How much weight can a pallet hold?

When choosing pallets, we must consider multiple key factors, including nature, size, weight, material, structural design, etc. Most importantly, be sure to consider the carrying capacity of the pallet. The pallet’s load-bearing capacity stands as one of the most critical factors. Because the load capacity directly affects whether the pallet can safely and stably support the carried goods.

how much weight can a plastic pallet hold

If the cargo is too heavy, it may cause deformation, damage, or even collapse of the pallet, resulting in cargo losses and transportation hazards. Therefore, we must assess the pallet’s load capacity to ensure it can handle the weight of the goods.

However, different types of pallets and materials have varying load-bearing capabilities. So when choosing the appropriate pallet, wise decisions must be made based on the actual needs and weight range of the cargo.
This article contains seven aspects you want to know:

Definition of Load Capacity

The load-bearing capacity of a pallet is the maximum weight it can safely bear and transport. In other words, it’s a crucial indicator to evaluate the pallet’s performance and suitability for specific uses.

The load-bearing capacity can be categorized into the following types:

  • Static Load Capacity: This refers to the maximum weight that the pallet can withstand when it is in a stationary position, with the cargo at rest.
  • Dynamic Load Capacity:  This denotes the maximum weight the pallet can withstand while being transported. This considers the forces and pressures exerted by the cargo during movement.
  • Rack Load Capacity: Rack load capacity indicates the maximum weight that the pallet can bear when placed on a storage rack or pallet racking system. In this case, the pallet must not only handle the weight of the cargo but also the additional pressure from the rack.
  • Dynamic and Static Load Combined: This represents the comprehensive load-bearing capacity of the pallet, considering both dynamic and static scenarios.

These different types of load-bearing capacity cater to various requirements in different scenarios. When selecting a pallet, it is essential to consider the various load-bearing capacities based on the nature of the goods, transportation methods, storage conditions, and the operating environment. Ensure safe transportation and storage of goods.

Standard Pallet Weights and Dimensions

– Standard Pallet Weights and Dimensions

Pallet sizes vary in different regions around the world, including Europe, China, North America, and other areas.

The 48″ x 40″ pallet is the most common standard pallet size in North America. Additionally, it typically has a standard load capacity specified for its use. In logistics and transportation, the pallet’s load capacity is a crucial indicator. That determines how much weight it can safely and effectively carry.

The standard pallet size of 48″ x 40″ finds common use in grocery products and various other items.

According to general standards, the 48″ x 40″ pallet usually has a load capacity of 4,600 pounds. As long as you evenly distribute the cargo across the entire surface of the pallet to maintain balance and stability.

– Other Common Pallet Dimensions

However, pallet sizes may differ depending on the type of products being transported. Here are two other standard-size pallets commonly used in the US:

42″ x 42″: Usually used to transport items such as paint.

48” x 48”: For larger containers, like barrels.

Different pallet sizes hold different weights

The load capacity of different pallets can vary depending on their size, material, design, and construction. Here are some common pallet types and their approximate load capacities:

Pallet SizeWeight It Can Hold in LbsWeight It Can Hold in Kgs
48″ x 40″4,600 lbs2,087 kgs
36″ x 36″4,700 lbs2,132 kgs
42″ x 42″3,700 lbs1,678 kgs
48″ x 48″3,700 lbs1,678 kgs

Moreover, in the case of custom-made or specialized pallets, the load capacity may vary significantly depending on the specific design and materials utilized. The manufacturer determines the load capacity for custom pallets. And it depends on the intended application and requirements.

Remember that these load capacities are approximate. And may vary depending on factors such as the type of material used (wood, plastic, metal), and the pallet’s construction (solid deck, grid-top, block pallet, etc).

Always refer to the manufacturer’s specifications for each pallet type to ensure proper usage within their designated load limits, maintaining safety and preventing potential issues with the pallets.

Design of the Pallet

Beam Pallet (2-way entry): The beam pallet is a type of pallet that uses beams to connect the pallet boards. Usually, there are two or more beams connecting the bottom of the pallet boards, forming a stable structure. Therefore, beam pallets are typically used for storing smaller and lighter goods.

Block Pallet (4-way entry): The block pallet is made up of block-shaped wooden or plastic pieces. They are directly connected to the pallet boards. And the structure of block pallets is simple, so suitable for general cargo transportation.

Different pallet types hold different weights

There are several types of pallets, mainly distinguished by their materials, design, and intended use. Here are some common types of pallets and their respective load capacities:

Pallet TypeEdge Rackable Load CapacityDynamic Load CapacityMaximum Static Load Capacity
Stringer Pallets2,500 lbs2,200 to 2,500 lbs2,500 lbs
Block Pallets2,800 lbs4,600 lbs5,500 lbs
Plastic Pallets2,800 lbs5,000 lbs30,000 lbs
Metal Pallets2,200 lbs4,000 lbs8,000 lbs
how much weight can a wooden pallet hold_how much weight can a plastic pallet hold

Plastic Pallets VS Wood Pallets

Among the most commonly utilized pallet types, businesses frequently use plastic pallets and wood pallets. However, they have distinct differences, especially in terms of load capacity. To assist you in your decision. We will evaluate the following factors and provide an analysis to help you choose the desired pallet.

Load Capacity

  • Plastic Pallets: Plastic pallets generally have a higher load capacity compared to wood pallets. They are designed to withstand heavier weights. So make them suitable for transporting bulkier and more substantial goods.
  • Wood Pallets: In contrast to plastic pallets, wood pallets have a lower load capacity. Therefore, they are better suited for lighter loads and less dense items.


  • Plastic Pallets: Plastic pallets may have a higher upfront cost at first. However, due to their longer service life and reusability, they may result in cost savings in the long run.
  • Wood Pallets: Wood pallets have a relatively lower initial cost. But their shorter service life may require more frequent replacements, leading to additional expenses.

Service Life:

  • Plastic Pallets: Plastic pallets can last for many years. They have a relatively long service life and can undergo multiple reuses, especially if users and maintainers handle them properly.
  • Wood Pallets: Wood pallets have a relatively shorter service life, particularly in frequent use and harsh environments. They are prone to wear and damage.

Environmental Impact

  • Plastic Pallets: Plastic pallets can reduce environmental impact through recycling and reuse. Some plastic pallets are also made from sustainable and eco-friendly materials.
  • Wood Pallets: The production of wood pallets often involves cutting down trees, which has an impact on forest resources. Additionally, improper disposal of wood pallets can also generate waste.

In summary, plastic pallets have advantages in terms of longer service life, higher load capacity, and better environmental characteristics compared to wood pallets. Nevertheless, they do entail a higher initial cost.

Wood pallets are more suitable for cost-sensitive scenarios with lighter goods. But they require more frequent replacements and have a greater environmental impact. Each plastic and wood pallet possesses its distinct strengths and weaknesses. Specific requirements and intended use should dictate the choice between them.


It is worth mentioning that the load capacity of the pallet may differ depending on factors. Examples include the material utilized, design structure, and the particular brand.

Therefore, it is recommended to review the manufacturer’s pallet specifications and load capacity information when using pallets. This ensures that users and transporters use and transport the pallet within its load limits, avoiding overloading. Otherwise, which can lead to safety issues or pallet damage.