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Eight ways to improve your pallet selection process

May 03, 2018

Eight ways to improve your pallet selection process

How to Choose a Pallet

When purchasing any goods, there are fundamental factors that influence your decision making process; below are our most important questions to consider before purchasing plastic pallets, to ensure you purchase the right product for the right  application, at a competitive price.

1 Application First

What purpose will the pallet serve? Answering this question will tell you all you need to know about the type of pallet you really need for the job.

Knowing the size and specifics of the load will determine the strength of your pallet. You will avoid wasting money on a pallet that doesn’t match the job, won’t handle properly, costing you repairs or replacement parts.

2 Type of supply chain

Are you using a pallet in a closed loop supply chain? Are you shipping pallets one way? Will these pallets be traveling to different locations?

Knowing this will help decide what “duty” or style of pallet you need - narrowing down the level of investment. For example, one-way trips need a much more lightweight pallet, whereas a closed loop supply chain might need a heavy-duty pallet for high level, repeat use.

Styles: Nestable, Medium Duty, Heavy Duty, Hygienic.

3 Watch your Weight

How much weight is going on the pallet?

This question is amongst the most important factors in determining the strength and durability of your pallet. Pallet strength is separated into three categories, Static, Dynamic and Racking loads. In other words, how much weight the pallet can take when its immobile, moving, or placed on a rack. The graphic below illustrates the weight capacities plastic vs wooden pallets/ pallet boxes of each category.

Plastic Pallet


Static Load

Placed on a solid, level surface

10,000 kg

7,000 kg

Dynamic Load

Moving on a forklift

2,000 kg

1,000 kg

Racking Load

Placed on a rack

2,000 kg

1,000 kg

4 How will the load sit on top of the pallet

Will your load be evenly distributed across the pallet, or be concentrated in certain areas? Will the load overhang the pallet? Will lips interfere with the consignment?
Do you need anti-slip material on the pallet surface?

Many pallets come with lips as standard with the option to be removed. Where feasible it is in your interest to specify a pallet with lips: their primary purpose is to ‘lock’ the empty pallets so that they are stable even when accidentally bumped or transported on forklift/pallet-jack tines.

5 What material handling equipment do you currently use

The type of material handling equipment (forklift, pallet jack, etc) used will dictate whether you need two-way or four-way fork entry access.

The entry access affects what type of machinery can handle the pallet, how it can lift the goods, and whether or not it can be stored in racking.

6 Where will the pallets be stored

Storing your pallets in racking (beam racking, drive in, high bay) will heavily influence how much weight they can handle.

What temperature will the pallets be stored at?
Do you store goods in a freezer? In a hot environment? Knowing this will determine the materials your pallet is made out of (HDPE vs PP). For example, 
a rotationally moulded HDPE pallet is recommended for increased impact resistances in extreme low temperature environments.

Will the pallets be stored outside? Will they get wet? How do you clean them?

This will tell you if you are looking for an open deck pallet that allows water drainage when wet, has better airflow and easier manual handling vs a closed deck pallet with superior hygiene that is easier to clean.

7 Quantity and lead times

How many pallets do you need?
Is this a one-time purchase or will you need several deliveries over time? Do you need to keep track of your pallets with RFID tags etc.
How quickly do you need them?


HDPE or high density polyethylene has a temperature window of -30 degrees to +40 degrees Celsius. With good shock absorbing performance especially in low temperature

PP or Polypropylene has a temperature window of -20 degrees to +60 degrees Celsius. Products moulded with polypropylene retains its robust structure at higher temperatures


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