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Different Types of Pallet | Standard Pallet Materials and Dimensions

How to choose the right type of pallet for shipping

Pallets are very useful for transporting bulky or heavy loads. They can be a cost-effective option for businesses that frequently ship large quantities of goods or an efficient solution for transporting furniture during a relocation. It is important that you choose the right type of pallet for your shipping needs. Find out about different types of shipping pallets and their uses.

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THINGS TO CONSIDER

What to bear in mind when choosing a pallet for shipping

  • Choose the right material for your item – Shipping pallets are available in different types and materials. For example, wooden pallets are ideal for shipping furniture, while plastic pallets are preferred by the food and pharmaceutical industries.
  • Use a pallet that is in good condition – It should not have any cracks, old labels or signs of damage. You can opt for a used pallet instead of a new one to save on shipping costs, as long as the pallet is sturdy enough for transport.
  • Size matters in the destination country – Standard pallet dimensions vary worldwide since they are regulated by different associations. Try using a pallet that complies with the standard in the destination country, to avoid the need for special handling equipment on the other side.
  • Equipment for loading and unloading – Before booking, check if you have access to handling equipment such as forklifts for collection and delivery. If you need any extra equipment, please inform us when placing your order.

HOW TO SHIP

Freight solutions for shipping all pallets types

Depending on the size and the urgency of your shipment, choose the right pallet and book one of the services below:
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STANDARD SIZES

Euro pallet standard sizes and dimensions

Euro pallets (or EUR pallets, EPAL pallets) are the standard European pallet. A single pallet weighs 20-25 kg and is available in 4 different sizes:

EUR-pallet typesDimensions (W x L) cmDimensions (W x L) inch
EUR, EUR 180 x 120 cm (most commonly used in Europe)31.50 in x 47.24 in
EUR 2100 x 120 cm (most commonly used in the UK)39.37 in x 47.24 in
EUR 3100 x 120 cm39.37 in x 47.24 in
EUR 660 x 80 cm23.62 in x 31.50 in

Global pallet standard sizes and dimensions

ISO pallets are available in 6 different sizes, and pallet dimensions vary depending on the region in which they are used.

If you are shipping a pallet across continents, it is a good idea to choose an appropriate ISO pallet for the destination so that the goods do not have to be transferred to another pallet at the other end of the journey.

Here is a summary of the 6 ISO pallets most commonly used:

Where they are commonly usedDimensions (W x L) cmDimensions (W x L) inch
North America101.6 x 121.9 cm40 x 48 in
Europe and Asia100 x 120 cm39.37 in x 47.24 in
Australia116.5 x 116.5 cm45.9 x 45.9 in
North America, Asia, Europe106.7 x 106.7 cm42 x 42 in
Asia110 x 110 cm43.4 x 43.4 in
Europe80 x 120 cm31.50 in x 47.24 in

PALLET FEATURES

What are the different types of shipping pallets?

Although they may look alike, every pallet is unique. They are made out of different materials, including recycled wood, plastic, metal and paper. Pallets can be classified in various ways, usually by the type of supports and deck configurations they have, as well as the materials.

Type of support: block vs stringer pallets

Block pallets – Also known as deck-board pallets, these are easy to handle thanks to their parallel and perpendicular stringers, the boards that run between the top and bottom decks of the pallet. They usually have a four-way entry, meaning that they can be lifted by a forklift on all four sides. Another typical feature is the 4 to 12 blocks that support the top deck boards.

Stringer pallets – The stringers are positioned in parallel across the pallet and support the load on top. Stringer pallets are normally two-way, meaning that they can only be accessed on two sides by a forklift. Notched stringer pallets with a four-way entry are also available. Stringer pallets are the most common type of pallet used for shipping in the United States.

Type of deck configuration: open deck vs solid deck pallets

Open deck pallets – Also known as ventilated pallets, these have openings or “meshes” on the top deck to make it a lighter and less expensive alternative to other types of pallets. The meshes also allow for easier drainage if the goods get wet in transit.

Solid deck pallets – The top surface of this type of pallet is made of a single sheet of wood, plastic or other material. This makes them a safer option for shipping small items because there are no openings on the surface for things to fall through. Solid deck pallets are also easier to clean and transport, which makes them a popular choice.

Other types of pallets: double face vs double wing vs nestable

  • Double face pallets – They have decks on both the top and bottom surfaces, which increases the strength of the pallet by evenly distributing the load weight. These pallets have two types: reversible and non-reversible. Reversible pallets are stackable on either side because they have two surfaces with densely-packed planks. Non-reversible pallets can only be loaded on top as they have different surfaces.
  • Double wing pallets – The top and bottom decks of this type of pallet extend beyond the stringers or blocks to give the appearance of “wings“ along the sides of the pallet. This makes them ideal for transporting bulky or numerous goods because of the wider surface area.
  • Nestable pallets – As the name suggests, these pallets “nest“ into each other thanks to the legs on each corner. These pallets, when empty, can be efficiently stacked to save valuable storage space. Nestable pallets are normally made of plastic and are ideal for lightweight goods.

PALLET MATERIALS

Choosing between different pallet material types

Wooden pallets are available in soft or hardwood, with the latter providing more stability for heavier loads. A new wooden pallet can typically hold up to 3,600 kg of static load.

Plastic pallets are made from recycled PET or new HDPE and are more expensive, as they are longer lasting compared to wooden pallets. They can carry a load of up to 680 kg or 1500 lb.

Paper pallets or Eco-pallets can hold the same weight as a standard wooden pallet but are more commonly used for lighter loads. Eco-pallets are the most environmentally friendly type of pallet for shipping, as they are can be recycled easily.

Steel pallets provide the most longevity, especially when transporting freight in harsh conditions. Steel pallets are more expensive but are ideal for heavier loads such as transporting ammunition and machinery.

Wooden pallets: the most popular type of pallet for shipping

Wooden pallets are the most common type of pallet material used for shipping because they are durable and cheaper than plastic pallets. They are the best type of pallet for shipping furniture or non-biodegradable products.

Wooden pallets can be divided into the following subcategories:

  • Plywood pallets are used to carry light to medium-weight goods. They are able to withstand much handling and loading. Additionally, they offer more resistance to moisture and pests.
  • Presswood pallets are made of processed wood fibres or recycled wood shavings. They are sturdy but easy to customise. Their disadvantage is that they are sensitive to moisture damage, especially if left out in the rain.

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FAQ on different types of pallets for shipping

How many types of pallets are used for shipping?

Broadly speaking, there are two basic types of pallets used for shipping: block pallets and stringer pallets. However, pallets can be classified in different ways including, but not limited to:
  • Material
  • Size
  • Number of entry points for a forklift
  • Deck design
The type of pallet you should choose depends on the size and type of goods you are shipping. If you are unsure which type of pallet you need for your shipment, please contact our logistics experts for more information.

Which are the most commonly-used pallet?

Wood is by far the most common type of pallet used for shipping. Plastic is the second most frequently used type of pallet material. There are different types of pallets that are suited for shipping different types of goods and industries. You should choose the right pallet for shipping based on your particular needs.

What is the best type of pallet for shipping?

The best type of pallet for shipping depends on the item you are shipping and also the destination. If you are shipping within Europe, the standard type is the Euro pallet. If you are shipping globally, you can choose among the ISO pallets to find the one suited to your destination.

What is the difference between Euro and UK standard pallets?

The main difference between Euro and UK standard pallets is in their size. Standard Euro pallets have dimensions of 80 x 120 cm, while the UK standard is 100 x 120 cm.

What is the strongest type of pallet material?

Metal pallets are the strongest and most durable, but also the most expensive type of pallet for shipping. Wood is the most commonly used pallet material because it is sturdy while also costing less than metal. When considering wooden pallets, block models are generally considered stronger than stringer models.

How high can you load a standard pallet?

The standard maximum height for pallets is 220 cm, including the pallet height. This may vary depending on your destination country, so we recommend checking the relevant pallet standards in advance. You can always contact our logistics expert via chat if you need any advice or help when placing your order.

What are standard shipping pallets in North America and Australia?

North America: The standard pallet in North America, also known as the GMA pallet, measures 101.6 x 121.9 cm or 40 x 48 in. Stringer pallets are the most common type of pallet used for shipping, as opposed to block pallets.
Australian pallets: There are two sizes used in Australia. Standard pallets measure 116.5 x 116.5 cm and match the size of the containers that the Australian railway uses. Slightly smaller export pallets measuring 110 x 110 cm are suitable for international shipments in ISO containers.