What Makes a Great Pallet?

A pallet is an excellent support choice when you need to move heavy goods from one place to another. Chances are if you’re reading this, you already have an interest in learning more about pallets, what they are used for, and how to choose the right one. Here’s the short rundown when you need to know everything about pallets!

What is a pallet?
Made for transporting and shipping all kinds of goods, a pallet is typically made of wood support boards with long flat boards nailed across the top and bottom. The bottom boards are what separate a pallet from a “skid”, which has no bottom deck. This design is what makes it easier to transport pallets using equipment such as a forklift or pallet jack. Though this is the standard design, there are many different types of pallets and they can be made with various materials such as metal or plastic.

What are the qualities of a good pallet?
A good pallet is measured by more than just capacity, though that is important too. You want a pallet that is durable and strong, with an appropriate compatibility with the goods being shipped and a good level of weight distribution.

Load Capacity
All pallets have a recommended load bearing capacity that determines their strength and durability. Loading a pallet past this capacity limit can cause damage to the structural integrity of the pallet. This can lead to a dangerous situation. Not only can it damage the goods loaded onto the pallet, it can also be a hazard to those handling it. Stay safe and always choose a pallet that is designed for the loads you plan to use it for!

Weight Distribution
Even if you are loading under the stated capacity, a pallet still must distribute weight evenly to maintain its integrity. Old or damaged pallets are a danger for even relatively light loads. The more weight that is loaded unevenly, the weaker these points will become. Choose pallets that are even and not damaged. You can avoid causing weak points yourself by loading them as evenly as possible!

Some pallets are made for a certain type of cargo and shipping method. For example, a four-way stringer type of pallet is designed to be moved with a forklift or jack from all four sides, while a two-way stringer can only be accessed on two sides. Additionally, some pallets are reversible, which means they have identical floor and top boards and can be loaded on either side., while others can only be loaded on one side.

This compatibility is important depending on the environment the pallet will be used in and how often it will be used. A reversible pallet may save time, but you might opt for one that offers four-way access and a nonreversible top for ease of mobility.

There are several industry standard designs in use today. However, if your particular shipping and transportation needs require it, you may want to decide on a custom design. This way you can have a pallet that is made to fit your specific equipment or fabrication processes. Custom pallets are great for highly valuable cargo with special shipping needs, though all goods can benefit from a pallet designed especially for them!