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Pallets – 10 Frequently Asked Questions Answered

Who knew there was so much to know about a handful of wooden slabs fastened together and tossed tirelessly around a warehouse? Well in an industry like shipping, everything is highly regulated and designed for maximum safety and efficiency—and pallets are no exception. At Freight Buddy, we interact with countless pallets every day, so we decided we would pass our many years of expertise on to you. We’ve answered some of the most common questions that we hear all the time regarding pallets and their use in freight shipping.

Let’s begin.

1 . What is a pallet and how is it used?

A pallet is a horizontal structure, typically consisting of a top and bottom deck supported by either blocks or boards (stringers). They provide a sturdy base so that commercial goods can be transported safely, and their raised design allows for forklifts, pallet jacks, and front loaders to easily lift them without damaging the freight.

Pallets have been an absolutely essential development in the shipping industry and have drastically changed the way we transport goods around the world.

2 . What’s the difference between a pallet and a skid?

The main difference between the two is that a pallet has both a top and bottom deck, whereas a skid has only a top deck. Their uses differ slightly as well, as pallets are primarily used to transport commercial goods, while skids are more often used for storage.

3 . What are pallets made from?

Pallets are most commonly made from wood. However, they can also be made of plastic, metal, plywood, corrugated board (paper), and pressed (engineered) wood. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages and are ideal for different industries and products.

4 . Is there a standard size of pallet?

The standard size for a pallet in North America is 48 x 40 inches. However, different industries have their own standard sizes that they use to better fit their products. Standard sizes can also vary by region, although an effort is being made to reduce this international variation.

5 . What is the height and weight of an empty pallet?

An average pallet is usually between 5 and 7 inches tall. Standard 48” x 40” wooden pallets typically weigh between 30 and 48 pounds. Some pallets can weigh significantly more or less depending on their material, load bearing capacity, and moisture level.

6 . How much weight can a pallet hold?

The average pallet can support anywhere from 3,700—4,600 pounds. This also depends greatly on the pallet’s material, dimensions, and configuration.

7 . How high should I pack a pallet?

As a general rule, standard pallets should be packed no higher than 60 inches (5 feet). In order to ensure the safety of the workers who are moving your freight, the heavier boxes need to be packed on the bottom and the lighter ones on top. There should also be nothing hanging over the outside edges of the pallet.

8 . How high can empty pallets be stacked?

Empty pallets are often stacked in warehouses to free up space and reduce the number of tripping hazards. However, if stacked too high this presents an added safety issue. Thus, for a freestanding stack, regulations require that it be no higher than 15 feet, which is usually somewhere between 20 and 25 pallets.

9 . How many pallets will fit inside a Semi trailer?

A full truckload for an average 53’ truck can hold anywhere from 24 to 30 pallets, depending on how stowable the freight is.

10 . How many pallets will go on an average less than truckload shipment?

Your average less than truckload (LTL) shipment can typically fit orders of 1 to 6 pallets, depending on the carrier and the size of the other cargo. Freight Buddy will work with any size shipment and find the right carrier for you.

There you have it. You’re now a palatable dose of pallet knowledge wiser. If you ever need to transport a pallet worth of goods (or six), Freight Buddy is the best option in the industry. We’ve partnered with some of the top-rated carriers in the country so that we can ensure your shipment arrives on time and at the lowest possible cost to you. Go ahead and calculate your freight quote today or give us a call at 800.578.6009.