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Pallet Sizing Guide by Industry

image Robin Kiefer image November 21, 2016
Sizing Pallets By Industry

Pallet Sizing Guide

Choosing the correct pallet size for your warehouse or industry is simple with our easy-to-understand pallet sizing guide.

So Many Choices! Where do I start?

There are many plastic pallet sizes in today’s market. Often the requirements of the pallet’s application and industry will help guide the size selection. Many standard pallet sizes were established long ago when wood pallets were the only option. Although industry specific sizes are not necessarily requirements, they are often the most popular and are therefore most commonly used.

Do Plastic Pallets Offer Enough Sizes? Yes!

Yes! Plastic pallets are quickly growing in popularity – and are even required for some industries. Plastic pallet sizes were initially driven by high volume wood pallet sizes. This is a tremendous benefit to plastic pallet users in all industries; their preferred size is available and offers the natural plastic pallet benefits such as:

  • added cleanliness & sanitization
  • enhanced durability
  • reduced product damage

Does Pallet Size Matter? Yes!

There are several reasons for the need to have the pallet made to a specific size.

Shipping Economy

Trucks and shipping containers have standard sizes. Many pallet sizes are designed to optimize or “max out” the truck’s carrying capacity, shipping as little air as possible to reduce freight expenses.

Match You Product Footprint

Match the pallet dimensions to the footprint of product packed for shipping allows a more uniform unit load and reduces product damage. Here are a few industry examples:

Dairy Industry Pallets

The Dairy industry commonly uses 40” x 40” pallets.

Automotive Industry Pallets

The Automotive industry commonly uses 48” x 45” pallets.

Pallet Size Differentiation

Some pallet sizes were created to differentiate against common pallet sizes found in the market. If a pallet is smaller or bigger than a commonly used size, its specialized size can deter pallet theft because its specifications may exclude it from use in certain industries.

Pallet Sizes By Industry

Here is a list of popular plastic pallet sizes the industries they serve.

48” x 40” Pallets

48 x 40 is the most popular pallet size in the United States and is available in greatest variety of styles, from lightweight nestable plastic pallets to heavy duty stackable plastic pallets supporting racking loads greater than 3,000 lbs.

Its widely accepted size easily fits drive / edge racking and beam racking.

A champ for truck loading, 40 x 48 pallets are “pin wheeled” by alternating 40 and 48 in each row for maximum packing density.

Common Uses:

  • Export (lightweight, nestable models)
  • Grocery & general warehousing
  • Over the road shipping
  • Bulk bottle storage & transport

48” x 43” Pallets

48 x 32 pallets, also called “Euro Pallets”, is commonly used for outbound export to Europe and is designed to fit smaller European trucks (lorries), that are smaller than US Trucks.

Widely used, this size is the European version of the US 48” x 40” pallet.

42” x 42” Pallets

42 x 42 pallets are a less common, specialized size designed to deter pallet theft.

Common Uses:

  • Telecommunications Industry
  • Paint & Technical Coating Industries

Trivia: 42 x 42 pallets were originally designed for the US Military to transport and store mortar rounds. 

48” x 48” Pallets

48 x 48 pallets nicely fit the footprint of 4 x 55 gallon drums, eliminating the drum hangover that occurs when less optimal 45 x 48 size pallets are used.

Common Uses:

  • Chemical industry
  • 55 gallon drum shipping
  • 5 gallon drum shipping

48” x 42” Pallets

48 x 42 pallets are uncommon, but used in certain niche industries.

Common Industries/Uses:

  • Chemical Transport
  • Beverage Transport
  • Paint & Technical Coatings

40” x 40” Pallets

The Dairy industry commonly uses 40” x 40” pallets, and this no accident. 40″ x 40″ pallets best fit the configurations of stacked milk crates.

Common Industries/Uses: Dairy

48” x 45” Pallets

The Automotive industry commonly uses 48” x 45”, and this is no surprise. 48″ x 45″ pallets match the footprint of returnable bins/containers (the totes “cube out” nicely on this size) transported to and from auto parts manufacturers and the automobile companies.

Common Industries/Uses: Automotive

45” x 45” Pallets

45 x 45 pallets are commonly used to transport drums and chemicals. They are also used to transport ocean freight in sea container shipments because their size makes efficient use of the container space, “cubing out” to maximize freight density. With the high cost of a container shipment, it is critical to ship as little air as possible.

Common Industries/Uses:

  • Chemicals
  • Ocean Freight

44” x 56” Pallets

44 x 56 pallets, known as bulk beverage container pallets, was one of the first plastic pallet sizes in existence. This pallet size is used to ship empty cans and bottles from the container manufacturers to beverage fillers.

Common Industries/Uses: Beverage

36” x 36”, 37″ x 37″, 36″ x 48″ Beverage Pallets

36 x 36, 37 x 37, and 36 x 48 pallet sizes are known as beverage pallets and are frequently used to move filled goods, sized specifically to fit in small bays on soft Coke & Pepsi delivery trucks, and through the doors of retail stores that sell the beverages to consumers.

Common Industries/Uses:

  • Beverage
  • Retail

48″ x 20″, 40” x 24” Pallets

40 x 24 & 48 x 20 pallets fit nicely on the floor in store aisles, making them a natural choice for Point of Purchase (POP)/Store Displays.

Common Industries/Uses: Retail, Point Of Purchase

Did You Get All That?

Who would have thought there were so many pallet sizes? On second thought, the more you think about the diversity of American industry, the less surprising the variety of plastic pallet sizes seems.

How Can We Help?

Searching for the perfect plastic pallet at an unbeatable price? Contact Our Pallet Experts for assistance.

About Robin Kiefer

Robin Spencer Kiefer connects customers with solutions and products. Robin is the Digital Marketing Manager of One Way Solutions.

3 Comments

3 Comments on “Pallet Sizing Guide by Industry

  1. Randy Greathouse

    Robin,

    Do you possibly know where I could find a 40×40 pallet? Plastic or wood.

    I’m in Houston, TX.

    Thanks.

    Randy

    Reply

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