What Is A Pallet?

Definition of Pallet

What is a pallet? Simply speaking, a pallet is a small table for placing goods. It can prevent the goods from touching the wet ground and help them move quickly in large numbers. Just like serving dishes on a plate in our daily life. The difference is that when using pallets, you need to move the pallet which the neatly stacked commodities on with a machine.

So you can easily understand what pallets are.

  1. Stack items
  2. The stacked items form a container unit
  3. The items always exist in the loading state of the container unit
  4. It is a horizontal platform for placing containerized items device

In the logistics system, pallets are mainly used in logistics links. Such as transportation, warehousing, packaging, loading and unloading, distribution processing, and distribution. The pallets used here generally refers to a general-purpose flat pallet. In Taiwan, my country, the pallet is called “栈盘”. And in Hong Kong and Guangdong, there is also the habit of calling the pallet “card board”.

History of Pallets

Pallets evolved from brackets and have a history of nearly a hundred years. At first, people only used pallets for loading and unloading operations in factories, docks, railway stations, and other places.Because of the different shapes, sizes, and properties of goods, once placed on the pallets, they can easily and quickly load and unload the goods by forklift trucks. It not only dramatically improves work efficiency but also relieves heavy physical labor. Later, people found that the use of pallets is not limited to loading and unloading but also plays a significant role in warehousing and transportation.

  • Especially during World War II in the early 1940s, the US military’s logistics support system, which we now call the logistics system, was particularly effective. The pallet-based principle of containerized unitization also emerged at that time. As a result, the status and influence of pallets in the industry have been established accordingly.
  • In 1960, the United States launched the “pallet sales” activity, and the pallets entered the supermarket and were directly used to sell goods. In the early 1970s, the Nordic countries put wheels under the pallets, and the pallets loaded with goods were transported from factories to stores intact. They used the pallet as a commodity display counter, and it became a vending tool. Due to the increasing use of pallets, the number of produced and sold has also increased dramatically.
  • Since the 1980s, for the limitation of wood resources, people began to study the use of steel, plastic, paper, and other materials to make pallets.

The earliest pallets used were flat pallets; later, there were box pallets, column pallets, and frame pallets. In general, the evolution and development of pallets are inseparable from the development and progress of the logistics industry and economy.

Types of pallets

Based on dimensions

Based on size classification, you can divide the pallet into three categories. They are Europe pallets, American pallets, and pallets of other sizes. Europe pallets and American pallets are mostly used in logistics and transportation. Their dimensions, weights, and load-bearing capacity are as follows:

Main TypeSizeWeightBear LoadAera
Europe Pallet1200mmx800mm25kg1500kgEurope
American Pallet1200mmx1000mm25kg1500kgAmerican, Japanese

Few other measurements:
Similarly, the International Organization for Standardization also considers that the four sizes of 1016mmx1219mm, 1165mmx1165mm, 1067mmx1067mm, and 1100mmx1100mm are also standard. These four sizes are used less frequently than the first two sizes.

Based on the number of entry points

The entry point is the port into which the forklift can insert. The forklift inserts under the pallet and then transports the goods to a given location. According to the classification of entry points, the pallet can divide into 2 and 4 entry points.

  • 2 Entry Points:
    Forklifts can access pallets along either side of the length or width.
  • 4 Entry Points:
    The Forklifts can only access the two opposite sides. It is less flexible than 4 entry points.

Based on Material

  • Wooden Pallet:
    Wooden pallets are currently the most widely used, accounting for 90-95% of the pallet market. It is characterized by its low price, durability, easy and simple maintenance, and recyclability. These advantages increase the useful life of wooden pallets. The disadvantage of the wooden pallet is that it is difficult to clean and disinfect.
  • Plastic Pallet:
    Plastic pallets have more tremendous advantages than wooden pallets. They are lighter than wooden pallets, are easier to clean, and can withstand greater impact. Recycling is also possible. Their disadvantage is that when the pallet fittings are damaged, you can’t repair them. The only thing you can do is replace the fitting. The price is also higher than wooden pallets.
  • Metal Pallet:
    The metal pallets we see daily are usually made of aluminum or steel. They can withstand heavier loads than paper, plastic, and wood pallets. The service life is more than ten years, which is 2 or 3 times the life of plastic pallets and wooden pallets. The disadvantage is that it is more expensive than the other three pallets, and the shipping cost is also higher.
  • Cardboard Pallet:
    Cardboard pallets are mainly used for lighter-weight objects. Their prices are the lowest of the four types of pallets. Like other material pallets, they are also recyclable, but their lifespan is very short. This kind of pallet is a disposable tray.

Other Types

  • Reversible Pallet:
    This pallet’s upper and lower sides are the same; both can put goods.
  • Closed Pallet:
    The side where the cargo is put on is fully enclosed, with no gaps.
  • Wing Pallet:
    It protrudes in two or four directions, like tiny wings.

Pallet Storage Methods

When storing pallets, we generally follow the following two principles. First, Put as many pallets as possible in your limited space. Second, When using the pallet, you can easily take it out. There are seven ways to store pallets in daily life.

  • Block stacking
  • Stacking frames
  • Single-deep pallet rack
  • Double deep rack
  • Drive-in rack
  • Pallet flow rack
  • Push back rack

New Trends in Pallets

Pallets are beginning to develop toward dynamization, standardization, and information sharing.


The pallet represents the carrier and becomes an entry point in the logistics and transportation process. It directly opens up the logistics chain and realizes the consistent operation management of upstream and downstream transportation, loading and unloading, distribution, and warehousing between enterprises. Let the pallet move to reduce the problem of transportation inefficiency. Avoid repeated removal and removal of the board to the greatest extent.


The standardization process must be accelerated to improve efficiency. The pallet specifications vary widely among enterprises in different countries, making it difficult to share and circulate. Standardization can significantly reduce logistics costs.

Information sharing:

Whether it is to control costs, improve transportation efficiency, reduce environmental protection and reduce emissions, the pallets market will move towards sharing in the future. By then, pallets will no longer be used only as logistics packaging but will carry shipping information. Install electronic tags to circulate in the shared logistics data circle to improve the information transmission rate.