August 10th, 2022
Wooden Pallet Uses, Sizes, Types & Safety (Free Guide)
Table of Contents
Your Comprehensive Wood Pallet Buying Guide
As you may well know from reading our articles to date, we’re keen proponents of publishing in-depth pallet guides for our readership, and having covered metal pallets and plastics pallets in our most recent articles, it’s now the turn of the UK’s most used pallet format, the humble timber pallet!
Wooden pallets are indispensable in today’s economy as they play a vital role in the logistics and supply chain industry, where they are used as the primary structures for handling unit loads. In turn, these components have become a must-have in every warehouse and a wide range of industries where they are used for diverse purposes.
Common uses for wooden pallets
Wood pallets are primarily used in supply chain networks as the main interface of a unit load. They work by providing a strong and reliable frame that allows for specialised packaging, safe loading & unloading, protection of goods while on transit, and guarantee safe storage. This makes them the primary line of defence that every logistics company relies on to guarantee the secure delivery of virtually all popular products.
While wooden pallets are primarily used for freight and logistics needs, people are increasingly finding exciting ways to use these structures for other functions, including:
- Making pallet furniture such as chairs, tables, shoe racks, mirrors, and bookcases
- In landscaping and gardening where pallets are used as planters, fences, and raised garden beds.
Types of wooden pallets
All wooden pallets might look the same from a distance, but there are different designs available, and the most popular ones are:
Block pallets are known for having a four-way entry that forklifts can lift from all sides. The top deck boards are supported by twelve columns and may or may not have a bottom deck. This hardwood pallet design uses perpendicular and parallel stringers to increase their handling efficiency.
Stringer pallets are distinct for their boards running between the top and bottom deck boards. Two-way stringer pallets are the most common design, and since they have two boards running between their deck boards, they can only be lifted from two sides. However, four-way stringer pallets with notch stringers can be lifted from four sides with forklifts and from two sides with pallet jacks.
Solid deck pallets
A solid deck pallet structure consists of a large sheet with no spaces on their upper deck. This pallet design often comes in handy when storing or transporting smaller or fragile items that can easily slip through cracks, leading to damages.
Double wing pallets
Double wing pallets have their top and bottom decks extending beyond the stringers. In turn, they have a wider surface area that allows them to transport a heavy load containing larger goods with ease.
Duo, double-faced or two-way pallets have decks on both the top and bottom surface, allowing for either side to be used. Given their unique design, they are stronger and often carry or store heavier goods.
Standard pallet sizes
Today, many types of pallets are available in a diverse range of sizes and designs, but the globally accepted dimensions according to the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) are:
- 1200 × 800mm (31.5 × 47.24 inches), which is the most popular pallet size in the UK and across Europe
- 1100 x 1100mm (43.3 × 43.3), which is the most common size used in Asia
- 1200 × 1000mm (39.37 × 47.24 inches), which is the second most popular pallet dimension in the UK and across Europe and Asia
- 1219 × 1016mm (48 × 40 inches), which is the most common pallet dimension in North America
- 1165 x 1165mm (45.9 × 45.9 inches), which is the most popular pallet size in Australia
- 1067 × 1067mm (42×42 inches), which is equally common in the UK, Europe, North America, and Asia
Most pallet sizes emerged due to international trade routes, and primary transport means that led to these standardisations. For example, Europe adopted the use of the 1200 × 800mm pallets as most goods were transported on trains, and this was the best size to fit through most doors that were 850mm wide.
On the other hand, goods transported across oceans had to fit into containers, leading to the popularity of 1067 × 1067mm and 1200 × 1000mm pallets capable of handling much heavier loads and delivering transcontinental economies of scale.
Finding the best wood pallets for your business
Pallets are the main cog for businesses in the logistics industry, and in the search for these all-important components, it is important to:
- Opt for a reputable pallet business with in-depth knowledge and experience in this niche area
- Take into account the type and size of products you will be shipping to determine the most suitable type of pallet for your needs
- Ensure your pallets meet ISPM 15 regulations and suit the standards acceptable in your shipping destination
- Consider the frequency of use to determine how often you need new pallets.
- Factor in your budget and whether the pallet business can guarantee fast delivery of your orders
How to find free or low-cost wooden pallets for your projects
While buying wood pallets over plastic pallets is a cost-effective solution for businesses in the supply chain industry, it is often a smarter choice to hunt for free wooden pallets when undertaking a minor project. Luckily, there are several places you can turn to when looking for used or surplus pallets, and these include:
- Small businesses that regularly import items. Unlike large businesses that are often involved in a pallet recycling program to help reduce their overall costs, a small business that regularly has one-way shipments can be a steady source of free pallets. These businesses can include gas stores, equipment stores, newspaper companies, and general stores.
- Learning institutions. Most schools import their books and other supplies, making them a good place to look for free wood pallets that often end up in the dumpster as they have no other use.
- Fresh produce market. A good quantity of used pallets can be found in most markets as most farm produces have to be well-packaged before being transported. While some traders might charge you a small fee for these pallets, you can be confident it will still be a bargain sale.
- A construction site. You can always expect a lot of waste pallets in a construction site as these wood structures are widely used to bring in building materials, which the site management might be willing to give you for free.
- Pallet recycling companies. If there is a local pallet recycling company, you can always contact them and inquire if they have used pallets that are still in good condition. Since these companies are out to earn a profit, they might charge you, but the rates will be reasonable and there are bargains to had if you’re buying in bulk ahead of planning for high-season demand. for example.
Note: Never assume that pallets that have been stored outside are available for free, as most businesses have partnerships with collectors who help ensure nothing goes to waste. Some companies have also enforced property rights to their pallets, and collecting them might see you get on the wrong side of the law.
Safety standards when using pallets
Pallets can pose a significant risk if not used properly, and to avoid the risk of injuries, it is vital to adhere to these safety considerations:
- Always use protective equipment when handling pallets. It is vital to have personal protective equipment such as safety gloves and shoes to protect yourself.
- Never use a pallet as a man lift. While pallets are designed to hold considerable weight, their efficiency is based on proper weight distribution. As such, you must never use these wooden structures as a man lift since your weight will not be evenly distributed across its surface, leading to potential damages and injuries.
- Do not stand on empty pallets. An empty pallet is very stable, especially when you stand on its edges, as it can easily tip over and harm you.
- Avoid over-stacking pallets. Whether using a forklift truck or stacking pallets manually, it is important to limit the heights to ensure they do not topple over.
- Be extra cautious when lifting pallets. A pallet can be quite heavy, and you need to be careful when lifting them to avoid straining yourself – always adhere to standard workplace safety and manual handling best practices when working with pallets and material-handling goods.
Choose RollPallet UK for Your Pallet Needs
As experts in the field of rollpallet products, we know a thing or two about handling wood products across a variety of UK industries and extensive range of products are tailored specifically to delivery value and the highest standards of quality possible to business large and small nationwide.
If you’d like to speak with one of our friendly sales team about what we can offer your business to best suit the job at hand, we’d be more than happy to talk you through our range and help you find the best solution for your needs, with the best price guaranteed and free delivery to anywhere in the UK, we won’t be beaten on price or quality!
Please contact our team today to arrange a chat.