Common Wood Species for Pallets

Wood pallets are commonly used as a flat transport structure that functions as a support for items that are being lifted by forklifts, front loaders, cranes and more. Also, wood pallets have started being used for various do it yourself projects such as creating a makeshift table or shelf.

Wood pallets have a lot of surprising uses. Besides being obviously created from wood, pallets can be made with a variety of wood types, the top two most common ones being southern yellow pine (SYP) and oak…but it doesn’t stop there. Here are some wood species that are used to create wooden pallets.

According to a study done by the USDA and Virginia Tech, they determined that SYP makes up 18.9% of all woods used and oak came second, making up 17.1% (in terms of volume). As a result both SYP and Oakwood contain several different species that make up the wood classification.

Southern Yellow Pine (SYP)

SYP is a softwood that is available in high quantities at a very low cost, making it a cheap, yet effective option for those who want to order wood pallets. It can be kiln dried (wood drying – reducing the moisture content of the wood before use) and provides a cleaner product. This type of wood makes it easier to transport applications such as pharmaceutical or food-related items because of the cleaner product.

The softness of SYP is evident because if one cuts a pine board with a table or chop saw, they will find that they do not meet that much resistance except for the occasional knot hole.


Oakwood is in a group of high density hardwood (among other wood types such as birch, cherry, maple, ash and elm) and is also easily available in high quantities. Oak is considered one of the stronger hardwood species and is used due to its high strength. Most pallets are made from leftover oak lumber that was discarded after making any furniture – because when it was cut for more profitable markets, the lumber that didn’t make a high enough grade for building furniture was tossed aside.

The strength of the Oakwood is evident when one takes a table or chop saw to a piece of oak. There is a higher resistance, making cutting it a real challenge. The knot holes in the wood would show burn marks from the blade trying to saw through it. This strength has helped with the fact that by using this wood, they can get away with less boards and thinner components on their pallets. A slight disadvantage of Oak is that they when they age, the grain starts to separate and stick up, giving an almost ‘fuzzy’ appearance.

There are many advantages to using both types of pallets. SYP pallets are a lot lighter than Oak pallets, while Oak pallets are tougher to handle, they do a great job in collecting heavier supply items for transport.

If you’re curious about which type of wood species would be best for your pallets, contact Geo Pallet Ltd. today to learn more!




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