Pallet Frequently Asked Questions: Everything You Need To Know About Pallets

Pallets are an important part of shipping and freight. They are used to move heavy loads, such as parallelized materials, across long distances in a cost-effective way.

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Pallets are an important part of shipping and freight. They are used to move heavy loads, such as parallelized materials, across long distances in a cost-effective way. By knowing the basics about pallets, you will be able to make better decisions on how parallelization can improve your business’s supply chain. In this blog post we’ll discuss everything you need to know about pallets!

What Is A Pallet?

A pallet is a wooden platform used for storage and shipping. It is often made of wood, plastic or cardboard. Pallets are an economical way to ship because they help reduce the amount of packaging needed; pallets can sometimes be reused as well. Pallets make it easier to stack goods on top of each other; pallets are easy to stack because the pallet is designed and built with a flat surface on top. 

Pallets are a great way to store items in large quantities. They save space and allow businesses to have more pallet storage than warehouse floor space because the pallets can be stacked many high with goods inside of them. 

There are different types of pallets: block, open-top, solid deck, trispanelized pallets, pallet jack pallets and bulkhead pallets. Pallet sizes also vary by which type of pallet a business chooses to use.

Pallets are one of the most common materials used in shipping; they have been around for hundreds of years! 

nab riding on truck
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How Are Pallets Made?

How are pallets made? Pallet manufacturers start by cutting the raw materials to size with a band saw or table saw then they assemble them together using various methods like nails, screws, staples, glue or decking boards. The most common method is to place two sections of pallet together and then nail them.

Originally pallets were made mostly of wood which can be harvested from natural forests and also purchased in lumber yards, but as the pallet industry grew, it became more economical to manufacture them out of plastic resins or recycled materials like paper products (old newsprint).

Today pallets come with a variety of options including plastic pallets, metal pallet frames and wood pallets. 

Pallets may also be manufactured from recycled materials like paper products (old newsprint) or used pallets. 

Ultimately, pallet use in the supply chain is about more than just a reusable packaging material for shipping and storage; it’s an integral part of sustainable design that helps minimize environmental impacts.

man hold wood planer
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When Were Pallets Invented?

The origin of the pallet comes from the skids that were invented in Egypt, but it is unclear when they were invented and by whom. The skid had a board on either side of the object being transported that prevented it from shifting and also provided stability.

Pallets were invented in the 16th century. They are made from a variety of materials, but pallet boards typically come from recycled wood like pine and fir trees. The word “pallet” comes from the French word palet—which means small plank or board that is used to transport goods on horse-drawn carts. The earliest recorded use of the term “pallet” was seen in a 13th Century document. This document outlined how to create pallets for wine storage near the altar of a church.

The first pallets may have been created by Europeans who needed an easier way to load their cargo onto boats for shipping across oceans. Merchants would build makeshift platforms out of wooden beams and use them as loading docks so they could more easily get larger quantities of goods into ships’ holds without having to manually carry every single piece of cargo themselves. These long rows enabled merchants to move many cases at once rather than one by one.

During the industrial revolution the modern pallet we know today was patented by George Raymond, who patented his pallet design in 1930. Raymond had pallets made out of a single layer of pine boards with their beams placed on the tops and bottoms for support. This design was more rigid and pallets could be built in any length.

Originally, pallets were used to transport goods from factories or warehouses to ports and rail yards. The pallets were designed to be handled by forklifts or loaded onto trucks where they would then go into a ship’s hold.

This largely changed in the late 20th century when pallets became a common way to distribute goods to stores, warehouses and other destinations. 

Nowadays pallets are used in many industries, not just shipping. They’re often employed as a temporary flooring material to separate wet and dry zones at construction sites or placed below heavy objects like tanks and machinery for extra stability. The invention of pallets has made manual labor much more efficient, saving time and money while also reducing the risk of injury!

men working in a warehouse
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Why Do We Use Pallets?

Pallets are the foundation of LTL and FTL shipping. Pallets provide a stable surface for stacking and transporting goods in trailers, making them ideal for industrial use. But pallet boards also serve as an excellent storage system when they’re not in heavy use. This is thanks to their compact size, which means that pallets can be stacked tightly together to make efficient use of limited storage space.

Pallets can easily be used to store inventory in locations within a warehouse on racking and can allow for lower labor costs, less resources, and safe handling of palletized freight.

Pallets are often used in the shipping process for palletizing shipments of products, which is placing items on a pallet. This can be done manually or by using automated equipment such as floor jacks and forklifts to load wooden pallets onto empty trailers to have them ready for outbound shipment. Some common industries where pallets are commonly used include food & beverage, retail and distribution, and industrial. 

Pallets can also be used within warehouse stores and other small businesses allow to a company to sell items in bulk at a great price. Pallets are not just used to haul goods from location to location, but can be an alternative to traditional store shelves for food, supplies, and other material.

person driving yellow forklift
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What Are Common Pallet Sizes In The United States?

There are many sizes of pallet, but the most common of the standard sizes is 48×40 inches. There are also square pallets that measure 40×40 these are often used for heavier loads that require access from all sides of the pallet.The pallet size is determined based on how much weight you will be carrying and how much space it will take up in storage. Pallets can also come with stringers which offer extra support to help maintain stability while transporting heavy or fragile loads. 

In order to determine what type of pallet you need, consult your load’s dimensions first before selecting a certain size – this calculation determines if a standard pallet will work or if you need a pallet with longer stringers. If your load is heavy, fragile, and has an unusual shape – such as tall and narrow or short and wide – then the standard pallets may not be sufficient for the task.

Another consideration to make when selecting pallets is pallet strength. The pallets can be of different materials and they can be reinforced with wrap, corrugated cardboard corners, or even custom steel (welded) or rebar (bolted) supports. The pallet strength is determined by the weight of the load and pallets are rated at different levels. . It’s important to know that pallet strength will affect shipment size because it affects how much product can safely be transported per pallet during transit.

Pallet specifications may vary from country to country so it is important to be aware that when importing pallets from abroad may be different then their American counter parts.

wooden pallets
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What Can You Do With Old, Broken Or Unused Pallets?

The versatility that comes from pallets makes them so useful around your home and workplace. Not only do they serve their initial function well but if one breaks, it still has many more uses!

Broken pallets can be recycled into new ones by using the pieces to build more pallets. This is called “upcycling”. Recycled pallets are common in business and can save money and prevent waste by reusing the pallet instead of having it discarded. There are entire pallet recycling companies dedicated to taking and repairing pallets to prevent disposal and continue their usage.

Free pallets are a great source of wood to use for repair, reuse or recycling. Free pallets can often be found outside of literally any small business. These free pallets are great for diy projects. Free pallet wood can be used as finishing materials in furniture making or even used to accent a wall. Pallet deck wood make an excellent material for decoration on crafts and other projects

brown wooden chairs and tables
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What Materials Are Pallets Made Of?

Pallets are typically made of wood pallet boards, but plastic pallets are also quite common. These pallets are often lightweight, nest within eachother, and are easy to clean. There are also steel pallets however these pallets are much rarer as they come at a higher cost. For example, a pallet used for shipping large appliances would likely use heavy-gauge steel to support the weight and protect against damage during transport. 

The choice between pallet material depends on how the pallet will be used. If pallets are often handled by a forklift or pallet jack, pallets made of steel can withstand the weight and rough handling allowing for safe handling for as long as the pallet remains in service. 

Wooden pallets may be more appropriate for long-term storage where pallets will not typically be lifted with a pallet jack. For example, if you want to store heavy equipment in your warehouse but don’t need to move it around frequently then wooden pallets might work best because they won’t dent as easily when stacked on top of each other.

There are other mediums used as an alternative to create pallets. Many of these pallets are made from waste products and are types of recycled pallets. Recycled wood chips can be compressed to form a strong pallet at a low cost. These pallets can cost the same or less than a traditional pallet while reusing resources. Corrugated cardboard pallets are another solution that has recently arisen from increased demand on the market to make pallets more accessible to the market. 


Pallets are an integral part of any business. From warehouses to retail outlets, pallets play a major role in the logistics process and can be made from various materials in different sizes for your specific needs. What do you use pallets for? Comment below!

1 comment

  1. It’s interesting to know that plastic materials are starting to become a lot more common as well when it comes to shipping pallets. I’d like to learn more about sustainable pallets because I’m interested in starting a food supplying business someday. As such, it will be important to use the right kind of pallets when shipping products.

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