Differentiating between a 4-way pallet (block pallets) and a 2-way Pallet (stringer pallets) is a hard nut to crack. One of the apparent differences between these pallet types is directly linked with forklift entry, as a forklift can access a 4-way Pallet from all sides, while a forklift can access a 2-way Pallet from its two sides.
Let’s dig deep into the article to learn everything about 4-way and 2-way Pallets
A pallet is a crucial tool used for storage and transportation in warehouses. It provides a base for transporting, handling and assembling products. Depending on the pallet material types, it can be reused in a highly creative manner. These pallets are available in different standard sizes, but organizations can customize them so that service is not disturbed in the supply chain.
Difference between a Pallet and a Skid
Although these two terms are entirely different, people can interchange these platforms. However, they are entirely different platforms in order to store and handle products.
Here is the difference between a pallet and a skid.
What is a Pallet?
The Pallet is a modern platform used to store and assemble goods. It is made of bottom and top deck boards and is able to carry up to 1000kg weight. Three or four stringers are connected with deck boards to hold it up. Its bottom deck make it easier for the forklift to move Pallet.
- The standard dimensions of a pallet are 48” X 40”.
- It has 4-way or 2-way access, and that’s why it is easy to move.
- As compared to the skid, it is difficult to drag due to the bottom deck boards, which provide resistance.
What is a Skid?
Since 1930, it has been used as a platform to store products within the supply chain. Unlike a modern Pallet, it has a top deck that makes it frictionless so that the forklift can easily drag. One of the main reasons why skid is used even today as it uses less space when nested.
P.S. Nested pallets are technically skidded as these have no bottom deck.
- It is less expensive than compared to Pallet.
- It is considered an idea for non-mobile usage as it’s a foundation for heavy machinery.
- The weight of the skid is on vertical slats due to the absence of the bottom deck. That’s why it is easy to drag a skid.
Basics of Pallet
Although, there is a considerable difference between the 4-way Pallet and the 2-way Pallet. However, here are some everyday things between these two pallets.
Typically, pallets are constructed from wood as it is the oldest and most reliable material for pallets. But they are also available in plastic which makes them less expensive. Both materials have advantages and disadvantages so consider your company policy while ordering.
The size of the Pallet may vary from country to country. The below sizes are standard, but customizable options are always available according to the demand.
The ISO standard sizes are as follows:
|Dimensions, inches (W × L)||Dimensions, mm (W x L)||Region Most Used|
|48.00 × 40.00||1219 x 1016||North America|
|44.88 × 44.88||1140 x 1140||Australia|
|43.30 × 43.30||1100 x 1100||Asia|
|31.50 × 47.24||800 x 600||Europe (fits many doorways)|
|42.00 × 42.00||1067 x 1067||North America, Europe, Asia|
|39.37 × 47.24||1000 x 1200||Europe, Asia|
Without further delay, let’s started the difference!
In the 4-way pallet, engineers have designed support blocks or stringers so that they can be held from any side. These are the most common design of pallets among all types of pallets. Generally, these pallets are heavier, more extensive and resistant free, and more durable than two-way or one-way Pallets. 4-way pallets are known for their flexibility and heavy-duty capacity. As the name suggests, pallet trucks and forklifts can lift or enter from all four sides, that have more significant benefits while loading.
In the market, there are three kinds of four-way pallets, and organizations can buy them as per their choice.
- Reversible pallets
- Irreversible pallets
- Peripheral base pallets
Typically, a 4-way Pallet’s bottom deck is constructed in two different styles. The first is a fringe base with three plates, and the second is a complete perimeter on the bottom. The former is typically called leggers or legged pallets. These legged pallets are more vital than two-way pallets as it gives strength for heavy duty.
Types of 4-way Pallet
Partial 4-way pallets
As stringers are notched only on one side, the Partial 4-way pallets can be picked or lifted from only two sides by a pallet jack. But most forklifts can hold them from all four sides.
- The partial 4-way pallets can use space effectively because the forklift can enter any side of it. That’s why they don’t need extra storage when nested.
- The forklift operators do not need to worry about how to approach them at a specific angle, and they lift and load these pallets in no time. This reduces the demand for the labour force and speeds up the loading and unloading process.
- As these involve the adding of extra notches, and that’s why it is more expensive than a 2-way Pallet but not much more than an actual 4-way Pallet.
True 4-way Pallets
These pallets (4-way block pallets) can be lifted by either a pallet jack or forklift from all sides.
- Due to high-quality material and, of course, its design, these pallets are more durable as compared to all other types of pallets.
- These true pallets have the capacity to carry 2800 pounds, which is much higher than partial 4-way and 2-way pallets.
- Due to their complexity in design and material, these pallets are more expensive than all other pallets.
- These pallets are made up of complex trees which take years to grow. That’s why you can’t replace them at the previous rate.
Advantages and Disadvantages of 4-way Pallet
Let’s explore the advantage and disadvantages of 4-way pallets that help you to differentiate between two pallets.
- Maximum load-bearing capacity: The static shows that a four-way Pallet has the capacity to load almost 2800-3000 pounds. These statics are far better than partial four-way Pallets.
- Easy to repair: One of the best advantages of these pallets is that they can repair quickly. If your motive is to reuse within the supply chain, you should definitely look at this true 4-way Pallet.
- A peak level of durability: Although the durability of partial 4-way pallets cannot be neglected, block pallets are more durable just because of their high-quality wood and complex design (better in numerous ways).
- Improve operation efficiency: It has improved operational efficiency because 4-way pallets are a good combination of strength and durability.
- Waste of resources: Actually, these pallets are made of timber trees that take decades to grow. It is also considered a waste of natural resources because growing this tree at the previous rate is impossible.
- Expensive: One of the main disadvantages of these pallets is that it is highly expensive. Because it uses natural resources, which are definitely expensive, and it’s a notched design that brings comfort to the industry.
- Heavy duty load: As you know, that block pallet’s weight capacity ranges from 28000 to 35000, which increases the workload of the truck pallet and ultimately increases the transportation prices.
As the name suggests, Two-way Pallet is held up with only openings at the top and bottom, equivalent to the stringer plate of the Pallet. Typically, Pallet is arranged with two longitudinal beams, horizontal slabs for the support of the pallet deck, and a middle longitudinal beam. Forklift operators cannot lift the Pallet from the stringer side because stringers are dense and do not have any grooves.
A forklift can enter from the two sides, the front and rear of the Pallet. So these limitations offer a challenge to hold up the Pallet, especially when it comes to space allocations and stacking.
A two-way Pallet consists of three essential parts
- The top deck boards
- The sides’ bearers
- Baseboard or bottom deck board
Honestly, 2-way Pallet is more useable due to its durability and strength, which is better than a 4-way Pallet. The only worst element related to two-way Pallets is the lack of flexibility. Flexibility means that it is not flexible in terms of pallet entry as it utilizes entire space, which is a challenge while nested. Due to only this reason, industries and warehouses are promoting partial 4-way Pallets or true 4-way Pallets.
Advantages and Disadvantages of 2-way Pallet
- Less expensive: You may know that the planning and process of making 2-way pallets are more accessible than all other pallets. That’s why they are easier to purchase and provide the maximum benefits to their users.
- Enhanced durability: In 2-way pallets, the stringers are solid, which means they are stronger and reduce the chance of breakage compared to those whose stringers are notched to make partial pallets.
- Medium load capacity: As you know that stringers of 2-way pallets are solid, that’s why it has more load capacity than partial 4-way pallets.
- Lessen the efficiency of the supply chain: It takes more time in order to lift correctly, especially when the warehouse has only one operator. It slows the process of loading and unloading, which makes it less competitive in the supply chain.
- More space utilization: These pallets require more space to arrange storage and transportation as we can arrange them by only picking them up from two sides.
- Increases workload: During transportation, these have to arrange in such a way it can be accessible to pallet jack or forklift. This limitation increases the workload of transport and, of course, the cost.
Which One Is Better (Stringer Pallet vs Block Pallet)
There is the exact answer to this question, as it depends entirely on your industry’s storage policy. Stringer and block pallets are commonly used in different commercial and manufacturing units. The perfect selection criteria for these pallets is how these pallets will function. The unit’s layout and tools make one specific Pallet more beneficial than another.
Let’s have some general selection criteria for these pallets.
- If you have enough space, a 4-way Pallet is best for you as palletized products are easy to move within the supply chain.
- If your budget is economical, you need to choose a 2-way Pallet.
- Remember! Your forklift operator requires more space and time to assemble or handle a 2-way Pallet. So you definitely need to hire more operators.
- If you don’t want to waste natural resources, go for a 2-way Pallet.
P.S. No matter what type you are going to select for your unit, but try to recall the pros and cons of both types of pallets.
Besides all pros and cons of both types, the essential difference between these two pallets is how forklifts pick up the Pallet. Simple! It’s always hard to bring one type of Pallet for your facility, so you need to think thoroughly about the fundamental tents of your facility.