The Ultimate Guide to Pallet Procurement

Maybe it’s those shipments of new desks you’re sending to an educational institution. Perhaps it’s the medical supplies you’re distributing to multiple retail locations on a smaller-sized pallet. Or maybe you regularly employ pallets in your manufacturing facility to store products.


However you use them, pallets offer both functionality and efficiency when moving heavy loads. But how do you know which pallet sizes or materials are right for your specific needs? In this Ultimate Guide to Pallet Procurement, you’ll get a rundown of everything you need to know about buying the right product for the job.


Sizing the Pallet for the Job


One of the first things you’ll need to consider when buying pallets is the size. While you can certainly order custom-built pallets, most pallets come in standard sizes that can accommodate almost any job. A standard pallet can typically hold about 4,600 pounds. Here’s a standard pallet size chart:


  • 48-by-40-inch pallets: This is the most common pallet size. In fact, over 30% of pallets manufactured in the U.S. are 48 by 40 inches.


  • 42-by-42-inch pallets: These pallets are most commonly used in the telecommunications industry and are also used for paint and coating storage and transport.



However, you may run into scenarios where you need much smaller or larger pallet sizes. Global Industrial has a wide range of pallet sizes, from as small as 18 inches in depth to accommodate retail product storage to an 80-by-76-inch option to store something like a stack of king-sized mattresses.


Ideally, you’ll want to select the smallest pallet that will accommodate your job needs. After all, the larger the pallet, the higher the cost due to the amount of materials used to construct it. The right sized pallet can help you maximize load capacities, reduce the number of truck deliveries of products, and optimize automation lines you may have in place to move materials.


It’s also important to assess pallet size to truck size. If you’re transporting materials in a standard-sized truck at 96 inches wide, then two standard 48-inch pallets can fit side by side in it. If your truck is 53 feet in length, you can likely carry 26 single-stacked 48-by-40-inch pallets, while a 48-foot truck could carry 24 of them.


Also, don’t forget to consider forklift entry. Will you need two-way or four-way entry for your pallets? If you want to be able to move the pallet from all four sides, then you’ll need the latter.


The Best Pallet Materials for Your Needs


Pallet materials vary almost as much as pallet sizes. While the vast majority of pallets are wood, different types of pallets can be made of plastic, metal, or recycled materials. Global Industrial stocks pallets made of all kinds of materials. What type of pallets you choose, however, will depend on how you intend to use them and how long you need them to last.




Plastic is second only to wood as the most popular pallet material. Plastic pallets are durable, long-lasting, and easy to clean. Plus, plastic pallets won’t absorb moisture the way wood will, making them ideal if you expect moist conditions because they won’t rot. Plastic is also resistant to insect infestation and chemical contamination.




Metal pallets are also highly durable, long-lasting, and fireproof. If you plan to use the pallets for outdoor applications and don’t want to add a lot of extra weight to the shipment, choose lightweight, corrosion-resistant aluminum pallets. Consider galvanized steel or galvanized welded wire pallets if you need heavier-duty options or pallets that accommodate more airflow.


Specialty Materials


There are a host of other specialty pallet materials available. For inexpensive, lightweight, and disposable pallets, choose pressed wood. Or you can use pallets made from recycled and recyclable materials to better meet company sustainability goals. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) pallets, for example, offer the same strength and durability of traditional plastic pallets while also being recyclable.


Types of Pallets


Wondering what type of pallet to purchase? There are a variety of options, including stackable, nestable, and specialty types, like drum pallets, designed to meet a variety of storage and shipment needs.


Stackable Pallets


Stackable pallets feature bottom runners and frames that allow you to stack multiple loaded pallets on top of one another to help maximize storage and shipping space.


Nestable Pallets


Nestable pallets, on the other hand, fit inside one another, so when they’re not in use, you can store them more efficiently in smaller spaces in your warehouse.


Specialty Pallets


Specialty pallets are those used for specific applications, which might include transportation of drum containers, cans of food, or beverage containers. You might use drum pallets, for example, to transport large and heavy drums of oil, chemicals, or other liquids.


Pallet Buying vs. Pallet Renting


While you might be tempted to rent pallets because of the lower upfront costs, keep in mind that renting could cost you more in time, hassle, and money than buying pallets directly. Here’s why you should invest in pallets of your own:


  • You won’t have to worry about returning the pallets to the vendor, especially if you encounter unforeseen shipment delays.


  • You can use the pallets again and again for last-minute customer orders, future shipments, moving, and storage, meaning you won't have the expense of renting in the future.


  • You won’t have to worry about all the extra fees that often come with renting pallets, including lost pallet fees, heat-treating fees, and transfer and issue fees.


Pick and Procure Your Pallets


Explore our wide-ranging inventory of pallets designed to make easier work of large orders.  Whatever your storage or transportation needs, Global Industrial can supply the pallet type, size, and material to meet your product warehousing and shipment goals.




The information contained in this article is for informational, educational, and promotional purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, codes and regulations. If there is any question or doubt in regard to any element contained in this article, please consult a licensed professional.  Under no circumstances will Global Industrial be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on this article.


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