A pallet is a horizontal platform, typically made of wood, plastic, or metal, used to stack, store, and transport goods. It’s designed to be lifted by forklifts, pallet jacks, or other jacking devices.

Detailed Explanation

Pallets are foundational in the logistics and warehousing industry, providing a standardized way to handle bulk goods. They allow for efficient storage, handling, and transport of items, ensuring they remain undamaged and can be moved quickly. Pallets are often used in conjunction with shrink wrap or straps to secure the goods in place.

Key aspects of a pallet include:

  • Standardization: Pallets come in standardized sizes, with the most common size being 48 inches x 40 inches in the U.S.
  • Durability: Pallets are built to be sturdy and can carry heavy loads, often several times their weight.
  • Recyclability: Wooden pallets can be repaired or recycled, while plastic pallets can be melted down and reshaped.
  • Safety: Using pallets reduces the risk of manual handling injuries and ensures goods are less likely to be damaged during transport.


A manufacturer stacks boxes of products onto a pallet, wraps it in shrink wrap, and ships it to a retailer.

A warehouse uses pallets to efficiently store goods in racks, maximizing space and ensuring easy access.

Related Terms and Concepts:

Skid, Pallet Jack, Warehousing

Frequently asked questions about Pallets

What’s the difference between a pallet and a skid? While both are similar, a skid is a single-deck loading platform without the bottom deck that a pallet has. Skids are often used as a foundation for heavy machinery.

Are all pallets the same size? No, while there are standardized sizes, pallets can come in various dimensions depending on the region and industry.

Why are pallets often heat-treated? Heat treatment helps eliminate pests in wooden pallets, making them safe for international shipping as per ISPM 15 regulations.

How much weight can a standard pallet hold? A typical wooden pallet can hold up to 4,600 pounds, but it’s essential to check the specific pallet’s weight capacity.

What are the advantages of plastic pallets over wooden ones? Plastic pallets are more resistant to moisture, easier to clean, and can be more durable, but they are also typically more expensive.

How do businesses choose the right type of pallet? The choice depends on factors like the type of goods, weight, transportation methods, storage conditions, and budget.


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