Styles of Pallets for Material Handling

Pallets in their typical setting

Pallets are an essential part of your material handling activities, and there are number of considerations when choosing the style of pallet for your business.  You want to balance cost and usefulness when deciding on the type of pallet you need.  There are four basic styles to choose from.

The first style is a plastic pallet – this is a fairly popular style of pallet, because they are light and durable.  The manufacturing process ensures they are typically uniform in their weight, shape and size. Plastic pallets are a little higher in cost, but you can find cheaper options that are less durable.

The second style is the wooden pallet – these are the most commonly used pallets today. They are constructed of wooden boards attached by metal fasteners. The popularity of wooden pallets is because they are made from readily available material that is fairly inexpensive. They are also very easy to assemble, and wood can be easily adapted to various pallet designs.

The third style of pallet is metal – these are manufactured in either steel or aluminum and they’re great for material handling very heavy loads and in environments that have high temperatures, which would negate the use of a wooden or plastic pallet because of possible burning or melting. A metal pallet is a more expensive option, but is very strong, durable, uniform, and more sanitary than the wooden variety. If weight is a consideration then aluminum pallets are much lighter than steel pallets.

The fourth style of pallet is made from corrugated paperboard — this type of pallet is generally used to export goods, because the lighter weight doesn’t add much to the freight costs, which is especially important when palletted goods are traveling by air. Additionally, they aren’t subject to regulations for safety, and they are easily recyclable, no matter their global destination. Their obvious flaw is that they are very susceptible to moisture, and their durability is limited.

Using a forklift and pallet wrap system will be very similar in methodology, regardless of the type of pallet you use.  The type of packaging put on the pallet needs to be taken into account, because of the different durability and weight capabilities.

So the next time you are choosing pallet styles for your business, remember that there is more to pallet selection than meets the eye.  Both function and cost play a role in the decision, and specific pallets are suitable for specific material handling needs.

About the Author

Bahrns Equipment specializes in industrial equipment for industrial needs, such as forklifts, packaging and material handling. Visit the company online at to learn more about what they offer, and see how they can become your industrial supplier of choice.

Publishing Rights
You may republish this article in your website, newsletter, ore book, on the condition that you agree to leave the article, author’s signature, and all links completely intact.