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Pallet 101: Types, Standard Pallet Size And More

Piles of euro type cargo pallets at a recycling business area | Pallet 101: Types, Standard Pallet Size And More | Featured

Learn about standard pallet size, how to choose a good one, and the important things to know about pallets before using one.

RELATED: Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100

In this article:

  1. What Do I Need to Know About Pallets?
  2. What Is a Pallet?
  3. What Is the Standard Pallet Size?
  4. What Are the Standard Pallet Dimensions?
  5. Are There Different Types of Pallets?
  6. How Do I Know If a Pallet Is Safe to Use?
  7. Where Do I Find Free Wood Pallets?

What You Need to Know About Pallets

What Do I Need to Know About Pallets?

We get asked all these questions by DIY enthusiasts, especially those starting on their first pallet project. We compiled the best information we could find so we could tell you everything you need to know about pallets and try to answer all your questions.

What Is a Pallet?

A pallet is a flat structure that is used for shipping and transport. Pallets allow commercial goods and shipping containers to be shipped in a stable fashion by giving them support so they can be lifted by pallet jacks, forklifts, front loaders, and other jacking devices.

Pallets allow for efficiencies in storage and handling. Most pallets are made of wood, but you can also find ones that are made of plastic, metal, paper or recycled materials.

Pallet shipping rates may vary as well.

What Is the Standard Pallet Size?

The pallet size chart of wooden pallets often varies from country to country, depending on usage. However, the most common standard sizes used around the world are 36 x 36 inches (91.44 x 91.44 centimeters) , 42 x 42 inches (106.68 x 106.68 centimeters) and 48 x 48 inches (121.92 x 121.92 centimeters ).

The most common US pallet size is 40×48 inches.

The top-produced pallet in the United States is 48 x 40 inches.

There is no single standard because of the wide variety of things pallets are used for. Depending on their use, pallets have to potentially pass through doorways, fit in standard shipping containers, or allow for the lowest labor cost for that particular use. 

RELATED: 5 Things to Look for When Choosing Wood Pallets for Your Projects

What Are the Standard Pallet Dimensions?

Dimensions inches (W × L) Dimensions mm (W × L) Production Rank Industries That Use Them
48 × 40 1219 × 1016 1 Grocery as well as many other uses
42 x 42 1067 ×1067 2 Telecommunications and Paint
48 x 48 1219 × 1219 3 Drums
40 x 48 1016 × 1219 4 Cement and Military
48 x 42 1219 × 1067 5 Chemicals and Beverage
40 x 40 1016 × 1016 6 Dairy
48 x 45 1219 × 1143 7 Automotive
44 x 44 1118 × 1118 8 Drums and Chemicals
36 x 36 914 × 914 9 Beverage
48 x 36 1219 × 914 10 Beverage, Shingles, and Packaged Paper
35 x 45.5 889 × 1156 unknown Military 1/2 ISO container, fits 36″ standard doors
48 x 20 1219 × 508 unknown Retail

Are There Different Types of Pallets?

Yes, pallets are made many different, depending on what they are used for. The chart above shows you the different types of pallets and how they vary.

How Do I Know If a Pallet Is Safe to Use?

You look at the stamp and markings on the pallet. You want to make sure your pallet has not been treated with chemicals that are potentially toxic.

This is a big topic, so we gave it an article of its own.

Where Do I Find Free Wood Pallets?

Local small merchants and local community boards are a great place to start. We have many more tips for finding free pallets and wrote an article to help you find them.

Watch this video about how to choose the right pallets by SSLFamilyDad:

Knowing if a pallet is safe for use is very important before starting with a pallet project. You want to make sure everything will turn out as it should and avoid pallet quality issues.

Some knowledge about pallets will be a great help one way or another.

Are you satisfied with all this information about pallets in the article? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!


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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 15, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.


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