What types of pallets are best?


There really is no one type of pallet that meets everyone’s needs all the time.

In fact, there are many pallet types to consider when you have freight or merchandise that needs to be shipped in the fastest, most economical way.

That’s why it’s best to consult an experienced pallet manufacturer who can help you choose the right material, size and shape to expedite your shipping.

What is a pallet?

A pallet is a flat structure used to move many kinds of freight for shipping. It can be made of wood, plastic or other materials. However, over 90 percent of all pallets used in shipping freight are wood.

Some people will use the terms pallets and skids interchangeably — but they are not the same. Skids are similar to pallets but are built differently. The top of a skid is often solid, but there is also no bottom support, so it cannot be moved as easily as a pallet.

While pallets are meant to transport goods, skids are typically used to store goods or objects.

Types of pallets

Stringer pallets

A wood stringer pallet is one in which the top and bottom of the pallet are held together by three 2-in. by 4-in. (2×4) boards: one down each of two sides and one through the middle. Stringer pallets are the most common wood pallet type and are probably what you think of when you envision a wood pallet. A forklift can most easily access the stringer pallet from two sides.

Block pallets

At first, a block pallet may look like a stringer pallet, but the key difference is that they are held together by nine 4-in. by 4-in. (4×4) wood blocks to reinforce the top and bottom decks. This enables a forklift to access the block pallet equally from all four sides. Block pallets are usually sturdier and longer-lasting than stringer pallets. However, because manufacturers need more wood to create the block pallet, they are heavier and cost more to build.

Winged pallets

A winged pallet is simply a pallet that has boards overhanging the stringers or blocks. Manufacturers can add wings on two or four sides of the pallet. In general, wings increase the amount of weight a pallet can bear.

Food-grade pallets

While pallets are used to ship many types of merchandise, food suppliers with items headed to grocery stores work within the industries most likely to use pallets. Therefore, the Consumer Brands Association (formerly the Grocery Manufacturers Association) created a standard size of 48 in. by 40 in. for shipping food. The pallets used in this industry must be clean, dry and free from contaminants. While plastic pallets are also used as food-grade pallets, wood pallets have a long record of safety and efficiency.

Kiln-dried and heat-treated pallets

While manufacturers use heat for kiln- and heat-treated pallets to improve the wood, they are not the same. Wood is kiln-dried at lower temperatures for longer amounts of time. This drying process can reduce moisture in the wood, make it lighter and stronger and reduce the chances of mold growing on the wood.

On the other hand, a heat-treated pallet is heated at higher temperatures for a shorter amount of time. Heat-treating reduces the chances of insects, mold or other pathogens remaining in the wood. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has set standards for wood packaging material entering and exiting the United States. The wood pallet must be heat-treated and labeled if your business must ship freight internationally.

Recycled vs. new pallets

These days, wood is a valuable commodity. Prices have fluctuated wildly but, often, are rising steadily. Hope Timber is dedicated to making the best use of our resources and offers custom-crafted wood pallets made with new or recycled wood. Using recycled wood can help you save up to 30 percent.

At Hope Timber, we build your pallets to order and recycle the wood and nails from your older pallets. We are dedicated to maintaining an environmentally friendly business that provides a top product and knowledgeable customer service.

We help you find the right pallets

In the end, the best types of pallets are those that suit your needs as a customer. When customers come to us with their pallet needs, we use industry-leading software to generate the most economical and strongest pallet for the customer’s particular use. All the customer needs to do is give us their specifications for weight and size, and we can create a custom, economical plan for each business to ship their freight quickly with the best pallets for their individual needs.

As a family-run business, Hope Timber takes exceptional customer service seriously. In fact, the founding Harvey family deals with each customer directly to provide solutions.

Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about our services and products that make Hope Timber an outstanding choice to provide pallets to businesses in central Ohio and the surrounding areas.

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