Selecting the Best Type of Pallet

Choosing the right type of pallet is key to shipping your goods in the safest, most economical manner. Each type of pallet has its pros and cons, and you’ll want to select the best option for your shipment. Here are the basics:

Wooden Pallets

In the past, wood was the only option for pallets, and it remains the most popular type of shipping pallet today.

• Strong and fairly durable
• Inexpensive
• Can be reused multiple times
• Slip-resistant
• If damaged, is easily repaired

• Heavier than other materials
• While reusable, there are limits, as structural integrity is weakened over time
• Can splinter
• Loose, protruding or rusty nails can damage packaging, the shipment or hurt workers
• May contain pests or pathogens like Listeria or E Coli
• May be quarantined by customs officials for pest or pathogen contamination

Cardboard/Corrugate Pallets


• Lightweight — just 25% of what wood pallets weigh, reducing shipping costs drastically
• Affordable — comparable in cost to wooden pallets
• Easily broken down and recycled after use
• Compliant with ISPM 15 regulations for international shipping

• Lack of durability; lose structural integrity quickly
• Susceptible to moisture damage
• Generally can only be used once
• Are porous and can’t be cleaned/sanitized

Plastic Pallets

• Highly durable; can be reused many times
• Lightweight — just 70% of wood weight
• Lowered shipping costs due to low weight
• Interlock for easy stacking and storage
• Pose less risk to workers due to being lightweight and free of nails
• Non-porous, so no risk of pests or bacteria

• Cost about 3x what wooden pallets cost
• Although more durable than wood, when damaged, they are not repairable

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