At this time, there are no universally accepted standards for pallet dimensions; however, in North America, the GMA (Grocery Manufacturers’ Association) pallet accounts for 30% of all new wood pallets introduced into the shipping system. A GMA pallet measures 48” long by 40” wide, and has notched stringers which allow for 4-way entry.
Select the Pallet That Works Best for Your Operation
The pallet size and design you require may be determined by a number of factors, including; the size of your building and its doorways, warehouse rack space, semi-trailer width, product dimensions, use of forklifts or pallet jacks, and coordination with automated packaging and warehouse requirements. Pallet size is also a prime consideration in minimizing the amount of “air” you ship.
Most Common Sizes
The ten most common sizes of pallets used in the US are shown in the table below. (Reproduced from Wikipedia) The first dimension is the stringer length (support boards) and the second is the deckboard length. The more square a pallet is, the less likely it is to tip.
|Rank||Dimensions (L x W)||Industries Using|
|1||48” x 40” (1219mm x 1016mm)||Grocery, many industries|
|2||42” x 42” (1067mm x 1067mm)||Telecommunications, Paint|
|3||48” x 48” (1219mm x 1219mm)||Drums, Barrels|
|4||40” x 48” (1016mm x 1219mm)||Military, Cement|
|5||48” x 42” (1219mm x 1067mm)||Chemical, Beverage|
|6||40” x 40” (1016mm x 1016mm)||Dairy|
|7||48” x 45” (1219mm x 1143mm)||Automotive|
|8||44” x 44” (1118mm x 1118mm)||Drums, Chemical|
|9||36” x 36” (914mm x 914mm)||Beverage, Shingles|
|10||48” x 36” (1219 mm x 914mm)||Beverage, Shingles, Packaged Paper|
Two-way or Four-way Entry
Entry refers to the number of sides of a pallet that can be entered by a forklift or pallet jack. While two-way entry pallets may be a little less expensive, the four-way entry offers more flexibility, especially in loading trailers where turning the pallet 90 degrees allows far better utilization of space, thereby lowering shipping costs.
Because a forklift utilizes relatively thin forks and stringers are generally notched or raised, it is able to enter either type of pallet from all four sides; however, oftentimes, a pallet jack, because its lifting wheels are built into the thicker forks, can only enter a four-way pallet from two sides, not all four.
Two-way pallets: Designed to be lifted by the deckboards. In a warehouse, the deckboard side faces the corridor. For optimal cubage in a warehouse, the deckboard dimension should be the shorter. This also helps the deckboards be more rigid.
Four-way pallets: Generally used for heavier loads. Forks go under stringers instead of deckboards. (Compare to piers (forks) that support floor joists (stringers), which in turn support the floor structure (deckboards) in a house.
Skid: A pallet having no bottom deck. Sometimes referred to as a platform. Not designed for stacking and may cause product damage if stacked. Generally the least expensive of pallets and may be considered expendable.
Single Wing Skid: No bottom deck and deckboards extend past the runners, or stringers.
Single-Face Pallet: Decking material on top of pallet for product support with minimal structural support boards on the bottom. This is pretty much the industry standard. Double faced pallets are the exception and are rarely used except for some warehouse applications where complete deck coverage on top and bottom might beneficial.
Single Wing Pallet: Deckboards extend past the stringers on the sides, front and back. Extension of wings allows for stringers to be positioned closer to each other and increases overall strength of pallet.
Double Wing Pallet: Deckboards extend past the stringers on sides, front and back, on both the top and bottom.
Euro Pallet: Also known as block pallet or post pallet. This is a four-way entry pallet and is stronger than a stringer pallet. Normally a European standard, but it is being used more frequently in the United States, especially with companies exporting to Europe.
Solid Deck Pallet: May be block or stringer design and utilizes a single piece of decking material as opposed to multiple deckboards. Ideal for smaller products that might fall through openings between standard deckboards.