper products. Stringer pallets are also frequently used in shipping electronics, other consumer goods, and shipping drums of chemicals.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wood Stringer Pallets

What is a stringer pallet? 

A stringer pallet is a pallet that is constructed with stringers running along the length of the pallet to provide support between the top and bottom decks. 

How many stringers are in a pallet? 

There are usually three stringers in a pallet, one on each end and one in the middle. However, some large pallets that will be used to support heavy loads are constructed with a double stringer in the middle, bringing the total to four. 

What is a four-way stringer pallet? 

A four-way stringer pallet is one that can be accessed by a forklift or pallet jack on all four sides. 

How much do stringer pallets weigh? 

The weight of a stringer pallet depends on its size, but most weigh between 30 and 40 pounds. 

How much does a stringer pallet cost? 

The cost fluctuates depending on the cost of lumber, as well as the size and design of the pallet. The average cost of a new wood stringer pallet is $12. Used wood stringer pallets cost between $4 and $5. The cost of remanufactured pallets falls between the two. 

What makes a stringer pallet different? 

Stringer pallets differ from block pallets because they use stringer boards to provide support between the top deck and the bottom deck rather than blocks. 

What are the benefits of stringer pallets? 

Stringer pallets are versatile and are a good solution for a great many use cases. Stringer pallets combine affordability and strength. 

Are they easier to handle? 

Stringer pallets aren’t necessarily easier to handle than other types of pallets, although they can be. They weigh less, which makes them easier to transport, and four-way stringer pallets are just as easy to handle as block pallets. Two-way stringer pallets are less versatile and may be harder for some facilities to handle. 

Can using stringer pallets save money? 

Yes, stringer pallets are often the most economical choice, which is one reason they’re the most popular type of pallet. 

What sizes do stringer pallets come in? 

Stringer pallets come in all standard sizes and can be custom built to any specifications. 

What is the weight capacity of a typical stringer pallet? 

An average wood stringer pallet has a rackable load capacity of 2,500 pounds. 

What is a reconditioned or repaired stringer pallet? 

A reconditioned or repaired stringer pallet is a used pallet that has had structural repairs to the stringers, deck boards, or other components. 

What are heat-treated stringer pallets? 

Heat-treated stringer pallets have been heated to a core temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 minutes. This process is done to kill any invasive pests or plant species and is required of pallets that will be used to ship items to Europe. 

Where can you buy stringer pallets? 

Stringer pallets can be purchased directly from the manufacturer or from supply companies. 

Where can you buy used stringer pallets? 

Used stringer pallets can be purchased from an industrial packaging broker such as Verde Trader